I just completed my first week with Telerik, with my primary focus being getting familiar with the latest beta release of Sitefinity 4 (Beta 2 as of this post). Though still in beta, the new version continues the pairing of power vs. simplicity that you’ve come to expect from the Sitefinity platform. There is already an excellent collection of webinars, blog posts, and articles available covering the new platform, and as I continue to explore the platform, I hope that I can contribute to this growing knowledgebase.
However, like most developers using Sitefinity, up until now my work has been mostly with the latest version 3.x. So I thought it would be a good idea to take a tour through the differences between the latest Beta version and the current Sitefinity 3.7 (currently at SP4).
I originally intended to write this up as a single post, detailing each difference as I encountered them, but the more I dove into it, the more I wanted to dig deeper! So instead, I'm going to take the time to explore each facet in its own post. Some might be shorter than others, but I hope most will be enough to give you a good idea of what you can expect as a current Sitefinity 3.x user.
Below are the areas I will explore in this series, each resulting in a new blog post going into more detail. Be sure to check back on this page (or subscribe to the Sitefinity Blog Feed), as I will link to each article as I complete them. If you have suggestions for something I should explore from the perspective of a 3.x user, please let us know in the Sitefinity Discussion Forum.
And if you haven’t already downloaded the new Sitefinity 4 Beta or SDK, take a moment to grab it and play along!
Probably the nicest surprise of the new Sitefinity 4 is the simplicity of the Project Manager. Although still evolving, it is actually quite adept at creating, updating, and managing your Sitefinity websites, even directly into your local IIS as a new virtual directory.
I don't want to get into the debate of Web Application Projects vs. Web Site Projects, but my preference has always been to work with Web Sites, using the IIS web server to mimic as closely as possible the runtime environment for my sites. In this post I'll go over how I converted the default Web Application created by the Project Manager into a Web Site.
Not only is the Sitefinity Administration backend nicer, cleaner, and faster, it has been reengineered so that creating, editing, and publishing content is easier and more customizable than ever.
As with 3.x, most of the content you'll be managing ends up in Sitefinity Pages. Sitefinity 4 does a great job of keeping things simple and familiar to 3.x users, but sports some nifty new features and enhancements that make the process smoother, faster, and user-friendly!
No longer do you have to wade through pages and pages of web.config settings; Sitefinity now moves all configuration settings into local, separate xml files. You can finally add toolbox controls and modify internal settings without restarting the web site.
This is the first place where things REALLY take a completely new turn. Modules have been completely reinvented, becoming first-class citizens with a whole new (and more importantly CLEANER) method of being developed and incorporated into Sitefinity websites.
For me, probably the most exciting addition to Sitefinity is the new Fluent API. This powerful interface provides self-documenting access virtually every aspect of the Sitefinity core system, meaning developing modules, extensions, and custom hooks is even easier and more powerful than before.
Keep watching this page (and the Sitefinity Blog Feed), as I will continue to add new items and differences as I discover them. And of course, if you have a question about something specific that has changed or even just might change between 3.x and 4.0, or have any other questions about Sitefinity, please feel free to ask in our Sitefinity Discussion Forum.