Playing with WebCenter Sites

I’ve been on work hiatus lately, i.e. too busy to write, but I’ve found some time to write about my new favorite shiny toy, WebCenter Sites.

Sites is the new name for what used to be called FatWire, a company Oracle acquired last year. Sites does what’s now being called web experience management (WEM), but if you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know it as website content management or something similar.

It takes a lot of people to manage a major web presence, people to write content and create imagery, people to edit content, people to move all the right files into place without bringing the whole site crashing down into a glorious 404. Most of these people are good at what they do, but not necessarily good at the tasks the other people in chain do.

If you’ve ever self-hosted a blog, you’ll understand this problem. I once volunteered to help a group of people learn self-hosted WordPress blogging, and most of the time I spent was on the basics of FTP and file manipulation, not necessarily the tools and technology, but the whys. Like, why do I have to move this image to the host?

And that was before we even posted the first entry.

These people weren’t slow; they were uninformed. A website looks simple when you hit in a browser, but building one is a whole different animal. These people were experts at making cakes and organizing fund-raisers, not experts at internet.

And this was just a simple blog.

Image that problem compounded by thousands of pages and images, spread across scores of contributors, translated into dozens of languages and hosted on different infrastructure all over the World. Oh, and now on different devices with different screen resolutions and capabilities.

So, if you’re a huge brand like Red Bull, Toyota, Ford, General Motors, or Best Buy, you need a way to manage all that content and make sure your creators can create, your editors can edit, your developers can build and your IT can keep it all in sync and, most importantly, up and running, all without stepping on each other’s toes.

After all, no one wants downtime.

That’s what Sites does, or rather my interpretation of what it does. Don’t take my word for it; my pal Noël Jaffré (@noeljaffre), who came to the team from FatWire, gives the full rundown here.

So, the other Noel (@noelportugal) and I spent a week in developer training learning the product and kicking the proverbial tires, and it turns out, Sites is a fun toy, if you’re a developer because it has a ton of open interfaces, can be carried around on a thumb drive and runs locally with ease, just the right thing for a developer to learn.

Those of you out there who practice Oracle and want to expand your knowledge pay attention to Sites and stay tuned. Lots of customers out there are interested and ready to hear more. Sites isn’t yet on OTN, but I’ll definitely let you know when it is, along with all wonderful collateral I know is in development right now.

So, if you were wondering about the silence, that’s the reason. I’ve been playing with a new toy.

For the record, I don’t get Pinterest. Or Instragram. Or Path. So, if you do, I’m all ears.

Also, the airline found my iPad, just in time for a new iOS.

Wins all around.

Find the comments.

Update: It occurred to me after I published that I focused a bit too much on the web content management aspects of Sites. This is what Noel P and I spent last week learning, so forgive my narrow focus. Sites does a bunch more, including analytics, visitor segmentation and contextual targeting, personalization, UGC, and pretty much anything needed to run and manage a web presence.

I’m still new to the product, so I’m not really even sure I hit all the bullets.




  1. I’d be happier if all the sites who say “n comments” would actually show n comments rather than zero comments and a trackback.

  2. Like so many others, I am tired of purchasing programs that don’t deliver. I am building my business while collecting unemployment. The website I have now was fine when it was first created by a friend. But as I continue to hone my skills and zero in on my target audience, I realize that my website is boring’. It doesn’t speak to who I am. I would really love to win this WP course to get one-on-one coaching to create a dynamic website that reflects me and what I have to offer my customers. When my potential client lands on my website, I want them to know that they don’t have to search for a Conflict Coach or Family Mediator any more.

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