The Ultimate ASP.NET CMS Comparison Directory

By Cristina Ferrandez Aug 4, 2017

A content management system (CMS) is a software application that supports the creation, modification and management of digital content. Many CMSs also support a collaborative environment in which many remote users work on the same content. The specific features of a CMS vary greatly, although they usually include web-based publishing, format management and version control. CMSs also support the separation of content creation from its presentation.

A CMS is essential for websites with large amounts of content, such as blogs, galleries, news sites and e-commerce stores. These sites routinely need to update and publish their content, which requires the control provided by a CMS. Websites that need to be SEO oriented or social media friendly will also find a CMS to be useful. A well-designed CMS shouldn't require users to have more than basic computer knowledge, since content creators are often non-technical.

Many CMSs are based on ASP.NET, which is an open-source web application framework designed to produce dynamic web pages. It's part of .NET Framework, which primarily runs on Microsoft Windows. The following guide is a CMS comparison of the most popular ASP.NET platforms.

Agility

Agility is a digital platform offering Content Management, Ecommerce, Ticketing, Point-Of-Sale (POS) and Personalization. It is compatible with Microsoft Azure. Agility offers a Central Hub approach to content management, enabling users to manage their fully-integrated suite of products from a single hub. They focus on highly customizable websites with a scalable and future-proof outlook.

The most recent version of Agility was released in June 2016. Brand new additions include Dashboards, providing deeper insights to users into web performance, and the introduction of ASP.NET model-view-controller MVC as a routing and templating framework. Agility have since also introduced a suite of new products, including Ecommerce, Ticketing and POS.

Ektron

Ektron's primary product is CMS400.NET, which is developed on the Microsoft .NET Framework and is completely compliant with ASP.NET. Developers can immediately use their knowledge of .NET to build, launch and customize websites instead of learning a new development environment. Ektron includes more than 90 .NET Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) with controls that perform a variety of functions. Developers can create web pages quickly by dragging and dropping controls onto an ASPX template. They can then further define the controls’ behavior by setting their properties in the code.

The current version of Ektron is 9.20, which was released on December 2, 2016. The most significant changes in this version are increased support for Microsoft products such as Edge, .NET, Sharepoint and SQL Server. The work area now displays the name of the user who is logged in and other details about the session. This version also provides a functionality for deleting items that’s similar to the Recycle Bin familiar to Windows users. Additional features that are new for Ektron 9.20 include the abilities to generate event handlers in Visual Studio and cancel Ektron Strategies programmatically.

Episerver

Episerver is primarily designed to manage online websites, although it can also manage intranet content on an intranet. It includes modules that can be easily integrated into the website to provide a variety of enhancements such as content optimization, marketing automation and search. These add-on modules may be developed by Episerver and its partners or the Episerver developer community.

The latest version of the Episerver CMS is 10.10.5, which was released on July 28, 2017. Important new features include the ability to change the default behavior of the IPriceService method, which determines the method of displaying prices. The current version of Episerver also improves the support for redirecting payment providers with ProcessPayment. Additonal updates include making VNext the default behavior for rework activity flow.

Kentico

Kentico CMS is a web content management system (WCMS) designed to build websites, stores, community sites and intranets. In addition to ASP.NET, Kentico is also compatible with Microsoft Windows Azure Platform. Kentico allows development via Visual Studio or its own portal engine. Its five functional areas include content management, E-commerce, intranet development, online marketing and social networking. The standard features offered by Kentico include editing permissions, workflow management and what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editing.

The most recent version of Kentico is version 10, which was released on November 30, 2016. The most significant changes include support for the model-view-controller (MVC) software design pattern for e-commerce and online marketing. Kentico also supports universal permissions for localization applications and enhanced continuous integration. Additional features that are new for Kentico version 10 include a redesign of the contact management and campaigns functions.

Orchard

Orchard uses the ASP.NET MVC framework in addition to ASP.NET. Its primary function is to create shared components for building ASP.NET applications and applications that use these components. Orchard is open source and licensed under a BSD license approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). It’s distributed as part of the ASP.NET Open Source Gallery.

The latest version of Orchard is version 1.10.1, which was published on May 11, 2016. It contains a number of new features and improvements to existing features. New features include preventing the submit buttons from being double clicked. Snippets and loading tenants retries are now configurable in this version of Orchard. Improvements include building AssemblyInfo file correctly and correct use of the MarkdownSharp Nuget package. AliasUpdater is now refreshed only once instead of twice.

RedDot

The RedDot CMS, now known as OpenText, is a Windows-based server application that allows web content management (WCM) in a multi-user environment. LiveServer is a complementary product that allows OpenText to consolidate document resources with connectors and serve them as web pages.

RedDot was originally so-named because the authoring interface contained red dots to indicate editable content on a web page. This feature proved popular with customers when it was introduced in 2001 and won awards for usability. WCM vendors began moving towards open source alternatives to development rather than commercial vendors or in-house development. RedDot was one of the few WCM vendors that were still developing its authoring interface in-house at the time of its acquisition by OpenText in 2006.

The current version of OpenText is Release 16, which was released in 2017. New features include enhanced user productivity, integrated information flows and connected ecosystems. Features that enhance user productivity include enhancements to the user interface (UI), cloud optimization and creative collaboration. Support for integrated workflows includes features such as Business Network, Process Suite, Analytics for Fax and Notifications. Features that help connect the CMS ecosystem in OpenText Release 16 include the integration of OpenText Media Management with Adobe Creative Cloud.

Sharepoint

SharePoint is a web-based, CMS that integrates with Microsoft Office. This integration allows Sharepoint to support collaborative editing in real time and the synchronization of information management. SharePoint is primarily used as a document management and storage system, although it’s highly configurable and may also be used for other applications. Many of SharePoint’s specific functions focus on meeting an organization’s legal requirements in information management. Organizations often use these capabilities to replace their existing file server by coupling it with an enterprise content management policy.

The most notable changes in SharePoint 2016 include improvements to deployment, scaling and performance, such as eliminating the previous limit of 5,000 deterministic views. SharePoint 2016 also introduces zero downtime patching, which makes it easier to deploy. Improvements to the hybrid search include the addition of search-sensitive information and a unified UI.

Sitecore

Sitecore performs web content management and automates multi-channel marketing. It distributes content across any channel and automatically formats content according to the user’s device. Sitecore also allows website owners to set personalization rules based on a visitor’s behavior during the previous visit. These rules can be used to determine the content on the website.

Sitecore is currently on version 8.2, which was released in August 2016. This version makes a number of changes to improve a user’s experience across all channels and devices, especially in the areas of automation and personalization.

For example, the Sitecore Services Client now supports ASP.NET MVC, and Experience Analytics provides real-time customer data. Experience Editor and Engagement Automation have improved editing tools, and Path Analyzer has also been upgraded. Additional enhancements have been made to improve publishing performance and segmentation management.

Sitefinity

Sitefinity is a WCMS that uses a WYSIWYG approach to developing websites. It creates an environment that allows non-technical users to build web pages, contribute content and manage the workflow. Sitefinity also supports developers with a modular architecture and API that lets them add ASP.NET controls and modify existing functionality. Sitefinity also allows developers to create and manage layout templates directly from the browser, thus eliminating the need for file transfers.

Sitefinity is currently at version 10.1, which was released on July 10, 2017. This version adds Connector for Oracle Eloqua, extensible online forms mapping and personalizable content lists. Connector for Oracle Eloqua allows marketers to create online forms that can send data to Eloqua and reuse those forms by changing their Eloqua campaign IDs. Extensible forms mapping lets developers extend the systems list in Forms Mapping based on custom logic. Sitefinity also provides content marketers with the means to create personalized lists of content items such as blogs and news.

Umbraco

Umbraco is a CMS platform primarily designed to publish web content. It’s open source software and has been available under an MIT license since version 4.5. Umbraco stores its data in a relational database, usually Microsoft SQL Server. Its front-end is built on .NET and uses ASP.NET features like master pages, which help to reusepage layouts. Umbraco also uses XML for database storage and file caching.

Version 7 of Umbraco was released on November 21, 2013, which is a completely new design of the application. The redesign of the back-office user interface is the most obvious change in this version, and it includes a new client-side layer built on AngularJS and Twitter Bootstrap. The editors for content, data types, members and media are also new, as is list views for large content collections. Additional improvements in Umbraco version 7 include better support for uploads and media handling.

Vignette

Vignette Web Content Management has been officially known as OpenText Web Experience Management since 2009, when OpenText acquired Vignette. It’s an advanced CMS platform that uses the latest web technologies to integrate with enterprise systems. Web Experience Management includes a drag-and-drop interface with integrated media controls that allows organizations to create a web presence that delivers a non-disruptive user experience. It also includes business intelligence and process automation tools that provide insights into customer behavior in real time.

The current version of OpenText Web Experience Management is 16.2 as of 2017. Current features include a rich media palette, translations.com integration and plug-in engines for image formats. Web Experience management automatically uses media from OpenText Media Management without the need for synchronization. It also provides translation of web content via translations.com. Web Experience Management’s media management functions support the creation of images with third-party tools that use the appropriate APIs.


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