I have written about Traction Software for a number of years now and always like what they are doing (see for example: Traction Software Releases Team Page 4.1 – Better Enabling the Social Side of Work and Traction Software Announces Team Page 4.0 with Multiple Upgrades). I recently spoke with Greg Lloyd, Traction CEO, about their latest moves that form release 4.2. They have worked on the platform from top to bottom.
At the top level there is Proteus, a new interface developed through Google Web Toolkit (GWT). Now you can see content in a more flexible manner. They provide status feeds on activities that can be sorted by articles, comments, edits, tags, and moderation. The speed of GWT allows you to quickly move form one view to the other. The interface is cleaner. Greg compares they prior interface to a Swiss Army knife with all the blades open. This could be intimidating. Now the blades are folded, but they are easy to bring out as needed. Below you can see a permission filtered feed of all articles and comments across all spaces with auto-scrolling to extend the page.
You can click the expand arrow to the right of any feed item to expand to show full content inline. Click the collapse arrow at the bottom of the expanded content. Click the author name to see basic contact info, link to profile (including Activity feed view of that person across all spaces), or click to add that author’s feed to a merged feed of people you’re interested in following (as shown below).
You can also click the space icon or any space name to get a feed view of activity within that spaces as seen below.
Greg said that GWT gives them greater flexibility as a development tool since it just updates the parts of the page that need to change. This provides great speed as I saw in a demo. Traction is one of the first platforms to make full use of GWT, an Open Source tool (Apache license), to improve the quality of the interface. They are also making the Traction related GWT available for customers and third party developers. The TeamPage Software Developer Kit (SDK) allows others to customize and extend the Proteus interface using Traction’s Skin Definition Language (SDL), which has been enhanced to support building Google Web Toolkit interfaces using simple templates.
Traction has also enhanced its search capabilities by partnering with Attivio. I have written about this before from the Attivio perspective (see Attivio Aligns with Traction and Releases New Features). I feel it is a great combination because the granularity of search capabilities with Attivio supports the granularity of content access in Traction. In addition to high quality search results and flexible content navigation, Attivio provides new capabilities such as customizable entity extraction, sentiment analysis and efficient support for real-time standing queries which trigger whenever a pattern is recognized in new or edited content. Attivio AIE powered TeamPage Advanced Search is in product qualification now and scheduled for general release this quarter.
Going deeper in the architecture we find that Traction has added an Oracle RDB option. The Oracle RDB backend for Traction TeamPage is for customers with mission critical applications where the ability deploy and maintain all TeamPage data in an Oracle 10g or 11g server provides outstanding ease of use for a high-availability configuration on an RDB platform.
I think these are all very smart moves and makes Traction more attractive to large enterprise. There is the greater flexibility of interface through Google Web Toolkit, more robust search through Attivio, and heavy duty data management through Oracle. I am looking forward to seeing what they do next.