CMS: Fear not the transition from legacy products

Transitioning from legacy content management systems has never been easy, but developers are singing the praises of a company just beginning to market its solution to North America. And its use of XAML reduces development time.

“Sitecore's open architecture and extensive API provided an environment that is appropriately flexible and powerful,” says Brian Fairholm, developer, North Vancouver School District. “We were able to view current Sitecore content alongside content in our legacy system. Users can migrate from our legacy system in a controlled and comfortable manner with minimum panic.”

Sitecore is a content management system that consists of two elements: the content management client used to enter content on a Web site, and a developer environment. It provides standard features like forums, newsletters, forms and RSS integration. And, according to Sitecore, its out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft SharePoint, Active Directory, Word and InfoPath make it a natural fit for Microsoft environments.

“XAML is Microsoft's XML presentation and display technology which replaces pure HTML development of user interface design,” says Jason Crea, Sitecore’s director of North American Partnering and Alliances. “This significantly reduces development time, by as much as 75 percent over standard HTML UI design.”

Fairholm says Sitecore enables developers to get under the hood and offers a powerful separation of content and presentation, including a simple mechanism to map particular layouts to display devices.

“We like its ability to use both .NET and XSLT rendering items,” Fairholm adds. “Often a few lines of XSLT provided a powerful way of grabbing and rendering content whereas other solutions, particularly integration solutions, were better accomplished in Visual Studio with C#.”

Sitecore's CMS solution is a pure .NET application, says Sitecore’s Crea, it allows Sitecore to capitalize on the millions of dollars and man hours Microsoft invested in the .NET framework for its extension into the CMS solution space. The application, based on XML, XSL, CSS, aspx, ascx and JavaScript, allows the CMS to provide 100 percent browser based UI's and services to aid in deployment and integration while allowing developers the freedom to build business solutions that solve clients’ real world problems.

While it offers real benefits to developers working in Microsoft environments, Fairholm cautions that the workflow mechanism requires some development. “The simple workflow example out of the box is only an example,” says Fairholm. “Enterprises with complicated workflow requirements will need to carefully analyze their needs and then develop a workflow using the underlying mechanism. Including sophisticated communication within the workflow would require significant development.”

About the Author

Shawna McAlearney is a senior web editor at Application Development Trends. She can be reached at [email protected].