Altabel Group's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘CMS

In the rapidly changing world of IT only those people win who are developing all the time: if you stop — you will lose. Besides general philosophy of life, it’s also true for CMS. Trying to keep up with the time the developers of CMS Drupal have released a new version of Drupal 8.

Many improvements have been made in the interface by default which makes it easier for non- professional users to use CMS. There is practically everything you need to build the “mid-level” web site without using additional modules. So, let’s observe some changes:

• From the very beginning probably the most sensational news was the transfer to Symfony 2 components, which greatly simplified the usage for those developers who are already familiar with it, but probably scared off those who are used to functional programming in WordPress. However, it should be noted that every time the page is loaded in Drupal 7, all enabled modules are also uploaded, even if we don’t need some modules on certain pages, which leads to unnecessary uploading and waiting time increasing for the user who is carefully studying the website. Implementing the basic principles of Symphony, Drupal 8 downloads only those modules that you need for a particular page and nothing more. It accelerates page loading for your visitors and probably reduces memory consumption.
 

 
• The introduction of HTML5 can be attributed to a significant improvement in comparison with XHTML in Drupal 7. Sites that are made by using HTML5 have a better structure and functionality. HTML5 provides better work for a user either on a computer or on a mobile device.

• Anyone who has ever run a website knows that it is better to use a computer or a laptop as most features of the admin section would require the resources of the computer and not work on mobile devices. The Drupal 8 Mobile Initiative is a concerted effort to make Drupal 8 a first-class mobile platform. Not only the admin section works on mobile, but the templates for Drupal 8 are also adapted for devices. It’s more comfortable not only for administrators but also for visitors who use gadgets.

• One more pleasant news was the improvement of multilingualism. Multi Language Module enables its users to create phrases in many languages and display them on your website. It helps developers and users to implement a multilingual website.

• Drupal 8 contains one of the fastest and most popular template engines. Twig is a popular templating engine for PHP, which opens the door to more robust, scalable and secure themes. It should be noted that Twig is fast, secure and flexible.

Fast: Twig compiles templates into optimized PHP code. The performance losses are reduced to the minimum in comparison with an ordinary PHP code.

Secure: Twig has a sandbox mode to test untrusted template code. It makes possible to use Twig as a template language for applications where users may modify the template design.

Flexible: Twig has a flexible vocabulary and syntax. It enables developers to define their own tags and filters and create their own DSL (domain specific language).

• With Drupal 8 you have an opportunity to use the Views without your developer. Views contain a set of parameters that determine which content appears on the page and choose the fields to display, field order, etc., In Drupal 7 Views module was a separate module and depended on the CT Tools Suite module. Development of the Views for Drupal (VDC Initiative) enabled to embed Views in Drupal core 8, so that it appeared immediately after installation. It means that Views has a better integration. Besides, Drupal 8 has made the Views much easier, now a site administrator can delegate the work with the Views to technical specialists, as it does not require complex skills.

These are just some of the changes that came with Drupal 8. It’s a fantastic platform for developing a wide range of sites, from simple to extremely complex.

Remember to feed back by sharing your discoveries and creations in using Drupal 8!

 

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Business Development Manager

E-mail: Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype: kate.kviatkovskaya
LI Profile: Kate Kviatkovskaya

 
altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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

Java brings a lot of popular and user-friendly frameworks, content management systems and servers that help to simplify the application development process, website management process and much more irrespective of the size and complexity of the project. When it comes to CMS, Java possesses a host of CMSs that have been highly recognized in the market, but one CMS that has gained great popularity and attention from the developers and companies across the world is Magnolia.

Magnolia is an open source content management system which delivers exceptional simplicity on an enterprise level, combining user-friendly usage with a standards-based and flexible Java architecture. Companies such as Airbus Group, Al Arabiya, Avis and Virgin America use it as the central hub for their web, mobile and IoT initiatives. Founded in 1997, Magnolia is a privately-held company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. The company has offices around the globe, and customers in over 100 countries.

Making a good CMS to cater the needs of the clients is never an easy task, and the developers Magnolia knows this thing better. Hence, Magnolia brings some of the much needed features and functionalities for the enterprises.

• Magnolia comes with a smart cache, a built-in clustering capabiliy and distributed deployment architecture that easily decouples authoring from publishing and the possibility to develop load-balanced public servers to bring more throughput and availability.
• It also offer code highlighting for the designers & developers, easy integration of 3rd party frameworks, extendable workflow, J2EE compliance, RSS generation & aggregation and more for the customization.
• When it comes to designing, it brings standard-based templating in JSP and servlets, unlimited page and component design, Freemarker as a template engine, custom tag library to speed up templating and pluggable templating engine for the designers.
• It brings Open APIs, advanced caching strategies, unlimited scalability, clustering & load balancing, transactional activation and tons of other performance related features & functionalities for the enterprises.
• From the security point of view, Magnolia brings flexible user permissions using role-based user management and distributed architecture, which is a need of today’s enterprises.
• It also enables team work through concurrent editing, deletion, address book, workgroup collaboration and some other features.
Apart from all these, Magnolia also enables search engine optimization, content tagging, configurable workflow, content versioning, social media integration, multilingual support, multi-site management, mobile publishing and tons of other enterprise-scale functionalities.

magnolia

However, like any other technology or platform, Magnolia also has some advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at each of them:

The Pros
• It’s an open source.
• User friendly, easy to use for Administrators/Content Editors/Authors
• Good set of standard components in the standard templating kit (STK)
• Very flexible, almost anything can be customized
• Vast set of open modules for many additional features
• Leverage from page-based site or navigation.
• It utilizes installer, but the WAR files can be used to redeploy it to some other place.

The Cons
• Steep learning curve
• Inconsistent or lack of documentation
• Configuration via JCR-Tree can be error-prone and not very transparent
• Versions -4.5, 4.5+ and 5 all have shifts in paradigms
• Versioning and collaboration

All in all, Magnolia is a very promising CMS that integrates well into an enterprise java stack. It is predominantly suited for medium to large businesses where processes need deep integration and customizations. With regards to small businesses, Magnolia might be somewhat of an overkill.

How about you? Did you have a chance to work with Magnolia CMS? What is your attitude to it?

Please feel free to share with us your thoughts and experience here below.

 

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Business Development Manager

E-mail: Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype: kate.kviatkovskaya
LI Profile: Kate Kviatkovskaya

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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

Nowadays content management systems (CMS) have become not just publishing tools, but also a powerful means for automotive management of a web-project. CMSs allow display, edit, indexing and publish content easily, make the adjustment of the interface and functional features flexible.

There are a number of systems that require being a high-qualified web-master to work on the project successfully and this article deals with how to choose the right CMS that would be the best match for a project in terms of design, programming and usability.

Choosing

The choice of the CMS could turn out to be a backbreaking task because the choice is extensive. However, a structured approach towards evaluating of the existing systems could make the choice easier.

Thus, let us talk over the criteria and what we should sharp our attention on, while taking a decision.

Below you could find 8 characteristics, that a good CMS should have:

1. Intuitiveness (easy in mastering and use)

Your CMS should have pretty simple and easy graphic user interface (GUI). A good interface means that the publishing of the content will be fast, will save a lot of time and increase productivity.

It is also vital from the end user point of view; I mean that if you develop a CMS that requires deep technical knowledge for an IT illiterate customer, he unlikely will be able to use it; therefore, it will abolish the whole idea of the CMS- to widen the customers’ opportunities.

2. Flexibility, easy adjustment

While choosing a CMS make sure that, you are not obliged to use your own templates. A number of CMSs allow using custom design with no limitations. In case a CMS gives you a limited template library, you are deprived of creative freedom and your site will not look individually.

Some of the adjustable CMS in accordance with the selected templates: Expression Engine, WordPress, Joomla, etc.

3. Module and plugin adjustment

A good CMS will allow you to add its useful features to your project, increasing the standard configuration with the help of plugins.

Plugin/ extensions/ modules (a various terminology is used for each platform) allow users to improve their project with useful parameters for interaction with the site.

It is better to select a CMS with powerful Application Programming Interface (API) in case you need custom extensions. Make sure that your CMS has an extensive list of the applied plugins. Though in the beginning you may not require a lot of them, still this need could arise later and it is vital that plugins are available for you in future.

4. No Need in Coding Knowledge

If you are more «design-oriented» than anything else is, make sure you select a CMS where you will not need to have extensive programming abilities to publish and maintain your site.

There is a wide selection of CMS’s that have WYSIWYG editors, letting you edit content without the need for code. Having to edit text through HTML markup can be time consuming and takes you away from other aspects of your managing and building your site.
Complex sites, however, can require a CMS that will let you type in some code, edit files with extensions such as .php, .css, .html, and make changes without that need for a third-party source code editor.

5. Optimized for Performance and Speed

Taking into consideration the speed your pages load on the browser, and how fast your site can make a connection to a server, is vital. Choosing a CMS that is bulky will drive away visitors rather then bring them in. By visiting examples of live sites, you will be able to gauge somewhat how fast pages load.

Keep in mind that you can increase the load time of your site by choosing a good host, and adding plugins that cache/compress/minify feeds, CSS, JS and also caches your database objects.

A simple and free tool that you can use to evaluate page response times of your CMS candidates is YSlow. Install it and head on over to demo sites of your CMS’s to see how well it’s front-end performs.

6. Security

Adequate security for your site is very important and must be in place in order to protect your content. There are CMS’s that allow you to install specific plugins and edit files/permissions in order to increase security levels. Make sure you choose a management system that offers modules to protect the integrity of your site. You can also protect your site by selecting a CMS that allows you to assign easily a different username and password to each user. This will let you view and control what each user has access to.

7. Documentation and Community Support

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to figure out how to do something, and not have references online that you can take advantage of. One way to ensure that you will not be running into this problem is by reading through the documentation of your candidate CMS’s. In addition, a quick Google search will tell you how popular and well documented a content management system is.

The availability (or lack thereof) of support from users of the system can be a dealmaker or deal breaker. When users are active and proud of being part of the community, you not only have access to individuals that are more familiar with the system, but also, you can be assured that the project will be developed continually. Nothing is worse than investing your resources and effort on a dead (or soon to be dead) project.

8. Emphasis on Web Standards and Best Practices

Content Management Systems developed under web standards guidelines and best practices will ensure that you won’t get burned later down the road. When applications are designed with best practices in mind, you can be assured ultimate cross-browser compatibility, lean-and-mean code, and ease of maintenance.

Look for content management systems that promote the use of web standards, and those that put it at the forefront of their development and design philosophy.

 
Some Key Content Management Systems to Consider

Now that you know the key characteristics of a good content management system, let’s take a look at a handful of major CMS’s that excel in most, if not all, of those areas.

 
ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine (EE) is a flexible CMS for any scope of project. Within a few minutes, you’ll understand how to easily begin creating content. EE’s templating system lets you quickly see instant changes live. EE also has a multi-layered caching system to try and minimize the database usage. In addition, EE lets you embed and run PHP directly within its templates, very similar to WordPress.

ExpressionEngine has various features such as allowing you to have multiple sites with just one installation of their software. Just as we spoke in the above section dealing with connections and load times, EE has a unique template caching, query caching and tag caching keep the site running at a quick pace by storing database queries in memory to reduce database connections when generating web pages.

 
WordPress

WordPress

Nowadays WordPress is one of the most renowned publishing platforms.

It is widely known as a great blog-platform. WordPress is an open source product, could be downloaded, and installed unlimited number of times.

WordPress installations are very quick and easy. It only takes a few minutes for your admin panel to be operational. If coding is not your strong suit, then no worries, WordPress offers its users a WYSIWYG editor (called Visual Editor).

 
Business Catalyst/Goodbary

Business Catalyst/Goodbary

Business Catalyst/Goodbary (owned by Adobe) is a powerful ecommerce CMS for developers. This content publishing platform has an array of useful features such as email marketing and in-depth site analytics. Business Catalyst gives you an easy way for your business to gain an online presence in no time. GB allows you to easily keep track of a customer’s actions, build and manage a customer database of any size, and sell your products and services online. Business Catalyst integrates well with a lot of popular payment systems such as PayPal, Google Checkout and pre-integrated gateways.

 
Joomla!

Joomla!

Joomla! is an advanced CMS with excellent function and content management. The installation process is pretty quick and easy. Joomla! is a complete CMS allowing you to build simple to advanced sites. Joomla also has super support for access control protocols like LDAP and OpenID, and can interface with popular and open API’s such as Google APIs.

With Joomla!, you’ll have more than 3,500 extensions at your disposal along with the support of an entire community. With a simple extension, you can add almost any needed functionality to your site.
One downside to Joomla! is that their heavy-artillery list of extensions often require you to purchase them. Hopefully, in the future, they will make their plugins free in order to aid users on a tight budget.

 
Drupal

Drupal

Drupal, a great open source CMS supported by a very active community, lets users publish content through any time with very little restrictions. Once the installation is finalized, you will discover features such as forums, user blogs, OpenID sign-ons, profiles and more. This CMS was written in PHP/MySQL for ease of customization and has one of the highest-regarded API’s in the open source content management system field.

 
Cushy CMS

Cushy CMS

Cushy CMS is a hosted and free content management system that is lightweight, though powerful enough to jumpstart your site in a moment. With Cushy CMS, you have to add CSS styles to the sections that you will eventually change or edit. This CMS allows you to access and store content while it uploads this same data to server.
Cushy was built for content editors and designers and so it is very simple and easy to manage. Being a SaaS, you do not need to install or self-maintain the CMS.

 
TYPOlight

TYPOlight

TYPOlight is a great match for assembling and support of several site simultaneously. Thus, it is an ideal solution for web-developers. With the help of TYPO CMS you are able to create a simple-designed site as well as a complex one with extensive functionality.

 
RadiantCMS

RadiantCMS

RadiantCMS is a Ruby on Rails app. Radiant has a very active community for core support and updates. If you are a RoR developer, it is right up your alley. Radiant has concentrated on making things much more user-friendly for end users and web designers. RadiantCMS also contains an innovative custom tagging language (called Radius) that is easy to pick up.

 
SilverStripe

SilverStripe

SilverStripe is an open source application written on top of PHP and was designed with emphasis on flexibility. SilverStripe has many configurable options and is geared towards content-heavy websites.

This CMS was completely built on its own PHP framework, called Saphire. SS offers content version control and great SEO support. All users alike are welcome to customize the administration area for their clients or themselves.
The only downside with SS is that the default templates are garbage; however, that is nothing a little hard work would not fix.

 
Textpattern CMS

Textpattern CMS

Textpattern CMS is a very popular system for many designers due to its simplicity.
Textpattern strives to provide great content management that produces quick, easy, and desirable web standards-compliant pages. There is no WYSIWYG editor because Textpattern utilizes textile markup for content generation.

The backend is very easy to use and follow. New users will learn the administration section with super speedy ease.

 
Alfresco

Alfresco

Alfresco is a JSP enterprise content management solution that is quick and easy to install. Alfresco lets you drop files into folders and convert those files into interactive web documents. This CMS is not as easy to become familiar with when compared to others, however, with a little bit of time investment, you will definitely get the hang of it. Alfresco could be targeted more towards the intermediate developer, although its pure functionality allows it to become very usable. The administration GUI is very organized, well maintained, and easy to navigate.

 
Thank you for your attention!

I hope that this article will help to make a reasonable decision on what CMS suits your particular project in the best way.
If you have experiences (good or bad) with the content management systems shown here or any tips on how to evaluate the right CMS, feel free to share in the comments, I will highly appreciate!

 

Tatyana Ogneva

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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

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

 

Even if you only build websites using CMSs, you’ve probably heard the word “framework” before. You’ve probably also heard of a few famous web frameworks, including Ruby on Rails, Django and Bootstrap. Many experienced web developers build websites using frameworks and often find them easier and enjoyable to use.

In this article, we’re going to explain what a framework is, and when you might use a framework.

If you are currently doing one of the  Coding Training classes, this information will prove especially useful to you. If you are just using a CMS, this post will still contain some valuable insights, as many CMS systems can and are built using frameworks. For example, Drupal 8 is currently being built on Symfony and Joomla 3 is using the CSS framework Bootstrap.

What is Framework?

The goal of a framework is to allow designers and developers to focus on building the unique features for their project, rather than re-inventing the wheel by coding common, familiar features found across many websites and web applications.

A framework can be considered a pre-built that handles most of the repetitive or common features. As a result, unlike a CMS, a framework will probably not have a template/structure user interface (although this is not always the case, as Django provides an administration interface). Most of the activity will be done by writing code and interacting with different parts of the framework itself through code.

Often frameworks take a while to learn, but once you’re familiar with them, they should speed up your development time.

5 advantages to using a framework:

  1. Open-source: Most of the popular frameworks in many languages are open-source (or available to use for free). They also come with licensing that isn’t restrictive and allows you to build commercial products using such frameworks
  2. Documentation and support: Although this can vary (if the language being used is popular and the framework has a lot of developers using it), you can expect that the framework will either have good documentation, good support or both at the same time. It is worth mentioning that “good support” is a subjective issue at times. Typically, paid support will almost always be faster and more concise, but this also depends on the level of activity within the framework – as a framework like Ruby on Rails demonstrates with a massive community, which is renowned for its welcoming nature and good support too.
  3. Efficiency: This could be considered the most vital reason why frameworks exist. They eliminate the need to write a lot of repetitive code that you will find being used in many different applications. These include, for example, user-authentication and commenting systems. On average (if you have sufficient knowledge using a certain framework) you can expect to build a project in much less time than would be achieved writing code without a framework
  4. Security: Typically, a framework is developed and tested by many different developers. It is extremely likely that many security risks are addressed and tested when the framework is being built. New security risks can also be addressed and fixed quickly. However, security can also be considered a con, as will be mentioned in that section
  5. Integration: If you are building almost any type of application (including a website) and you want to store some data, you will typically use a database. Just like a database, there also exists many other tools that link to web development. Many frameworks will thus make it easier to link to these tools and also communicate with them (for example, when “talking to” a database is abstracted away in a certain framework, making communication with the database much easier)

5 disadvantages to using a framework:

  1. Limitations: Generally, you will not be able to do almost anything with a single framework. They are all restricted in some way, from coding paradigms to database designs and everything in between. A good way to work around this is to see what the framework is being used for by other developers in the community, as this will give you an idea of what you can achieve
  2. Performance: With the popularity of client-side JavaScript MVC frameworks like AngularJS, EmberJS and BackboneJS growing since 2012, performance can also be considered a factor. Although performance issues did exist before, they weren’t as relevant as today, where an entire application is loaded through JavaScript, using a framework as the tool for building that application. Whereas you might not feel the impact of loading a 75kb compressed-framework .js file on your PC (with high speeds), this .js file will definitely impact mobile users (who may have slower speeds on their smartphones or tablets)
  3. Learning bias: If you decide to learn how to use any framework from some programming language you are familiar with, chances are that what you learn will be somewhat different to the language itself. This is due to the fact that a lot of those repetitive tasks have been created in custom functions and other parts, which is why you will learn such things that may not have existed in the language lessons itself. Apart from that, you may also learn a lot of things that may be irrelevant to you whilst using the framework in real-life, but are necessary to grasp how the framework works
  4. Steep learning curve: Although this isn’t always the case, most frameworks can be difficult to learn and even more difficult to master. After some simple research into this matter, a university professor said that it will take about 2 years (with no programming background) to become familiar and comfortable using a language (Ruby) combined with a framework (Rails). This may not be the case when being self-taught or having years of programming experience, but I would say that even with experience, at least 3-6 months will be needed to become confident using any framework (based on continuous learning and practice)
  5. Cost: Frameworks require more development expertise and experience than most CMSs. As a result, it can be more costly to hire reliable framework developers than reliable CMS developers. As the experience shows, the average project built with a framework is more expensive than a similar project built with a CMS.

Examples of popular frameworks

Below are some popular web frameworks (in no particular order) for different web languages. This is not an extensive list, as there exists many more options out there.

PHP: 1.Yii; 2.CodeIgniter; 3.CakePHP; 4.Zend; 5.Symfony; 6. Laravel

Ruby: 1.Rails; 2.Sinatra; 3.Padrino;

Python: 1.Django; 2.Web2py; 3.TurboGears; 4.Flask

JavaScript: 1.AngularJS; 2.EmberJS; 3.BackboneJS;4.KnockoutJS

Design/CSS frameworks: 1.Bootstrap; 2.Foundation

Over to you?

Have you built any websites using a framework instead of a CMS?

What were the advantages and disadvantages of going with a framework?

Share your feedback or any other experiences below.

Polina Mikhan

Polina Mikhan
Polina.Mikhan@altabel.com 
Skype ID: poly1020
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

If you follow our blog regularly you probably remember that my last post was dedicated to Sitecore CMS. This time I decided to represent for your review one more powerful at the same time arguable CMS – Magento. Magento as well as Sitecore CMS is meant to build big things but this time in the world of ecommerce: helps to create online stores.

As the field of ecommerce is tending to grow and develop continuously IT solutions try to meet the needs and offer the best solutions to make it extremely innovative, make the managing process easier for holders and of course attract as many customers as it is possible. There are many CMSs for this purpose like PrestaShop, OpenCart, osCommerce, phpShop, Spree, nopCommerce and others. The choice of CMS depends on what kind of eCommerce/business you intend to go on. You need to take into account such aspects as the size of your firm, whether you haveB2B, B2C or you’re retail, what management system you use or you will use ecommerce platform for that, connection of you websites with other sales channels, your programming skills: PHP, .NET, etc.

So as you may see there are many CMS available today, the choice depends on what type of business you have and type of software you use. Nevertheless, beyond the rich variety Magento is considered to be one of the front runners.

Almost all claims that Magento is rather complicated system as it is built on Zend framework; however has a lot positive aspects. Generally it is characterized as big, complicated and powerful CMS/platform that provide excellent and multiply options to grow you website.

Magento is also very serious CMS and there is no doubt that it is not for everybody. It is tool for professional rather than for amateur.

-It rather complicated to use and work on it for its coding style, so be prepared to spend/charge from your development team twice more hours than usual. Also if you’re not experienced in coding or working with this CMS we would offer to hire skillful developer/development team with proven past experience to help you with that. Based on our experience working with Magento you should be prepared that the development process could take much more time as you will need to learn all the curves that CMS has.

– Magento is extremely powerful offering a wide range of customization options. It is easy-editable gives an opportunity to improve the code regularly by making updates and fixing bugs. And what is important here is that code itself doesn’t require any changes!

– One more aspect is the rich variety of features that makes Magento so flexible. Let’s now review the key features of Magento:

  • International support – multiple languages and currencies, list of allowed countries for registration, purchasing and shipping, localization;
  • Site Management – control of multiple web sites, multiple languages.
  • Catalog Browsing – easy navigation, advanced product filtering system, product comparison.
  • Catalog Management – inventory management, batch import and export of products, different tax rates per location, additional product attributes.
  • Analytics and Reporting – integration with Google Analytics and offers different reports.
  • Payment – different payment methods: credit cards, PayPal, Authorize.net, Google Checkout, ePay, etc.
  • Marketing Promotions and Tools– coupons, discounts and different promotion options.
  • Encryption Key – security storage of the sensitive data in the script’s database.

 

It is also scalable and it grows with your business. That’s the point why it is mostly recommended for mid to large size vendors.

Additionally it should be said that Magento team offers 24/7 live support. Of course it is not super fast but at least it works and you never know when you will need immediate help. Moreover it has video tutorials, good knowledge base, webimars, user guides and support forum. As Magento has three versions the opportunities of each version differs: Community Edition (downloadable version, you will need to find hosting and security for your store), Magento Go (cloud based of hosted Magento CE, preferably for small retailers) and Enterprise one, the last is complete ecommerce solution, fully supported and it is not cheap. Here it should be noted about technical support: Community version has an access only to the forums that are not so active mainly because Magento is relatively new and don’t have yet many followers. So there is no guarantee that you get an advice you need.

And at last as Magento is open source CMS it is free and you don’t spend your money to download it. But you will need to invest if you want to have store live.

At the same time (there is always the other sideJ) there are gaps (that make this platform a bit vulnerable and look unfinished) that need to be improved too. We have a made a short list of them:

  • Slow – Many reports that the software is clunky and suffers from slow load times.
  • Expensive – Even it is open source and free it will end up costing you after you add up hosting, security, and developer fees.
  • No Customer Support – Magento CE users have no access to technical assistance with the exception of a forum.
  • Requires Coding Experience – it requires users to have technical skills and experience in order create and launch stores. It is not for amateurs or hobbyists.

Some more aspects to consider:

  • Confusing and hard to learn.
  • Difficult to implement templates.
  • Not much themes to choose.
  • Software updates don’t work always properly.

To use Magento or not?

In my opinion Magento is proved to take one of the leading positions and has potential to save it. It has many positive aspects and if your business is well developed and you have large list of items to put online, you need to consider Magento and invest money in it. But of course be prepared for serious work with all the curves if you don’t have much knowledge in programming or take care to choose the development team wisely. And certainly don’t forget about tech support, Magento CE don’t have it.

In case you still considering whether adopt Magento for your business or not, feel free to share your personal experience with us leaving your comments below or contact me directly if you need assistance with your ecommerce shop to discuss the details.

Thank you for your attention!

Katerina Bulavskaya

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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

Among posts published in our blog, there are many about CMSs: Umbraco, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, WordPress etc. But one that slipped under our attention is Sitecore CMS.

What is Sitecore?
Sitecore is software Development Company that provides enterprise website, intranet, portal and marketing automation software. Sitecore offers two major products: CMS and its fully integrated “Customer Engagement Platform” which allows seamless integration between its major components: Web Content Management (CMS), Customer Engagement Platform, DMS (Digital Marketing System), E-commerce services, Sitecore Intranet Portal (SIP), Sitecore Foundry.

The Sitecore CMS – an introduction.
Sitecore CMS is .NET-based content management system and vc. Open source .NET based management systems (like Umbraco or Kentico for example), it’s paid resource. It’s not cheap (the cheapest Sitecore license starts around €10k and quickly goes up from there and then you still need to buy support) and depending on this fact the target market of this CMS is big enterprises such as Toshiba, Siemens, KIA, Mazda, Canon, Nestle, Microsoft, including government websites of Denmark. A full list of companies you could find by following this link.

Lunched in 2001 Sitecore’s CMS popularity has been growing over the last few years. According to the results of annual statistics, Sitecore demonstrated good results and what is particular important it is global player and highly competitive US and UK markets.

Sitecore’s benefits.
The Sitecore CMS is considered a pretty good product for its flexibility, scalability and accessibility to the widest range of businesses. Flexibility is an area in which Sitecore CMS excels as it is fully customizable and extendable, and practically anything can be overridden or extended. Scalability – Sitecore CMS is highly scalable and has been architected to scale extremely well, allowing organizations to grow and expand. Accessability – Sitecore is used by many companies, ranging from small and middle-sized to global leading ones.

Let’s have a look also at Sitecore’s benefits from a technical perspective:
• SQL Server and Oracle support allows flexible and hierarchical data storage;
• Simple and understandable API for technical specialists;
• Ability to configure and expand by increasing the pipelines supply, event handing, etc.;
• The engine dynamically collects and cashes management components that help to create solutions to re-use the code;
• Device management – designate page elements and other content for different clients (browser, PDF, XML, feed) or for mobile devices.
• ASP.NET Membership Services manage security, authentication, authorization, roles and profiles
• Workflow facilities make it possible to quickly define sophisticated material before being published
• Media Library provides storage of huge amount of items/data
• Integration with Visual Studio 2010 IDE

How to decide whether Sitecore is the best choice for your company.
If you decide that your company needs a CMS solution you probably need to make first steps towards understanding your use and defining requirements. If to speak about Sitecore CMS we’ve prepared some tips to find out if Sitecore is a good option for your company:
– You/your development team are fluent with .NET (C#, ASP.NET);
– You have a good sized website to host;
– You’re willing/ready to invest and migrate all your websites and web apps into a .NET environment;
– You agree with the payback period that could take over 1 year or longer depending on what you spend to implement and what customization you have done.

One more hot issue to consider is whether you’re ready to go with the paid license. Sitecore CMS is a paid one, it’s not open source. So you should pay for support and access to the code base if you need to create a highly customized deployment with heavy involvement from your team.

So to end up the abovementioned I could say that from technical point of view Sitecore is really looks great and it’s very powerful player among other management systems on the market as it is thoughtfully designed and well developed.

Thank you for your attention to my post and if you have any comments about any aspect of the Sitecore CMS, please feel free to leave your comments.

 

Katerina Bulavskaya

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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


%d bloggers like this: