As the City of McAllen continued to experience expansive growth, the need to provide citizens with a concise, helpful website became increasingly apparent. Although the previous City of McAllen website already contained several hundred pages of information, the content was not centralized, but rather resided in static pages that needed to be individually updated and maintained. Since there was no global management system in place, content could only be updated by the web developer, resulting in delays and inconsistent data.
Dynamic applications were also difficult to maintain as they were each implemented separately. Since these applications were isolated projects, the data resided in separate databases. Each application was managed using a separate administration panel, requiring separate logins and access pages.
Because the city has dozens of departments spread out in various locations, it was important to implement a system where content could be submitted by the individual departments but not published until approved. Content can be proofread and reviewed for accuracy before being forwarded to the web developer for posting, correctly separating content management roles.
Since the McAllen servers run Microsoft technology, and the previous website was developed using the ASP.NET framework, it was decided that a .NET Content Management System would be the best fit. Sitefinity not only fit this requirement, but also included full use of the Telerik UI components, allowing enhanced usability including AJAX and animations.
Unlike most CMS systems which force developers to work within a proprietary templating system, Sitefinity uses proven ASP.NET architecture to simplify development. Sitefinity’s intuitive support of master pages and ASP.NET Themes allowed the incorporation of multiple designs for different departments while allowing a central location for managing all content.
Application development was simple and intuitive thanks to an extensive developer manual and helpful support team. Use of native ASP.NET User Controls allowed full integration of all custom applications into Sitefinity, enabling full content management through a united administration panel.
The City of McAllen now has a centrally managed, citizen-oriented webpage complete with enhanced web features such as a search engine, RSS feed, and calendar. Legacy applications have been replaced with Sitefinity modules and enhanced with additional features and simplified management.
Departments are now responsible for their own content and are able to submit updates without any developer skills or waiting for a developer to be available. Thanks to Sitefinity’s Workflow features, content can be reviewed and modified prior to publishing while maintaining page history. As a result, the city website is constantly updated with new and helpful information.
I’ve worked with dozens of content management systems over the years; none have come close to matching the balance between flexibility and simplicity offered by Sitefinity. There is nothing I haven’t been able to do!
Author: Josh Morales Company: City Web Developer