At my day job I was given the task of finding a blog solution for my company’s internal website. The site is built on Titan CMS, a powerful and expensive enterprise level Content Management System built with ASP.net. It is good for big sites, with excellent file and site structure. The downsides to this CMS is its cumbersome nature with some simple tasks, the load times can be slow sometimes, and it has no blogging engine. (Plus you are shelling out 100 grand+ for the license.) Titan and I have a love-hate relationship. Since it has no blogging engine, I was tasked to find a solution that would be self-hosted and would provide a seamless transition visually from the existing site to the blog.
The first solution that was given to me was using the blogging feature in Sharepoint, which my company already owns. There were some server security and logistics issues that made this a little more difficult, so in the meantime I entertained other options.
My first choice was, of course, WordPress. This site is built on it and I have a solid level of experience custom theming WordPress sites. I was excited that I could use WordPress for my day job so I started coding the custom theme to match the current intranet site. I finished it in about a day and it looked great. I did this locally on my work PC. After my supervisor saw and approved it, I went over to IT to have it installed on the server. It was then I found out that mySQL is feared in the world of MS SQL-only IT. They were not comfortable installing mySQL, so WordPress was no longer an option. This deeply saddened me.
I then set out to find a self-hosted blogging platform that would be run on MS SQL. I then encountered Orchard CMS a Microsoft sponsored open source CMS. It is built with ASP.NET MVC, so I was rather lost to start. It uses a more logical syntax because of the MVC so I was able to almost figure out theming in Orchard. PHP makes much more sense to me. When I was ready with an Orchard theme I went back to IT and was told, “We would prefer not to install any other CMS’s on that server”.
We were left with Sharepoint, which I messed around with unsuccessfully. ASP.NET is messy for someone not familiar with the language (and more used to WordPress’ PHP). We are now working on getting training/help with the branding of Sharepoint to be used for our internal blog. We’ll see how long it takes.
Learning is important when you are employed by the internet; as a web designer, I relish learning new technologies.