Posts tagged "site manager"

Bitrix's D.I.G. Engine Offers Cross-Content Search Technology

Enterprise search is a boom area and Bitrix (site) offers its new solution for finding data spread throughout an enterprise's online assets.

Can You D.I.G. Enterprise Search?

The bigger the corporation, the harder it can be to find something. So we have seen the rise of federated enterprise search, endless metadata, semantic search and many specialist solutions. Bitrix has a fix for the rapid rise in the amount of data being stored on company intranets and websites with its D.I.G. Engine, designed to hunt down data stored in online repositories.

Automated indexing means that anything submitted to the sites will be cataloged. As we're dealing with enterprise users, users will only see in the results information they have privileges to see, so those CIO comments or figures will remain out of reach. Results can be ranked and sorted, allowing users to quickly find the right answers.

Digging in Documents

As well as direct to Web data, D.I.G. can search in Office, OpenOffice and PDF files, as well as media files, stored online. It currently works in English, German and Russian, with stem-table support for other languages.

D.I.G. uses AJAX-powered interactive pages to show results, allowing users to refine their results. It also makes use of a taxonomy service with automatic tag cloud generation.

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Find data on your corporate intranets

The new search engine is available as part of the existing Bitrix products, Site Manager and Intranet Portal. Bitrix claims that B.I.G. is up to 10 times faster than traditional search, something we'd be keen to see proven.

Bitrix Site Manager – Review and Commentary

With over 20,000 customers, the Bitrix Site Manager platform has proven to be a popular content management choice worldwide. Headquartered in Moscow, Russia, this veteran provider has been in the game longer than most, and as such, has had time to finely tune their latest 8.5.1 offering. In late 2001 I tested the Bitrix platform and came away intrigued at the possibilities, so I was anxious to reacquaint myself with the platform nearly eight years later.

While there are seven versions of Site Manager, I opted for the Standard version that includes a few more bells and whistles than the Starter version which offers the main modules for site operation including access management, site structure, information blocks (new, articles, etc.), event calendar, media player, search, site compression, site performance monitoring, and search engine optimization.

Installation

With the size of this installation being what it was, 148 tables in all, I double checked with my hosting company to make sure my plan provided the necessary requirements. In my case, I made sure that my plan included ZendOptimizer 3.3.0 and eAccelerator 0.9.5 as well as had .htaccess processing enabled. Once uploaded to the root of my website, I navigated to my domain and began the installation. The interface is professional, clear, and takes you step by step through the entire process as expected. I chose to create
my database and credentials ahead of time but the installation offers the flexibility of either creating them on your own or having them created by the install itself.

Reviewing the Bitrix documentation helped a great deal and can be found on the support area of the Bitrix website. Although outdated by a few versions, the documentationremained useful.

Once the install was complete, I was able to navigate directly to my homepage and got the first glimpse of my new site built with Bitrix. The default site was well organized sporting page tabs across the top and category and section links down the left side. After logging into the backend, the administrative access points revealed themselves in attractive gray tabs above the website along with a Windows-type Start menu to the left which provides additional access to content, services, and settings for every part of the website as well.

Bitrix built the administrative interface to enable users multiple access paths to the same functionality through the tabs, and, while I
understand the reasoning, it was a little confusing at first. From purely a newbie perspective I found myself having to take some time to differentiate what does what. For example, when an administrator expands the Edit button located within the Browse, Content, and Design tabs, they all share the following functionality:

  • Edit page in editor
  • Edit page in html
  • Edit page title and properties
  • Edit section properties

The Control tab edit button additionally offers current page and section property editing of the Control Panel while the Design tab
offers what both the Browse and Content tabs do plus .php editing capability. It's not as much of a gripe but observation that the system is not intended for green beginners and will require some time to get up to speed with the setup. The following is a quick
overview of what each tab offers.

The Browse tab lets the user create a new page or section, edit page contents, title, and properties as well as section properties. In addition, you can view the structure of the entire website, edit the site menu and control the site cache.

The Content tab offers the identical functionality as the Browse tab as well as creating and/or editing pages and sections within the
control panel as well controlling access to a section or specific page.

The Design tab again shares some functionality with the Browse and Content tabs in addition to providing access to components, templating, and debugging services.

Lastly, the Control Panel tab is the dashboard where the entire functionality of the site can be administrated.

Finally, I took some time to compare what the Standard edition had to offer over the Starter edition of the Bitrix Site Manager. The Standard edition offers enhancement including proactive protection, forums, newsletters, web forms, polls and surveys, blogs, and photo galleries.

While I can appreciate the enhancements brought with the Standard edition upgrade, I found the presentation of the applications to be a little outdated. I think I've gotten so used to things like the NextGen gallery for WordPress presenting slick galleries using AJAX that the Bitrix gallery made me feel like I was back in 2002. I felt similarly about the polls, surveys, and blogs. They function beautifully but lack the pizzazz that other platforms offer. Just for that reason alone, I'd have a hard time parting with an extra $350 over and above the Starter edition cost of $249.

Overall I think the Bitrix platform is rock solid and a pleasure to work with once one learns the ropes. It's powerful, extensible, and
would serve especially businesses well. For the small business, club, or group needing a simple web solution, it would definitely be overkill in my opinion. User interface experts fanantic about the latest and greatest would also come away a little disappointed based on the default website that I was able to test.

Pros

  • The system is powerful and open to improvement or functionality with the addition of your own scripting.
  • The installation went flawlessly. Bitrix offers assistance with that as well if you run into problems as one of their customers.
  • Numerous administrative entry points.

Cons

  • For the price, I think you could do worse than the Starter package. It's a solid piece of work. To get me to spend the extra $350 for the Standard edition, Bitrix would have to bring the applications UI up to date.
  • The documentation was last updated for version 7.0.6 and I was running 8.5.1.

You can learn more by visiting them at Bitrixsoft