From Business Catalyst to our own branded ZebraCatalyst
July 17, 2015
From Business Catalyst to our own branded ZebraCatalyst
Score 9 out of 10
- Photo Gallery, Web Apps, eCommerce, Events, Web Forms, Blogs, News, Ad Rotators, FAQs, E-Mail Campaigns
Overall Satisfaction with Adobe Business Catalyst
We use Business Catalyst for our own company's web site and we also develop the majority of our web sites on the Business Catalyst platform. We are a small firm so we use it extensively for automating site editing, development and implementation of our client's sites. Dreamweaver templates were always cumbersome but with the Business Catalyst solution we no longer have to re-upload all affected pages. This also lets us style our navigation either within the administration or with or own CSS built for the site. The Content Holder module is probably our most used because it can hold any piece of information. We then insert the module tag where we know it is prone to being edited often. It is also very simple to teach clients how to edit parts of the site with this method. Those are only a few of the ways Business Catalyst helps us streamline our development process.
- As mentioned previously, we use the Content Holder module quite often because of the ability to place any html content that is prone to being frequently edited. It simplifies the process and allows us to simplify our templates.
- We also like the ease of the Photo Gallery and how simple it is to either add or remove photos from the gallery once it has been placed.
- Media Downloads seems to be a very helpful resource. With its ability to be categorized both by file type and customized categories within the web site and then placed by category also helps us streamline document placement especially when there are large number of those resources to organize.
- News is obviously a much needed resource and it is simple to add news items, classify them and place them on template pages where they are fed. It is one of the easiest items to teach new clients how to manage.
- Web Apps is our most prized module because of the ease of creating a database, then being able to style the output in any shape form or fashion.
- The Web Forms is very helpful and easy to create. Placing the forms is simple especially when inserting as a module. The problem comes after placement. It is time consuming if there are any edits that need to be made to the form. For example, if you are in the U.S., you typically do not want other countries to show up on a dropdown menu. It would be great if BC would allow you to check the countries (or states) that you want to be active. Also, often times within a web form you may want to include to separate address fields. That is not allowed unless you go back and do custom editing for the forms. "Workarounds" are typically possible but for the designer, anything that adds time to the process also cuts down on profitability.
- Where we enjoy the ease of creating Photo Galleries, we also don't like the fact that you can style the output like you can within other module templates. For example, many clients would like to offer better descriptions and even style the descriptions. If displaying a photo from a art museum, you may want to give the proper title and that would include italicizing the name of the artwork.
- One of our biggest pet peeves is the fact that BC only offers the European date style when displaying that dates in the modules. You should be able to check a box on which date style should be shown.
- On Web Apps, almost everything is fantastic EXCEPT for the ability to sort web app items by date. If I wanted to create a calendar of events based on a web app I want to create, I would want to be able to display those items in chronological order.
- The Event Module is great except the way it uses a quirky form to process payments and reserve events. It should behave more like an ecommerce solution where the form is easier to fill out, customize, submit and process.
- Surprisingly enough and despite having a second, less expensive hosting solution, a majority of our clients prefer to use the Adobe Business Catalyst solution. We are then able to enjoy the commissions that are returned as we sign up new customers for annual contracts.
- Being able to store and utilize data that comes from web form submissions has been very helpful in customer retention since we became a partner in 2011. Since that time, we have only lost two clients. That's 3 times better than our other hosting solution.
- Our largest negative impact has come from having only one choice in SSLs. For example, we had a great client in a local and growing bank. We spent 2 months getting the web site built to their specifications and we were very clear on the SSL situation. However, once the site went live, problems arose. In the past they had submitted their site to search engines with their secure URL and that was all that was indexed. Then when their customers searched for their site and clicked on the secure URL, it either showed that the site could not be found OR it said that they were entering to a site with an unverified SSL. People would then call the bank and complain. We then had to quickly move their site to another solution costing us days of re-development time and resources.
As far as the CMS for BC goes, there is none out there that compares. In the past we have utilized Joomla, Wordpress, Mambo, Drupal, Concrete 5 and others. None of them were as easy to use and train on that Adobe's Business Catalyst. Our alternative to BC is WordPress when our clients want a less expensive solution. For the most part that works OK but we have had issues with plugin incompatibility among other issues. We lost at least two clients because of similar issues. The other great part about BC's solution is that we can still work with our favorite site creation tool - Dreamweaver. The whole process continues to be more and more simplified with added features to the system. No other solution (that we've found) offers such an easy way to create custom web sites that are easily editable by our clients.