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Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2011 21:58:47 GMT


My quest to find the ultimate CMS

Wed, 28 Sep 2011 21:58:47 GMT

I was introduced to it in its earlier 3.0 days and at the time our business was doing a bulk critique of everything out there. One of the workers there took a particular risk with the very little known Umbraco CMS, something which I remember more for its weird sounding brand. In time we made a few websites for clients with it and knew that there really wasn't much we couldn't do with it. I even recall Niels Hartvig coming to our office in Australia provide some training. Nice enough bloke although I was beside myself that I never got to go to the training due to other work demands.

When I moved back to the UK I began work for a travel company provider who appointed me as one of their three architects. The client project was of a decent size and although the company specialised in travel API's and the like, I also came to understand that client was also after a CMS. It was a major undertaking but it created several fantastic outputs:

1. Due to the fact Umbraco will only function with UserControls it forced us to modularise all of our present core components. This actually caused us to think more meticulously about our architecture and in the end lead to the creation of a set of completely reusable components which were deployable in any project, whether for Umbraco or not. The fact the Umbraco allows you to pass in parameters to the controls via the CMS was a great selling point. This meant that system managers could modify certain aspects of the booking workflows, bring up to date dropdowns and make changes to pricing models. In one situation we had a challenging time attempting to get the client to concur on the way the airport selector should function. In the end the solution was to provide all the available selections and allow them to switch these on and off at the leisure. Trying each one out permitted them to get some beneficial customer feedback and because it was all managed in Umbraco they didn't need to keep coming to us to ask for the change.

2. Several levels of access meant that certain promotion staff could be assigned specific nodes in the Umbraco tree. Coming from a control perspective this was a real win/win. Marketing managers could leave their marketing staff in charge of key areas of the marketing aspect of the sites without having to be troubled about overlaps and duplication of effort.

3. The fact that it was so well recognized was another benefit for me. I remember being in a training meeting with the same client and we were talking about Umbraco macros. In the course of the presentation I lost my way and one of the participants was able to get me back on track simply because he had used Umbraco himself.

I'm pleased to say that this project was a significant achievement and in large measure this was because of to Umbraco's ease of use and therefore subsequent adoption.

Since then I've worked for smaller companies and whenever the need arises for some structure in any project I often like to suggest Umbraco as a commencing stage. Since it has so many features out of the box to help you get you started I often feel its a no brainer. With the new Razor and Cloud incentives I think its just a matter of time before this becomes the defacto open source standard for all .net CMS's.

If your still tintering on the sides and thinking about if its worth the time and investment then give me a call. I can promise you will not be disappointed and keep in mind its still free.

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