Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.
Re: Allaire Spectra vs. Frontier TNG
Author: Ken Dow Posted: 11/1/1999; 6:44:13 PM Topic: Allaire Spectra vs. Frontier TNG Msg #: 12608 (In response to 9227) Prev/Next: 12607 / 12610
I also went through the Spectra documentation on Allaire's site - at a client's request - and wrote a brief report based on what I saw. To be fair, I haven't used Spectra but I have used Frontier (up to 6.1b11). Here is an abbreviated and lightly edited version of my findings:
Price (US Dollars):
- Frontier $899
- Spectra $7495
Content Management Differentiators:
Separate static versions of site for serving from separate host, built-in discussion forums, free integrated SMTP mail server, multiple versions of the same site, shared network drop folders for media and text flow into the system, built-in text editor
Native SQL Server, Sybase, Oracle, Informix and Microsoft Access support, built-in Verity search engine
Workflow & Automation Differentiators:
Built-in scripting language, editor and debugger, Windows Active Scripting for system automation (AppleEvents on Macintosh), native TCP/IP scripting
Wide range of built-in workflow tools, complex workflow handling
Security & Membership Differentiators:
- Frontier: Custom membership data, share membership data among multiple sites
- Spectra: Use existing user directories such as NT Domains, LDAP or custom SQL-based user directories
Content Syndication Differentiators:
- Frontier: Open RSS syndication format support, in use by hundreds of content partners, remote automation via open specification co-authored with Microsoft (SOAP: Simple Object Access Protocol)
- Spectra: None
The relative strengths of Frontier and Spectra are partly due to their origins. Frontier began as a scripting system with a built-in object database, while Spectra has its roots in the ColdFusion products for connecting databases to Web sites. The key points are as follows:
- Database support - this is Spectra's bread and butter. In situations the main task involves large amounts of data to move into and out of external databases, or very high throughput, Spectra is a more complete solution. Frontier can use external databases via ODBC, but this is not it's central purpose.
- Flexibility – Frontier is difficult to match in this area, because it includes and is largely created from its own scripting language (UserTalk). It is easily extended and modified via scripting or through DLLs; in fact some of its most powerful features have come about this way. Spectra can be customized to some extent, but not to the same degree as Frontier.
- Workflow – Spectra has more sophisticated workflow automation built in, making it stronger in situations where complex workflow is required (multiple levels of approval, interdependencies, rollbacks). Frontier does have basic workflow features and can be customized to add more.
- Content flow/syndication – the two products are comparable in this area, however Frontier’s support of the popular and open RSS format, as well as it's participation with Microsoft in the SOAP specification, appear to give it a slight edge.
Frontier 6.1 Notes:
The pending release of Frontier has clean and comprehensive Web interfaces for installation and Web site setup. In my experience, these greatly reduce the Frontier knowledge required to get a site up and running. 6.1 has defined roles for Managing Editors, Contributing Editors, Members and Visitors. It includes a packaged site setup including a news page, story area, integrated discussions, site wide Web-based page editing, bulletins (email notification) and new/discussion archiving via calendars - all via the Web browser.
PS. I've been running a Frontier-hosted weblog for a couple weeks at http://kd.maricopa.com
There are responses to this message:
- Re: Allaire Spectra vs. Frontier TNG, firstname.lastname@example.org, 11/2/1999; 7:04:29 AM
- Re: Allaire Spectra vs. Frontier TNG, Ian Thompson, 11/2/1999; 4:00:21 PM
- Re: Allaire Spectra vs. Frontier TNG, Ivan Care, 3/29/2000; 3:35:43 PM
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