Logical CMS
"I estimate that Iron Speed Designer saved me about three months of work."

- Paul Modiano, President of Logical Developers LLC

Logical CMS for ASP.NET

Logical Developers LLC
New York, NY USA

Logical Developers LLC developed the application Logical CMS for ASP.NET and sells it online to members of the ASP.NET developer community who wish to accelerate development of their content management systems. The application is also used in-house by Logical developers to allow its hosted content management customers to update the content on their websites.

ASP.NET developers use Logical CMS for ASP.NET to build content management systems for corporate websites, online product vendors, news websites, and blogs — essentially any website that requires non-technical content contributors to be able to update it.

Logical CMS for ASP.NET is a RAD tool that enables ASP.NET developers to dramatically reduce the development time of content management solutions for ASP.NET websites. It does this through the use of information collection, interface generation and code generation. Logical CMS for ASP.NET is an Iron Speed Designer project, so it can be said without exaggeration that it is a code generator that was built with a code generator.

Logical CMS for ASP.NET begins by collecting information about the nature of an ASP.NET website's content from a developer. The developer then assigns responsibility for those units of content to content contributors. Once both of those tasks have been completed, Logical CMS for ASP.NET generates ASP.NET code in both C# and VB. It then instructs the developer where to paste that code. Finally, non-technical content contributors login to Logical CMS to see a multi-lingual interface that collects content for and provides previews of the now populated target ASP.NET Web site.

Both the ASP.NET community and Iron Speed Designer developers will find Logical CMS for ASP.NET useful. Developers can change the page style and interlink the menus with their Iron Speed Designer applications and the similar styling will make the integration appear seamless.

Application size and scope

One Microsoft SQL Server database comprises 11 tables, two views and 25 web pages. The largest is the content table, a single table that becomes a repository for the content on a given website.

The project

Logical CMS for ASP.NET took us five months to implement from inception. This included implementation of the website that sells the software online. The implementation team consisted of myself, with some help from our graphic designer. The Iron Speed Designer portion, excluding code customization, took us about a week to program.

Code extensions and customizations

Due to the nature of this project, we wrote a significant amount of code customizations. I estimate that we wrote about 1,100 lines of custom code.

We used Iron Speed Designer's Code Customization Wizard for some of the more basic code customizations like adding WHERE clauses or conditionally hiding or showing data. More difficult customizations were required for tasks such as assembling dynamic input pages for content and the ASP.NET code generation functionality.

In creating Logical CMS for ASP.NET, I used a very handy third-party API called Serial Key Maker. This tool uses public key encryption to read software key codes. This allows the application to be distributed for free as trialware through the use of keys that expire in 30 days. Once the software is purchased, the customer is provided with a new, non-expiring key.

I also used Pantaray's Q-Setup Program to build the application installer. I wrote the database installer that executes as part of the application installer in VB.NET. The majority of my development time was used to write and debug code customizations.

Page layout customizations

I only applied a handful of layout customizations. These included:

Modified Menu.ascx, codebehind and stylesheet to dynamically generate part of the left-hand navigation menu based on the value of session variables and database entries.

Added up and down arrows next to each item in the menu page that allows users to see, select and manipulate the order of multiple items within a single content unit. This customization allows users to view information from a single table, accessing the corresponding meta information from a separate file.

Customized the "content request" page to read the data in the same manner that the aforementioned page does and to generate content editing forms dynamically.

These customizations would have been necessary whether hand-coding or generating an application with Iron Speed Designer; the difference is that the use of Iron Speed Designer saved me from customizing the vast majority of the pages in this application.

We used the standard White design theme in Iron Speed Designer.

Iron Speed Designer impact

When I take into account the user management features, input screens and page designs — all of which Iron Speed Designer did for me — I estimate that Iron Speed Designer saved me about three months of work.

Iron Speed Designer probably saved me more than half the estimated development cost of this project in both the scope to the software itself and the development of the customer management system that the e-commerce website required.

Without Iron Speed Designer, the project would have taken approximately eight months. However, the costs associated with the development of this software would have increased to the extent that it is questionable whether the project would have been feasible at all. The ultimate measure of the project's feasibility will depend on how well Logical CMS for ASP.NET is embraced by the development community.

Integrate Logical CMS with Iron Speed Designer generated applications. More...

Next steps

In the future, we plan to add features and improve the usability of Logical CMS for ASP.NET. We also hope to add additional data sources in future releases.

About the developer

Paul Modiano has been working in software development and IT for over 18 years. As the former CTO of Inc., he has spent 12 years managing software projects. He is currently the President of Logical Developers LLC, a web application development company and application service provider.

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