Looking for solid, basic client extranet tools
January 25, 2005 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Looking for solid, basic client extranet tools... [+]

My interactive services company is finally moving to a more robust hosting environment, and I want to take this window of opportunity to start pulling together some basic client extranet services--document repositories, online review mini-sites, and maybe threaded discussions--all wrapped by basic security.

Now, I know that I could put a couple of smart programmers on it, and roll our own, but I've done that everyplace I've been in the past 10 years, and there's _always_ the inevitable conflict between client work and internal work that makes it take _forever_ (and plus, then you get into the inevitable "pony wars").

So, for the time being at least, I'd like to head that off at the pass and find something decent and pre-defined to use for the next several months. I've looked into all the outsourced/ASP services, already, like Basecamp, HyperOffice, etc., and right now, I'm really not inclined to use those, for a lot of different reasons. The ideal would be either an open-source or inexpensive package that we can install, configure and maintain on our own boxes--we've got .NET/SQL Server and PHP/MySQL both available as potential platforms.

Thanks in advance for any insights.
posted by LairBob to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Best answer: Check out some of the Open Source CMSs like Mambo, or if you are really interested in Enterprise Class stuff: Typo3.org or Typo3.com.

Both PHP/MySQL solutions
posted by spock at 7:37 AM on January 25, 2005

It's been a long time since I was in the tech world, but would Basecamp suffice? It's generic, but you'll spend absolutey 0 man hours implementing it.

I imagine you've already looked into it.
posted by josh at 7:40 AM on January 25, 2005

EZ Publish. An outstanding open-source CMS based on PHP/MySQL. I've used EZ 3.0 to implement extranets, intranets and public-facing web sites, all of which it handles with aplomb.

EZ is coded by a bunch of Norwegians, and more popular in Europe for some reason than in the U.S. Check it out.
posted by killdevil at 7:48 AM on January 25, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the recommendations, all.

- Mambo looks interesting, but the site has a lot of broken links...is it still under active development?

- Typo3 definitely looks like a solid option--almost overkill, but a lot of useful features to pick and choose from. We'll definitely have to look more closely at it.

- EZ Publish also looks good, killdevil, but is it only available for sale, or is there also maybe a free/unsupported version available somewhere I can't find?
posted by LairBob at 8:19 AM on January 25, 2005

Response by poster: Oh, duh...I went back to the EZ Publish site and found the GPL version. Right behind the huge graphic button saying "Download Now!!".
posted by LairBob at 8:20 AM on January 25, 2005

Best answer: Lairbob, EZ Publish is completely free. Here is the download page. And here is a demo of the lovely admin interface.
posted by killdevil at 8:38 AM on January 25, 2005

Also, don't forget about Drupal and a spin-off, Civicspace (which is developed by former Dean for Pres campaign staffers), if you're looking at full-featured open source CMS packages.
posted by killdevil at 8:46 AM on January 25, 2005

Best answer: if you're colocating your servers, and they're running Windows 2003 Server, you can install Windows SharePoint Services and have all of this and a lot more up and running pretty easily (and for free).
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:48 AM on January 25, 2005

Response by poster: Good point, fm...W2K3 is definitely available, and as much as I'm leery of throwing more MS apps at the problem, it's definitely something to look at. (Especially since it's supposed to integrate pretty well with Office--is that what you've found?)
posted by LairBob at 8:58 AM on January 25, 2005

Response by poster: Oh, and as a general note for anyone else looking into this, links on the Drupal site led me to opensourcecms.com, which is apparently dedicated to just this sort of thing. Definitely looks useful.
posted by LairBob at 9:28 AM on January 25, 2005

yeah, the SharePoint Services/Office integration is pretty much as good as they say, although I'm not sure what kind of problems you'd run into with a colocated machine (particularly since you're probably crossing at least 2 firewalls to get to it).
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:51 AM on January 25, 2005

Response by poster: We've got a VPN into the box, so that might help...thanks, tho.
posted by LairBob at 12:35 PM on January 25, 2005

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