DocuShare 2.0 makes Web document management work

Given the performance and navigation issues involved in using the World

Wide Web, the key to designing an effective Web application is simplicity.

Xerox Corp. clearly has learned that lesson well. If your agency is looking

for an effective document management program that offers easy access through

any Web browser, you'll want to take a look at DocuShare 2.0.

Installing DocuShare on your Microsoft Corp. Windows NT or Sun Microsystems

Inc. Solaris server is a no-brainer. And once the software is loaded, it's

a snap to create users and document collections. The administrator, like

end users, accesses DocuShare through a Web browser. The program offers

easy-to-follow dialogs for creating user profiles and granting permissions,

creating document collections, setting document properties and configuring

other server options.

Users logging on to DocuShare will be greeted by an easy-to-navigate interface

that offers quick access to document collections, help files, site maps

and other helpful features.

Once users get into a document collection, clicking on the file itself launches

it in its parent application on their local system. Alternatively, by selecting

the appropriate icon to the right of a file, users can open its properties

form, check out the document or view it in the Web browser. Checking out

the document allows users to edit it—assuming they have the appropriate

permission—and prevents others from doing so until that user has checked

it in.

DocuShare allows the administrator to maintain logs that record all such

activity. The other way to access files is through DocuShare's powerful

search utility. The program automatically performs full-text indexing ?

using Verity Inc.'s indexing engine ? on files brought into DocuShare.

As a result, users can search not only for text strings in files, but also

by date, author, document type or other properties associated with the files.

And the program's incremental indexing means that as soon as a file is uploaded

or checked back in, it is updated and fully accessible to users employing

the search tools.

In addition to check-in/ check-out capabilities, DocuShare allows users

to retain successive versions of files and track any file's revision history.

What's more, DocuShare offers direct integration with Windows via Windows

Explorer. Installing the Windows client software from the DocuShare server

automatically mounts DocuShare as a network drive on a user's system. That

user then can access the DocuShare collection like any other local directory.

You can choose from two different versions of Docu-Share, in addition to

the Basic Edition. The Office version of DocuShare offers Extensible Markup

Language support, the Windows client, Open Document Management API support

and a command line interface to the basic package. The Enterprise version

allows for an unlimited number of users and delivers Oracle database connectivity.

The Oracle Corp. support in the Enterprise version enables you to include

DocuShare meta file information in Oracle databases.

We found only three significant drawbacks with DocuShare 2.0. First, because

the program is a Web application, users and administrators alike will find

the back-and-forth navigation of pages to be a bit tedious. Second, the

program is subject to the performance slowdowns often experi enced on TCP/IP, especially when connecting via the Internet. Finally, we were a bit disappointed to find that the DocuShare interface allows users

to add only a single file at a time to a document collection. You can add

batches of files only if you install the Windows client or Uphelper application

and use Windows Explorer to move the files into DocuShare.

In the big picture, the drawbacks are relatively minor. If your agency needs

a cross-platform solution that provides easy access to users while retaining

control of user access, DocuShare is a powerful, easy-to-use solution.


DocuShare 2.0

Score: B+

Xerox Corp.

(800) 428-2995

Price and Availability: DocuShare 2.0 is available on the open market. Basic Edition: $1,345; Office Edition: $14,995; Enterprise Edition: $44,995.

Remarks: DocuShare 2.0 offers agencies a Web-based document management solution that is very easy to get up and running. The program's highlights include cross-platform access via a Web browser, strong searching tools and tight integration with Windows.

BY Patrick Marshall
Sept. 27, 1999

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