X-Web

X-Web is a content management system that allows users to edit public web sites as easily as editing Microsoft Word documents. Although simplicity remains the driving force throughout the application, the underlying power and feature set of X-Web makes it suitable for use in the enterprise.

X-Web

Overview

To use X-Web, the user simply opens a web site, selects a page to edit from the navigation list displayed, and then makes the required changes to the page directly in the editor. The editor shows the web page exactly as it will be rendered in the browser, and styles from the web site are automatically applied as the user works. No advanced knowledge of HTML is required, and the editing experience is designed to be very similar to Microsoft Word, a tool that nearly all information workers understand.

When the user saves the page, a new revision is automatically created that includes the username, date, time, and other information that apply to the changes. Previous revisions can be viewed or edited, and any revision can be set live at any time. This allows users to easily undo mistakes and maintains a history of changes to each page in a web site. It also lets users work on draft versions of pages before publication.

X-Web allows site-wide and page-specific security settings to restrict the viewing, editing, and publishing of pages. This allows site administrators to control which users are permitted to modify which portions of the web site, and also allows configurations where certain users are permitted to edit and save pages, but not publish their work. Together with an e-mail based notifications system, supervisors can easily stay informed of changes to the web site and approve these changes before they are published.

The launch customer for X-Web was PrimeWest Energy Trust (later acquired by TAQA North Ltd).

Technical Details

Although X-Web strives for simplicity in use, the underlying technology is quite complex. In order to allow X-Web to edit existing web sites that may not have been designed with content management in mind, X-Web contains a full implementation of an ASP.NET web server. This is used internally to render pages in the editor exactly as they will appear in the browser, even if pages include custom code or other ASP.NET components. If a web site makes use of ASP.NET’s navigation framework, the navigation structure of the web site is determined automatically and used to display the list of pages available for editing. If ASP.NET master pages are used, X-Web restricts the areas of a page that can be edited by a user in the editor. If a user follows a link in the editor to another page on the site, the page is automatically opened for editing in a new tab.

Although X-Web can access web sites through FTP, WebDAV, and direct file access, a web service is also available that offers increased performance and additional functionality. This web service can be installed automatically by X-Web when opening a site. X-Web maintains all data on the web server itself. No proprietary storage is used, no database is required, and there are no prerequisites.

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