Welcome back, Sitefinity fans. Time for our next installment of playtime in the Sitefinity 7.0 Sandbox. Plus, we’ll show you an example of fancy website development we did for a client!
Last time we went through the Page Editor’s menus. Mostly the same as previous versions, with some useful localization & testing improvements. This time we’re wandering through the other Dashboard menus.
Since 7.0 is an evolution of the 6.x admin interface, much of the menus’ structure is the same. But before I go into the new elements you’ll find in those menus, I should make something clear.
Sitefinity uses a basic module structure to create content items. An administrator can create a News item, a Product, a Shipping Method, a Job Opening, a Store…each with wildly different purposes. But the creation method itself is almost exactly the same.
What this means for the CMS users, basic and administrator alike, is that Telerik emphasized making new items simple and repeatable. Irrespective of where they’re used in your website. This is very important to administrators to emphasize – it’s a good sales point as well as a time-saver for updating.
Let’s take a look at 2 examples of this in the Sitefinity 7.0 Sandbox.
Careers and Stores: Custom Modules with Clear Functions
We see two new listings under the Content menu: Careers and Stores. Right there at the bottom.
Both of these are Custom Modules – created (as far as I know) specifically for this sandbox demo. Why? Well, that’s easy. The demo site used for Sitefinity’s sandbox is a retail computer business. Careers and Stores each display specific information related to that business.
The Stores menu contains listings for a business’ locations. Complete with contact information and Google Maps integration. In this Sandbox site, Stores is intended as a database for the Store Locator on-page app.
In other words, Stores is why the demo site can display a location search like this:
The store locations are listed left. With a Google Map displaying them on right. Chances are you’ve seen this type of layout before on other sites. How you display locations on YOUR site is between you & your web developer. Sitefinity doesn’t restrict you to this design. Not at all.
In fact, let me show you a variation of this type of layout that we did. We created a module in Sitefinity 6.x for a Catholic organization which displays similarly to this–but not quite. They wanted to identify Catholic schools by region, with Maps integration to locate the closest one to the user.
As you see from these screenshots, the customer wanted to divide school listings and map details between two views:
Same information though. Just as easy to navigate. (It’s even mobile-friendly.)
Careers follows the same format: You create jobs in the Careers menu, and they show up as Job Openings on the Sandbox site’s Careers page. I’ve worked on dozens of websites and written quite a few job postings…working with them like this is probably the cleanest method I’ve come across.
Once the Careers items are filled out, they are displayed on the sandbox site with full details:
What This Means: Custom Modules Build Out Your Website’s Tools
Creating custom modules like Careers and Stores is easier to do in 7.x than previous CMS versions. It still takes a developer, but the process is cleaner and faster.
This gives you an idea of some of Sitefinity’s internal capabilities. It can adapt to your website’s goals by custom development. You have 20 locations? They can all show up, complete with driving directions. Want to add a job engine to your website, without contracting a third-party service like Dice or CareerBuilder? The tools are there!
How is this possible? Like I said earlier, Sitefinity uses a basic module structure. This structure is much like the foundation to a house: It provides a surface and connectors, with which you can build what you want the world to see. Careers and Stores are just two ways to put the pieces together. There are many more.
We’re not done yet! In Part 3 we’ll go through two powerful functions – necessities for the modern website. Ecommerce capability, and Marketing. Join us back here soon for more playing in the sandbox.
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