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EPiServer Integration & Extensibility

Proven Architecture

EPiServer CMS is built upon a proven architecture that has been deployed to 10,000 commercial sites across the globe since 1994 and is built on the widely accepted .NET platform. EPiServer CMS is a pure .NET system based on numerous open standards making it extremely transparent and easy to extend. The EPiServer CMS architecture enables developers to get up to speed on the platform quickly enabling you to get to market quickly and minimize your total cost of ownership. EPiServer also provides Visual Studio integration tools that enable developers to use the development tools they are familiar with to quickly develop EPiServer sites.

Built for Extensibility

EPiServer CMS is designed and built for extensibility. The EPiServer API enables developers to create robust page templates, modules, and plug-ins that enhance the user experience for your site visitors and CMS users. Developers can create tools for content contributors and administrators that plug-into the EPiServer editorial and administrative interfaces.

Standards, Standards, Standards

EPiServer implements and re-uses many standards including but not limited to: ASP.NET Master Pages, MVC, Windows Workflow Foundation, Membership and Role Providers, Virtual Path Providers, Windows Communication Foundation, Web Forms, Web Controls, User Controls, Web Parts, XForms, etc.

Extending and Integrating EPiServer

The possibilities for integrating EPiServer with other systems are virtually unlimited.  EPiServer provides a number of features to facilitate these integrations which are described below.

.NET API

EPiServer provides a comprehensive .NET API enabling developers to create robust page templates, modules, and plug-ins that enhance the user experience for your site visitors and CMS users.

Web Service API

EPiServer CMS provides a web service API for creating, reading, updating, deleting, querying, and organizing content within EPiServer CMS.

Pushing Data into EPiServer CMS

EPiServer Content Channels provide a configurable XML/SOAP web service interface that enables you to push data from other systems into EPiServer CMS.  The Content Channel web service exposes functionality for external systems to add, edit, delete, and organize content within EPiServer CMS. There is a built-in mapping administration interface which makes it easy to map incoming fields to page properties in EPiServer CMS. The web service also fires events on incoming requests making it possible to add custom business logic to process the data as it is pushed into EPiServer.

Integrating with External CRM Systems and User Profile Stores

With EPiServer CMS, user profiles and roles can be stored and managed in virtually any external profile store because EPiServer CMS implements standard ASP.NET membership, role, and profile providers.  Multiple profile stores can be used simultaneously.  For example, internal users could be managed in Active Directory and external users could be managed in a CRM system.  EPiServer CMS supports the Windows, Active Directory, SQL Server, and Oracle Role & Membership Providers out of the box.  The EPiServer Connect for Salesforce.com and Connect for Microsoft Dynamics CRM modules provide integration with Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM for profiles, membership, and roles. The connector modules automate the process of capturing new users on your site and creating new accounts and contacts in your CRM system. Your CRM system can also be used to manage roles and permissions. In addition, custom membership providers can be obtained or implemented to integrate with other profile stores (e.g. a custom solution).

Integrating with External Content Repositories

Content stored in external systems can be exposed as items in EPiServer CMS by implementing Custom Page Providers which are based on the .NET provider model.  Additionally, you can enable content contributors to update the content in the external system using the EPiServer editorial interface.   For example, you could expose news articles that reside in a legacy content management system as pages on your EPiServer site.

Widgets and Content Blocks

EPiServer Dynamic Content plug-ins make it possible for content contributors to add predefined modules, blocks of content, or mini applications to the regions of the page that can fetch data from other sources.  Those sources could be content from other pages or information from other systems, such as financial data in an ERP system.  For example, they can pull in information from RSS feeds, user profile properties, external map APIs, or social media applications and be placed anywhere within a rich text block on a page.

Integrating with External Analytics Providers

EPiServer enables you to access and aggregate data from external analytics providers (e.g. Google Analytics, Omniture, etc.) and view it within the context of the EPiServer interface and specific content items. Analytics tracking can easily be added to your templates and reports can be added to the OnlineCenter dashboard. The “Google Analytics API Module” is an EPiServer open source module that integrates Google Analytics reports with this data into the EPiServer CMS user interface. Additional modules can be created to integrate other analytics solutions such as Omniture.

Integrating with External Media Repositories

EPiServer can be seamlessly integrated with 3rd party media repositories, digital asset management systems, and content delivery networks. This is because the EPiServer File Manager implements the Virtual Path Provider standard.  For example, a Virtual Path Provider has been implemented in the EPiServer Connect for SharePoint module that enables content contributors to work with content that resides in SharePoint using the EPiServer File Manager interface.  Content contributors can create, delete, check-out, edit, save, and check in SharePoint content using the EPiServer authoring interface.  Similarly, additional Virtual Path Providers could be implemented to integrate with other repositories (e.g. content delivery networks such as Limelight an Akamai). 

Customizing the Editorial and Administrative Interface

Developers can create tools for content contributors and administrators that plug-into many different areas of the EPiServer editorial and administrative interfaces.  Examples of such plug-ins include but are not limited to:

  • Integration with 3rd party analytics tools such as Google Analytics
  • Integration with Microsoft Commerce server management tools
  • Language tools for exporting content to the XLIFF format for translation by an external agency
  • Custom workflows
  • Integration with external digital asset management systems or repositories

Dynamic Data Store

The Dynamic Data Store gives you a simple way to store strongly typed data when building your applications, without the need to deploy new database tables or build object relational mappings. Data is retrieved from the Dynamic Data Store using LINQ.

Additional Information

This post highlights some of the key extensibility and integration points of EPiServer.  Discover more of the endless possibilities with EPiServer at world.EPiServer.com.

Dec 27, 2011

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