While it’s rarely recommended that one build themselves their own content management system from scratch, there are times when it can be a good learning experience. It’s even better when what you build is actually worth building. Such is the case with Pro ASP.NET 4 CMS, a new platform developed by Alan Harris.

In his new book published by Apress, Pro ASP.NET 4 CMS: Advanced Techniques for C# Developers Using the .NET 4 Framework, Harris breaks down core concepts of his CMS using small, straightforward examples.

CMSWire had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Harris to discuss the book, his CMS and why on earth anyone would want to build their own CMS from scratch!

Motivated to Simplify & Streamline

In Chapter 2, Harris outlines his motivations for building a CMS and he defends his decision to do so by addressing two major points:  1) he built the system to replace another very specific and intricate system in use by the organization for which it was built and 2) he wanted to use the opportunity to hone his skills while trying to solve industry and organization-related workflow issues.

Still, to be fair, Harris admits that if you don’t have to build your own, don’t!

Usage to Implementation

Built to be developer friendly, but not at the expense of the end user, the Pro ASP.NET 4 CMS platform is plug-in based, which lets developers use the core of the system to build upon.

Harris articulates his strategic and almost zen-like approach, noting that he prefers to work from usage to implementation. He writes

…it is beneficial to design code working from the implementation backwards. By creating our ideal usage first, rather than the plumbing to support it, we ensure that we use the code most often to accomplish a task is clean and manageable.

With this strategy, developers will able to build off of the new features of .NET 4, like the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) and the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) that let them integrate plug-ins and modify code without having to wade through lots of boilerplate code.

As well, aspects of jQuery, scripting and search engine optimization are also discussed in length, ensuring that your CMS development experience is well-rounded and complete.

While the book is designed for intermediate and advanced developers familiar with the .NET language, it is organized in a very practical way, establishing the CMS architecture and the core components of its layout, making it easy to understand and follow.

More information about the book and how to download the free source code is available online.