Kentico CMS for ASP.NET Sites

Enter EggHeadCafe's free drawing to win a free license of Kentico CMS ASP.NET. ** Update, Steve Hochreiter won the free license in September.

For many web site owners, a CMS (or Content Management System) is a cost-effective way to get content up and running. Web site development takes time and money, and when you factor in some of the features available in modern CMS products, it is often less expensive to use something "out of the box" than it is to develop content and features on your own.

Kentico CMS is an example of such a product. Kentico CMS is an affordable content management solution that provides a complete and total set of features for building web sites, intranets ,community sites and also on-line stores on the Microsoft ASP.NET platform.

Kentico supports WYSIWYG editing, work-flows, many different languages, full-text search, search engine optimization, on-line forms, image galleries, forums, groups, blogs, polls, media libraries and is provided with over two hundred configurable web parts.

In working with Kentico CMS, I found it extremely easy to install and set up, and the provided documentation takes you through the process step-by-step. Setup is also very flexible, enabling set up as a standalone web site or as an IIS application under an existing site domain.

This CMS is currently used by thousands of web sites worldwide. Microsoft, McDonald's, Vodafone, O2, Orange, Brussels Airlines, Audi, Mazda, Subaru, Samsung, Gibson, Bayer, ESPN, Guinness, DKNY, Abbott Labs and Medibank are just a few of the names in the Kentico client list.

Kentico has a 30 day trial version which can help you evaluate whether this is the right CMS for you, and they also have a free version that is limited to 1,000 content pages. The free version has no time limit and can be used for commercial purposes, but it does not come with full support, which most operators will agree is the most important part of any good CMS package. The base license is $1,999 and the Ultimate license is $4,499. You can review a product matrix here.

Overall these are the features that I found most compelling with Kentico CMS:

  • Uses asp.net standard architecture to build page templates, so ASP.NET features like master pages are available
  • Has extensive documentation
  • Well-designed and easy to use interface
  • Publishing mechanism, so that you can build the site at home on a local server and then publish over a web service that actually updates to the main site and database
  • MS SQL server support
  • An excellent tool to add new document types, with attributes, that you can then map transformations to. This means you can effectively build structured content items and then have them displayed and re-used over and over again.
  • Extensive set of built in functions and controls for use when building page templates
  • A granular security model

This feature matrix explains how you can add E-Commerce, Social Networking and Advanced packages to the base license depending on the needs of your operation. For the site developer, you have browser-based development with minimal coding, a large number of ready-to-use web parts and modules, full control over rendered HTML code, and an open, extensible architecture to work with.

For the site owner, you have an easy-to-use interface and a choice of Kentico CMS partner developers if you need one. You can build online forms, surveys, and even create online communities with forums, blogs and newsletters. You can add a shopping cart and start selling your products online. There are modules for blogs, booking system, content rating, content staging, e-commerce, event calendars, forum, friends, geomapping, image galleries, media libraries, message boards, messaging, newletters, forums, polls, reporting, texonomy, and wikis. Kentico CMS provides web farm support out of the box, and also web analytics.

You can define new types of content without purchasing any additional modules - you simply create new document types, adjust transformations to your design and create page template that will display the content. This process takes only a few minutes and it doesn't require any programming.


Content Management

Kentico CMS provides a powerful content editing interface called Kentico CMS Desk. It allows users to edit content, preview it before publishing, organize site structure and manage extending modules.

The built-in WYSIWYG editor is fully integrated into the system. It enables content editors to edit content as if they were using Word. It features:

  • basic or advanced formatting
  • insertion of uploaded images and Flash movies
  • linking to other pages or external files and sites

Optimizations

Kentico CMS has already been optimized to work with 1,000,000 users and 100,000 documents in the database. You can easily copy, move, delete and publish multiple documents including all child documents, use SQL Server Replication, and enable/disable menu items or parts of content editing dialogs to simplify the user experience and only show the features that the user really needs. You can even import and synchronize Active Directory users in your organization with Kentico CMS.

I think the strongest of the many features of Kentico CMS is the Administrative interface, CMS Desk:


The Desk inteface provides full access to everything on a Kentico CMS site and allows for easy customization by non-programmers. It is easy to learn, and a breeze to use. Another valuable feature is that the CMS Desk default implementation provides a "Mobile" section targeted at mobile browsers - a feature that cannot be underestimated in today's web environment.

Full Visual Studio Integration

Kentico CMS is fully integrated with Visual Studio. The web site and administration interface is a standard ASP.NET 2.0 project that can be opened and modified in Visual Studio 2005/2008/2010 or Visual Web Developer Express Edition 2005/2008/2010. This means you can use the tools you are already familiar with and enhance or modify the system as you need. This is actually one of two development models that Kentico CMS offers:

Besides the portal engine which requires no programming, you have The ASP.NET Templates model which is usually used by well-experienced .net developers.

Sharepoint Integration

Kentico CMS is integrated with Microsoft Sharepoint.

Fully Rebrandable

Fully rebrandable solution – the solution can be fully white-labeled. Many Kentico partners actually rebrand Kentico as their own CMS, which is allowed by policy.

Kentico also has an open and well documented API and it’s source code is available.

Kentico offers Multilingual support including right-to-left languages and eastern languages. The Kentico CMS user interface is translated into 8 languages.

Finally, Kentico CMS offers Multisite support (one instance can support an unlimited number of web sites).

All in all, I'd give Kentico CMS my highest rating. I've tried a number of CMS systems over the last few years, and I don't think any of them offer this level of sophistication and features for the money.

By Peter Bromberg   Popularity  (6411 Views)