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Posts Tagged ‘adobe’

My 4 Days in the Desert with Adobe – Part 1

In mid-December, I attended the Adobe Worldwide Sales Conference in Las Vegas. It’s a time when Adobe invites its entire sales organization – along with Adobe’s key partners – to discuss the past year’s performance, celebrate the major sales successes, and layout the company’s sales and product strategies for the next year.

My 4 Days in the Desert with AdobeAs Forrester & Gartner’s leader in Web Content Management, Adobe certainly has much to discuss and no lack of thought leadership within the Digital Marketing arena. However, what I found truly compelling about the conference was the level of transparency Adobe provides to its partners. Partners have full access to all sales and product sessions and are very deeply engaged with the Adobe team. This level of accessibility allows for tremendous learning opportunities for partners like Perficient. Here’s a peek into the top three themes that I learned from my 4 days in the desert with Adobe.

  1. Adobe has cemented its place as a leader in digital content creation and marketing.
  2. As marketers we are tasked with creating compelling and personalized customer experiences each and every day.
  3. Adobe’s strategy, vision, and product platforms – Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud – have made it possible for businesses to deliver the digital experiences that marketers expect.

Adobe has created the market-leading, best-of-breed digital marketing platform while simultaneously helping their clients deliver a deep set of capabilities and engage their customers with “the right message, to the right channel, at the right time”. In the coming weeks, I’ll be continuing to blog about my Adobe experience and provide more details and context around these themes.

Adobe’s State of Mobile Benchmark

Adobe is making a name for itself in the area of digital marketing.  Marketers know that data is necessary to make key decisions and I’m glad to see Adobe providing leadership in this area. When it comes to data about mobile usage, Adobe has published their State of Mobile study on their website, available to anybody. marquee-di-mobile-benchmark-709x300

This study highlights some important data about mobile usage, including the following:

  • Tablets have overtaken phones in the amount of traffic they drive. Think about that. Modern tablets were introduced in 2010. In just 2+ years, they have taken over smartphone traffic.
  • In the Retail industry, tablets are preferred, while in Telecom phones are preferred by a wide margin.
  • Since February 2012, iOS has overtaken Android (again) for browsing
  • Video has grown by 300% on mobile devices, however, the desktop still accounts for almost 90% of video browsing.
  • For online shoppers, tablet users are 3 times more likely to buy versus smartphone users.

This is all good data for those people who are targeting mobile devices.  I’m looking forward to more of these types of studies from Adobe.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals 2013

On September 12, 2013 Gartner released their latest Magic Quadrant report for horizontal portals.  Overall, the Magic Quadrant hasn’t changed much from last year with the vendors staying in the same quadrant as they were in 2012 (yawn…).  You can see my blog post from 2012: Gartner Magic Quadrant: Horizontal Portals 2012.Gartner Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals 2013

In the leader quadrant, Liferay has jumped ahead of SAP on the ability to execute scale, but the big three – IBM, Microsoft and Oracle – seem to be the same.

In the visionary quadrant, and Adobe are poised to bust into the leader quadrant, but haven’t been able to make the jump.

Like the other quadrants, there isn’t much movement amongst the other vendors.  Either they are all getting better at the same time or nobody is making significant improvements in Gartner’s eyes.

Customer experience, digital experience, customer engagement, and marketing integration have all been a focus of many of these vendors in the last couple of years.

IBM has been investing heavily in making WebSphere Portal a key component of its customer and digital experience strategy.

Likewise, Adobe and Oracle have been positioning their portal products as the foundation for customer experience suites.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has been focusing SharePoint more and more on the intranet experience.  While they do tout some of SharePoint’s external digital experience capabilities, Microsoft seems intent on excelling in the employee experience.

Salesforce’s push into the portal space seems pretty solid with a combination of and Chatter.  Many people still can’t make the leap from Salesforce being a CRM system to Salesforce being a horizontal portal, but it has lots of capabilities just waiting to be exploited.

I think I’d like to see added to the list more Web Content Management vendors who are offering portal and portal-like capabilities.  Sitecore comes to mind as a strong WCM vendor who could compete with many of these portal solutions.

IBM Connect: Active Site Analytics and WebSphere Portal

Thomas Stober, IBM Lead Architect WebSphere Portal Foundation, gave a presentation at IBM Connect 2013 titled “Enhance WebSphere Portal Delivery with Real time Active Analytics Insights”.   Of course, site analytics tracks user interaction with your site and can be a key input to help you optimize your portal design.  It also can play an important role in personalization of the site for each user by tracking what they do on the site.

WebSphere Portal Active Site Analytics (ASA) framework is used to integrate third party analytics tools which  analyze web site visitor demographics and interaction patterns. ASA is built-in to WebSphere Portal, making it easy for you to integrate one of the many analytic tools into the overall experience.

Portal does not provide the analytics engine – that is provided by systems such as CoreMetrics, WebTrends, Unica and Adobe SiteCatalyst.  Portal ships with tag aggregators for CoreMetrics and Unica.  It also includes a generic aggregator that can be updated easily for other vendors.  These aggregators pull the analytic data from the page and sends it to one of the analytic systems.  You can add your own tags to a page to provide even more insights into the user behavior.

The analytics systems are used to generate reports and analysis that marketers and business users can review.  To make it very easy to view the analytics reports and charts, Portal provides a mechanism to view those reports directly on the page and in context of the various items on the page.  So you can go to a specific content area on the page and directly view the analytics report/chart for that content. This is shown in the picture below.asa

Thomas showed several IBM Digital Marketing Optimization solution examples and also covered how to use ASA to:

Twitter Bootstrap and Adobe CQ5.5

In doing some research into Adobe CQ5.5, I came across an interesting article that sent me into a new research mission today.  (Whenever I see something new, I just have to research it right then and there.)

So I came across this link in Google:  TWITTER BOOTSTRAP FOR ADOBE CQ5.5.  I had no idea what a Twitter Bootstrap was, so off to the research mission!

Twitter Bootstrap is described by the developers as “Simple and flexible HTML, CSS, and Javascript for popular user interface components and interactions.”  That sounded interesting, so I dug further.  Bootstrap is based on HTML5, CSS3, a 12-column grid, some jQuery plug-ins to create a framework for building a fully responsive, run on any browser website.  What really caught my eye was that Bootstrap was built by and for nerds.

Bootstrap sounded pretty interesting, so I continued my research mission.  Next I found out that Bootstrap was the most watched project on GitHub back in March.  It is still generating lots of interest.  Its also Open Source, so anybody can participate in building out Bootstrap.  If you want to see samples of sites built using Bootstrap, you can see some on Tumblr or go to the Bootstrap page.

Back to Adobe CQ 5.5. So what does Bootstrap do for Adobe CQ 5.5?  Well officially nothing.  Adobe is not building Bootstrap sites with CQ 5.5.  But, a company called Headwire has built an integration for CQ .5.5 to use Bootstrap for the page framework.  So using the Bootstrap framework and CQ 5.5, you can easily build sites that use responsive design techniques, are instantly browser compatible, and can take advantage of jQuery, slideshows, tabs, button bars, etc.  Headwire also includes a drag and drop editor to create templates based on Bootstrap.  By creating templates you can allow your authors to fill in the templates without having to understand all that HTML and responsive stuff.

Yes, you can build these features into CQ 5.5 yourself, but why?  It seems to me that Bootstrap is a great standalone product, but when combined with Adobe CQ 5.5, you have an even better experience.

Adobe CQ 5.5 Social Communities

Back in March, Adobe launched a new version of its CQ product and I blogged about it a couple of times:

At the time of the announcement, Adobe also announced CQ 5.5 Social Communities, but had not yet shipped that feature.  Well, I missed the original shipping announcement, so I’m catching up to it now.

On May 15, 2012, Adobe announced that CQ 5.5 Social Communities was available.  Social Communities builds on to some existing features already available in Adobe CQ 5.5, such as “developing and managing blogs, forums, comments, and ratings, as well as connecting to social networks, across all aspects of an organization’s digital presence”.

You can now include login to CQ 5 using Twitter or Facebook and then personalize their experience using information from their profile or data from other systems.  Adobe has included several social plugins in CQ 5.5 that include:Activity feeds

  • “Like” buttons
  • Comments
  • Twitter Share
  • Twitter Follow
  • Twitter Search

These new features will make it even easier for site managers to add social capabilities to their websites.

You can see a video of some of the social plugins on YouTube or inline below.


Adobe CQ5.5 Now Available

I blogged in February a Sneak Preview of Adobe CQ5.5 and yesterday Adobe announced that this new version is available immediately.  With this new announcement, Adobe is providing out of the box  integration with many other products in the Adobe Digital Marketing Suite, including:

  • Insight for analyzing large volumes of data in real-time
  • Scene7 for converting rich media to dynamic content optimized across channels
  • Search&Promote for targeted site search and surfacing relevant product and content matches
  • SiteCatalyst for actionable online analytics
  • Test&Target for website optimization and personalization

CQ5.5 also introduces new e-commerce capabilities using an open framework and partnership with hybris.

Four big and important new capabilities for Adobe CQ5.5 are, according to Adobe’s press release:

  • Client Context—Deliver contextualized content and consistent brand experiences as customers move from channel-to-channel and device-to-device. Harnessing rich profile, segmentation and analytics data from the Adobe Digital Marketing Suite, Client Context empowers digital marketers to create, preview and optimize the personalized experience of target customer audiences.
  • Mobile App Development—Empower marketing to rapidly create HTML5-based mobile apps through new integration with PhoneGap, Adobe’s standards-based framework for building cross-platform apps. Intuitive, drag-and-drop functionality takes full advantage of device features, such as the accelerometer, camera and GPS.
  • DAM—Enable collaboration on rich media assets, including video, beyond the borders of the organization. Marketers can easily find, share, add comments to, and revise and publish assets regardless of format, speeding time to market on digital campaigns. Now includes integration with Adobe Creative Suite® tools, as well as Adobe Creative Cloud, which is expected in the first half of 2012.
  • Cloud Manager (beta)—Ensure optimal performance during peak customer demand by eliminating bottlenecks and accelerating time-to-market on new campaigns. New cloud service enables marketers to take control of fluctuating peak customer traffic while minimizing turnaround time of key online initiatives.

This new version is a great improvement over the already outstanding CQ5 platform.  I think the Client Context features are extremely exciting as it brings the power of personalizing a web site to the non-technical user in a tremendous way.

I’m also excited about the new integrations in the Digital Asset Management tools.  This should make collaboration between the creative people and the web managers even more seamless.

Adobe CQ5.5 Sneak Peek

Today I attended a Webinar given by Adobe showing a sneak peek at CQ5.5.  Almost a year ago I blogged about how Adobe CQ5 had arrived.  Adobe CQ5.5 will include significant improvements especially for digital marketers. Adobe plans to announce CQ5.5 in March,  2012 and there will be lots more new features than what I cover here.

First, Adobe purchased PhoneGap late in 2011 and has incorporated that tool into CQ5.5.  While in the past you could target CQ5 for multiple devices, with the inclusion of PhoneGap, CQ5.5 will take mobile to new heights.  In the demo, Adobe showed how easy it is to drop a camera widget on the mobile page and then preview the exact functionality via the device’s emulator.  So as you are building the mobile site, you can instantly see how each device will exactly render the page.

A second really nice feature is the Client Context view of your site.  Here you can open the site with a context viewer to see how the pages will look to various audiences.  In the context viewer, you can adjust user attributes to see how the page reacts.  You can click on a location in a map and the page will display based on that locale.  You can click on different devices and see how your page looks in that context.  This provides a great way to experiment visually with personalization rules.

Adobe is now including translations of your page into multiple languages.  For example, you can create a page in English, then click on the icon for French and have the page translated directly.  Translations can be configured to use Google Translation as the engine or you can integrate others.

One final new feature I like is the inclusion of Adobe Bridge.  This allows editors to seamlessly manage digital assets in CQ5.5 and keep them in-sync with other media efforts.  So from CQ5.5 you can open an image from the library, make changes to it through Photoshop and save the changes.  Or somebody on your creative team can make changes to an image in the digital asset library. Those changes immediately appear in CQ5.5 and then can be workflowed prior to publishing to the site.  Likewise, content and images used to generate brochures from inDesign can be reused in CQ5.5 directly.   The goal is to reduce the pain often associated with trying to sync the creative department with the web management team.

It will be exciting to see what else is coming in Adobe CQ5.5.

Adobe CQ5 as a Portal

We’ve seen a lot of interest in Adobe CQ5 lately. One question that comes up a lot is about CQ5’s portal capabilities.  Michael Porter blogged last year about the trend of Web Content Management systems to become more portal-like (see Web Content Management’s Trend Towards Portals).

It is true that overall CQ5 has lots of traditional portal features.  However, unlike many other WCM systems, CQ5 has gone the extra step to include a portal server within its stack so you can run real portlets in the system.  So CQ5 can play dual roles of traditional content management and portal, just like traditional portal vendors IBM, Liferay, and SharePoint.

So the question is: can CQ5 offer the same level of portal capabilities as these other vendors?  From a pure portal point of view, I don’t think CQ5 is quite at the level of the major portal vendors.  I refer to CQ5 as more portal-lite because it does offer the ability to run standard portlets, but it lacks many of the features that the other systems provide.  Here is a small list of additional services that IBM’s portal offers that are not in CQ5:

  • Credential Vault – when integrating with external sites, you sometimes need to store each user’s ID and password to pass along.  IBM provides a very secure implementation of a credential vault out of the box.
  • Personalization engine access from within a portlet.  CQ5 offers personalization of content, but what if you have a custom portlet that needs to pull in personalized content.  IBM offers this service so portlets can define a content spot on the output of a portlet and that spot runs the rules engine to get personalized content.
  • JSF or Struts frameworks.  Both frameworks are included in the IBM tooling for Portlets and are available in the server runtimes.  For CQ5 you will have to implement these frameworks yourself.
  • Interportlet communications.  CQ5 runs JSR 286 portlets which now offer the ability to communicate with each other through portlet events.  But if you have older JSR 168 portlets that can’t do events, you have to come up with your own portlet communication system.  IBM has provided a strong portlet wiring service for a long time.
  • Virtual portals in the IBM Portal provide the ability to distribute administration of portals without having to purchase separate hardware and software.  This feature allows for addressing multiple user directories when you want to keep your suppliers separate from your customers.

If you don’t plan to use these extra features, then Adobe’s CQ5 product may fit your portal needs just fine.  If these features are important, then you need to evaluate whether CQ5 should be your sole portal platform.

We often see the scenario where you have a content-heavy site for your public web presence, but you have an application-heavy secure site for customer self service.  In this case, its perfectly feasible to combine CQ5 for its great content management and digital marketing platform with a more traditional portal platform for the heavy application lifting.

For this scenario, content is managed in CQ5 for both marketing and secure sites.  Your application-heavy portal, say IBM Portal, can use the out of the box CQ5 content portlet to deliver content to the secure site.

Don’t get me wrong, I like what Adobe CQ5 offers from a WCM and Portal perspective. Many of our clients love it.  But as we see so many vendors trying to blur the lines between the technologies to offer a complete solution, I just see that the evolution is still under way.

When to use JSR 286 vs JSR 168 for portlets

Some confusion exists in the portlet development community, because many vendors tout their compliance with JSR 168 standards and less rarely talk about JSR 286 compatibility.  I think this is mostly due to the fact that prior to JSR 168 becoming mainstream, the standards were loose and vendors built to their own specifications.  So becoming compliant with JSR 168 was (and still is) a big deal.

In addition, while the JSR 286 spec has been out since 2008, it took the Portal vendors some time to update their Portal Servers to support the new standard.  Now all the major vendors support JSR 286 on their Portal server.  Even many content management systems are supporting JSR 286 portlets on their systems.

Also known as Portlet 2.0, JSR 286 builds upon the first portlet standard, JSR 168, so it has all the features of the first standard plus more:

  • Event handling
  • Shared parameters
  • Resource addressing
  • Alignment with WSRP 2.0

If you want a really in depth discussion of these new features, take a look at this article on developerWorks: What’s new in the Java Portlet Specification V2.0 (JSR 286)?  It’s been three years since the JSR 286 spec came out, so its hardly new.

So when should you code to JSR 286 or when should you code to JSR 168?  Here are my thoughts:

  • If you are using the latest version of a mainstream portal, code to JSR 286.  Liferay 6, WebSphere Portal 7, Oracle WebCenter, JBoss, Adobe CQ5, OpenText, Apache all support JSR 286.
  • If you aren’t sure what spec your portal server supports, code to JSR 168.  If you have older versions of Liferay (prior to V5), WebSphere Portal (prior to V6), Oracle WebCenter (prior to v11), you don’t have a choice – JSR 168 is the only supported spec.
  • Your development environment may dictate whether you use JSR 286 or not.  In IBM’s Rational Developer, for example, it can’t create a JSR 286 portlet using Struts.  You can build a JSR 168 portlet using Struts, though.

So my bottom line is this: code to the JSR 286 standard when you can and only use JSR 168 when forced to.