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CD - 3rd Party App. Integration

When I started using CD, I spent some time searching the discussion forums for tips on 3rd party applications that integrated well (e.g. had both standalone functionality as well as command line facilities that I could call from the CD Pre/Post Publish dialog).

This was and is because I tend to use CityDesk as glue for publishing a number of diverse sites. So for what it is worth as at 5th June 2004 the following are the applications that best provide for my needs:

HTMLDbScript [www.greenwave-solutions.com] - Free program and designed for CD
Used for updating relatively static content data (e.g.FAQs, Organisation Info,useful weblinks). This is parses pages and is setup in the pre publish dialog.

My Personal Programmer [www.mpacttech.com] - Currently $25
I use HTMLDbScript with Access MDB files. Forms can be created using MS Access. However, I provide a friendly forms front end for clients using this Windows development IDE. This app provides for a small distribution exe which includes as sophisticated a form as you want to make. It works well with MS SQL Server as well.

BatchRun [www.outertech.com] - Free program and works well with CD
A graphical batch command control program which allows for setup of a number of programs. This has a checkbox by each program to control whether it runs or not. It also has a wait until process completed facility. As I usually call a number of programs post publish, this is setup in the post publish dialog. I have my thumbnail index/image pages program followed by my Search Index program setup to run from this application (see further below).

Zoom Search Engine [www.wrensoft.com] - Free for 50 page sites, $50 upto 100 pages, above $100. The free edition works well with CD.
This is an excellent search engine which can be easily configured to work with one of: asp, php, cgi (fastest) or if none are available javascript (slowest).
It provides for folder and file exclusion and categories etc.
The real advantage is that it has command line facilities to call a specific configuration file. As mentioned, I have set this up as a post publish command and I tend to have it unchecked and reindex only periodically. It can also spider search and index a remote site.

Arles Image Web Page Creator [www.digitaldutch.com/arles/] - $49 and works well with CD.
For me this is an essential program as it provides good standalone image manipulation including creation of thumbnails and full size images from variable size source images. It also creates thumbnail index as well as full size image pages from templates generated via CityDesk. The key to this program is the command line facility which means that every time the CD site is published, I call the Arles commandline to regenerate the index and image pages. It can also manage multipe folders at one run (e.g. where you have multiple web gallery index pages such as for multiple events). I do not include any of the photos or index/image pages in CD. In CD I set up only the following:
- a folder called photogallery;
- a sub folder for each photographic event (typically with a date)
- in each sub folder:
  - an article called t_index (used as the source index template by Arles) and linked to a CD template called gallery_index;
  - an article called index (which is a CD database reference) and is what Arles generates as its thumbnail index;
- a sub-sub foldr called pages with an article called t_image (used as the source image template by Arles) and linked to a CD template called gallery_image.
The Arles command line is called using BatchRun and is configured to be the first to be called in the Post publish dialog. This means that any changes you make to the CD template are reflected across potentially multiple thumbnail indexes as wel as image files and include all those nice menu links etc.

Site Publisher [www.sitepublisher.net/] - $25 and again works well with CD.
I always publish to a local folder (which i configured as a virtual folder within IIS). When it comes to my time to publish to the site I use Site Publisher which has good synchronisation features and allows me to forget my own issues surrounding CD site XML file management! It pulls all those folders that you might have external to CD for publishing.

I have these applications (excluding HTMLDbScript, which is only command line) also installed on the CD Tools menu. The CD Tools menu is setup using the regedit as described in the CD tutorial. There is a bug in CD where pressing either of the first three Menu Tool items loads two copies of the applications (these are only loaded once when using Ctrl+1..3 and bypassing the menu). This has been mentioned already in the discussion forum. No action to fix this from CD, maybe version 3...

I am also a Beta tester of CMS Encore. This is a different tool and if you are happy with CD you wil probably stay with it, if you want something that you can spend many hours delving into for that extra 10% then give it a try. However, Encore is not a glue tool and you may spend more time on content management rather than site creation. It depends onyour role.

Hope this helps somebody out there.

Simon Ghosh
Saturday, June 05, 2004

Simon Ghosh :re that extra 10% [CMS Encore]

IMO its more like an extra, extra, extra -- I do not know what % but its certainly much greater than 10% and not really possible to compare -- a world apart from many aspects and very specifically the methodology of approach to CM.

For those new to CMS -- CD is a breeze to learn comparatively speaking.

David Mozer
Sunday, June 06, 2004

David

Thanks your comment, which I agree with. As you intimate its horses for courses as the CD learning curve is minimal in comparison

Simon Ghosh
Sunday, June 06, 2004

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