DART wanted to migrate from classic ASP to Sitefinity .NET Core, while implementing new tools to create better customer experiences and improve website development processes.
Implement Sitefinity with Telerik DevCraft (including Progress Telerik Reporting and Progress Kendo UI) to successfully migrate its old website from classic ASP, while streamlining the development process by adopting CI/CD best practices.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) serves the citizens of North Texas with a multimodal network of transportation opportunities, including bus, light rail, paratransit, on-demand services and commuter rail throughout 13 cities across a 700-square mile service area. DART has also been a Progress Sitefinity customer for many years. DART's Intranet sites were built using Sitefinity, but the agency was eager to use the platform for the latest technology stack, which includes .NET Core and the Progress Kendo UI component library, to improve the experience of their public-facing entity.
DART was on a classic ASP and had five different public websites under its brand. However, its legacy website lacked the functionality that their customers expected, including real-time tracking and trip-planning tools. Rojan Ulak, Senior Manager of Software Engineering at DART, and his team wanted to improve the customer experience. The team was eager to streamline the development process and how his team rolled out changes to the website, not only for their own benefit, but for travelers as well.
Ulak described the previous process as slow. For the development team, the time to deploy changes to the website involved scheduling them at not-so-optimal times. Some team members waited until nine o-clock at night to implement changes to DART's website. They wanted a system on which you can develop fast and integrate with external systems. Lastly, marketers and content creators found the old systems cumbersome and not user-friendly.
Focused on taking a modern approach to providing an intuitive, consistent and responsive customer experience across platforms and devices, where they can easily access transit and services, Ulak and his team knew the time was right to upgrade DART's website
The development team at DART not only had prior experience with Sitefinity, but with Telerik DevCraft tools as well, specifically leveraging the Telerik and Kendo UI component libraries to visualize documents and data, while taking advantage of AutoComplete as part of their site search mechanism. The development team started to make changes to the overall usability for travelers using DART's transportation services. Ulak's team utilized the Kendo UI Scheduler and DateTimePicker UI components to improve traveler's timetables and travel experiences. The development team also uses Telerik Reporting to create PDF versions of DART's schedules and print invoices.
"We have exclusively used Kendo UI controls for pretty much everything we have out there, such as DropDown, AutoComplete and Kendo Data Grid. We are also using Telerik Reporting to generate a PDF schedule, so that we can exclusively use Telerik Reporting," said Ulak. "It has a lot of controls that provide for creating a watermark back in images that we cannot easily do with the features with HTML."
Another significant change was the migration from its previous ASP and onto .NET Core, courtesy of the Sitefinity digitial experience platform (DXP). Ulak and his team appreciated how much easier it was to migrate onto .NET core and have a more streamlined development process.
The travelers who frequently use DART's website can now take advantage of a website with improved usability. The agency's user base is now well over 190K and with Sitefinity's built-in SEO features, it helps to increase website traffic to 500K page views per month, totaling 30.11 million server requests. Sitefinity's ability to create and publish targeted content, personalize experiences and integrate with third-party systems helped marketers improve customer engagement and overall conversation rates. The new and improved user experiences lead to increased time on site, improved bounce rates and higher click-through rates.
DART can quickly deploy changes to its website, sometimes multiple times daily. Ulak's team members can now log in and mitigate any website bugs without waiting for hours. Additionally, creating custom widgets provides content editors an environment to be independent of developers or IT. Ulak points out how his implementation of Sitefinity enabled the team to integrate, scale and adapt to the changing requirements of DART's business, while reducing the time and effort made on costly website designs and rebuilds.
"Sitefinity is easy to use for our non-technical users, easy to integrate with other platforms, and makes change to market faster with easy-to-use widgets. It's a robust and flexible DXP that provides a wide range of features and capabilities for building and managing websites and applications, while also being scalable, secure and customizable. Complemented by the Telerik and Kendo UI components for Web development, Sitefinity is a one-of-a kind DX platform that solves for a variety of use cases," said Ulak, "Compared to other DXP platforms, Sitefinity is the easiest to use, based on its user-friendly interface and visual design tools," Ulak continues. "We also like that it offers out-of-the box integration with third-party systems, making it easy to incorporate other tools and technologies into a website or application."
Sitefinity opened more options to run on Windows, Linux and macOS. This integration made it simple for developers to work on a wider range of platforms. In addition, Ulak said, ".NET Core is designed to be more scalable than the legacy .NET framework, allowing Sitefinity to handle more traffic and users without compromising performance."
The DevCraft portfolio benefited Ulak and his team, and the support from Progress made for an overall pleasant experience.
"For DART.org, we worked on the latest Sitefinity build called .NET Core renderer, which offers the most advanced features and the Progress Sitefinity team provided us access to their developers during our development of the DART.org site," said Ulak. "As a result, we were able to deliver the project on time."
Ulak and his team always look for ways to make an already strong digital experience more engaging. As of this writing, DART plans to implement two more products from the Progress DX portfolio - Progress® Sitefinity Insight® and Progress NativeChat®. With those products, DART plans to create more personalized options and allow riders to go on a different journey faster...aside from the ones they already plan to take on DART's trains and buses.