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CMS Smackdown: Sitecore VS. Ektron Round II

December 18, 2014

Blog | Development | CMS Smackdown: Sitecore VS. Ektron Round II
CMS Smackdown: Sitecore VS. Ektron Round II
In our second installment of CMS Smackdown, we’re comparing content templating toolsets in Sitecore (v7.2.0) and Ektron (v9.10), two major .NET CMS platforms.

There are many types of content that can be part of a website. Typically,  you may have some general background information, articles, videos, a blog, and maybe a product or services page. The out-of-the-box installations of Sitecore and Ektron don’t typically support all of these objects, but both platforms give you the tools to build them. Ektron calls theirs SmartForm and Sitecore calls it a Data Template Item.

Round 1: Basics & Execution

Sitecore – In the first Smackdown, we looked at  Sitecore’s content tree. Data Template Items live in the part of the tree called “Templates”.

Tree View - 

From here, you can add a new template by right-clicking the folder you want to include it in and selecting “Insert” > “New Template”. On the right side of your screen, you’ll see your template form.

Sitecore Data Template View 

Data Template -

Sitecore and Ektron both have a number of stock field types you can select, and both provide the ability to extend the selection by creating custom types. For Sitecore, you simply give your field a name, a type, and a source, and you’re done. If you’re using a collection or resource selector type, you can use the source field to narrow down selectable items.

After you save, Sitecore will (under the hood) build out your fields as child items under your template item.

Ektron: Ektron takes a different approach entirely with how to model content. When you first install Ektron, you can hit the ground running by using their HTML Content Type template to build out pages. Add some custom MetaData fields, and you can go quite far in structuring your content.

Metadata Definition View

Metadata View -

In the case where the generic HTML template won’t suffice, they provide an interface to build out a custom type called a SmartForm.


SmartForm Configuration View

SmartForm -

Round 2: Flexibility

Both Sitecore and Ektron are flexible, but in very different ways. Let’s take a look…

Sitecore: Sitecore’s approach to content templating is, in my opinion, more structured. In Sitecore, you are able to build out multiple base templates. For instance, in this example, I have two base templates:

●      General Content Template

○      Title – this is our page title

○      Teaser – this is our page summary

○      Body – this is our page content

●      MetaData Template

○      Keywords – this is our meta keywords field

○      Description – this is our meta description field

I can now create another template which inherits our other two, and has some of its own custom fields.

●      Home Page Template

○      Title – (inherit)

○      Teaser – (inherit)

○      Body – (inherit)

○      Keywords – (inherit)

○      Description – (inherit)

○      Really Cool Marketing Image – (new)

○      Another Really Cool Marketing Image – (new)

Sitecore’s flexibility comes in its ability to build your content templates upon each other, and reusing existing templates.

Ektron: While Ektron doesn’t provide the ability to inherit existing templates, they allow you to construct your template view through a rich-text editor. At first glance, it can be intimidating, but it allows you to tailor your content entry form to the content creators. Because it’s a rich-text field, you can build out your form with instructions, or lay it out in a manner that makes sense for your audience.

Round 3: Execution

Sitecore & Ektron: Both CMS platforms allow developers to restrict what templates/smartforms can be used in content trees, which is great if you want to section off content areas among your content creators. They both also do a great job allowing admins to configure content folders in a way that it is fairly easy and straightforward.

Ultimately, I don’t think either CMS is a clear victor in this battle. Each way works and it’s really a matter of personal preference. We’ll call it a draw!

On the next CMS Smackdown: Sitecore vs Ektron, we’ll review Strongly Typed Object. Stay tuned!

Dave Cardine, UX and Creative Director, GeekHive

Dave Cardine

Marketing Technologist
  • Ektron
  • Sitecore

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