I was toying with the idea of adding a place to store documents on another website of mine. What I needed was a piece of software where users could sign up, log in, upload and store documents with various extensions, and then control whether or not other logged in users could view, read, alter, or delete those files.

I found plenty of candidates that would fit my requirements, but most of them seemed to be geared towards collaboration. While this function is nice, it wouldn’t be necessary for me. As long as the collaborative features were optional, I would have no problems.

Even though I had found a number of possible contenders, I kept looking because every one I came across appeared to be unfinished in the design area. I was hoping to find something that looked more polished but I never did. After a couple days of searching it finally struck me why this is the case. The majority of website owners utilizing a document management system will be integrating it into their site design, so giving the framework its own finished look might be a waste.

On the other hand, someone like me would have been happy to have a website document vault look all pretty right from the start, but clearly I’m in the minority here. Sprucing up the look of  it shouldn’t be too bad of a project. I first experienced having to do the very same thing when I realized my search engine built with SmarterSearch was completely bare bones. It’s definitely something I’m willing to try, but it will definitely take longer to get to a state where I’m ready to roll it out.

I finally chose OpenDocMan because it had the few features I required and looked extraordinarily simple. I figure if I’m going to have to start opening files to add some html, I may as well choose a platform that looks fairly simple to navigate. I have yet to install this software so my observations so far are based entirely on the information on the site and the demo. If you want to poke around and try it out, the username and password is “demo” for both.

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