Allaire next week plans to announce an add-on package called Allaire Spectra for its ColdFusion application server that aims to unite content, Internet commerce, and customer interaction features under a common user-driven mantle.
Spectra is designed to bind Web presentation development, I-commerce strategy, content generation, portal design, and personalized customer relations functions within enterprises.
Companies building enterprise portals that offer individualized content to customers, partners, and internal employees are engaging in what Allaire and Forrester Research are calling "transactive content" generation and management.
The Spectra/ColdFusion enterprise application server combination, along with Allaire's visual Web development tools, are designed to allow a spectrum of participants, from systems administrators and designers to business managers and customers, to play individual roles in developing and controlling content, according to Allaire officials.
In particular, business-line managers -- not application developers or Webmasters -- are afforded a set of Web-based tools in Spectra for handling workflow, security roles, and self-managing content and commerce assets, as well as producing analysis and reporting on the Web-based business at hand, Allaire officials said.
Allaire developed Spectra, which heavily leverages Extensible Markup Language technology, as a packaged system to assist in this overall content management function, Allaire officials said.
"This is the sweet spot for content, commerce, and customer input all coming together," said Jeremy Allaire, vice president of technology strategy at Allaire. "We took the top things customers wanted to do to get their content infrastructure under control, and allowed for customer and partner self-service."
The fundamental goal is to reduce time and complexity, Allaire officials said.
"The functionality of the product is key. It's allowed us to do content management and syndicate content to build our business. We're Web only, and we've been able to blow out the door with personalized content," said Marvin Chow, chief operating officer at Boston-based Fit For All, which is developing a Web-based personalized service encompassing fitness, nutrition, and weight management programs.
"The parts of Spectra have all been designed to work together, and that should result in a faster turnaround," said Tom Dwyer, an analyst at the Aberdeen Group, in Boston.
The Allaire server and development package currently competes with such products as Macromedia Dreamweaver, Microsoft FrontPage 2000, NetObjects Fusion 4.0, and SoftQuad HotMetal Pro. But Allaire is positioning the package as a full-blown scalable application server and commerce package.
Spectra will ship in October priced at US$7,495. ColdFusion, which runs on Sun Solaris and Windows NT, is sold separately for US$3,500.
Allaire Corp., in Cambridge, Mass., is at www.allaire.com.