Multiple Sites With Same Layout/Theme. Is Sitefinity Right For This? - General Discussions - General Discussions - Progress Community

Multiple Sites With Same Layout/Theme. Is Sitefinity Right For This?

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Multiple Sites With Same Layout/Theme. Is Sitefinity Right For This?

  • Multiple Sites With Same Layout/Theme. Is Sitefinity Right For This?
  • (See my reply if you want to skip this long post)

    I am planning to use Sitefinity as a CMS for a public facing web application and am in the process of determining if it is the right fit. Let me start by giving an example of the type of application I am planning to build. 

    Imagine an informational public site with 7 main sections each with 3 sub-sections. 21 total pages of content. Every one of these pages shares the same master site template. This includes a navigation bar across the top. A side bar with featured content. And a main content area with images and text. This structure is something I want complete control over. I want to be able to have my own custom html markup and my own css to style this however I see fit. This site can be accessed by anyone and does not need any user registration. Everyone is a "guest". 

    Now, let's take that a step further and say that I want an intro page before any user gets to the site that lets them choose 1 of 10 "Areas of Interest". And then depending on what they pick, all the text and image content on the site changes to be focused on the chosen Area of Interest. Note that the html structure remains the same. Still 7 main sections each with 3 sub-sections. Side bar with featured content and a main content area with text and images. 

    Would Sitefinity be a good fit for this type of application? Or would some type of Portal CMS be a better fit?

    Would I accomplish this by creating something like multiple sites (or sub sites) based off the same template? Is this possible?

    Or would I be better off with one site with 10 versions of each piece of content? Maybe using the categorization functionality to determine which piece of content to display? 

    I would love to hear your high level thoughts about this and how it could be best accomplished using Sitefinity. If you have more questions, please ask!

  • Actually, I came across this site in the Sitefinity sample showcase.

    This is pretty much an exact example of what my post above is all about. However, I don't need the multiple language support. More like multi-content support.

    So, it appears that it can be done. Does anyone know how they did that or what would be the best way to do that?

  • Hi Mike,

    Thank you for contacting Telerik Support.

    What you are describing can be achieved with Sitefinity.

    Sitefinity uses the following structure for the front end presentations. You have pages to which you can add widgets to display content. Those pages are either based on templates, which you define or use built in ones, or you create pages which are not based on any templates. In the templates you can define content areas which can be populated from the pages inheriting those templates, or you can put common content (Navigation, footer cotnent, etc.) which is available on all pages inheriting from those templates. The visual appearance of the templates is defined by the themes. Those themes include CSS rules, and images for them. So you can create different templates and themes for different areas of interest.

    For example you can create the following - create one base page template where you want to add all common content for all pages and define layout and content ares. Then for each area of interest you can create a template which inherits from the base one and has different theme creating different appearance for pages using this template. If you make a change in the base template those changes will the passed down to the child templates and to the pages using them.

    Radoslav Georgiev
    the Telerik team
  • Radoslav,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question. It sounds like Sitefinity would be a great fit to solve my first problem of wanting a very fine grain of control over my presentation layer (html/css/javascript). This is great!

    However, I am still unclear about my second problem where I am trying to achieve very similar functionality to the following site: That site essentially does what I am looking for. It has an initial page where you select a region/language and based on that, the site's content changes for each region. 

    I do not really want a change of theme and layout. I want essentially the same theme and layout, but for each page I want content to be dynamic related to which 'Area of Interest' the user selected.

    Let me try and put my question in another way:

    Let's say that my site is super duper simple. It only has 5 pages. On each page there is:
    A header logo.
    A horiztonal navigation menu with 5 items (linking to each of the 5 pages).
    A paragraph of text
    A drop down menu to select "Area of Interest". Let's say I have 10 areas of interest.

    So the functionality I am looking for is that the end user selects an area of interest and the following things happen:
    The header logo changes
    The navigation stays the same
    Each paragraph of text, on each page, has changed to reflect the selected Area of Interest

    Then if the end user selects a new Area of Interest:
    The header logo changes
    The navigation stays the same
    Each paragraph of text, on each page, has changed to reflect the newly selected Area of Interest

    So in this case I only want the header logos and all the paragraphs of text to be editable content through the CMS.

    How would I set this up in Sitefinity?

    Would I have to create 10 different websites for each area of interest? 
    Would I need 10 different sub domains for each area?
    Could each site share the same Master Template?

    I'm looking for the best practice to do this in Sitefinity if it is even possible?

    Thanks so much for the help!



  • Hello Mike,

    This sounds like it can be handled with Sitefinity's Localization ability.  When you go to Administration -> Settings -> Languages you can define the languages for which you would have translations of your site. One of the abilities there is to have different domain for different cultures. Locallization allows you to have different language versions of a particular resource (page, news item, blog post, etc.) or event have different resources for different languages.

    Best wishes,
    Radoslav Georgiev
    the Telerik team
  • Radoslav,

    This is an interesting idea. Though I would not technically be using different languages (it would all be English) it seems like it might work. But to be honest, my gut tells me it isn't an ideal long term solution. It seems kind of a band-aid fix. I think I would start to get into trouble when I wanted to start changing some more things other than just text based content.

    What if I wanted to start changing graphic elements based on the Area of Interest selection? Like the site logo?

    What if I wanted to start changing the layouts even slightly? I know I didn't mention this in my simple example, but I'm thinking it would undoubtedly happen in the future.

    Or what if I eventually wanted to really support multiple languages? I think this would be difficult to manage.

    I'm not completely dismissing this as a viable solution, but do you have any other ideas about how I could accomplish this? 
  • Hi Mike,

    I did not understand correctly your question the first time. The proposed solution with languages is not viable in this case. What you can do in this case for different regions would be to separate pages in groups - for example the top level parent group page will be for each respective region. There you can create templates for each region. For example you would have one base template which will define layout, content holders etc. Then for each region you can create a derived template (if parent template changes, the child will get the changes also) where you will set the theme according to region as well any specific content that is for that particular region. Also if you need to change the layout you will be able to define new layouts also.

    Best wishes,
    Radoslav Georgiev
    the Telerik team
  • This is exactly what we want to do with our site especially this part: "One of the abilities there is to have different domain for different cultures". So, where are the Sitefinity 4.0 documentation or tutorials on how to do all of this ?
  • Hello Mike McMillan,

    I'm not sure if you need documentation about all the features Radoslav described in this thread or only about the domains for different cultures you cited in your last response. Here are some links that will help you in all cases:
    In step 3 of the last topic (Managing Languages), you can select if the URLs for different language versions should be in a separate domain or not.

    Let us know if there is more information that you need.

    the Telerik team

  • Slavo,

    The links you provided are very helpful.

    Thank you!