Sitemasher to reduce developers' cutting, pasting

Sitemasher offers developers a hosted solution that makes the more annoying parts of Web design less hideous.

Web site development service Sitemasher went live Monday with a new service geared toward making developers' lives a little easier.

"We wanted to take the complexity out of Web sites," said Sitemasher's CEO, Ron Moravek. "Usually you have to deal with the CMS, the hosting, and the design."

Sitemasher instead offers developers a hosted solution that makes the more annoying parts of Web design less hideous. The browser-based system offers a simplified design structure, along with a completely integrated CMS. Said Moravek: "The CMS maps in real time as you go along, building in the roles and permissions as well."

The drag-and-drop feature updates the schema easily, while the software-as-a-service functionality cuts down on maintenance time, courtesy of fast updates. "We talk to a lot of companies that employ armies of people who just cut and paste all day long, but this allows you to cascade the information to all your networked sites," said Moravek. This keeps the designer and key developers in the equations, but cuts out costly and unnecessary coding staff who man the Dreamweaver or SQL, he said.

Finding a vendor to back their super-specific play was tough, however. "We went around to talk to different data centers, as we knew we'd be growing across multiple data centers. But when we wanted to bring in full virtualization and Citrix boxes, they didn't want to deal with that," said Moravek.

The Canadian company paired up with a neighboring vendor to power its outsourced infrastructure, Peer 1 Network Enterprises.

"It offers start-ups that flexibility," said Peer 1's Robert Miggins, senior vice-president of business development. "We own and manage the network, and adapt the bandwidth to their needs. It benefits them as their business changes, and it scales really well." This is a growing trend in the SMB market, said Miggins, who has seen a spike in the number of smaller and start-up companies outsource their hosting.

According to a recent customer study from the San Antonio, Texas-based Rackspace Hosting, nearly 70 percent of IT managers expect over the next five years that the number of IT functions they outsource to hosting, software-as-a-service or cloud service providers will increase.

With the current economic turmoil, many feel that the pressure on IT budgets is set to remain constant, or even increase. Outsourcing has often been touted as a cost saving option (mostly, in truth, by the IT service providers themselves), so it comes as no surprise then that the survey identifies a number of IT managers assigning a significant part of their budgets to hosted services.

Indeed, 47 percent said they spend between zero and 20 percent of their IT budget on hosted services, while 30 percent of respondents said that they spend 30 to 50 percent of their IT budget on hosted services.

Meanwhile, nearly 50 percent said that they expect the percentage of IT budgets spent on hosted services to increase over the next five years. And acceptance of outsourcing applications to be hosted elsewhere seems to be rising, with 40 percent not hesitant to host any application externally.

The fledgling hostee Sitemasher has 2,000 Web sites live so far, and has plans to build an east coast data center, along with an e-commerce solution.

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Briony Smith

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