neatComponents runs as an entirely web-based service, on Windows.
By web-based, we mean that the entire system is based where the sites are being served from. So you have a web server, and you have the system installed on it. You don't then need to install any software on web developers' machines.
This makes it much easier for sites to be maintained over their lifecycle.
Why is this important?
- Local machines don't need to be as powerful - keeping costs down.
- Local machines don't need individual licenses for design software - keeping costs down and making deployment of editing functionality to a wide rangle of users practical and affordable. In extranet environment you can even allow external users restricted editing permissions.
- The system can be updated centrally - server updates to the editing software automatically update the behavior of all editing - saving costs for product rollout.
Website management the hard way
Most web design systems require you to use client-based software (Dreamweaver, FrontPage, etc) to create pages, and then upload them using FTP to the server.
This causes all sorts of problems, not least the hassle of managing the rollout of the client software to designers, and the cost of acquiring the necessary licenses.
neatComponents makes it easier - and cheaper
neatComponents provides a full editing and design interface via a browser, so there is no need to install software on the client machines. Normally this would mean that the editing interface is 'clunky' and restrictive in what it allows, but the neatComponents interface is designed to allow you complete flexibility over the design and structure of the site, and great care has been taken to present an interface that looks as much like a local application as possible.
The reason is that the distinction between a web designer and a content creator is breaking down. There may be one or two people responsible for the overall appearance of the site, but many - possibly hundreds - of individuals may be delegated responsibility for their own sections. If you had had required special client-side software, there would have been major problems with installing, updating, and generally keeping track of the software. And of course with everything server side if you're away from the office you can nip in to a web café or public library, and fire up a browser and edit the site. No need to lug around a laptop with the software on it.
Naturally there are some specialist tasks better done on a locally-hosted application - making Flash animations or graphics, for example. These can then be easily uploaded to the site for display.
What you don't need - HTML-generating software, FTP uploads
As a web designer using neatComponents, you do not need to install any of those expensive (and hard to use)software tools that create HTML. You don't then need to take that HTML and use FTP tools to transfer your pages to the site.
neatComponents serves up not just the site, but also all the editing and admin tools you need, and delivers them to you through your browser.
This is really nice as it means you not only save money on the license fees for the software, but you can now manage the site from all sorts of places where they don't let you install software tools, and where you probably rather be. From a corporate point of view, the savings on managing the continual rollout of updates to the software are often graeter than the license costs, and now the development isn't restricted to a few suitably configured machines, anyone can be co-opted into assisting with the upkeep of the site.
What you need - (just) a browser
The designers only need their browser software and a connection to the Internet. Editing and site construction can be done using any of the mainstream browsers - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.
Why only Windows?
We firmly believe that graphic designers and web developers should not need to code individual components, manage databases, or manipulate web servers to create websites and web-applications.
The server-system should support the web-developer and not get in their way. At the moment we believe that Linux/Apache require more user intervention, knowledge and expertise than they should, and so are a bad value proposition for most business users. So, for the time being, the neatComponents server software only installs onto Windows machines.
And remember - once installed, ALL future configuration, design and build is direct from your browser in whatever operating system you prefer.