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Ideal features:

  • windows
  • allows for localization
  • allows us to make it look exactly like the current http://fogcreek.com

We're currently using ASP.NET, which means you have to check out the website to make any changes (and so our front page has stuff from a year ago on it). Lame.

Can be free or paid. Any suggestions?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Just about any CMS can be run on Windows these days. A good starting point might be CMS Matrix.

I remember a while back PHP support on IIS got significantly better, so now there's no need to run Apache to have good PHP support on a Windows server. ASP.NET support is still strong, as well. MySQL and PostgreSQL also run just fine on Windows, and between MySQL, Postgres, and MSSQL, you should be able to support any off-the-shelf CMS. And any good CMS would allow you to theme it anyway you want - just take a look at various Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla! powered sites to see what people have done.

So, in short: any CMS can be run on Windows now. I've been involved with the deployment of a number of CMSes, but I would need to know more about your requirements to actually suggest a specific one. If you want to test, try them all. WordPress and Drupal are solid PHP based CMSes. The only ASP.NET CMS that I've deployed was .NET Nuke. And if you want to build your own, there are lots of good frameworks for every language.

So the specific questions to ask:

  • What languages are your developers familiar with? If you want to extend or customize, you probably are going to want to use a tool built with languages your developers already know to reduce the learning curve.
  • What database backend are you running? The major block to running a given CMS is the database support that is provided. Although if you are up for extending or (in some cases) making core modifications, you can support any DB.
  • How much are you willing to pay? A CMS can run from FOSS software to hundreds of dollars, with some even offering subscription services.
  • What features do you need out-of-the-box? Although most CMSes are extensible, when you upgrade, you risk breaking extensions. You probably want certain features to be native to the CMS so that when you upgrade, you don't lose those features.
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You can download and try Composite C1 - here is a blog post on installing it via WebMatrix http://docs.composite.net/C1/TeamBlog.aspx/2010/08/13/The-WebMatrix-experience you can also download it here http://docs.composite.net/C1/Getting-started/Download.aspx

It's ASP.NET 4 based but it's primarily it's XSLT features that give you great layout control.

There are short videos showing the user experience here; http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=C1+starter+tip

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If I were you, given that you have a software company, I would stick with an ordinary ASP.NET application with Master Pages and a SQL Server backend. I have found that a CMS causes more headaches than they solve. You mentioned you have to do a check out to make changes. So what? At work our content editors use Subversion to make editorial edits to our non-CMS Asp.net applications. Subversion is easy enough for editorial staff to understand and it allows them to have revision history. The only HTML tags they really need to learn are <p>, <br/>, <strong>, <em>, <li>, <img> and <a>. I would argue it is just as easy to teach someone basic HTML than to teach them how to use a CMS. Don't frustrate your star developers by making them have to work around a CMS.

If you are married to the idea, at my day job I use Sitecore which is a Asp.Net based CMS. It is very flexible for developers, but the learning curve is high and it costs several thousand dollars. I also hear great things about Dotnetnuke which is open source.

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Having to check out, commit, build, push, etc just to change a typo is a giant PITA. –  Michael Pryor Aug 25 '10 at 13:39

Even almost all PHP CMS will work on Windows Server, if you have some ASP.NET knowledge then I would highly recommend N2CMS. I tried DNN, Umbraco, Kentico, but N2 is far better in terms of simplicity of styling and modification (dev on new content types, for example products, categories). For db access it uses Nhibernate, so you can choose your dbase based on demand (sqlite,sqlce, mssql, mysql, ...)
It's free, easily styled (you can make it look like fogcreek just with HTML and CSS), uses standard asp.net master/content pages, MVC or WebForms pattern, it's multilanguage, multidomain.
At the time of writing this, I think it's the best .NET CMS for general purpose. All others (DNN, Ubraco, Kentico) are just to complex, without any added value IMHO. But MS-backed Orchard is closing fast. Only drawback of N2 would be small amount of skins. You have to make your own.

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I've created four sites with N2. Only problem I had, and it's a showstopper, is that the documentation sucks. –  IrishChieftain Dec 9 '10 at 20:57

if you want a CMS that will allow you to easily edit your website, implement your existing design and localize it to multiple languages, look at Kentico CMS for ASP.NET (http://www.kentico.com). It's used by 4,000+ websites in 84 countries and it comes with excellent support and 7-day bug fixing policy.

It's a full-featured CMS platform that will grow with your needs. For your current website, you can easily start with Free Edition. You should be able to convert your site fairly easily and if you need help with site design, you can choose from 1,000+ Kentico partners (http://www.kentico.com/Partners/Solution-Partners.aspx).

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us (http://www.kentico.com/Company.aspx).

Regards,

Petr Palas, Kentico

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