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Sitecore’s CMS flexibility, scalability and security make it an enterprise favorite, powering more than 32,000 websites around the world from financial powerhouses like American Express to some of the largest international sporting tournaments like Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Let’s try to find out why Sitecore is so popular nowadays especially among companies which have got high traffic sites.

What is Sitecore and why it is a choice for so many companies and businesses?

From the start, Sitecore’s architecture is able to meet every unique business need with speed, flexibility and dependability. The large variety of organizations are using Sitecore’s CMS solutions – companies (more than 3,000 of the world’s leading brands such as Experian, Toshiba, Canon, Nestlé, American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, easyJet, Heineken, and Microsoft), schools, and government agencies all over the world in every vertical sector are leveraging from Sitecore CMS to create business advantage and online success.

Sitecore is one of the leading enterprise-level content management systems built on ASP.NET, enabling web content editors and marketers to have full control over all aspects of their website from social integration and blog posts to advanced personalization, e-commerce and more. Launched in 2001, Sitecore has used the .NET platform from the beginning of the language itself, and has been growing in popularity over the last few years. Nowadays Sitecore is a quite popular CMS in the U.S.A. and Western Europe.

Sitecore CMS brings the power of personalization and conversation management right in the hands of your marketers and business users. The CMS incorporates a powerful desktop interface that is controlled by a fully-customizable role-based system. This desktop is very similar in look and feel to a Windows desktop, which makes it easy for users new to Sitecore to pick up and learn the system. Developers will find Sitecore’s powerful technology platform and open API architecture provides them the flexibility and scalability they need.

10 main reasons why companies should use Sitecore CMS

Some of the top features of Sitecore CMS include solutions that offer better insight to website user behavior as well as tools to increase site visitors:

1) Insight to Website Traffic Conversion;

2) Targeted Content Based on User Behavior;

3) Repurpose Content for Different Devices;

4) Easily Integrate with Third Party Tools;

5) Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO);

6) Fast Integration with Microsoft Technology;

7) Highly Scalable;

8) Intuitive and User-Friendly Design;

9) Optimize Web Experience with Multivariate Testing;

10) Web 2.0 and Social Media Integration.

.NET-based CMSs: Sitecore, SharePoint, Umbraco – how to choose the right one for your business?

Comparing Sitecore and SharePoint

Firstly, let’s look at SharePoint and Sitecore, as it is often asked about the possibility of using Sitecore for an intranet or SharePoint for a public-facing website. While the idea of using one technology solution to solve both problems sounds promising, there are many things you should consider before limiting yourself.

Here are some thoughts in which cases you should choose Sitecore CMS for your projects and in when it is better to stick to SharePoint (these points are based on experts’ views as well as on Altabel’s own experience):

  • it is better to use Sitecore for a platform to customize the web user experience based on non-authenticated users;
  • choose Sitecore for a marketing driven platform;
  • for an external content focus, choose Sitecore;
  • choose SharePoint for an IT driven platform;
  • it makes sense to choose SharePoint for a collaboration platform;
  • for an internal content focus with enterprise level security requirements,  choose SharePoint.

Following the beaten path, many companies continue using SharePoint for creating public facing sites – they are well familiar with it and have already invested a lot of time, money, and knowledge in SharePoint. But actually it should be kept in mind that SharePoint was not developed for such sites so it’s worth adopting another CMS to develop them. There are some advantages Sitecore offers over SharePoint as a CMS for a public facing website:

  • Sitecore allows high flexibility for content editors and a logical hierarchical structure;
  • SharePoint is very limited to List Viewsfor content entry;
  • Sitecore’s Web Forms for Marketers makes building forms and triggering goals simple;
  • Frontend development for SharePoint is restricted and requires a lot of customized work, Sitecore on the other hand, is free of restrictions and able to do anything you want;
  • Sitecore offers fantastic technical support;
  • Sitecore offers easy multilingual configuration;
  • A/B testing is included with Sitecore, a must for a modern website. SharePoint does not come with any kind of A/B testing;
  • Sitecore’s DMS (Digital Marketing Suite) – SharePoint has nothing like this. Any website that has marketing in mind can greatly benefit from this tool included with Sitecore;
  • Sitecore is developer-friendly – Development in Sitecore is much easier and requires a lot less specific knowledge. More developers are able to produce a better solution, faster, cheaper;
  • Sitecore has a clear line between data and presentation making content easier to manage.

The bottom line is simple: If you’re looking to build a public internet site on the Microsoft platform, SharePoint makes sense if you meet a certain set of criteria.  But Sitecore provides an extremely compelling alternative that, from a business owner’s perspective, offers superior tools for engaging with the customer.

Comparing Sitecore and Umbraco

Sitecore CMS and Umbraco CMS are two leading content management systems based upon Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework. Their flexibility, functionality, integration capabilities and ease of use is why many have chosen to focus their technical expertise on these systems.

Let’s have a look at the similarities between Sitecore CMS and Umbraco CMS:

  • Easy integration with Microsoft Office;
  • Endless expansion possibilities;
  • Easy-to use User Interfaces (UI);
  • Design layouts are separated from the content;
  • Due to the large open-source Umbraco community and the expert development teams within the Sitecore network both CMS platforms are constantly evolving at a rapid pace;
  • Easily scalable and customizable through modules (Sitecore) or packages (Umbraco);
  • Can be integrated with your internal systems like ERP and CRM;
  • Comprehensive documentation and online help & guidance.

And now let’s get acquainted with the differences between these two CMS:

– Sitecore is an enterprise solution whereas Umbraco is suited to small-medium sized businesses;

– Sitecore is a license-based product. This means a license fee is paid to acquire it. Licensing options can be chosen, taking in consideration a number of factors, making it possible to use Sitecore in a variety of projects: from small non-profits, with websites running on a single server, to big corporations with millions of visits per day;

– Umbraco is an open-source product, meaning there is no license fee;

– In both North America and Europe, you can easily find an existing Sitecore customer. This is very helpful to further increase adoption as it means that new customers have some experience they can tap into. In addition, Sitecore has many government references where Umbraco has almost none;

– Sitecore 7.1/7.2 has advanced feature set;

– Sitecore is an established global player; much more so than Umbraco. Sitecore is in particular strong in the important and highly competitive US and UK markets.

Our opinion is that if you do a proper CMS vendor evaluation, you will probably find that the license cost is only a fraction of the overall project costs. Your criteria should really be to look at which system will meet your requirements most efficiently.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a .NET-based CMS, all these products will work – but right now, at Altabel we would lean toward Sitecore when looking for a pure CMS that provides fast development time, stable platform and ease of use for non-technical content creators.

Of course, each organization is different, and it makes sense to check out the products and run them through your technology selection process to determine which is best for you.

Hope you have found the article interesting and helpful for you.

Also it would be nice to hear your opinion and practical experience. What CMSs do you use and for what kind of projects? What is your favorite CMS and why?

Thank you for your attention and looking forward to your comments.

 

mk

Marina Karabanova
Marina.Karabanova@altabel.com
Skype ID: m.karabanova
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

 

The other day my colleague was providing an Open-source .Net CMSs overview . In this article I’d like to discuss one of the most popular and long-playing of them-Umbraco CMS.

Overview

Umbraco is a non-specialized content management system platform for creating web-solutions of scenarios ranging from simple to incredibly complex. Niels Hartvig, a Danish programmer, was the man who started developing Umbraco. Since it was released as open source software in 2004, its development is continued by Niels Hartvig’s team as well as by a wide developers community.

Umbraco is developed on ASP.NET platform, which is popular among professional programmers and is one of the most frequently used in the Internet along with JSP and PHP.

Umbraco and DotNetNuke are the most well-known ASP.NET CMSs. At the official Umbraco site it is said that the CMS currently powers more than 85.000 websites worldwide. In fact, it is much more than that. To finally convince you that Umbraco is a rather serious thing, it is appropriate to mention some large projects using it – Peugeot.com, Heinz.com, Wired.co.uk, Hasselblad.com, sandisk.com, Denmark MSDN Community.

Unlike many other CMSs, Umbraco is not a turnkey program solution right after installation – it’s impossible to start editing site content without preliminary actions. At the same time it provides developers with an easy and convenient environment, allowing them to create a site that would meet specific requirements.

Pros

1. Right after installing Umbraco you get a fully featured environment for storing and editing any data. Need to store content of the articles, information about employees, friends, companies, photo albums etc.?-no problem! You don’t have to study principles of work with databases, HTML or programming languages to do this. Type of documents is created with the aid of visual means, as well as fields belonging to it; places for these data on the site are also determined. Afterwards, documents content is added in the section of content editing. If needed in the future, it is possible to change required data fields as one pleases: f.ex. you can add a new field for contact information to the card of an employee.

2. Extension by standard tools – a developer doesn’t have to study some special language. One can use a favorite HTML editor – Visual Studio or Dreamweaver. All development is lead with standard ASP.NET means: master-page, HTML, ASP.NET controls. Plus there are add-ons on the basis of XSLT or Razor technologies.

3. Full control of the site appearance – such notions as themes and skins, that to a much extent limit web-developers possibilities, are not basic here. Everything a developer can do with ASP.NET master-pages tools, HTML, CSS is available in Umbraco development.

4. A convenient environment for filling a site with content is prepared for end-users. For formatted content one of the best editors TinyMCE is used. It has been improved for choosing and pasting media files. Users work with various data on the site in a common style, whether it is a photo gallery or company’s clients list. Therefore, it doesn’t cause much trouble for the users to learn the administrative part.

5. A very quick development of the sections that require only viewing information; API to organize various types of feedback.

6. A great amount of accessible extensions at the official support site. The CMS is quite popular, so the community is pretty large. That is why it is quite possible that there is already an answer to all your questions or a ready extension module has been already developed.

7. Splendid possibilities for code reuse. Once created a macros or a control can be easily applied in different places of the ongoing project or any other one.

8. Multilanguage support: terms dictionary, translation of the content 1 to 1 or an independent language site sections. There is a special functionality for translators in the administrative part.

Cons

1. It’s quite challenging to use the system right after installing. Umbraco is intended for developers and requires customization for a specific project before users are to see the site pages and to perform content editing. However, while installing one can choose a starter package that installs an appropriate initial structure for a blog, a personal or a news site. But still, customization is necessary.

2. A programmer, who is not familiar with the CMS, will not be able to start developing a site straightway, having to spend his time on studying the system and its possibilities.

3. The standard release of Umbraco requires full trust mode with extended rights for site work. Not all the hosting services permit it.

4. Site content support in XML may cause some complications with productivity on very big sites (several thousand nodes). In this case it is recommended to remember about page caching, macros output. Also, if there is a big amount of data, it is advised to store the records in the databases tables exclusively, not in Umbraco node-documents.

These are all advantages and disadvantages of using Umbraco we have experienced so far. You are welcome to add your own points to the list.

As usual, I’d be glad to see your comments, thoughts, sharing of experience, impressions and everything related to it right under the article 🙂

 

Nadya Klim

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

ASP.NET seems to have more and more quality options regarding extensible content management systems with each passing year. Depending on your needs, there are excellent options available both with commercial licenses or open source code.

In our blog, we have already tried to gather information about PHP and Java web frameworks, and in this article I`m going to present you a list of open-source CMS for .Net that, in our opinion, are worth taking a look at.

DotNetNuke (DNN for short)

If you are looking for something stable, DDN will be the answer. This CMS has been around for a while and DNN is probably the most well known and popular of all the .NET CMSs presented in my list. It`s is a web content management platform used to quickly develop and deploy interactive and dynamic web sites, intranets, extranets and web applications. It`s available in a free Community and subscription-based Professional, Elite and Elite Premier Editions. Community edition contains most of the features which comprise the other editions, but the support is left up to the community. The Professional Edition gives you support from the DotNetNuke Corporation along with a few more features, and for a (much) increased price, the Enterprise Edition gives you a few more features along with phone support.

Kentico

Another Asp.net based CMS offering multiple licensing options is the Kentico CMS. The free license requires you to keep the logo and copyright information on your page, but the commercial versions offer support and allow you to work without the branding. This CMS allows building dynamic web sites, online shopping carts, intranets and web 2.0 community sites. Kentico CMS is designed to be easy to use for even novice users, so web development should go fast with someone who is experienced. It has powerful content editing interface – Kentico CMS Desk, which allows a user to edit content and preview it before publishing, also it`s easy to organize content into a tree hierarchy of documents (pages). The hierarchy (content tree) represents the site map and the navigation structure.

Umbraco

Umbraco CMS is free and open source Web CMS built on the Microsoft .NET Framework. It provides a full-featured web content management system that is easy to use, simple to customize and robust enough to run the largest sites such as wired.co.uk and asp.net. Umbraco CMS has recently become very popular with designers and web developers due to the open templating system and ability to build in guidelines that automatically format the content writers provide. Also, it uses ASP .NET “master pages” and XSLT, so there is no necessity to work with a heaped-together templating format. It’s written in C# and is happy to work with a variety of databases, so hosting shouldn’t be a problem.

N2 CMS

N2 CMS is an open source lightweight CMS to create simple and user friendly website. N2 CMS contains a package of functional templates with News, Wiki, Photo Galleries, FAQs, RSS, Data Entry, Polls and more. Features include full control of content and nodes, drag&drop, versioning, wizards, export/import, security, globalization and more.

Orchard

Orchard CMS is Microsoft’s hand in the open source world. It`s community focused and is supported by full-time developers from Microsoft, that develop components and scripts that are open tools for developers to create applications. With the help of Orchard CMSO, it`s possible to create content-driven Websites. While this CMS may be a bit slow and some of the things you’d expect in a more robust CMS might be missing, there’s several fantastic back-end features and it`s a CMS that is worth considering when choosing a technology for your project.

Sitefinity

Sitefinity is the most modern .NET web content management platform available on the market today. It offers many enterprise features, and simple, easy-to-use online administration tools for managing your website. The new revolutionary User Interface is very task oriented and simplifies the user interaction with the system. Sitefinity has 6 available license editions ranging from free for personal use, to $499 for small businesses, and custom pricing for the Enterprise and Multi-Site Editions. Currently Sitefinity is responsible for powering thousands of websites. Some of their most prominent government websites include: The White House Federal Credit Union, United States Courts, Downtown Fort Worth, and the Canadian Securities Transition Office. Other customers include: Toyota, Vogue, IKEA, Chevron, Bayer, and Coca-Cola.

Certainly the list of CMSs can go further and further and every CMS has its advantages and disadvantages. I`ll highly appreciate if your share your opinions and experience on using these CMSs and adding your favourite CMSs to the list.

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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