Features and a few words


Why Z-Admin CMS for ASP.NET (or why another CMS)?

(ovu stranicu možete pročitati i na hrvatskom jeziku)

This is a question that has several answers, but I will try to explain in couple of sentences. I will also show you some o the most important features of Z-Admin CMS.

As my primary job is web developer and also a web designer, I was searching for a good CMS for a quite some time. For good CMS I mean program that will suit my specific needs. I have tested many open source and commercial CMS solutions, like WordPress, Joomla, Umbraco, Kentico, etc. Although there are all excelent products, they didn't meet my expectations. They were all lacking some important features, but most important were:

  1. In perspective o web designer, why do I need to do programming to create web theme for CMS? Web design needs to be separated from web development/programming. Period!

  2. In perspective of web developer, why I must on hard way affect the behavior of specific module on web site?

  3. In perspective of web moderator, why I can't define what modules will be placed where, what will be written on headers, etc.?

  4. Why do I need to pay for CMS if website will never earn me any income?

Having those, and some more reasons on mind, about 18 months ago, I started developing Z-Admin CMS for ASP.NET.

Work on the project was started from scratch, without any Framework or helper libraries. To start project, you don't need anything more than a piece of paper and a pen (or in my case, big whiteboard and markers).

In order not to become “bloatware”, it was necessary to define in what direction this project should go.

Module by module, and line by line; and project was growing. Some initial things I had in mind were thrown out because I didn't see some huge use, while others are still not included, mainly due time limit. I left those features that I thought were most needed. I believe I haven’t made mistake, if I have, I am always willing to hear constructive critic.


Program features

  • Flexible. Extremely flexible CMS framework, which has purpose to adapt to the needs of website and user (and NOT the other way!).
  • Themes. Easily change website theme (look of website), by uploading ZIP file. Themes are ZIP files with HTML documents (templates). Every template contains placeholders for modules (regular HTML comment). Web designer can manage them without any knowledge of programming.
  • Templates. Every theme can contain unlimited number of templates. Moderator defines which page will use what template.
  • Module placeholders. Every template has specific places for modules (web designer defines those places). In placeholder you can add any module, text or HTML. Placeholders are easy to create, without any programming knowledge.
  • Modules. Any from the 30+ built in modules or user modules (or HTML content) can be placed anywhere on specific placeholders or anywhere on the page/article content. You can change positions of placed modules.
  • Menu Pages. Z-Admin CMS supports unlimited number of menu pages, which can be on multiple levels (multi level menu items).
  • User Pages. You can add unlimited number of user pages, which will not be on Menu Pages.
  • Module inside Content. You can add module (built in or user) in every menu page, user page, or article. It is possible to have HTML text for content, after that some specific module, after module gallery or some other module, and finally another block of HTML text.
  • User modules. Z-Admin CMS supports user modules (which are regular ASCX files, programmed in Visual Studio). You can place modules anywhere on page.
  • Per Page Authorization. Every Page (User of from Menu) supports authorization. It is possible to have specific pages allowed only to particular user group.
  • Drag-Drop. Page order in Menu Pages is simple as drag-drop from one place to another.
  • Extendability. Z-Admin CMS supports extenders, which are user interfaces for specific user controls. They are made and designed in Visual Studio (the same way as user controls).
  • User data from SQL. You can display data from specific table in database, by using module “Custom Items”. This module allows you to define header, footer, item template and writing C# code for data retrieving and data manipulating. Change everything from CMS web interface.
  • Dynamic Text. You can add dynamic text, where programmer can write C# code (from CMS web interface) in order to display any dynamic data he needs (e.g. current day, number of online users, etc.)
  • Article Lists. Z-Admin CMS has advanced features for displaying article lists. For example, you can change number of articles on page, enable paging, and change number of columns for articles.
  • Article Categories. Every article has it's own specific category (Category → Article List → Article Detail).
  • Data through XML. You can manipulate data through XML along with XSL transformations. Along with static XML data, you can use web URL to retrieve XML.
  • Contact Lists. You can create and manage contact lists, and every contact has it's own form for sending e-mail.
  • Contact Localization. You can fully localize contacts, and even hide some specific properties.
  • Comments. You can add comments anywhere on page. You can bind comments to article. User can write BB tags which will be automatically recognized and formatted. You can filter bad words and filter spam messages.
  • Polls. Module for adding and manipulating polls.
  • Galleries. Module for adding and manipulating image galleries.
  • YouTube. Module for adding and manipulating video files from YouTube.
  • Twitter. Module for adding and manipulating Twitter widgets.
  • RSS data. Module for displaying RSS data from external source.
  • File Manager. You can administer whole website (similar to FTP program). You can upload files, delete and rename files and directories. You can download files (including restricted ones, like web.config) You can also manage ZIP files (add to ZIP and extract).
  • CSS Styles. Module for quick change of specific CSS styles on website.
  • User Roles and Logins. You can add new roles and logins, and change their permissions. For example, you can have Administrator with full permissions, and moderator that can only manage articles.