First off, this is not meant as a critique of Sitefinity or telerik. These are my perceptions and they are genuine. I am looking for help.
Secondly,, I typically do not build brochure/advertising type websites and perhaps Sitefinity is not meant for what I am doing (if that is the case I am wanting to know)
In the past (Pre SF4....all the way back to RadDesigner) I used Sitefinity as a framework for ASP.NET applications. It provided a nice structure for security, menus, layout, ... and I could create user controls for the actual application functionality. With the developer license it was nice because there was not an added cost for using this framework. There was an added benefit that simple intranet type web pages and such could be added to sites for news and stuff quickly without adding significant cost to the customer. All worked pretty well.
About a year and a half ago I saw things were changing with the development of SF4 and I was told the development license would not be available for SF4. At that point, I stopped using Sitefinity for this purpose (because of unknowns) . When Sitefinity 4 (actually RC) was released I planned on upgrading some of these application sites to SF4. There were problems with the viewstate and because of this (and being told it would not be ready for the January release) and a deadline of end of January I had I scrapped that idea and wrote my own structure for 3 of these applications. There is also the migration tool which, forgive me if I am off base here, doesn't work. I was told SF3 would be able to be migrated over to SF4 with a conversion tool way back when the develop license was removed. I seriously expected to run a program that said 'where is SF3 application', I select it, and it converts everything (which perhaps problems in usercontrols that would have to be adjusted after the conversion)
This was a rough start for me in regards to SF4. I wasted a few weeks of development playing with RC and such before deciding top scrap things.
So here I am....from what I have seen Sitefinity 4 and (4.1) is very nice. The raise of pricing I thought was reasonable for Standard and didn't see that hindering anything I would use it for (an aside, I do have a typical CMS customer that I know will eventually have major problems with this Concurrent User limit based on him buying something that said unlimited with annual support/upgrades). My plan was to steep myself in the new system and use it for development; however, I am starting to see development in this system is not straight forward and many new technologies seem to be lurking about.
I use VB.NET and the SItefinity team basically ignores this technology now. New technologies are fine sometimes and I understand that things change. With that said, comments like this are concerning to me (my bolds)
I don't even know what WCF RESTful web services are and for some reason they are fooling with Viewstates which to me at this point are very important.
"Sitefinity 4.1 contains several new enhancements to provide backwards compatibility with traditional ASP.NET technologies."
"With this this 4.1 release Sitefinity is fully integrated with the current OpenAccess ORM Q1 2011 release. Which means Sitefinity inherits the latest benefits of OpenAccess. In addition, we’re guaranteed to continue inheriting these benefits with each new release (4.2, 4.3 and beyond). "
I tried to us OpenAccess ORM back in mid 2010 in some applications and ran into all kinds of problems with IDE integration and no way to easily convert existing SQL that I gave up.
The FluentAPI is very confusing to me and there is no VB.NET documentation (that I know of)....and so many parentheses.
My role as a developer is to solve a problem. It is not necessarily to write something in the most elegant way or to write it so that it is 20x faster (1 millisecond compared with 20 milliseconds is not perceivable for a single calculation) If someone presses a button and they get what they want in under a second or two they are happy...it is a major waste of time for me to try and be more efficient when it is not necessary. That is why I purchase controls.
So I look at Sitefinity 4 and it seems to be creating a monster for me behind the scenes (the end user experience is wonderful!!!!).
Ok with all that said.....I see a tag line for Sitefinity, Unmatched Developer Productivity. Perhaps this is true if I knew everything under the hood. From my point of view, it is such a learning curve. It almost seems to me like an exercise in "proper programming" and if you don't get it you are not a real developer.
Now three questions:
1) Is there something I am overlooking and seeing incorrectly here?
2) Why is not the same attention to ease-of-use afforded the developer as the end user? Obviously, ease-of-use is relative to job scope, but I think you know what I mean.
3) Are there actual plans to evolve Sitefinity. What I mean by this is RadDesigner, SF2, SF3, and now SF4 have not been bridged to allow somewhat hassle-free conversion. Will we SF5 in two years that renders SF4 code close to useless?