Earlier this week, I released the first version of Web Pages CMS - a content managment system that has been built using the ASP.NET Web Pages framework. The project is being hosted at CodePlex, and version 0.5.0.1 is available as a download. I also launched an accompanying web site that provides documentation for the project at www.webpagescms.com.
There are plenty of ASP.NET Content Management Systems available so why launch Web Pages CMS? Well, existing systems have been built on the Web Forms or MVC frameworks, and if you are not familiar with those, you are in for a steep learning curve if you want to extend the CMS. Not only do you have to learn how to work with the CMS product itself, but you also need to learn a new development framework. The Web Pages framework was designed to lower the barrier of entry to ASP.NET developers and Web Pages CMS seeks to do the same.
Web Pages has been designed as an on ramp to ASP.NET development with MVC as the recommended step up if your development needs grow to demand something more "enterprise" from your framework. In a similar way, Web Pages CMS has borrowed a lot of inspiration from Orchard, an ASP.NET MVC CMS, and the way that widgets and layers work will be familiar to developers coming from Orchard, or moving up to Orchard as your needs dictate.
So what are the key features of Web Pages CMS? First, the system retains every version of every page, should you want it, so you can roll back instantly if needed. It also supports publishing to a schedule. The system has been designed to create SEO-friendly sites - you have full control over your urls and meta description and keyword contents. Out of the box, the system offers a theme based on Twitter Bootstrap, and it is really easy to create your own layouts and themes.
In addition, the system supports a robust roles and permissions system, enabling you to control who has access to the administration area, and what they can do once they are authenticated. Widgets are the building blocks of reusable content and are very easy to create and manage. Email forms are a first class citizen of Web Pages CMS (which is something that Orchard doesn't offer ;0)).
Data access: Web Pages CMS only supports SQL Server CE 4.0 at the moment, but in the fullness of time, I envisage supporting the full version of SQL Server.
If you would like to try Web Pages CMS, please visit the CodePlex site and download the recommended release. If you have any questions about using the system and they aren't answered in the project documentation, use the Discussion pages at CodePlex.