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Reality check: name one thing that really annoys you about Sitefinity

by Ivan Osmak
I am quite sure you are all aware of my passion for Sitefinity. I’ve made myself quite clear on that over the 52 posts I’ve written on this blog so far. The problem with my infatuation, like with any other infatuation, is that I have hard time seeing what’s not to like about Sitefinity.

So here is a little task for you, my dear readers:

Name one thing that really annoys you when working with Sitefinity (leave a comment).
Extra credit: name one thing that you’d really like to see in Sitefinity.

Name one thing that makes you scream in Sitefinity

I’d like to thank everyone in advance for the hostility you are about to demonstrate. :)

30 comments

Leave a comment
  1. Nige Jan 24, 2008
    One of my problems at the moment is that most of the Managers and/or Providers don't work unless they're in a web based environment with the occasional and sometimes unneeded checks to things such as System.Web.Hosting etc which makes things very awkward to unit test. The product we're currently trying to develop needs to do things like for a given item go to the CMS for the item description (a piece of generic content) but if it doesn't exist then retrieve the content from the underlying ERP system. I've had to completely hide the Sitefinity classes such as ContentProviderBase behind my own interfaces otherwise I can't do any testing on the other components. Not having the same methods on the Provider as the Manager is a bonus issue. I can mock the Provider with tools such as Rhino Mocks but can't with the Manager (no virtual methods) which limits things again. Biggest thing I'd like to see is a web application version of Sitefinity. Cheers
  2. Jules Jan 24, 2008
    One of my problems is documentation for developers. Frequently I want to tweak an existing control, but I struggle to figure out how the thing works. The API is great, but it would be much better if properties and methods included even a terse description of what it does. Also, there are hooks in many of the controls that are key to making them work (how a list control must be named, or the datasource named, etc.), but there is no documentation of that. And no, the control's code is not always exposed in Sitefinity. One very little thing I would like to see is better and more standardized CSS classes in Sitefinity controls/modules. Some of the CSS class names are unhelpful, vague, and don't reflect the great organization I'm used to seeing in the RadControls. (Seriously, who thought "notop" was a good class name for so many NewsList elements?) What happened to RadControls' easily-themable naming schema with the skin (but here could be control) name in each class? To use the NewsList again, it's ridiculous that the only way out-of-the-box I'm having to write what I consider hacked CSS. I don't want to edit the Sitefinity controls just to add proper CSS naming schemes. I shouldn't have to do that, and it'd make styling these controls a lot easier if the naming was more logical.
  3. Nige Jan 25, 2008
    +1 on documentation for developers, I've been using Reflector like it's going out of fashion to double check how things are working.
  4. Ivan Jan 25, 2008
    Hi guys, I just wanted to thank you for the very insightful comments and the constructive criticism. It is very much appreciated.
  5. Gabe Sumner Jan 25, 2008
    Ivan you are a brave man! :) I'm curious to see the replies. I've obviously written extensively about "stuff I want to see" and "stuff that annoyes me" on "goondocks.com". Certainly documentation, code samples, developer interfaces, extensible page types, extensible page properties, improved file management, improved link management have all been issues of mine. At the risk of being the class "kiss up", things are getting better though. Code samples, in particular, are much more available than previously. When I started with Sitefinity several months ago, it was hard to find examples of anything. Now there is a fair amount of information in the forums. For people just getting started, there are also videos and several sample projects. The more everyone shares, the better all of this will get! There is still a learning curve, but I feel like it has been reduced. This being said, several of the original issues I wrote about remain "issues", in my mind. In particular, we are desperately in need of an MSDN-style "API Reference". As Nige expresses above, having to reverse-engineer the product to make use of the developer interfaces is aggravating. That's probably enough from me on this subject. I hope when I hit "Post this comment" that my carefully crafted paragraphs don't become one "block of text". :)
  6. Brett Jan 26, 2008
    I'm new to developing in Sitefinity, and the developer documentation stands out as the biggest opportunity for improvement. As with others who have brought this up, I spend way too much time in Reflector trying to figure out how/where to do something. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy looking around in the guts of Sitefinity in Reflector--I just don't want to do it as much as I've had to figure out how to accomplish rather basic things! As for things to add...right now, I'd really like to have the ability to add meta fields to lists (like you can with Generic_Content, News modules). I love this product; it's not perfect, but it's exactly what serious ASP.NET developers have needed! Fantastic work.
  7. Sean Molam Jan 29, 2008
    Opening a can of worms.... One thing that does annoy me quite a bit is the upgradeability is still not quite as smooth as it should be, yes using pluggable modules are great because I don't have to worry about upgrading the database. But as for the rest of the Sitefinity files, there are often times where we have to edit some of the templates or tweak some of the various files and every time there is an upgrade we have to copy the new files and then compare each change which as you can imagine can be rather tiresome. Now we could always copy the files to a new location, but then again it is really the same thing as we would have to compare which files are changed to update the templates on each upgrade. So it would be good if we could either be able to get a list of all the changes made or perhaps a release patch could contain just the pages that have changed? No small feat I am sure....
  8. BryGuy Jan 29, 2008
    I feel like the odd -man out on this one. I am NOT a developer but rather the end user. Overall this is a very good CMS application. However, here are a couple of items we would like to see. However, since you limited it to one question we will break the one answer into subsections :) 1a) Modules - it would be helpful to see a centralized location of modules available for SF (this includes mods from 3rd parties). 1b) Themes - It would be nice to have pre-done or for-sale themes. I understand that if we run out and buy Visual Studio we can "code" our own themes... but we are not developers. 1c) eCommerce - (Builds on #1) - a plug-n-play feature-rich ecommerce module would be extremely helpful.
  9. Eric Winter Jan 30, 2008
    Aha! I get to name one thing that annoys me when working with Sitefinity -- I'll do better, I'll name two of the top of my head. In my role as CMS user, things that annoy me about Sitefinity are: -a- when I'm writing a news entry and I insert a (previouslly uploaded) Flash object, the width and height of the Flash object are set to 150. So, I always have to figure out some shortcut to find out the width and height, and update the inserted Flash movie width these two figures. Come on, there MUST be a clever way to have Sitefinity auto-detect the width and height of an inserted Flash movie. -b- while I'm at it, when I'm uploading a new Flash movie or large image(s), nothing happens after clicking UPLOAD until the files are actually uploaded to the server. Wouldn't it be great if Sitefinity would instead show us a PROGRESS bar? That would give us users jsut that bit of confidence that something actually happens while we're waiting. Now for the extra credits, one thing I really would like to see in Sitefinity: More and real slick default website templates. Check the Internet for all the free templates available to other popular CMS platforms -- As Sitefinity users we have to do with 3 out of the box (Company, Personal Website, telerik University). It can't be that much work: simply take some good looking designs from free template archives, and convert them to ASP.NET 2.0 master pages. Hell, why don't turn it into a fun contest? People get to suggest their favorite design, and we all cast our vote. The Top x will be selected for conversion to Sitefinity website templates. Whah-hoooooooo!!!
  10. Josef Rogovsky Jan 31, 2008
    Developer Docs++
  11. Kevin Pipher Feb 07, 2008
    Firstly let me say I've been using sitefinity since v2.0 and I really appreciate how far it's come. It's a great package, but like anything there is always room for improvement. I know we are only supposed to post 1 item, but I just can't resist putting down a few (in order or importance) 1. Dynamic links In v2.x, we could add site links directly in the generic content (radeditor) control. Our users took advantage of this often. In v3.x, we can no longer do this. The dynamic hyperlink control is nice, however it's not very efficient. If users want to add a site link / dynamic link to the middle of a page, they have to create 3 controls, first the generic content prior to the link, then the link, then another generic content. This may not be difficult for saavy users, but many users don't see the logic in this. I would love to see dynamic links incorporated back into the generic control / hyperlink manager functionality. 2. Developer docs As many have said, the docs could be more robust and complete. They are good, but could be much better. 3. CMS GUI I like the v3.x cms interface much better than v2.x, however I'd still like to see further tweaks to it. Many end users have lower resolutions (1024x768 or 800x600) and the current interface doesn't work well on those sizes. When viewing pages, the sitemap tree is barely visible on the left, etc. Also, when selecting a page which is far down the tree, when the page refreshes, the tree is back to the top again. This is confusing to many users. I'd like to see the tree in the correct scroll position after selecting a page. 5. Improved Master Page Support We use nested master pages extensively, however the sitefinity GUI picks up on ContentPlaceHolders from parent master pages (which were used to help lay out child masterpages and shouldn't be accessible to users on the sitefinity GUI). I'd love to see the ability to show only the current template's masterpage contentplaceholders, and not the parent master page(s) as well. 4. Visual Studio project type I'd love to see the ability to select website or web application project type when creating a new sitefinity site. Our organization uses web applications whenever possible, however I'm not comfortable converting the existing website project to web application project in case it hinders future sitefinity upgrades, etc. I could go on but those are my biggest beefs :) Overall a great product!
  12. Brian Boatright Feb 10, 2008
    Things I think should be worked on: - Single install and ability to create either a community or licensed project from the project management page - work in vista iis7 (I hate vista but it's on my laptop) Suggestion: -Add support for VistaDB.net a SQL compatible single file, single dell database system. It is sweet! Has the convenience of Access with the power and syntax of SQL Server and all managed code. Also why do you need nolics? Isn't there built in support for DAL via providers in .net 2.0? - lower the price per domain or add options for ISP or site licensing. - support file manager so designers can drag and drop new files into theme and image folders. we currently do this via fp extensions or ftp access. We really like SiteFinity and with v3.2 it will really meet the needs of more of our clients. Thanks!
  13. Brian Boatright Feb 10, 2008
    BLOG BUG Why does this blog comment engine remove all the carriage returns and make everything bad.
  14. Newlines Rule Feb 12, 2008
    I'm evaluating SiteFinity right now and while it does seem to be "Built for developers", the documentation is pretty slim. Intellisense is easier to navigate and more informative than most of the "MSDN style" documentation in your developer manual. Also, I'll add that the number of bugs in the product is disconcerting. Just poking around the default install, I ran into several page errors over the course of an hour!
  15. Amusis Feb 14, 2008
    Lots of geek replies. Here's one from a non-technical user's perspective (the ones who really matter, right?): Annoyance: Adding blogs to pages is a complex, multi-step process. It should be simpler and as easy as ticking a box. Like to see (for blog module): (1) Author & Commenter avatars (2) Comment speech bubbles (3) Calendar-type archive navigation control instead of just listing the months under 'Archive' (4) Option to display full posts on the landing page, rather than an excerpt with a 'Read More' link below it. (5) WYSIWYG editor for formatting comments, plus emoticons (I could have done with a numbered list for this post :-). Oh- and there's an emoticon! Like to see (Non-blog module): (1) Contact Form for the Contact Us page. (2) Industrial-strength Newsletter (3) Sometime down the road, an integrated shopping cart
  16. Steven Douglas Feb 14, 2008
    Think my biggest annoyance is there is still too many things mixed in with code base that need to be updated during releases. Such as editor configs.. More thought is needed so deployment of new releases is streamed lined. The other thing is not all the controls have friendly gui for picking images or files. Inaddition Images and files code is working of physical pathing so again requires special changes to get files and images outside code base. Generally the interface is really good but the new overlay view is a waste. Everyone here likes the Classic view, thank god found way to default that.in web.config. Setup can be quite lenghtly even with templates, it be awesome to make templates\copies of controls with the predefined properties set. But generally everything great, always could use more modules and nice to see more use of Ajax in controls. Great job guys, keep it up.
  17. Tim Feb 15, 2008
    Based on my experience so far, we need lots of examples on how to use Sitefinity API or videos. Another thing is Sitefinity CSS class names are very confusing and doesn't help at all. Sometimes, we had to spend a lot of time to figure out what the CSS class name mean in oder to make it way we wanted.
  18. Ivan Mar 05, 2008
    In my ongoing fight with spam (I don't have Sitefinity 3.2 with spam protector installed here) I've deleted the last comment on this post, so I apologize to that person. The comment was related to links to CMS pages from RadEditor and this feature is included in Sitefinity 3.2. Once again, my apologies.
  19. John May 03, 2008
    2 things: lack of development documentation and I really wish there was someone at Sitefinity/Telerik to call when I'm completely stuck on something and my solution is due the same day.
  20. Jesse May 29, 2008
    3 things I've found that drive me insane (well, not tooooo bad) 1. the custom module is incomplete (security? command panel? etc) 2. dev docs++; 3. Nolics. It's mildly concerning to go to an ORM product and see ...40 posts or so total. I prefer subsonic myself (its free too!).
  21. Minhajul Jun 02, 2008
    Hello All I am new for SiteFinit and trying to know about it that how it works. I have to create a new Project. What i have to do can any one tell me --Demo Version of SiteFinite already installed and working. Its running a Dummy( presentation website ). I have to moify it to create a project. or I can add Controls or .Dlls of SiteInfinite in my new project and start Developing . I am totally onfused . Please let me know Step by Step process to develope a new project thanking you and waiting your valuable Suggessation my email is minhajul@gmail.com
  22. Pete Jun 04, 2008
    I've been investigating Sitefinity for a few days. I haven't had quite so frustrating an experience in six years. I'm an experienced developer and have never seen a product with such appalling documentation. I literally can't believe that you are still releasing new features. Stop! Hire a developer who has never used the product and get them to sit down for a week to make a non-trivial website which uses this tool. Then spend the next month rewriting the "developer manual" from scratch with explanations of the basic concepts and architecture of the product, and write comments for your APIs. I've just discovered that the manual I downloaded is not even up to date with the online version. The online version doesn't load properly most of the time. I don't understand how you can even have released v1 like this, let alone v3.2! I also can't quite believe that Web Application Projects are not supported. It doesn't matter if the product is actually great or not. You've forgotten all the basics. This is the kind of mistake I'd expect from a rooky startup company. Is this product really made by Telerik?
  23. Steve Jul 13, 2008
    I have been trying to investigate Sitefinity for the past few days. Simply trying to get it installed and working on Windows Vista has been a major headache. Despite following what little documentation is available, I have never experienced so many frustrating setbacks in my life. Many of my installation problems have been related to IIS settings not even mentioned in the documentation. I have gradually and painstakingly worked my way through several attempts to install and configure it, working out what went wrong through no fault of mine, and have now got to the stage where I can actually view the project manager in a browser and create a new project. Connect to a database to start developing the project? Don't make me laugh, I can't even understand the error messages so far. Could take me weeks of research, and I don't think I feel it is worth making the effort. Why can't you provide comprehensively written documentation, and a good set of solutions to what must be common problems? You seem to assume that every user is a seasoned developer, with a fluent comprehensive knowledge of server and database settings. We all have to start somewhere. I'm not a stupid person, and can usually learn what I need to achieve my aims, but this ultimately frustrating experience has completely put me off trying to go any further with Sitefinity. Sorry to sound so negative, but after all you did ask what really annoys me. I'm sure I'm not the only one out here.
  24. Craig Jul 15, 2008
    No source code to the modules. I can customize the built in modules by adding simple new fields and templating the controls. However, to add or change logic i have to start over. I can't just modify the source code.
  25. Lazar Oct 12, 2008
    I am a seasoned developer and making custom modules and controls for Sitefinity was one of the most frustrating tasks I have ever done. The lack of proper documentation and examples is the biggest pain. The other thing is that it gives these random errors whenever it feels like it, and you can do nothing about it or even figure out what's wrong. And whatever (custom) you're trying to do, it always seem there's no (easy/any) way to do it - but that may be related to the lack of documentation. People have to use Reflector to work with it all the time anyway, so why not open the code and allow developers to actually see and debug what happens with controls and modules?
  26. KRC Nov 13, 2008
    We are having our website built by a company with 17 years experience and Sitefinity is causing the programmer as well as us HUGE problems So many problems and bugs we get two steps ahead and 20 back at our wits in with this program. Would not recommend to NO ONE!!
  27. Merganser Jan 24, 2009
    Module Implementation just sucks. sorry for being so blunt. This might be fixed in the latest beta but I dont have that luxury.
  28. rdcpro Jan 24, 2009
    I have to agree with a couple of the previous comments...

    Being able to get access to the module source code would save me huge amounts of time (I use reflector as it is, so it's not like the source can't be acquired through brute force). 

    Even if I had to pay extra for it, and sign an NDA.  A lot of your competitors offer it.

    And guys, the developer manual is a gigantic pain to navigate.  Lots of times I Google for something, and I find it in the developer manual, but there's not clue as to WHERE in the manual it is; the left nav remains collapsed.  So when I try to find the previous or next page, and the author didn't put an explicit link in there, I'm LOST.  Case in point:

    http://www.sitefinity.com/help/developer-manual/adding-new-modules-pluggable-contacts-pluggable-module.html

    And I hate having to constantly drag the separator bar over so I can see the items in the table of contents.  How about just putting it in a website like everybody else, and using the built-in aspnet sitemap to build your navigation?

    One last thing...if you're not going to keep the documentation up to date, please put the version number it is written for somewhere prominent?

  29. Kirk Barrett Jul 05, 2010
    How about the ability to set a module to use the COMMON database if you have lots of sitefinity DBs to go with isolated installs  -- specify a common db, so polls, newletters, generic content, etc. could run in the COMMON database!                  
  30. Jason Green Dec 03, 2010
    Users, no matter how stupid, should not be able to break the CMS.  Simply adding content / shared content, we always contend with:

    Server Error in '/' Application.

    An entry with the same key already exists.

    Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code. 

    Exception Details: System.ArgumentException: An entry with the same key already exists.

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