Microsoft releases open source content management software called Oxite.jpg

Yes, Microsoft has SharePoint. And it's the most talked about and controversial content management system out there today. Everyone seems to have it. Many actually use it.

But having SharePoint isn't enough. The company has just announced an open source web content managment platform (or blogging engine depending on how you slice these things) called Oxite. This new bundle of .NET code may be designed to take on the likes of WordPress, but will it do more than create a small sputter?

What is Oxite

Oxite is blog software built on the new ASP.NET MVC framework provided by Microsoft. Although they call it a blogging engine, they also say it is able to host everything from a blog to a large website. Hmm.

Janus Boye likens Oxite to WordPress, which itself is moving from being just a blogging engine to a powerful website platform. Now to be honest, we clearly doubt that Oxite will ever replace the likes of WordPress -- at least not any time soon. And we don't believe Boye thinks that either.

Mix Online, shown below, is powered by Oxite.



An Open Source Architecture

For those who may not know, ASP.NET MVC (Model View Controller) is an alternative to creating websites using ASP.NET Web Forms.  It's long been the approach to developing Java-based applications. Along with the ability to create intuitive URLs (critical to any blogging platform today), ASP.NET MVC also provides support for test-driven development (i.e., automated testing prior to building the code) and enables finer control over HTML and JavaScript.

The code is broken into assemblies so even Web Form developers can work with it. It supports the use of Visual Studio Team Suite and Background Services Architecture. In short, one can develop MVC apps using typical .NET tools and practices.

Oxite is said to be both open source and fully standards compliant. It has a provider based architecture and comes with providers for Microsoft SQL Server, local and Live Search which you can swap out for your own choices (even non-Microsoft ones).

Blogging Features

  • Pingbacks, trackbacks
  • Anonymous and authenticated commenting along with optional moderation
  • Gravator support (global avatars)
  • RSS feeds
  • Search friendly URLs
  • Supports the MetaWebLog API
  • Web Admin Panel
  • Supports Open Search format

Other Content Management Features

Along with the ability to create a blog, you can also create full blown websites:

  • Create any number of web pages for any purpose
  • Create sub-pages off a main page
  • Localization

The interface to creating an Oxite site is web-based and authentication is built in. This means you can control who can edit what pages.

You can also host more than one blog or website at a time on a single installation of the software.

Who Created Oxite

Oxite was created by the team of Channel 9 -- a Microsoft sponsored website. This team built Channel 9, Channel 10, Channel 8 and MIX Online (which is built on Oxite). All these websites are focused on Microsoft technologies, providing a "back door into Microsoft".They did it to show how an example of ASP.Net MVC.

You can download the code from CodePlex, available as a Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL). It includes the full version of the MIX Online website so that you can learn from a real example.

Note that Mix Online is a combination of Photoshop, Illustrator and Expression Web with Oxite as the platform, so the complexity of the source code could be significant (if they have included any of that source).

They are saying that the sample is a lightweight sample, so that you can easily learn how it was built using the MVC model.

What About SharePoint?

Some question the need for this new web content management system considering that SharePoint is being touted as the Microsoft platform of the future and contains the ability to create public  websites and bogs. The advantage of Oxite is that it's open source, but in the world of Microsoft developers does that make anyone jump and run? 

Some say it's about time, but question how open source it really is. You do have to ask that question -- it is Microsoft after all.

Is Oxite the new content management system for Microsoft in the future? Or is it simply a blogging engine that will ultimately be tied into SharePoint making that platform stronger at web publishing then it currently is? We're not convinced much will come of this. Do tell us what you think.