[Progress News] [Progress OpenEdge ABL] ASP.NET Core: The Recommended Way to Develop with Sitefinity

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Peter Filipov

.NET Core is the preferred way for Sitefinity partners and clients to develop websites. Learn about the advantages of .NET core CMS for website development.

Sitefinity .NET Core support has been available for more than a year, and we've seen a big uptake from our customers and partners—especially when it comes to new projects. Different data sources show that Sitefinity .NET Core is the preferred way for our partners and clients to develop websites with Sitefinity.

With that adoption trajectory and all learnings we’ve had from it, we would like to officially recommend Sitefinity .NET Core to all our customers and partners. .NET Core is the future, and if you are starting a new project, considering .NET Core should be a no-brainer for you. This blog post will explain what the benefits of .NET Core are and what it means for customers that have existing Sitefinity projects.

What is .NET Core?​

.NET Core (or .NET 5, 6, 7 and newer versions) is a free, open-source software development platform for Windows, Linux and macOS operating systems, maintained by Microsoft.

For Sitefinity customers, this means that they can develop and host their Sitefinity frontend applications across platforms without any limitations. It provides complete freedom to the developer.

The Advantages of .NET Core for Sitefinity Customers​

From tech stack perspective, .NET Core is a future-proof framework that offers tons of options to deploy and develop on. The performance speed is excellent, and it allows you to blend different technologies—Microsoft Blazor, JS-based frameworks such as React, Angular and Vue.

By utilizing .NET Core as a technology, we can offer multi-tier Sitefinity platform architecture, where the frontend project is completely separated from the backend development. To build with .NET Core, users must create a new ASP.NET Core application and install the respective Sitefinity .NET Core NuGet packages.

With this separation of concerns, developers focus on building templates and widgets a lot faster and more efficiently by leveraging .NET Core. The other tier is a standard Sitefinity instance which holds the backend and content creation experience. The ASP.NET Core frontend application communicates with it via an OData layer.

Thanks to .NET Core, the development speed in Sitefinity drastically improved due to the new decoupled architecture, laying focus on the frontend. This is evidenced first and foremost by the partners who have been adopting Sitefinity .NET Core for their projects.

What Benefits Does .NET Core Provide Sitefinity Customers/End Users?​

Starting as a blank canvas with .NET Core, we were able to deliver tons of meaningful features in a short time. The lack of legacy technology dependencies certainly helped; however, the new technology itself is very inviting to be creative and productive in what you do.

The goal is to maintain that speed of new feature development throughout the upcoming release cycles, so that we address the needs of our clients as they emerge. At the same time, users will have the freedom to develop quickly and deliver complete projects within a few months—a testimony we were proud to receive through our partners’ network.

.NET Core allows us to provide better experience to marketers, content editors and business users when it comes to page and form building. Our new page editor offers true WYSIWIG experience to editors, allowing them to control the appearance, be creative, productive and break free from depending on their IT colleagues for content, UI and layout updates. At the same time the rest of the Sitefinity backend is the same, so the experience for existing customers will continue to stay the same.

ASP .NET MVC Support on the .NET Framework isn’t Going Anywhere​

Recommending our customers use the new technology does not mean that ASP.NET MVC support will be discontinued. We will continue supporting the framework in line with our Sitefinity Lifecycle Policy. We just released Sitefinity 14.4 which is an LTS version, reaffirming our plans to support our customers along their Sitefinity journey.

How to Approach This New Technology Path​

First things first, upgrade to Sitefinity 14.4 to ensure that your project will get the long term support. This is important both from a feature update perspective but also for Security reasons. Getting the latest security patches is critical for you to take advantage of Sitefinity’s acclaimed enterprise level security.

In case you decide to rewrite your project(s) and migrate to .NET Core, you can start planning in advance your .NET Core replatform strategy. What you should know in advance is that with Sitefinity .NET Core, your .NET Core and MVC pages could exist side by side, allowing you to execute a step-by-step migration, without any interruptions in your web visitors’ experience. Also, you will see that with .NET Core it is a lot easier to reach important milestones in a reasonable timeframe and for a stretched period of time.

.NET 6, 7 or Later (.NET Core) versus MVC​

During the last releases we have been in constant communication with our customers, delivering a critical set of features and capabilities for their .NET Core projects so that both developers and marketers are successful in their jobs. This is a never-ending story, which is why we continue listening and delivering new features and features updates that our customers want. Stay tuned for my next blog post, which will share some insight into what to expect in the rest of 2023. Make sure to read until the end, where you will find our GitHub repo which covers many scenarios that came from users, making life easier for everyone who is just starting. If you are missing a feature, get in touch with me or our team and let us know.

Looking into the Future​

Lately, we are hearing the question “When will Sitefinity be entirely re-written in .NET Core?” a lot. To place a little spoiler here, I will only say that the Sitefinity team is working on an initiative and our plans are to have it officially released next year. The good news is that our Sitefinity .NET Core frontend, which you know from your development today, will rely on the same layer of REST APIs and you will have to just point it to the new .NET Core Sitefinity to make it work.

How to Get Started with .NET Core​

We have a brand new on-demand training course about the Foundations of Sitefinity ASP.NET Core Development: Sitefinity 14, showing developers how to use Sitefinity .NET Core and leverage its decoupled architecture. The course explains how to take advantage of all new Sitefinity features and capabilities of .NET Core, such as the new development model, the .NET Core architecture, setting up your .NET Core project using CLI commands, widget development and more. Those of you who want to be certified can take our exam and show off in front of your friends.

Make sure to regularly access the Sitefinity documentation for new features and updates. To showcase best practices, we open-sourced our widgets and added requested scenarios as samples into our public GitHub repository.

If you can’t wait to see Sitefinity .NET Core in action, make sure to request a demo right now and our product experts will take you on a journey you’ll long remember.

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