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Over two years in the making, Striquent's Webaptive CMS (news, site) is now available for users looking to take their ASP.NET web applications to the next level by adding content management functionality.

Can Webaptive Stand Out From The Crowd?

In the increasingly crowded ASP.NET CMS space, you need something special to get yourself noticed. Striquent's Webaptive CMS team has been quietly beavering away in the background, keeping an eye on developments by its rivals and fine-tuning its own offering. Now it opens up its new web content management to the world with a free community version or a couple of paid-for enterprise options.

You can view the results in a half-hour tutorial video (or a skinny one at 12 minutes) and download the free 30-day trial (IIS 5 required) from the company's website.

Described as a "CMS-as-a-service architecture", the big selling point is that you can add content management functionality to an existing ASP.NET application without the need to integrate third-party SDKs -- avoiding steep learning curves and decreasing the potential for vendor lock-in.

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Webaptive CMS -- Base Configuration

Setting Up Content Management

Within IIS you can select the Web Application you want to add content management to. A database is created, after which you web enable existing pages or create new ones.

Changes are made to both the web.config and machine.config files when you content management enable an application. We weren't able to determine the exact changes made to the machine.config file, but this is something you should review clarefully before you proceed.

The process of associating Webaptive with your application is specific to ASP.NET, so it is important that your pages are built using standard ASP.NET practices. Supported elements include ASP.NET Web Controls (e.g., Label, Literal, Panel, etc.) and HTML Controls (DIV, P, SPAN, etc.) with the "runat='server'" attribute set.

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Webaptive CMS -- Binding Content Management to ASP.NET Controls

CMS Functionality

WYSIWYG, versioning and in-context editing at the front end are some of Webaptive's standard functionality. The product additionally offers more sophisticated features such as campaign management, localization, geo-targeting and content inheritance for admins and managers.

It also integrates with the company's sister product, Perfigure, which analyzes website performance and provides reports for site traffic, marketing campaigns and e-commerce activities.

Similar But Different

Webaptive CMS is similar to many of the simple, hosted (SaaS) web content management offerings like CloverContent, CushyCMS, Halogy, PageLime, Surreal CMS and others. These simple Web CMS offerings often work by semi-magically binding content management functionality to one or more HTML DOM elements in a webpage or website. They are not very intrusive and typically provide limited CMS functionality as a result.

Webaptive follows a similar model, however it goes a bit further as it binds at a low level in the ASP.NET application. It can therefore connect to both ASP.NET controls and standard HTML elements -- as long as they are configured properly.

Another key difference is that the solution is not a hosted (SaaS) one. Rather, it is a product that you install and configure within your server environment.

Pick a Version

There are three versions of Webaptive available: Community, Express and Enterprise. Community and Express are similar, but the Community edition displays a "Powered by Webaptive" logo and does not include the "paid for" level of technical support. The enterprise version adds more advanced back-end features like workflow and content versioning.

The enterprise edition will run you US$ 3,900 for an enterprise-wide license or US$ 790 for a single server license. Webaptive requires Windows Server 2003 or higher and SQL Server.