Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Authenteo: Ajax WYSIWYG CMS

Category: RichTextWidget, Showcase

We have often talked about the holy grail of a usable WYSIWYG CMS system where users build their website by just being on their website and editing layouts and pages.

Kris Zyp is trying to do that with his new Authenteo system.

We have released a beta version of our new development framework and content management system, called Authenteo. This product features several innovative approaches to web development that we believe could really revolutionize the way we develop web applications.

  • Client centric domain model through transparent persistence and retrieval from the server database using AJAX and continuations ala Narrative JavaScript. JavaScript can transparently access the data domain model without any knowledge of AJAX, but the domain model is still secured via the server. All pages are dynamically rendering with JavaScript on the browser.
  • Immediate and intuitive access to component properties, JavaScript code, and styles by just right clicking on components in the editing interface. Try changing the JavaScript and styles dynamically from the editing interface!
  • Structural model inheritance that provides a sophisticated form of that forms the basis of component construction, advanced super-flexible version control, and transactions.
  • True in browser WYSIWYG editing, both content and layout can be editing just as page appears, no textboxes with your content, the whole page is there as it normally appears.


Posted by Dion Almaer at 9:07 am

3.3 rating from 54 votes


Comments feed TrackBack URI

Website does not load here (firefox)

Comment by TimD — November 21, 2006

“view source” where is the content???
Works perfect – if you want your site to be invisible to crawlers and
browsers that don’t handle JS that good.

Comment by Fredrik Holm — November 21, 2006

“Ajax WYSIWYG CMS”: Holy acronyms, Batman! ;)

I echo Fredrik’s sentiments in that while the site looks nice, it’s kind of backwards as far as the delivery. Without Javascript, you don’t get any content save for a “This page requires Javascript for the full experience” message.

If the content could be retrieved and served from the backend via PHP or something (avoiding the XHR retrieval part on the client), that would make the site much more accessible. The javascript reliance at this point is unnecessary.

Comment by Scott Schiller — November 21, 2006

It should be noted there’s a “?mode=html” URL parameter which serves up static HTML – but still. :)

Comment by Scott Schiller — November 21, 2006

I agree that this concept is totally at odds with good CSS/XHTML/SEO design and good templating. We’re a long way from AJAX being able to provide full online Word/Office features, let alone DTP design and layout like this tries to do.

Comment by Andy — November 21, 2006

Thanks for your comments. This site is still completely accessible to search engines as well as older browsers by rendering (with JS) on the server. The server checks the user agent string to determine if the browser is capable of JavaScript. The only case that is not handled is when JS is disabled in a JavaScript capable browser.
This is part of what makes this system so powerful, you can use powerful JavaScript rendering techniques (not unlike what DOJO does with it’s widgets), but older browsers can still view the html post-JavaScript processing, because the server is capable of doing handling the JavaScript (ala HTMLUnit). I believe this brings a whole new level of accessibility to rich text applications, not a step backwards.
I am curious why you believe this is add odds with good CSS/XHTML/SEO design. My site is still accessible to the search engines (go to google and search for “authenteo” if you don’t believe me). I believe it is also a major step forward in bringing organized structure to CSS and HTML. Rather than dealing with sets of css files and html files that must be maintained and included contrary to their conceptual purposes without any strong connectedness, Authenteo allows components and subcomponents to be organized conceptually as they include their own styles, html, and JavaScript.
I suppose you are right, this is ambitious. BTW, in our current development cycle, the layout editing works smoother in Internet Explorer. Support for Firefox is catching up. But we are trying to push the envelope here, who wants another text box based Wiki anyway?

Comment by Kris Zyp — November 21, 2006

That site breaks my back button, and text is incredibly difficult to select for copy+pasting.

Comment by Marty — November 21, 2006

What browser are you using? Thanks for the bug report, the back button should work.

Comment by Kris Zyp — November 21, 2006

Is the back button really relevant in this context?

Comment by CrackWilding — November 21, 2006

While the WYSIWYG editor is the most obvious aspect of Authenteo, I would love to hear you comments on Authenteo as an RIA framework. Authenteo is built upon a client accessible domain model that you can explore and modify wihtin the website data structure. Try right clicking somewhere (when in edit mode) and try out changing styles, JavaScript, etc.
Authenteo is not intended to be a Word replacement (or even Frontpage). It is intended to be a framework for deveoping powerful rich internet applications with a great level of maintainability and accessibilty to those that contribute the content to the site. I want to see powerful applications that can be editing by more than just programmers, but edited by content contributors in simple straightforward manner.
In general, the intended usage of this application will be for web developers to create websites with this primarily using the explorer interface (accessible from the buttons on the right or by right clicking), and then the layout will be locked down for content contributors (you can do that by changing the permissions on the layout), and content will be easily editable from the same cleanup WYSIWYG view.
Thanks again for the feedback!

Comment by Kris Zyp — November 21, 2006

Kris, nobody is giving you credit for doing a good job. It’s understood that you worked hard on it. And coming from someone that usually bashes things, I think it’s a good idea. However, as you can see by the whining from the “standards/seo” gurus, you might be ahead of your time. But this kind of thing is where it’s all headed anyway, whether its authenteo or something else.

Comment by Snootz — November 21, 2006

Thanks for the comments.
However on the subject SEO, I still believe Authenteo is significant innovative step forward for SEO’s that deal with Ajax powered application. With most applications anytime you do any DOM modification with JS, you leave the search engine behind, but with Authenteo you can actually do DOM modification and the server side rendering mechanism is able to simulate the DOM changes and deliver HTML to web crawlers. I think this really opens up the doors for Ajax to be more accessible to search engines.
With Authenteo you can make changes to the JavaScript for any given component and publish your changes and then view the html version of your site (with ?mode=html) and your modified JavaScript will actually be used to create the html that the search engines will see.

Comment by Kris Zyp — November 21, 2006

Congratulations Kris.
The server-side rendering of the javascript for non-js compliant clients is the piece I found most intriguing when Kris initially shared his demos.
I still want to dig into your published apis when I get some time.

Comment by Nebiyu Yohannes — November 21, 2006

“WYSIWYG CMS” is an oxymoron. Content management focuses on semantics, rather than presentaiton. Content-editing tools that continue to emphasize presentational characteristics over structure fly in the face of mashups, repurposing and the semantic Web. At its best, Ajax exists to support those ideas, not tear them down.

Comment by ARWolff — November 21, 2006

Actually, structured data for repurposing is one of core concepts behind the Authenteo system. If you right click on the something and choose content or properties you can explore the well-defined data structures behind the content or layout respectively. Authenteo provides an opportunity for repurposing of data, because the content actually has a structure. You can create an entirely new layout using the same content with Authenteo. The fact that all appears to you as a simple WYSIWYG is just part of the effort to keep it simple for end users, but within the WYSIWYG editor you are actually modifying multiple data structures. Go ahead and right click on something (in edit mode) and explore the data structures and find out. Mashups can be taken to a new level with Authenteo.

Comment by Kris Zyp — November 21, 2006

I like how many complain about not following standard or “good practice” design standards. These ‘standards’ always change — thus the new interest in CSS, AJAX, etc.

“I agree that this concept is totally at odds with good CSS/XHTML/SEO design and good templating. We’re a long way from AJAX being able to provide full online Word/Office features, let alone DTP design and layout like this tries to do.”

It is impossible for ‘everyone’ to like a product/design. Suggest improvements, report bugs, and help fellow developers know what you want/don’t want so they can develop better. However, please don’t ask developers to develop something you would develop–they, like many of us, do this because it is something WE/THEY want to do.

I remember when the first attempt at HTML deliver was put on the web. The ‘way it had been done’ was broken, and change is a good thing. ‘Good’ is relative. I applaud their interest and hard work. Without those willing to face such ‘ire,’ we would still be looking at text…


Comment by Counsel — November 21, 2006

[…] I like to visit a few AJAX-related sites like Ajaxian (”Because DHTMLian just didn’t sound as good”). Recently, the folks at Ajaxian posted about a new AJAX application that Authenteo represents a fresh new experience to building, editing, and management of your web site. Why can’t managing your web site be as easy as editing your documents with your favorite word processor? We wondered the same thing, and so began our pursuit of a new paradigm in web site management, a web site builder that is totally what you see is you get (WYSIWYG) where you can edit any of your content, templates and data, right where you see it, right there, right now. […]

Pingback by Pocosin.com » Blog Archive » ecmascript (javascript, jscript, etc.) and AJAX — November 21, 2006

Kris, I’d advise you to ignore most of the comments on Ajaxian these days; for some reason it’s filled up with a huge amount of trolls that are simply disrespectful of folks. They don’t seem to be people interested in Ajax or moving the web forward. The content on Ajaxian is great, but the community has gone downhill. I’d like to see the Ajaxian folks start moderating these forums and hold the commentary at a higher level of discussion, versus the w00t style trolling I’ve noticed show up the last few months.

Comment by Brad Neuberg — November 21, 2006

Wow that’s awesome! Good work Kris! :)

Comment by Ben — November 21, 2006

Here’s some example templates for the w00t style comments I see showing up on Ajaxian that I’m getting tired of; I’ve provided commentary against them since I’m tired of seeing them show up all the time:

“Oh, X doesn’t support Opera — it’s useless”
Commentary: Opera ain’t in the main stream; something can be very useful and important without supporting Opera.

“Man, X framework/application is stupid — it doesn’t work on Safari”
Commentary: Again, Safari is a pretty broken browser — They didn’t even work with GMail for a long period of time before user’s beat them over the head. If we forced innovation to move at the speed of Safari then Ajax would never have happened.

“X feature/application is stupid and useless — who would ever need that?”
Commentary: Invention often precedes application. For example, the laser was invented far before applications were developed for it; most scientists thought it would be a lab curiosity without application. This happens time and again. When someone on Ajaxian shows an interesting new possibility, don’t immediate shoot it down — it might give rise to an important new class of applications down the road.

“Ajax sucks”
Commentary: I support naysayers, but the standard “Ajax sucks” refrain on every post is getting old. Back up your refrains with some logic. Also, there are actually logical reasons _against_ new ideas and technological progress, but things move forward anway. When the Personal Computer came out, for example, it was lousy against more established mainframes and minis — it takes several iterations of a tech to shake out its problems.

“This is useless — it doesn’t support accesibility”
Commentary: The history of technology shows, sadly, that things don’t succeed or fail based on accessibility. In fact, if you bake accessibility in at the beginning, your tech is so complex that it most likely won’t succeed. Lots of things can succeed without accessibility, such as Windows at the beginning of it’s lifecycle. Ajax is another one of these; accessibility is not the holy grail of tech.

“Forget this – it won’t work with JavaScript turned off”
Commentary: Yeah, and images didn’t work with Lynx, but that didn’t prevent their adoption. In the S-Curve of technology adoption (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations), progress rarely happens amongst conservative non-risktakers; it usually happens along the bleeding edge. Again, if we waited for innovation to happen at the speed of those with JavaScript turned off in their browsers, then nothing would happen.

“Who’s gonna pay for this?”
Commentary: Many of the projects on Ajaxian are open source or personal research projects — they don’t need a huge market to drive them forward. Having a market based criteria be the only litmus test for innovation will cause important new innovations to not make it through your filter. Frankly, I’m interested in hearing about these, because it’s often the technologies that first appear to be un-monetizable that become the most so (witness: the PC, the web, the Internet, etc. — all appeared extremely communitarian and non-market based at first, but in fact have generated far more wealth than entrants that began with a strong, market oriented approach up front).

Comment by Brad Neuberg — November 21, 2006

I appreciated all the comments. Accessiblity has been an important goal of mine (mainly so I search engines can see it). However, I really wanted to get feedback on Authenteo as RIA development framework, and get developer’s thoughts on developing against a client accessible structured data domain model with a contextual point and click environment with the continuations support, persistable fields, multigenerational inheritance, client side rendering, and data source tracking enabling end user access to content manipulation.
But I do still appreciate the feedback, and thanks for the encouragement as well Brad and Ben!

Comment by Kris Zyp — November 21, 2006

Hey nice work I liked this, even for a noob like me it worked very well. Bit slow though but my atari isn’t really up for ajax..
I’m new to all of this ajax based web sites but I like to write and play, your site was easy accessible and it didn’t take long to figure out how to navigate let alone editing.
So without hopefully having sound too stupid I liked this!
I’m doing PR for a team called Orca you can check out our beta web top at http://www.orcadesktop.com.

Bjørn Jensen

Team Orca Journalist

Comment by Bjorn Jensen — November 21, 2006

Ajax sucks.
Someone had to do it.

Comment by Dan — November 21, 2006

Dan: lol :)


Comment by Brad Neuberg — November 21, 2006

I’m unable to create an account, I submitted the info, the mouse pointer changed to hourglass but thats it, waited for 5 minutes, gave up :(

Comment by Letus — November 22, 2006

I have the same problem as Letus above – can’t sign up for the free account. Tried IE, FieFox and Opera – no difference.

To be truly Web2.0 you should have some feedback after the user clicks the Sign Up button.

In fact the Signup had actually worked, but there was no sign on the page – or email sent.

God try but needs some more work. :)

Comment by Dave Probert — November 22, 2006

My apologies, I had some server problems. Thanks for the load testing though! This has been great for beta testing and finding concurrency and load induced bugs. Everything should be back up and online now though.

Comment by Kris Zyp — November 22, 2006


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Trackback by btlifnwmqdu — December 6, 2006

I am making a web application and hopefully it would support CMS.
I have read about Authenteo and its rather new to me. Could someone tell me what sources should I need in order for my application to work well with CMS? I am using java as my back-end and AJAX for my UI.

Comment by charlotte — January 12, 2007

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