How to use Kentico as a tool

Kentico is a powerful tool, but like any powerful tool, it must be used for the right job, in the right way. An old saying goes “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Kentico is more Swiss army knife than hammer, and it can be tempting to let loose and do as much with this tool as possible. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong about that, but it’s important to treat the tool with respect. There are some things to keep in mind when working with Kentico. These ideas can also apply to other CMSs as well, but we’ll focus on Kentico.

Avoid modifying existing features if possible. It’s always preferable to build new separate pieces of functionality if it can be helped. This helps with maintainability. If your CMS is open source, or otherwise exposes core elements for customisation, this is a good rule of thumb.
A heavily customised CMS may become difficult to support over time and may mean your CMS provider won’t be able to replicate any issues you encounter during normal operation. Upgrades will become more difficult when a key piece of functionality you have enhanced disappears with the next version. If you absolutely must make modifications, keep them documented, as they will inevitably be something that must be brought across manually with upgrades.

Follow documentation. Kentico recommends ways of proceeding and is very clear about the way one should work with the CMS for maintainability. While most CMS solutions offer flexibility in how you use it, usually there are a few recommended approaches.

One of the sayings you might hear every now and again in the office is “Don’t fight the framework.” It might seem obvious, but the flexibility of software means it’s often much easier to repurpose tools than it might be to turn a wrench into a makeshift hammer or shovel. If you find that you’re struggling to make something work because your tool wasn’t built to perform that function, it might be time to step back and rethink your plan.

When it comes to upgrading your CMS to the next version, it can often be a bit daunting. Kentico’s upgrade tools are quite handy at alleviating some of the trouble. You have access to a tool that will perform the upgrade itself, as well as a tool that can assess the state of your codebase. Impending problems can be identified (including any potential issues brought about by customising built-in features) and corrections can be made.

Of course, these tools aren’t silver bullets, and if you’re planning to go from the Portal Engine to MVC, it’s time for a rebuild, but I do appreciate the effort Kentico puts in to help make the process of going from major version to major version as painless as possible.

Most CMS products have a dedicated community surrounding it. Kentico is no exception and there are resources out there to help answer questions and solve problems. In Kentico’s case, you can also make use of credits to facilitate audits of your projects. With these, you can identify problems and work out ways of pushing forward.

Ensuring your Kentico projects are up to standard is beneficial for more than just peace of mind and maintainability for the future. With a few solid projects up your sleeve, you’ll be able to apply for a Kentico Quality certification, which is an undeniable asset for you and your team.

If you’d like to discuss a new or ongoing Kentico or CMS project, we’re here to help. Fill out our simple Contact Us form today and let’s start the conversation.