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Something for nothing is always a good thing. And that’s exactly what Mono Software is offering with the release of v3.0 of its MonoX content management system that focuses principally on adding social networking features to previous versions.

While technically the company says this version is still in beta, it is already being used across dozens of enterprises powering dozens of enterprise applications particularly in the SMB space, where its pricing will probably find it a lot of new clients.

Yes, it is free and can be used without limits by both commercial and non-commercial users, the only stipulation being that whoever uses it provides a link back to the is a link back to the MonoX site. But there are hidden fees – not in the sense of trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes -- but in the sense that it takes a while to find them on the MonoX website.

MonoX Web CMS

Firstly though, let have a look at the content management system. Founded in 2003 in Croatia, MonoX is a full-featured ASP.NET CMS that in this release provides support for many social networking features.

In previous versions, which concentrated on the content management aspect of MonoX, Mono Software introduced standard features like full support for ASP.NET Web parts, W3C compliance, SEO optimization as well as a scalable and robust architecture.

With this release MonoX has more than 50 principal web parts and an infrastructure that enables customization at both the front end and in application functionality. Current features include:

  • Administration through a browser-based interface
  • AJAX-based interface that enables editing and moving of web parts using drag-and-drop functions
  • Easy content upload and editing using a WYSIWYG editor
  • Easy versioning for all content changes
  • Numerous search providers that come with the ability to control portal search engine behaviour and can search pages, news, blog posts, groups, user profiles and file system.

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MonoX CMS Interface
 

MonoX CMS v3.0 and Social Networking

This version focuses on social networking features and the components needed to build advanced social environments including the usual suspects like profiles, groups, blogs and activity streams.

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MonoX v3.0 Blogging Feature

But the number of additions is substantial and should provide a social networking platform that does not just consist of a few social features tacked onto a content management system, but a full social network package with features including:

  • Open ID and RPX that enables users log-in to MonoX-based portals without having to go through the very annoying task of registering
  • ID integration with LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace that enables log-in to MonoX portals using credentials from these applications
  • Easy friendship module management that controls the different levels of access other users have to your page
  • A multi-user blog engine that supports blogging functions like comments, ratings, tagging and anti-span filters
  • Media galleries that support videos, photos and any other file type. This also contains third-part plug-ins for video conversion that enables any video content to be changed into standard flash formats.

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MonoX v3.0 People Search
 

These are just some of the features and the list goes on. So where’s the snag? Well, there doesn’t really appear to be one although to really find out it would need to be tested.

MonoX Pricing and Support

The other question that springs to mind is how does Mono make money if it’s free? And the answer is that it makes it from the different levels of support they provide for its install base.

There are two different kinds of support listed on their website:

  • MonoX Free Edition: This can be used both commercially and non-commercially, but does not come with dedicated technical support. Support with this edition is provided by community resources including blogs, forums and knowledge base.
  • MonoX Priority Support: This is a fully supported edition that is priced at US$ 1999 and ensures that you’ll receive help on all MonoX-related issues within 24 hours from MonoX specialists that work with both the standard and customized editions. This support is handled by people who know every aspect of MonoX and who implemented dozens of customized applications based on it.

There is also a MonoX Source Edition for US$ 2999 that allows users modify the core functionality of the MonoX engine that does not require links back to the MonoX site, and comes with 12 months of priority support.