Apache, PHP and MySQL-based Knowledge Management System

Tuesday May 22nd 2001 by ServerWatch Staff
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Digital Spinner, a web development and ecommerce solutions company, announced today the first release candidate of the GroupIT Engine, a PHP-based group collaboration and knowledge management system capable of powering the next generation of web sites, intranets and extranets.

[ Thanks to Sean Pecor for this link. ]

Digital Spinner, a web development and ecommerce solutions company, announced today the first release candidate of the GroupIT Engine (http://www.groupit.org), a PHP-based group collaboration and knowledge management system capable of powering the next generation of web sites, intranets and extranets.

Written entirely in PHP, the GroupIT Engine is one of the most usable, manageable, powerful and customizable knowledge management and group collaboration engines available. GroupIT supports the organization of content through an unlimited number of categories that can be managed through simple online forms. Editors may further organize a web site, intranet or extranet by adding sections for particular types of content. GroupIT provides plugin modules for threaded bulletin board messages, dynamically paginated articles, external web links, photo galleries with automatic thumb-nailing and binary documents with full text search. Access to content is controlled through read, write and editorial security levels assigned on a per-category and per-section basis. Any section can be open or moderated, and workgroups provide for secure, compartmentalized team environments. A comprehensive administration web site allows direct access to the database back-end, and provides detailed reports concerning membership, security, activity and content. Bug tracking technology sends SMTP alerts immediately upon errors, transmitting full environment information to the web site administrator for convenient problem resolution.

GroupIT allows geographical content to be organized into nearly 6,000 regional web pages with just a few mouse clicks. "We've got one installation where thousands of job seekers, employers and recruiters can browse a geographical directory of opportunities.", Sean Pecor, the developer of GroupIT, explains. "Imagine adding a single links section titled 'Distributors' and in a few seconds a worldwide, national or regional directory for your distributors goes live." The commercial version of GroupIT is packaged with a geographical database consisting of 248 countries, 3,886 provinces and 1,649 U.S. cities. Further, GroupIT's database of 42,399 U.S. postal codes help pinpoint a member's location via latitude and longitude coordinates. "Marketingtool.com, powered by GroupIT, receives online contact requests that are brokered to web developers throughout the world. Our customized lead plugin helps us manage referrals efficiently and it even shows us how far a lead is from each potential web developer. It's really wild.", adds Sean.

GroupIT supports multiple layouts through the use of theme trees. "Each tree defines the look and feel of a GroupIT powered web site, and you can create an infinite number of themes.", says Sean, "GroupIT is packaged with a professionally designed theme tree so you can hit the ground running." Each theme can support multiple languages through the use of config.language.inc files and GroupIT is packaged with a fully defined english language dictionary set. Adding new spoken languages is easy and doesn't require a knowledge of PHP programming. Furthermore, the same GroupIT database can serve multiple web sites. Sean explains, "Each web site would trigger a unique default theme. There are GroupIT installations that use this approach to customize a layout to suit the exact needs of many specific demographics without fragmenting traffic data or creating a management nightmare.".

Community features are encoded in GroupIT's DNA. "There is a GroupIT profile page for each member of your web site or extranet.", says Sean, "This page provides contact information and gathers all of the content that the member has contributed and displays it in a compact guide format. With no additional programming, you're able to gather together, by author, works of art in an Art Community, photos in a Photographer Community, or Sales Reports by Personnel in an extranet environment. This community feature will help people connect with colleagues and peers through their contribution to the greater community, and with no additional effort. GroupIT will even allow one member to contact another through this profile page while protecting the privacy of the recipient." Users may bookmark any category, section, content and/or geography combination. Sean explains, "Drop a 'Profiles' section into any or all categories and your users can be shown which members have book marked within that area. This is just another way that GroupIT helps a user establish to a network of mentors, peers, colleagues or friends."

The system installs in a few minutes using a browser-based quick start script. It requires a Unix flavored server (Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris etc.), the MySQL database server, the Apache web server and PHPv4.01 or newer. The entire source code of the GroupIT Engine is available for download and use under the terms of the "Orchestrated Original Source License", which restricts distributing modified versions of GroupIT but allows anyone to make their own modifications and to distribute modifications as separate plug-ins or packages. Use of GroupIT in research and development environments, and for personal use, is made possible under OOSL at no charge. Competitively priced commercial licenses are available for business use, and include unlimited email technical support.

For more Information about the GroupIT Engine, please visit http://www.groupit.org.
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