The task of creating a custom CMS (Content Management System) application seems to be a huge one and many of the beginner developers who have always worked with third-party solution may shy away from this task. For those who do not know why CMS are used and their benefits, I’m going use the next section to explain. This article assumes that you know little bit programming using ASP.NET. To get up to speed with ASP.NET visit http://www.asp.net today.
What is CMS?
CMS stands for “Content Management System", the name tells it all, but this product/module/ tool is used to allow website administrators and managers the ability to manage the content of each page easily without any knowledge of HTML coding. Pages such as home page or about us page do not change that often, however, let's say the mission statement needs little adjustment, with the help of CMS the marketing department can make the adjustment easily without contacting their webmaster. CMS manages content of the site, images, layout, etc.
Ok, now let's assume you are familiar with CMS systems. Vendors such as KenticoCMS (http://www.kentico.com/Default.aspx ) and SiteFinity CMS (http://www.sitefinity.com/ ) have done a lot of programming and design work to save you many hours. The first time I used as CMS application was when my employer purchased Kentico CMS so could develop and modify the CMS easily to meet the requirements of our client bank.
Many times developers assume they will buy a CMS applciation, such as the ones I listed above, and that it will do what they need, but that is incorrect. I spent over 150 hours with Kentico CMS to do what our client wanted. However, this changes from requirement to requirement, we still saved many hundreds of hours, and 150 hours included my learning curve with Kentico too. So what I’m trying to say is that even though third-party CMS save you many hours, if you do not fully understand client’s requirements you are going to waste more resources than it's worth. I compared over 30 CMS solutions before I made the decision to purchase Kentico CMS.
A Sample Requirement
Lets assume our client would like to manage content themselves rather than calling us (the webmasters) to make small changes. Let's assume they have following pages, Home page, About us, Contact us, List of services.
I can tell you so far this is going to be a simple CMS, but it still requires a little bit programming. The good news is that you are not going to spend a dollar.
You will need ASP.NET editor such as Microsoft Visual Studio.NET. You can also download the express edition from http://www.asp.net/downloads/essential/. Then you need a WYSIWYG editor which is open source and you can download it from http://www.fckeditor.net/download. You also need to have Microsoft Access.