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Cabbage Tree poised to thrive with web management


Cabbage Tree poised to thrive with web management system upgrade

Christchurch web development specialist Cabbage Tree Creative has added a raft of features to its flagship web management system, and has emerged from the months-long upgrade that produced Thrive 3 with a new company structure.

Thriving Solutions is a new company formed to oversee further development of the web-based Thrive content management system. It will also manage an accredited developer programme for web developers licensed to use Thrive in their website development projects.

While dedicated programming and development staff work on Thrive under the Thriving Solutions banner, Cabbage Tree Creative, formed six years ago, will refocus on “chief cabbage” Lawrence Smith’s vision of becoming the leading strategic and marketing operator in New Zealand’s tourism industry.

Smith said Cabbage Tree Creative already had many key tourism portals and umbrella organisations created using Thrive. Real Journeys, (previously Fiordland Travel), Interflora New Zealand, and Christchurch and Canterbury Marketing are among flagship tourism operators using Thrive. Canterbury Development Corporation leads a clutch of economic development and quasi-government agencies using Thrive to manage sites developed by Cabbage Tree Creative.

A small, “select group” of up to 15 web developers around New Zealand would be chosen to join the Thrive developer programme, said Smith. They would be supported by the newly-formed Thriving Solutions team in a bid to expand the system’s client base. The programme is likely to be extended to overseas developers once the New Zealand base is established.

“We don’t want to have a mass market product,” said Smith. “It’s more of a boutique tool . We want to work in partnership with other developers who respect quality.”

Thrive has a Microsoft Word style editor to manage content over the Internet. Version 3 includes tighter controls on site functionality that are designed to reduce the chances of broken links, missing images and other content problems that often mar sites managed by non-web professionals.

“A lot of people are developing page editing systems that deal with fragments of sites as opposed to full content management systems,” said Smith. “By definition, a content management system looks at the site as a whole and ensures quality and consistency throughout the site.”

Statistical reporting on site usage was also a focus of Thrive 3 development aimed at providing site owners with useful marketing information.

“Reporting quality is important,” said Smith. “Many web site owners have found traditional statistics programs quite difficult because many are hard to interpret.

“We provide a management perspective of the information. It’s all in one place, which makes it a lot easier to interpret.”

Thrive now comes in two flavours – Business and Corporate. The first is pitched at small businesses where sites typically are managed by one person, while the Corporate package includes provision for multiple website mangers, authors and editors, and password protected areas. As businesses grow they can move up to the next version.

Additional modules for features like shopping carts, secure payment systems, and member databases can be added as required, and Thriving Solutions is working on additional features to be released through 2003.

Smith said a key feature of the redevelopment of Thrive was use of a library system for components such as images and links. “Once you have them in the library you can scan them routinely and validate them,” he said.

“Web audiences are becoming more discerning, and less tolerant of sites with errors and inconsistencies. We wanted to take Thrive to a new level, and make it harder for people to make mistakes.”

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