Review – CrownPeak CMS

CrownPeak’s CMS heavily ties the view of content to its placement on the website. The system is based upon a proprietary API with ASP templates. Each content type has two required ASP files – output.asp which controls what the content looks like on the site, and input.asp which controls the content entry page. These asp templates are used to generate static pages which are then ftped to the web server. There are also some other types of asp pages which can be created, such as preview.asp for previewing the content and upload.asp for uploading files into the system.

Includes can be used to reuse parts of the webpage, such as the menus and header, etc., but in order to reuse templates across various placement paths on the site, or across multiple sites, the system has have all of the parts of the site (or sites) together which use a set of templates. This means the system will either be easy on the content entry people by structuring the site to make life easy for them (which makes life very difficult for the designers and developers) or vice versa.

The use of static files on any page devoted to the freshness of its content is frightening. Ignore any type of visitor interaction or the display of content based upon who or what the visitor wants (suggested reading such as Amazon.com, etc.). Plus factor in the bandwidth needed to move large portions of content regularly between CrownPeak’s hosted service and the web server which is elsewhere.

Custom development is extremely difficult with this system as all database calls are tied down in their API. Any changes to the API requires their involvement ($$). Again this makes it difficult to do anything but static pages.

Overall, CrownPeak’s system is probably extremely easy to use for non-technical people who don’t want anything spectacular out of their website. The technology is at least five years old, so do not expect to be able to integrate with new web technologies or to easily add new web services for your visitors. However, if all you want is to easily update your website from time to time, CrownPeak may be worth investigating, if you don’t mind paying a monthly fee for as long as you need the system. For smaller companies, there are many much better free systems, and for larger companies, this system would only be ok if you don’t want to do anything with your website other than serve your content.

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