How best to "sell" Composite C1 to my co-workers?

Topics: Community
Dec 13, 2012 at 9:56 AM

I've just been given approval to demo C1 to my co-workers. They are currently using the Orchard CMS, and I really want to show them how much easier C1 is to use. Can any of you give me advice on how best to "sell" the software to them? Is there anything you would recommend I focus on? Should I configure the interface in a certain way (such as hiding certain perspectives, etc.)?

Any advice you can give will be gratefully received.

Dec 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Can you tell a bit more about what kind of business you're in?

  • Are you designers, hardcore programmers?
  • Do you make websites, communities or business applications? 
  • Are you working in one-man teams or multiple developers on same projects?
Dec 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM
Edited Jan 28, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Hi burningice,

I'm a web designer and website manager... with just a bit of development experience in VBScript/JavaScript.  I work in the marketing department of a university.

We're interested in using C1 to run our main university website, which will list our courses, areas of research and community outreach projects. We'll also be using the site to issue news, press releases and advertise events.

Most of the people I'm going to be demoing to are academics and departmental administrators within the institution, but I will be showing the C1 system to a few developers at a later date.

My proposal to move away from Orchard, which is overly complex, and will hopefully help us reduce our dependence on our overworked team of developers, and allow us to bring in external; design agencies to refresh our site at short notice.

Coordinator
Dec 13, 2012 at 8:58 PM

If your co-workers are currently into Orchard they would appreciate you showing them a Razor based temple engine, Razor, C# and User Control Functions and how you build on top of that - showing things like the LINQ based dynamic data system, how you can cleanly work with markup, extend the admin UI and - obviously - the parts that you are most excited about :)

I'd definitely recommend you demo on v4 even though it is in beta. Many cool bits from C1Contrib and a lot of new asp.net dev oriented features have been added to v4, making it way nicer for .net devs than 3.2 did.

I'm fiddling with a v4 beta based demo site on http://bootstraprazor.c1preprod01.composite.net/ - it is far from done, but does show a lot of my points above in a fairly clean setting. I can make a copy available if you are interested. I can also provide you with some not too marketingish powerpoint slides.

Thanks!

Marcus

Dec 17, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Hi Marcus,

Thanks for the suggestions. Given the frustrations our developers have with Orchard, I don't think that I'm going to have too many problems selling C1 to them.

I'm far more concerned about getting the academics and senior administrators within our institution to love C1. They will be the people making the final decision to go ahead with the CMS change-over. Up until six months ago, they were all using Microsoft Expression Web to edit pages within our website, so I plan to emphasise the similarities of that package with yours, rather than dwell too much on direct comparisons with Orchard (I'll let them make their own "chalk and cheese" differentiation there). Most members of this group have little-to-no experience in programming. They just want a simple to use CMS that doesn't get in their way when creating, editing and approving pages or uploading files... hence my original question.

With regards to v4, although I would love to use that version for the demo, our past experiences with beta software (from other vendors) haven't been good... so I'd rather stick with using a stable production-ready version for the demo. The final website will be a different matter. It'll be v4 all the way (assuming you release it soon).

One question, which I'm sure our devs will ask is, can you mix and match ASP .master pages, C#, Razor and plain HTML templates in v4?

David.

Coordinator
Dec 18, 2012 at 7:51 AM

>> One question, which I'm sure our devs will ask is, can you mix and match ASP .master pages, C#, Razor and plain HTML templates in v4?

Yes, you can mix templates in v4

Dec 18, 2012 at 7:58 AM

>> Yes, you can mix templates in v4

also in pre 4.0, like 3.2 or 3.0.

Jan 21, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Thanks all.

I've gone with a reduced access model for the demonstration, with just Content and Media available at first. Once I've reviewed the basic page creation, editing and file management scenarios, I'll log back in as an administrator to show reusable functions, connecting to external data sources, and transforming data with XSLT into HTML content for pages. I think that'll about cover it.

My first demo, to my manager and some staff from my own department, is tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Jan 21, 2013 at 3:02 PM

good luck mate! :)

Apr 23, 2013 at 1:47 PM
How did it go David? Just curious :)
Apr 23, 2013 at 1:54 PM
Edited Apr 23, 2013 at 2:12 PM
Those who saw my demo of Composite C1 were very impressed, and most thought we should change CMS... but I wasn't permitted to show it to senior management, due to political issues. The result is that we have to keep using Orchard. :-(
Apr 23, 2013 at 1:58 PM
Edited Apr 23, 2013 at 2:05 PM
I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has managed to import data from another CMS into Composite C1. How easy is it to batch-create pages at specified URLs with scripting? Is there a plugin/package available to assist with content migration?
Coordinator
Apr 23, 2013 at 2:07 PM
@DBailey635 some help here: http://docs.composite.net/Data/Adding-pages-with-Csharp - how to create pages using C#
Apr 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM
Thanks Marcus. It's good to know that page creation and data copy-over can be scripted.

One question regarding the scripts you provided... is there a quick way source the parentId for child pages, when all you have from the other CMS is a URL?

If we run the script as-is, all of the new C1 pages will be created in the root, because we would only supply Guid.Empty during page creation. Would I be correct in assuming that after each page is created, we'd need to loop back to find the Guid of the new page in C1, then search our Orchard dataset for sub pages, and create them in C1 using that Guid for parentId ?
Apr 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM
I've just realised that we'd also have to migrate Media over, as well as pages. Can that be scripted too?
Apr 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM
everything can be scripted... all data, pages, media, mediafolders, whatever... its all datatypes which can be created through normal DataLayer methods.
Apr 23, 2013 at 2:53 PM
Thanks burningice.

When I found out that we wouldn't be changing CMS in the short-term, I did wonder if the biggest issue in the decision making process related to how long it would take to migrate software. If we can script the entire copy-over process, that should substantially ease fears.

I just hope that I get another chance to persuade them. I'll certainly include this information in my next report.

In the meantime, I'm going to upgrade another website I look after (outside of work) to use C1.
Apr 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM
I've previously done a few Sitecore to C1 and Umbraco to C1 conversion and its all pretty smooth. Sitecore being the easiest, since they use Guids for all their items as well, and for Umbraco you should just make sure to maintain a conversion-table with old_id and new_id columns, so you can always quickly do the necessary look ups when figuring out the tree (parent>child) structure.