Umbraco

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Umbraco

A very interesting and highly capable ASP CMS originates from Denmark.

3.5

Our rating: 

3.5

Pros & Cons:

Easy-use features for the sysadmin, an enterprise-capable CMS framework that will install remotely on a shared server.
Some tasks such as forms have to be built using .NET user controls, hard-coded approach that is hard to modify later.

Our Review:

Umbraco is a very interesting ASP CMS that originates from Denmark. Again, this is a 'blank canvas' install that depends entirely on the developer/s for its substance. There are enterprise-level examples and in theory anything is possible with this CMS, which is highly capable.

It has some easy-use features for the sysadmin as well, which doesn't hurt of course - such as selecting users and ACL roles with a simple right-click menu procedure. Of course, this CMS runs on Windows Server 2003 or 2008, plus MS SQL Server. Development is carried out using XSLT and/or .NET. XSLT is a language for XML files and uses macros.

I'm told that all skilled devs use XSLT in preference to .NET since it is an order of magnitude better; though some tasks such as forms have to be built using .NET user controls. The problem with the .NET method is apparently that this results in a hard-coded approach that is hard to modify later, and as change is the nature of the beast in CMS, that's a poor approach.

Umbraco will do the job if your devs are XSLT specialists and up to a task of this size. One of the big advantages to Umbraco is that it is an enterprise-capable CMS framework that will install remotely on a shared server. It needs Full-Trust rights though, which is not available on all Windows hosting (and to be honest it's not common). However I have seen it installed on standard shared hosting at $115 per year, on a Plesk-enabled server, with no problems at all. If you prefer the Microsoft route then this could be the way to go, at very low cost compared to the norm.

But as with all blank-canvas CMS, it's all down to the developer quality. And there are some poor examples out there, built by devs who never heard of validating the pagecode, accessibility testing, clean pagecode, or web standards compliance of any kind. If you don't have devs who know how to build a clean, high-quality CMS (and they are a tiny minority), then maybe it's best to buy one in ready-made.


Umbraco was reviewed by on