Which CMS to chosse – MojoPortal vs DotNetNuke vs Umbraco

A friend of mine asked me for a help with his new website. I agreed and told him that I would have a look at it. I’m a .Net developer so my choice was an open source CMS which would run on .NET platform and I wouldn’t have to spend long time learning it. The main criteria was that the CMS should be easy to install, fast and free. This website needed a forum, a blog and polls. I would like to highlight that this is not a corporate website, but a small hobby website. After some research on the web I ended up trying Mojoportal, DotNetNuke (DNN) and Umbraco. Each of these products has very respectful following and their users have plenty of good things to say about each of them. So I had to dive in and to do my own research which CMS would suite most.

DotNetNuke

It has been around a very long time. It is developed in VB.Net which was a bit of a drawback since I use C# but luckily for me you can develop modules in C#. Installation was very easy and creation of my first few pages too. It performed well on my test server. Then I started to play with it more and setup a few modules — forum and blogs. The performance dropped and became rather slow. I was reading around and there could be many factors why DNN can be slow…too many or wrong modules etc. I actually couldn’t find the right answer. However, what I really liked about DNN is the amount of modules and skins you can buy or get for free. I think DNN is very mature product and if you have the time to learn it, it certainly will pay off.

MojoPortal

Fairly new player in the CMS field, done in C#, already plus for me and has some moderate number of followers. There are not many modules as I can see which are developed outside the main development group. However, the modules it has suited me just fine. I think the main drawback for many people when looking at MojoPortal is the look and feel – skin. The best thing would be to choose from around 40 different skins which come with the installation and then modify them. After installing MojoPortal I felt very comfortable with it. It is really straight forward no fuss CMS. Performance was really impressive with all the modules I needed for the website. I also created a new module just to test how hard it is….it wasn’t. When it comes to updating MojoPortal, it is very easy. All you need to do is to remember to copy a config file over, your own modules and skins.

Umbraco

As I read some reviews of this product I was really impressed and had to try it. So I read some docs and realized that you cannot run it on virtual directory. So you cannot just simply open the solution in your visual studio and press F5. So I setup Cassini web server and ran it from there. This is a major drawback for me since I want to have the flexibility of running the CMS from virtual directory. Once I got it running, I started to poke around. It has very impressive user interface. Creating standard pages was easy. Then I tried to add a forum to it and I hit a wall. Someone suggested that you can setup YetAnotherForum to run with Umbraco but I just think it’s too much work unless you are setting up some serious website. I’m sure that if you have the time to do your research and lots of learning this could be the product for you but I certainly would not recommend if you want to get a website up and running in a few days.

Conclusion

In the end it was DotNetNuke versus MojoPortal. I like them both but for me MojoPortal was the winner since it was the easiest to work with and it is very fast (which was a bit of a concern with DNN).

About Offshore Software Outsourcing

Offshore software outsourcing is becoming more and more popular today.  A lot of companies from North America, Western Europe, Australia and other continents realized that they can get a lot of benefits if they outsource their projects to less developed economies. And that is no surprise as it is well-known that the software development costs are much lower, for example, here in Belarus, but the professional level of software specialists is comparable to the level of in-house specialists. I can write a lot about all the benefits you may get from outsourcing your software development to Belarus, but I would like to tell you a short story which can probably help to make a decision to the companies which are still hesitating whether to outsource software development projects to Belarus or not.

One day I was doing my usual job contacting potential customers and offering them our software development services. I contacted a mid-level marketing agency in Northern Europe which was looking to build a custom CRM for its own purposes. I described all the advantages and benefits the agency could get if they order the development of their CRM from us, the managing director said: “Well everything sounds good and I would have chosen your company for this task if… you were here in my country. We have several software partners here and I believe they will do this task perfectly.” Well, it was obvious that they were convinced that outsourcing was not a good option. Several weeks later another potential partner, software development company in Northern Europe, sent us a request for quote… and to my great surprise this was the CRM system for the agency I had contacted earlier. After a short negotiation process the software company chose us as a subcontractor for the project, we developed it successfully and everybody was very happy (including the marketing agency).

You can make a conclusion from this story that offshore software development is not so risky deal as it may seem and you can save a lot of money if you come to us with your next project. So outsource to Belarus!

Windows Phone 7 follows iPhone mistakes?

Windows Phone 7 platform has just come out, but now it claims to occupy the niche between iPhone and Android.
Together with the platform Microsoft unveiled two commercials and a slogan: It’s time for a phone to save us from our phones.
Windows Phone 7 ideology — the exact opposite of what we saw in the case of a failed project Microsoft Kin. There the emphasis was on some kind of «social networking» (always stay online and connected through social networks), but now the main message is: to stop doing your phone the center of your life, but let your life be the center of your phone.
Regarding the operating system itself, Microsoft is making the emphasis on not very significant at first glance things: integration with xBox Live service, and to the main screen, which is a mosaic of «tiles» which replace the program icons and contain the information coming from different applications (weather, news, meetings, social networks, etc.). The latter, of course, very curious, but is it useful in life as on the picture?

Separately, we should admit that there is now such useful function as copy/paste in the new OS. There were many disputes around it when it was not supported by iPhone OS, and why Microsoft does not learn from the mistakes of competitors, but simply copy them — an enigma. The users will not wait for copy/paste a lot — until next year, when there should come the first update of the system.

Full multitasking is not provided in Windows Phone 7 also. If a user launches another application, the current one will be suspended. An exception is made only for the key Microsoft programs, in particular, the Zune media player and IE browser. Here the system recalls the previous iOS version.

However, you can find a lot of positive things in the Windows Phone 7 too. Despite some ideological similarities with iOS, it does not look like his miserable copy. Moreover, the new platform brings a few interesting features, for example, WI FI synchronization with PC. Many users are waiting for this in the iPhone and Android, but here — out of the box. In addition, the WP7 phones have preinstalled Microsoft Office Mobile package and Zune media player.

Large number of experts think that Windows Phone 7 will not repeat the fate of Kin. Microsoft from the very beginning created a platform, not the OS. Behind this are strict requirements to the hardware: device manufacturers are put in a certain framework, ensuring that every single phone on the Windows Phone 7 platform will meet the high quality standards, regardless of who the manufacturer is. One of such requirements – Snapdragon processor usage.

We can say that much has been borrowed from Apple, but even more – newly invented. And this is a great advantage of Windows Phone 7.  Probably the system’s usability is not so convenient as iOS, but many users will be happy to take the opportunity not to be like everyone else. Windows Mobile 6.5 funeral took place and this step cannot but inspires.