Product Review: Mesa/Vista helps Web-based teams work

With diverse staffing options and distributed team development becoming the de facto standard, it's more difficult than ever to track projects and manage workflow. Mesa Systems Guild's Mesa/Vista Enterprise 3.0 provides a complete process-management clearing-house for project and resource data. Designed for enterprise use, its Web-based tools for collaboration and communication integrate with your Web server to provide a tightly knit working environment for team development.

I found this version of Mesa/Vista offered a more refined interface than previous versions. The frames-based, icon-driven layout is easy to understand and provides quick navigation between data sources. Initiating and updating projects was the easiest of any management package I have tried, including less complicated packages such as Instinctive Technology's eRoom.

The key addition to this version is the capability and ease with which Mesa/Vista can link disparate data sources. Teams can create and store project materials in one repository, then easily check them out via a Web browser. This version uses Java applets to allow access to underlying data without requiring that the native application reside locally.

I was impressed by Mesa/Vista's vertical integration with third-party development applications such as Rational Rose. I was able to traverse easily between data in Mesa/Vista and its corresponding modelling diagrams.

Mesa/Vista offers very effective version control and can add any type of document to a project for tracking. Plus, Mesa/Vista's newly added search engine allows for fast lookup and drill-down navigation of project materials. Version 3.0 adds support for user administration via Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), and an LDAP server is included. A useful extra is the capability for individual users to customise their viewing preferences.

Its simplicity of administration and ease of use make Mesa/Vista very appealing. Its comprehensive features provide an edge in effectively managing projects, especially when compared to less extensive packages such as Netmosphere's ActionPlan.


Mesa/Vista Enterprise 3.0

This upgrade provides a solid solution for managing Web-based projects via a unique plug-in approach.

Pros: Easy to install, configure, and administer; added search tool; improved linking; low priceCons: No direct support for budgeting or estimation; cannot copy between projectsMesa Systems Guild;; http://www.mesasys.comPrice: $US10,000 for enterprise core; $500 to $7500 for plug-ins (for Rational Rose)Platforms: Servers: HP-UX, Solaris, Red Hat Linux, Digital Unix for Alpha, Windows NT Web servers: Netscape, Apache, Microsoft Internet Information ServerJames R. Borck ( is an IS director at Industrial Art & Science, in Connecticutation founded in 1945 to promote regional economic prosperity in the Bay Area. It can be found on the Web at

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