Working the Web

Remotely accessing applications via the Web has become more common among recreational Web users, but professional use of the Web has largely been relegated to company intranets and password-protected FTP sites. A host of new products at Seybold aim to change that, offering computer users the chance to manage project development and administrate Web sites via Web-based interfaces.

All the software products have one thing in common: they use a Web browser as an operating system. Users access the application via the browser to do their work, and the application -- along with the data it handles -- lives on another server.

Below is a roundup of the Web-based Web-site project and production tools most likely to thrive on the Mac platform:

Name URL What it does Who can use it Billing itself as "the new media vortal," provides a set of Web-based collaborative tools for hire. Working on a subscription model -- $12.95 per month per person -- users have access to a tool that lets them set up, manage, and monitor team-based projects, even when the team members are scattered to the four winds. This product is useful for anyone who works as a freelancer and frequently collaborates with other workers, offices that don't have the time or resources to build a proprietary project-manangement tool, or teams involved in multistep projects for hands-on clients. Since the program is accessible to users only via the Web, it's platform-neutral.
Kinecta Interact Web sites that push syndicated content out to other sites -- or rely on other Web sites' syndicated content for their own pages -- need a way to control what gets sent to whom, and what gets published where. Kinecta lets syndicators assemble and monitor content packages for their subscribers; and for subscribers, Kinecta's a handy way to control the placement and appearance of syndicated content on their Web site. Anyone who runs Linux on their Mac -- although users can access Kinecta using a typical Web browser, the application runs only on Linux, Unix, and Windows boxes right now. Mac users are more likely to use it as an end-user than they are as an administrator.
DeskNetAPS Moving files from QuarkXPress to HTML -- or in the reverse direction -- has bedeviled many design-conscious print professionals. DeskNetAPS lets users set up a template library, create designs on-the-fly, then distill the results into a PDF. The user can look over the PDF and approve it; the approved PDF is checked back into DeskNetAPS, and the print job is registered to begin printing. Anyone who works in print can appreciate speedy design and approval processes for products that need to go to press quickly. DeskNetAPS also has a variety of nonbrowser-based features that serve the print/Web-product market. Mac users will likely use this on the Web site end.
siteyard Promising to take the Webmaster out of Web site production, siteyard provides a Web-based administration tool for people to create and update Web sites. Differing user privileges let administrators track and edit work before it's published to a live site, but anyone who's using siteyard to create content can generate and test a page on a staging server. Any Mac-based business can use siteyard; the server can be installed on any Mac with sufficient horsepower to handle frequent traffic.
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