The Good the Bad and the Ugly
I have done several reviews of Sitefinity releases and they and this one are all following a trend in what I write. But I do have to be honest in that all the good stuff that I like to see, (bug fixes are one), are often delivered on a fortnightly basis which is always brilliant and great to see.
Translation Services are now released and is a great asset to the offering. I can speak French, (enough to survive and have a laugh in France), but when it comes to making this site bi-lingual I found that my French had to be void of personality and so a pretty bland french experience is the result. Managing multiple languages is not easy especially if you are not fluent in both languages and the target audience.
When the service was first mooted, I thought of a in-page translation function like Google Translate. But what it really does is allow you to interact with translation services to manage the workflow of passing content to be translated, approving it and publishing it all from within Sitefinity. This pretty cool and generally well thought out.
There are also some good Site Sync improvements and the ability to batch emails in the Campaign module.
There is a long list of bug fixes and minor improvements as well as all the new Project Feather MVC widgets.
The thing that I like the most? The edition is now based in .NET 4.5. Just a week before 4.6 is released. Its not that big an issue really. I have been setting the framework to 4.5 on all my projects for over a year now. But I do like keeping products up to date and now the Sitefinity team can take advantage of the improvements within the core product.
What I would like to think is that they would go through and update all current features in the product to take advantage of the improvements but I have worked on enough projects to know that that is hard to bring up the priority list.
Translation service and Site Sync are for the Enterprise customers. All the bug fixes and minor improvements I already have because I follow and update via the internal releases. Project Feather is a free open source project so I have those as well. In the end, since I am not a Enterprise customer, not much in it for me. Again.
With this release their are also some licensing changes. You will see now that no pricing now appears on the Sitefinity site. I personally don't like this as it usually indicates to me that if I have to ask about the price it means I can not afford it. But I guess the idea is to get people to make contact and ensure they understand the full abilities of the product. Me, I tend to discuss costs right at the start because I am not a 'sales man' and I don't want to spend time trying to sell something that a person can not afford.
Another change is the dropping of the Small Business Edition. Reducing the standard users from 5 down to 2 and removing any add ons. You must buy the Pro version if you want the eCommerce module now. For me this was a massive blow I have a big chunk of my work with SBE.
I wasn't happy about this of course.
I should point out that the SBE edition is still available from partners, (like me), till the end of this year. So it is still a viable option to get your site started on Sitefinity without having to start with the Standard Edition.
As a partner I get early notifications about such changes and this was one of the biggest discussions on the partner forum that I have seen. (No I am not going to talk about the details) But at the end I accepted and understand the reasons for the changes. Don't totally agree but do believe that Sitefinity are not being flippant about it.
The worse result about the process was that I didn't feel like a partner. Sitefinity have agreed that their delivery was bad and have learned a valuable lesson and eventually replied and responded as I would have expected in the first place. But I am left with an attitude of 'wait and see'. I am optimistic they will build back my expectations of the partner program but I will have a long memory about it.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment - Darrin Robertson