A little while ago I was contacted by Kentico (www.kentico.com) with an offer for a free enterprise license of their CMS system. As I had planned on moving the Perth SQL Server User Group over to a site where we’re have a lot more control it came at a very convenient time.
With the offer came also a further offer for free web hosting for the CMS system – this was provided by Applied Innovations (www.appliedi.net (my apologies, got .com/.net switched around)) which is a hosting company.
We got the CMS system set up (or rather Kentico configured it for us) and we were off. The along came the first problem i face – the domain name. Naturally I wanted a .au domain name, but for me to get a .org.au domain name the user group needs to be incorporated (eg. a registered non-profit organisation), which carried a lot of benefits + administrative burdens. In the short timeframe there was no way i could get that organised.
So i registered two domains first, www.perthsqlserver.com and www.perthsqlserver.org, and set about getting it up and working. When i found the “Domains” tab in the Applied Innovations’ control panel (Helm i believe) i saw that it was set to perthsqlserver.org.au, as we had originally planned. So, delete and….oops…
Here came the biggest oops – I had inadvertedly deleted everything – domain, site and database. Christ!!!! Well, what can you do but to contact the service desk at Applied Innovations to figure out what I could possibly do to get things back. Now, generally you pay anywhere from $80 to $200 to have a backup restored which I was prepared to pay, just so i could get the system back up and running again.
First i noticed that there was an “online” chat – well, normally they’re closed for us in Australia, since it’s out of hours for most other countries, but i gave it a good try anyways.
First surprise was the message “Welcome to Applied Innovations’ LiveChat service. How may I help you today?”…woah, it was open for business.
The gentleman on the other line "- Scott Brown – listened to my newbie’ish (ok, total foolish mistake) and said simply – i’ll just have a look for you. Remember the domain, ip etc of the server..i had to admit i didn’t. Nevermind, he’d dig around a bit.
After a few minutes he came back and said “have a backup here from 5am this morning, will that do?”. I was literally gobsmacked..that fast, and then a backup that wasn’t a week old?
Naturally i told him that would do just fine – 10 minutes later my site, database etc had been restored for me..voila! as easy as that.
So, how’s that for a piece of service? Big thanks goes to Scott Brown, Applied Innovations, for helping a poor smuck like me out. When it comes to services on the internet today, a lot of companies fall through when it comes to delivering this support to their customers – and remember, i’m a freebie here – not a paid business class service holder which i’d pay big money for. No, this service came as a freebie in support of the community.
10 minutes guys…and i had a backup restored from earlier that day (literally 3-4 hours old). Even more surprised was i when Scott simply thanked off and asked me if there was anything else he could help me with.
We’re now up and running – the Perth SQL Server User Group has found a new home, thanks to Kentico and Applied Innovations. I’m still in the process of configuring everything, but for all sense and purposed we’ll be moving along fast and get everything fixed for us.
After having had a good thorough play around with the CMS system, I have to admit that it’s very intuitive and lends itself very easily to building and configuring a web site.
It works very much in the sense that you set up web part zones and apply web parts to them – very easy to manage and it’s extremely feature rich, with polls, calenders/events, sponsors, membership areas, articles etc available straight out of the box.
I’ll be doing a full review in the near future and will also attempt to do some development work with it – seems that plugging modules into the system is not only extremely easy, but also supporting the ASP.Net framework exceedingly well.
Kentico has also just launched a free edition – something a lot of CMS systems doesn’t have – http://www.kentico.com/Company/News/Kentico-CMS-Free-Edition.aspx