I finally got my introduction to Telerik Sitefinity! I was not only the moderator for a panel at last week's CMS Expo, but I also had a chance to attend a few of the many sessions being offered during the conference. One of the first sessions I attended was a presentation focused entirely on Telerik's Sitefinity CMS with Pat Harlow as the presenter for this flyover session.
Telerik Sitefinity CMS is a modern online business platform which adapts to any business requirement and works equally well for online marketers, developers and IT managers. This session will cover different capabilities of the system – Mobile Web, Form builder, and built-in Ecommerce. Pat Harlow will also highlight the Module Builder and Sitefinity Thunder, which makes developers more productive than Santa’s elves. Join this session to see what’s coming up for the next Sitefinity releases!
For busy people, these sessions are productive and valuable by giving attendees a great overview of a vendor's CMS within a one hour time frame. Despite Telerik being a sponsor here at CMS Report, I never before sat down with their sales people to go over Sitefinity's features. Below are some of notes I took during the presentation as well as my "first" impressions of the Sitefinity CMS.
Who is Telerik?
According to Pat, Telerik has around 500 people working for the company, over 100,000 customers, and nine global offices. Websites such as Texas Roadhouse, Quaker Oats, and Blackstone, have been built on .NET based Sitefinity. Besides business customers they also have a number of clients from the education, government, and non-profit organizations. Telerik is a good size company and they appear fit to support the website needs of most businesses and organizations.
What makes Sitefinity great?
According to Pat one of the most significant features is the Mobile Web features and I have to admit I found this option pretty impressive. Site builders can preview pages they're building for smartphone and tablets. Sitefinity uses "responsive design" to avoid creating an entirely new page for mobile sites and for administrative purposes the experience is quite similar to the same you use to build your Website.
There are of course a number of other positive features that help make Sitefinity standout as a CMS. What stands out to me the most is usability. Sitefinity's user interface is outstanding. Most of this UX is assisted through drag and drop widgets and drag elements (very cool) that are consistent throughout the backend of the CMS. Whether you're working through the templates, creating inventory in your E-Commerce store, or building a form those drag and drop tools are available and very intuitive.
The ecommerce features available in Sitefinity appear to be pretty standard for this class CMSs. You can create a catalog, online store, and manage those orders all from the CMS. The form builder is a little less user friendly than other features of Sitefinity, but I'm unaware of any form builders in any CMS that are easy so Sitefinity does a comparably good job here too.
There is also a Custom Module Builder for those that need more control of their content out of their CMS. Sitefinity's Module Builder you can define the type of content and the elements in each content type you create. These type of content construction kits are very necessary if you want to run a site that will need to adapt to something more than an "out of the box" content types such as "blog" and "story" just won't cut it for your ever changing content needs.
Finally, for the developers in the crowd, we were introduced to Sitefinity Thunder. Thunder is a is a free extension for Visual Studio that enables developers to easily extend and customize Sitefinity.
Minimum price for Sitefinity is currently at $499 for the Small Business package. However, in my opinion any business that expects future growth is likely going to want to consider the Standard ($1999) and Professional ($7999) packages. The higher priced packages offer the options and features we discussed earlier (such as ecommerce and mobile) and those features do add to the price of Sitefinity. While the pricing of more featured packages might be high for small business, the plus side is that this price covers a one-time license fee. If I understand what "one-term license" means correctly then the math could work out in your favor when you consider TCO for Sitefinity against its competitors.
If you're wanting to find out more about Sitefinity, Telerik does offer a downloadable trial version as well as an online demo version.
Bryan Ruby is the owner and editor for CMS Report. He founded CMSReport.com in 2006 on the belief that information technologists, website owners, and web developers desired visiting sites where they could learn about content management systems without the sales pitch. Besides this site, you can follow Bryan at Google+ and Twitter.