With the new package, previously code-named Jefferson Project, users can leverage the document management features of GroupWise to publish documents via the Internet and company intranets. By assigning user access to documents stored in GroupWise, WebPublisher provides security, management, and administration features needed to keep the information being disseminated on the Web secure, Novell said.
"We're trying to expand the email experience for those who don't know how to write HTML, so they can publish documents on the Internet," said Ed McGarr, WebPublisher product manager.
Users now can choose to publish documents regularly saved in the GroupWise document management library on the Internet, intranet, or both, said McGarr. "When they save, they share the document by specifying where they want it accessible from."
Although it is seen as an obvious enhancement of GroupWise 5.2, analysts disagree as to the significance of the new product.
Forrester Research analyst Eric Brown said he thinks publishing documents on the Web is last year's headline. "People are looking beyond dead Web and content pages. People are looking for more interactive ways of getting information over the Web."
However, IDC analyst Ian Campbell said he thinks Novell's newest release moves Web publishing a step closer to a more interactive look and feel and away from the traditional static content style. "I think this is very significant for GroupWise users. It shows them they can use groupware products to publish documents by using the Web. It's a step in the right direction."
Campbell said WebPublisher goes a little further because it uses the Web as a venue for publishing, rather than just as a means for sending email back and forth.
Novell said it has also simplified the Web site administrator's job by eliminating the need to update documents and links on the corporate Web site. When documents are updated in GroupWise, they will also be updated on the Web. GroupWise will automatically publish specified documents to corporate intranets or to the Web, allowing administrators to spend more time implementing applications and less time translating documents into HTML or writing CGI scripts.
"WebPublisher automates this part of the process with templates, and takes that administrator's work out of the picture," said McGarr.
In addition, GroupWise WebPublisher will provide administrators with a familiar interface for managing the information on the Web, he said.
WebPublisher will be available Wednesday as a free download from the company's Web page. Free downloads will be available until April, the company said. Pricing of the product after that time has not been determined.