This week, eZ Systems announce the immediate release of eZ Publish 4.2, the new version of its Open Source Content Management System. The new release brings important improvements to the heart of eZ solutions, the eZ Publish engine, as well as major advances and new features for eZ Flow and eZ Find. A new extension, eZSI, makes its debut in the 4.2 package providing full support for the Edge Side Include standard to eZ Publish.
Bård Farstad, CTO and Founder of eZ Publish, described the motivation underlying the new release: "Our team focused on Usability for both end-users and editors, as well as Scalability and Performance for customers using eZ Publish in extremely high-traffic installations ". Farstad emphasized that "in those two focus areas, eZ Find (the enterprise-grade search plugin for eZ Publish) has become a key element for achieving the best results".
The 4.2 release was developed by eZ Systems with contributions from eZ Publish partners and trusted community members, and is immediately available as certified software, which benefits from eZ System's Premium support and maintenance services, including the unlimited bugfix guarantee.
Usability for editors and end users
eZ Publish 4.2 includes a new release of eZ Flow, an eZ Publish extension enabling the building and management of rich and vibrant Media portal pages through implementation of a constant content flow to visitors. The new release offers an unprecedented choice of pre-made blocs for eZ Flow. The options, which include Media Carrousel, Google Map geolocation, Online users, Last Commented content or Search blocs, immediately provide eZ Flow users with a wide range of templates and functionality for their sites, no development required.
eZ Publish 4.2 offers editors a better integration between eZ Flow and the standard eZ Publish administration interface. Editors are now able to control content flow in eZ Flow portal pages from the administration content management interface. The built-in content rating feature improves Usability by enabling visitors to actively contribute and rate. Improvements to the eZ Toolbar front-end editing ease the management of Web sites, further contributing to the overall Usability of the solution.
Scalability and Performance for high traffic portals
eZ Publish 4.2 offers an extremely scalable and highly competitive platform to meet the needs of the most demanding and visited online portals. This is the result of a continuous effort to increase the speed and reliability of eZ Publish. As the Web continues to grow at a tremendous rate, eZ is committed to improving its solutions and pushing the limits of what a CMS can provide. Facilitating easier and faster setup for high traffic web sites will be a continued priority for future eZ releases.
Apart from various general enhancements and optimizations in the eZ Publish kernel and cache systems, eZ Publish 4.2 brings two very innovative new features in this area, the new DFS Cluster system and Edge Side Include (ESI) support.
The new NFS Cluster system provides a smooth native deployment of eZ Publish on several servers using a shared file system. This improves performance and reliability, but also simplifies the setup and deployment of the solution, avoiding the very sophisticated and complex system-level settings which were required in previous versions.
Martin Kautz, from Madsack Online, says "The new Cluster Handler has enabled us to better deal with the needs of the online version of our daily newspapers. eZ provided good service in this respect, proving that the solution they offered was the right choice for our business“. Madsack is a German News company that use eZ Publish for 9 daily newspapers. They were an early adopter of the new cluster system.
The eZSI extension integrates ESI calls in eZ Publish pages. ESI is a simple markup language used for dynamic Web page assembly and delivery, making it possible to assemble pages from blocs requiring different refresh rates and update frequencies. The direct result is faster development and increased performance--typically for Digital Media portals and their home pages. The eZSI extension is intended for developers who need to leverage the ESI standard, combining eZ Publish with compatibles delivery technlogy such as Varnish http caching system or Akamai Content Delivery Network.
Improved integration of new generation Search
Search has become a cornerstone of Content Management infrastructures. eZ Publish 4.2 simplifies the setup and use of eZ Find with new or existing eZ Publish projects. eZ Find is an enterprise-grade search solution developed by eZ Systems, and based on the award-winning Apache SolR project. Full text search, external data source search, faceted search, automatic content relations, these and other features have made eZ Find a must-have for clients who need to maximise visitors' paths, and optimize their search capabilities.
The 4.2 release offers a number of powerful possibilities for integrating eZ Find with eZ Publish:
Predefined templates for eZ Publish and eZ Flow are now available, implementing faceted search. These interfaces can be used as is, and are also delivered as examples that illustrate faceted search technique. Developers will be able to customise and extend the examples to build faceted searches structured specifically to their project and metadata.
Thanks to the new elevate support feature, editors will be able to push "sponsored results" to the top of results provided by eZ Find. The business editors' creativity is the only limitation to the possibilities that this feature provides. Orient traffic to your most impressive content, or even implement a sponsoring model with business partners whose content recieves increased traffic through the elevate support feature. Elevate support is provided in addition to the already existing relevancy tuning solutions.
Finally, eZ Find includes a new level of granularity in the indexing and search processes, providing improved search relevancy, and enabling efficient search on localised and translated content.
Systemwide : Microsoft support, improved ajax framework, CMIS Interoperability and a large set of refinements and enhancements
In addition to the principle new features introduced above, eZ Publish 4.2 offers significant improvements at the system level. In reaction to the lastest releases of Windows Server 2008 and IIS 7, eZ Publish 4.2 has capitalized on the significant progress made by the Microsoft Platform in managing and running PHP based applications. For the first time, the Microsoft platform is a serious alternative to LAMP for PHP applications. Should your organization decide to implement a Microsoft platform, eZ Publish is positioned to provide support for your project.
The much-awaited eZ Core library, which provides for efficient organization and layering of Ajax developments onto eZ Publish, is featured in the 4.2 release.
eZ Publish is also unveiling a beta version of their CMIS library, thanks to a contribution from the NXC eZ Partner. The CMIS standard aims to define interoperability between content repositories. As the standard has not yet been finalized by the OASIS consortium, a final version of this very promising connector will be delivered in a future release. However, the library does currently have the capability to connect to any software on the market that currently implements the standard.
And finally, at a system level, the 4.2 release includes hundreds of software refinements that improve the overall quality of eZ Publish.
[Source: Press Release]