In my last post, I alluded to new DAM features that I could not discuss. Now I can. Finally! (I don’t keep secrets very well.)
At the Henry Stewart DAM LA show, MerlinOne will be unveiling our new Merlin web client, MerlinX. It is much more than a redesign. It is a clean sheet, start from scratch, powerful web platform for our Merlin Digital Asset Management (DAM) product.
Building on the feedback of both our customers and our internal staff, MerlinX is more than just a browser. It is a fully featured platform, whose toolset will continue to grow. But, and this is an important but, we did not forget where we came from. A number of recent features to the previous Merlin web client have made their way to the Merlin X web client. That is because our users love being able to easily brand their site, being able to point out featured content to users or getting emailed alerts to new content.
Merlin X is much more platform than previous Merlin products. It’s modular, plug-in based architecture forms the UI running on the browser. Plug-ins use AJAX to communicate with a set of web service APIs running on the server. Every toolbar button, palette, content view, administration panel, etc., is installed from a separate plug-in. Adding a new custom tool or palette is accomplished by creating a new plug-in or extending an existing plug-in. So we have made it easy to grow Merlin, as the need requires.
What Else is New?
Let’s start with just the eye candy. User may select their own “skin.” We know that is a little thing, but it means a lot to some of our users. As part of the interface, users may rearrange palette items; open the items they most use, and hide items they do not need, but easily recall them. The three-column default design may be collapsed to two columns or even a single column if desired. And palettes may be put anywhere. Just drag them to where you want them.
Now for some of the simple stuff; both simple and advanced searching is possible. The new search palette plug-in gives users a way to construct a search interface that is appropriate for their workflow, save that view as a default or as a template to be reused, or even save the searches themselves in a saved search palette. Users may use the Boolean logic they may be familiar with, or may construct searches across multiple fields. Users may save their searches for themselves or for other users. And even better, these saved searches are seen by rich client users and visa versa.
With drag and drop a major part of the Merlin X implementation, users may move saved searches that they own, and move projects around as well just as they easily add items to collections. Even multiple items at once!
Users may view linked content, connect to Trax (our web-based assignment request system) directly from the toolbar, search for similar content or re-sort results.
And we made it easier to add content to Merlin as well. The web-based upload form allows for unlimited simultaneous uploads with a form to add common metadata. Add as many items as you need, and keep track of the upload process, meanwhile, continue working while a background process manages and monitors the upload.
Oh, and did I mention versioning? Yes, that’s right, for sites that need a way to keep track of different iterations of content, users may check out content, and check it back in. Users may be able to see previous versions, but will be unable to download them without the right privileges. This is a great way to ensure that the correct brand graphic is deployed without throwing away the historically related items.