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Real World ASP.NET: Building a Content Management System

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Aimed at aspiring .NET developers who want to work with content management (CM) applications, Real-World ASP.NET: Building a Content Management System provides a fine overview of what's involved in managing Web site content and also delivers working code for a free, proprietary CMS using the latest in .NET technology and C#.

With commercial CM systems costing proverbial big bucks, this book shows you that for a small to midsize site, you can beat licensing fees with a proprietary system built using the powerful .NET framework and ASP.NET. One of this text's most valuable features is its thorough tutorial on what goes into today's commercial CMS applications, from basic content types, version control, and workflow. These early chapters will be indispensable for anyone working with CM, whether as Webmaster, content creator, or developer. (The author provides everything you wanted to know about CM but were afraid to ask. You might well read this book to bone up for a job interview having anything to do with CM in any capacity.)

After describing what goes into an effective CM application, this title turns to .NET and the recommended three-tiered architecture for .NET applications, the basics of .NET, ADO.NET (for database programming with dynamic content), and a quick overview of XML support in .NET. The rest of the book delves into the author's own CMS .NET application, which is used to discuss issues in administering (and programming) a site.

After first setting up and getting the site up and running, the author looks at basic operations like viewing, posting, and updating stories, along with sample ASPX Web pages and the code-behind forms written in C# that bring these pages to life. Besides basic CM, the author shows how to provide simple role-based personalization and security (including protecting pages from certain users).

While CMS .NET may not be a complete substitute for an expensive CM solution, it can no doubt be adapted to meet the needs of a small to medium-sized Web site. As both a way to get a handle on CM and a practical tutorial to getting started with .NET development, Real-World ASP.NET will serve as a useful resource for a good range of readers. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered: Introduction to content management systems (CMS); elements of a CMS system explained: the Content Management Application (CMA), the Metacontent Management Application (MMA), and the Content Display Application (CDA); types of content; benefits of CMS; commercial vs. proprietary systems; simple and complex version control; rollback support; CMS and workflow (including the Workflow Definition Application, WDA, and workflow engines); personalization basics (including types of personalization, from using cookies to push content to rule-based personalization, the law of diminishing returns, and privacy issues); building customer relationships; Web architecture explained: the presentation, application, and database layers; Web scripting languages compared; introduction to ASP.NET and the .NET Framework; using Visual Studio .NET to build a CMS (using basic control types); tutorial to ADO.NET for database programming (basic objects and database basics including stored procedures for SQL Server); using the DataGrid control; introduction to XML and .NET classes for XML (manipulating XML nodes); overview of CMS .NET (the author's case study for a content management system built with .NET); installing and configuration of the sample code; tour of CMS .NET features; an XML-driven navigation bar (NavBar); administering content (adding, editing, updating, and removing stories); security issues in .NET (including role-based authentication in CMS. NET); displaying dynamic content (including precanned zones for home pages, headlines, and stories); workflow support in CMS .NET (including authoring, editing, approval, and deployment phases); and protecting content (privacy issues and gathering user information for profiles).

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