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United Planet Intrexx Xtreme 4 review


A powerful system that will repay the time invested in finding out exactly what it's capable of.

Review Date: 16 Jan 2008

Reviewed By: Ian Parsons

Price when reviewed: (approx £375) for five-user licence exc VAT. Support contracts from $598 per year

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Intrexx Xtreme from United Planet provides the tools you need to create a web app or portal without having to get to grips with the intricacies of web development programming. The system can run with either Microsoft's IIS (Internet Information Server) or Apache Tomcat web server software, and it supports most of the common databases.

As a standalone system operating on local servers, it can utilise existing data sources as well as web feeds. United Planet offers a range of additional modules, too, such as CRM, project management and e-commerce. Applications such as these can be difficult and costly to set up and beyond the scope of smaller organisations that lack the resources to undertake this kind of development. The application modules provide a simple way to obtain these features.

We set up the software on a system using IIS6 and SQL Server 2005 running under Windows Server 2003 with SP2. After enabling Active Server Pages and setting a few website properties in IIS, we also had to alter some default properties in the IIS metabase relating to file upload and download sizes.

Once everything is installed, launching the Portal Manager interface gives access to the Getting Started wizard, which helps you through the stages involved in creating a new portal or web app. The software will make periodic checks for any hotfixes and updates that might be needed at this point to ensure the system is up to date. These checks can be reconfigured to run in whichever way is most convenient.

The design process takes place in the Design Centre. This combines design apps such as the Portal Designer, which allows you to create your own webpage layouts, the Application Designer and the Application Manager. Code can also be entered, although programming knowledge isn't required to use the Design Centre.

One powerful aspect of the system is its process-management capabilities. Processes can be created simply by dragging and dropping components and links onto the workspace surface. This approach, reminiscent of IBM's Visual Age Java programming products, allows complex programs to be created simply by wiring together components in the workspace. Actions can be linked with conditions, which can include values and timers to provide event-driven transactions.

This improved version of Intrexx Xtreme comes at the right time. Distinctions between internet and intranet are becoming blurred as more organisations adopt distributed working practices, and portals can provide a useful way of co-ordinating activities among a distributed and mobile workforce. Any current web browser can be used to access the generated sites, and no additional software such as Flash or Java is needed (the browsers must support frames, however, and JavaScript needs to be enabled if you wish to use it).

This is a feature-rich application that can produce useful results in a short time. However, time spent experimenting with the software and studying the extensive documentation will lead to even better results.

Author: Ian Parsons

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