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Real World ASP.NET: Building a Content Management System
by Stephen Fraser
Format: Paperback, 552pp
Maintaining a large amount of on-line content without a complete content management system (CMS) can quickly become a real nightmare. Content management allows you to easily maintain and organize your data by providing a structured view of your resources. Speaking from the personal experience, an organization that regularly updates content simply cannot survive without such a system.
Our search for an "ideal" CMS resulted in hundreds of very different online references, from the open source PostNuke to Zope and similar, quite exotic solutions. After reviewing several large-scale commercial CM systems with hefty price tags, you may consider implementing a complete CMS solution from scratch. It won't be an easy decision, simply because there are just a few books and online resources dedicated to this topic, especially if you are looking for "hands-on" type of information. Fortunately, Apress recently published the book 'Real-World ASP.NET: Building a Content Management System' by Stephen R.G. Fraser, aimed at aspiring .NET developers who want to work with content management (CM) applications. They are promising a fine overview of what's involved in managing Web site content while delivering working code for a free, proprietary CMS using the latest in .NET technology and C#. Since every aspect of this site uses .NET technology, it sounded like an ideal companion for developing various CMS extensions.
In a nutshell, this book provides Web developers with much of the theory about CM systems that you won't easily find anywhere else. The chapters on Workflow and Version control are probably the best parts of the whole book. Same would hold for the Personalization chapter, but I presume that an average CMS researcher or hobbyist already knows all the basic stuff presented here. So far, so good. But...
Since this book is aimed at intermediate and advanced developers, we don't see a logical reason for introducing chapters on basics of Web architecture, C# primer, XML and database development with ADO.NET. These topics are already covered in greater detail in so many other books - you can't explain everything in only 500 pages or so. So you'll start installing CMS.NET (bare-bones, fully functional CMS that is described in this book) after 230 pages, and the "good stuff" (building CMS.NET) is presented shortly after that. I suppose many of you are eagerly waiting to see some code - you won't be disappointed, as this book does have some good code examples, and you'll get a working application until the end. However, many of us will find some of that material oversimplified, as we are getting accustomed to free but powerful frameworks like the IBuySpy and similar.
The overall impression left after reading this book is positive - I like the hands-on approach offered by the majority of Apress books. You'll learn about XML, database development, authentication, authorization, workflow and version control through the practical code examples. Advanced readers will probably feel a bit disappointed though, as really sophisticated techniques are unfortunately left out. I'm thinking about real personalization, data and text mining, intelligent agents for automatization of various processes, classification and similar techniques, instead of beginner-level discussion of Web architecture, database programming, etc. offered here. But hey, this is only the opinion of a Delphi for .NET programming freak, and there is no doubt that many developers will be happy with this approach.
by Zarko Gajic, your About Guide to Delphi Programming