Telerik Sitefinity: A Review

Last week we launched a site for a client that was built upon the Telerik Sitefinity CMS platform. Between me and 3 or 4 other developers, we customized the front end, a bit of the back end, and all parts inbetween. I’m quite proud of the launch. There were lots of learning points along the way and I’m sure some folks are wondering if it’s worth using this platform to build a site. Here’s my rundown on the good, the bad, and the ugly with it.

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Something Old and New: Importing WordPress posts into Sitefinity

I can’t take too much credit for this, however, I made enough updates to the library that I felt it warranted a post.

If you’re migrating your blog from WordPress into Sitefinity, I’ve taken an existing tool (major HT to timw255) and modified it. I disabled some features with loading tags/metadata that caused errors. More importantly, I added the ability to have a “default” e-mail address, properly import the full image from the “thumbnail” images that WordPress typically uses, and cleaned up the summary field.

It’s on Github, so as they say, if you don’t like what I did, fork it and improve it yourself! 8^D

You can get the WordPress to Sitefinity tool here.

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Soup to Nuts – Dynamically Submitting Sitefinity Forms Using AJAX

Sitefinity has a nice forms module baked right into the system. Within a few steps you can easily setup your basic questions, add it to a page, and track the results. You can even get e-mail notifications when a new form item is submitted, should you choose. However, the one downside to the forms module is that out of the box, a from is submitted through your typical .Net PostBack method, and there is no setting to make the form submit via AJAX. Sitefinity boasts about how web service friendly the platform is and that how a lot of modules in the system are already “WCF enabled”. By digging into these, we make our forms submit over a standard REST web service call.

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Quick Tip – Setting Active Classes Within Templates in Sitefinity

We ran into an issue with our Sitefinity instance where the default menu navigation that was provided wasn’t cutting the mustard. We needed something more elaborate. However, we wanted to display an “active” box in our menu options based on the page the user was on. After some trial and error, here’s how you do it.

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Creating Reusable Text Snippets with Shortcodes in SiteFinity

One of the requests/challenges that I’ve come up against while working on a new project with Telerik’s Sitefinity CMS is providing a means of reusing text at a more granular than what a typcial shared content block provides. I needed to provide a way that was reusable, as well as easy for the end user to maintain and use. After some digging and tweaking, I’ve found what I believe to be an ideal solution. By combining shared content blocks and “short codes”, you can make this happen.

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Creating Custom Formatted Layout Widgets in SiteFinity

I’m moving fast and furious through the Telerik SiteFinity CMS platform as of late. One thing we’re looking to do is to provide “formatted layout widgets” that will allow our end users to add more complex elements to their pages that are formatted nicely. The resources are there in SiteFinity, there’s just a couple of pieces not immediately known that you need to make it work.

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