From February 1st through 3rd, the Sitefinity CMS solution was highlighted among the full suite of products and services featured at the ProgressNext for Partners Conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
By Keith Neubert, Bayshore Solutions Senior Vice President
As a full-service digital agency and Sitefinity Featured Partner, Bayshore Solutions was interested in learning how the Progress acquisition of Telerik (Sitefinity’s parent company) would bring additional software and capabilities to the table.
After attending this conference, here are our Top 4 Technology Picks that we recommend Sitefinity users get to know better.
#1: Data Direct
The Data Direct product is an enterprise grade ‘connector.’ It allows developers to save on integration headaches by connecting through it as an intermediary to the end data source. The Data Direct product is maintained by the Progress developers and they have many impressive systems already integrated with it, including: Google Analytics, Hubspot, Dynamics, SQL Azure, SugarCRM to name a few. The system goes even further by offering EDI, Healthcare EDI and XML. Add to that the ability to use ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET and OData interfaces, and you truly have a platform that can provide customers a lot of value while minimizing time involved in direct integrations. This product continues to be a big focus for Progress – this year alone they’ve release 20+ new connectors for the application. And with cloud versions available in addition to their on-premise solutions, it provides flexible installation options.
Another appealing advantage for web developers, is the performance aspects of their drivers. At the conference, Progress shared several examples of how and where it can help with performance, “In most applications, up to 90% of data access time is spent in the driver. That’s why Progress DataDirect drivers offer many performance tuning options that can add up to a 500% improvement in performance.”
Bottom line – Bayshore Solutions recommends looking into this product further for use within Sitefinity projects to help reduce integration complexities as well as improve both speed and reliability with third party sources.
Another big area of interest was their rules engine product, Corticon. Corticon removes the business logic and rules from the application level and puts them into an engine specifically designed to manage, execute and report on these rules.
The easiest example to share (and one they demoed several times at the conference) was Corticon applied to an insurance application. Picture the amount of information you have to share in order to get approved for insurance! Each and every one of those rules can live within the Corticon engine which can then be managed and accessed by individuals that reside more on the business side, rather than the development side. This allows for easier updates to the logic while at the same time lowering the amount of risk assumed in making the updates. Instead of having developers make updates, test, and push out new builds – rules can be created, tested and reused across applications, imported from Excel, and managed through a web interface. The system supports REST API calls and is optimized for performance: less than 10ms average response time performance!
When considering this product, keep in mind that rules are not just about insurance forms and mortgage approvals. An interesting case study presented at the conference featured eBay’s use of Corticon in various aspects of its website, including the decision tree used for determining if and how seller items can be posted.
Bottom Line – Bayshore Solutions recommends anyone that needs to more efficiently and effectively manage rules on their website give Corticon a look.
#3: Sitefinity, DevCraft, Kendo UI
As a benefit of Progress purchasing Telerik, the various products in the Telerik suite are now under the management and support of Progress. This includes Sitefinity, Kendo UI, and DevCraft. As we all know, Sitefinity is the epitome of CMS elegance and excellence. Sitefinity CMS can handle even the most complex enterprise functionality requirements of your website. If you are looking for a new CMS solution and are unfamiliar with Sitefinity, feel free to click here to read more.
DevCraft are various UI libraries that provide pre-built functions and features that allow developers to integrate into the applications they are building. DevCraft includes Kendo UI. Bayshore Solutions has several examples where we’ve used Kendo UI to make great looking and functioning sites without reinventing the wheel. A recent example is Reeves Import Motorcars’ website. This website is built on the Sitefinity framework and leverages the Kendo UI for many of its catalog features. Many of our other projects also use the Kendo UI to make it easier for our customers to interact with large datasets.
Bottom Line – the potential application for these tools are vast! The focus becomes when and where are the best opportunities to use them. We recommend leveraging trusted, certified Sitefinity partners if you find yourself in need of assistance when making your decisions.
In a nutshell, Rollbase is designed to offer quick and easy access to data across an organization through a SaaS (Software as a Service) model. Have an on-premise database which you just need to make available to your users without much customization? Connect Rollbase to it and ‘build’ your app in the cloud. Many of the Progress case studies highlight the speed to market this service offers. Rather than months of development, Rollbase offers a toolset which truly allows drag and drop functionality, without the need for coding.
Now, as you would imagine, there may be some limitations based on your specific situation or business need. But chances are, if you dig in a little further, you may recognize that there is still potential to solve most if not all of your requirements. To make things easier, Progress is promoting a rollbase marketplace where predefined templates are ready for use.
Bottom Line – Bayshore Solutions recommends clicking through the Rollbase templates, looking at the screenshots to see the possibilities, as well as reading some of their case studies. It truly is an interesting product!
For a comprehensive look at your business website needs and the right CMS and technology solutions, contact us today.