The Joys of Administering K4 v

As an administrator K4 v6 is a lot more fun than earlier version. The web interface improved, the colors are brighter and you can log into multiple publications at the same time.

What’s missing

  • DAL scripting. You administer K4 from the web interface.
  • No batch operations. So I will miss some DAL scripting, in particular adding users by editing a script and running it. The web interface has been improved enough that I don’t think this will be terrible and I understand that some batch operations will be included in K4 V6.4, due in May or June.
  • The ability to move a layout and its associated articles to a section in one fell swoop. I am hopeful that batch operations in version 6.4 will restore this functionality.
  • I can no longer use 1Password to automate logging into K4 administrator. Those fancy AJAX tricks render the login fields invisible to 1Password and I suspect other password management programs.
  • While not part of the administrative interface itself, backups are an administrative task and I do miss the Primebase Backup utility.

What’s new

The ability to log into multiple publications at the same time. No more having to log in and out of each publication when I do my weekly admin chore of deleting objects from the Trash issue.

  • The navigation bar is much more readable and better organized. The Documentation, Publication, and User Data tabs can be opened and closed. Workflow takes you directly to the workflow editor. Content enable you to search, archive and delete objects.
  • There is much less jumping around from one part of the admin site to another. For example, if you can create that category while editing a user rather than having to switch to the Category tab, create the category and return to editing the user.
  • Many other refinements to the admin user interface.
  • The workflow editor is astounding. While I wish for some reporting tools that would make reviewing a workflow better and a way to save a workflow as a PDF the workflow editor is a powerful and relatively easy to use tool for doing a complex task. The workflow editor with get an entry all to itself.
  • Password security is now a feature. You can enforce password standards including length, number of alphabetic characters, numeric characters and/or symbols. Password expiration is set in days. AD and OD integration is available at an extra cost. I believe this requires setting up new accounts.
  • Contextual help is always available. If you are not sure what to do click on the white question mark in the blue box. One problem is that the online help is sometimes more complete than the documentation. 
  • Terminology, such as publication and issue, can be changed per publication. A book publisher might wish to substitute them with book and chapter or series and book. Or you might wish to substitute the provided English terms with those from another language.

 So administrators should find life a lot easier. There are shortcomings, including lack of batch functions and having to repeat operations, such as changing passwords, for each publication. Since K4 v6 seems to be getting updated every few months I hope these shortcomings will be addressed in 2011.