Dear God, not another Vignette post?!?! What can I say? It’s all I’ve done for the past two-and-a-half days. For anyone who has used VCM, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a fairly powerful tool for content management, but it’s slow to the point that it’s almost unusable and the GUI design (web interface) is like something out of the late 90’s. While I’ve had plenty of on-the-job-training with VCM, I never really had the opportunity to ask questions of an “expert” like I have during this class so I started asking questions about alternate ways to do things. For example, a lot of the work that we do with VCM is done during a golive in the wee hours of the morning. It would be really nice if you could do some sort of scripted input instead of point-click-wait over and over again. So I asked the instructor where the GUI configuration stuff for VCM is stored. It turns out that they store it in the database instead of in some sort of configuration file. So, if you want to do something like add capabilities to a role, the only “supported” method of doing this is through their GUI. The slow and painful point-click-wait GUI. A task that should take seconds ends up taking an hour if you’re adding several roles with varying capabilities. The reason why I say that the GUI is stuck in the 90’s is because it seems like there are several technologies that have come along in the past 10 years that seem like a better way to do thing.

  • Batch Import/Export: Through the use of a text file, csv, xml or any other format it would be really easy to devise a method of being able to batch import and export roles and capabilities.
  • AJAX: Short for “asynchronous javascript and xml” Vignette could very easily adapt this technology to make a drag-and-drop sort of interface. This would come in especially handy when moving items up and down in a CTD definition.
  • Typeahead: The ability for me to begin typing a word and have the browser be searching for matches to autocomplete it. This would be a nice addition to Vignette’s “find” features.

Anyway, according to my instructor the 7.5 version of VCM won’t be making any major GUI improvements. There’s one addition from 7.3 to 7.4 that is slightly interesting and that’s the new “My Page” feature. As far as I can tell it’s the only place where Vignette has made any improvements based on web technology from the last 10 years. It’s usability issues like these that have more and more people opting for open source content management systems like Joomla these days. Vignette may be the 800 pound gorilla in the content management market, but if it continues to push slow and outdated web technologies, it’s days are surely numbered.