I'm new to EpiServer and have 0% experience of using it... However I'm a Senior .Net developer with a lot of experience.
I have a live production EpiServer that my organisation uses for its main intranet. The EpiServer was developed and installed by a 3rd party but we are considering developing it further and want to take a copy of it for some research and development. The EpiServer is installed on a virtual server with MS SQL Server on the same box. The virtual environment is HyperV and Virtual Machine Manager.
Is it possible to copy VM of the live production virtual server and create a new virtual server so that I can R&D? If so is there any changes I need to do? If not is there another way to copy the lvie environment?
Getting a copy of the virtual server would be the quickest way to get going. But to be able to change anything in the current functions you will need to get the sourcecode from the 3d party as well.
If you can live with the "old stuff" and just want to add new things you could set up a new solution and develop against the old db. Just make sure not to loose the dll:s from the 3d party.
Thanks Petter thats spot on...
Not knowing how EpiServer works at the moment would it be normal to have lots of custom code in DLLs? Is that how its normally deployed?
I was hoping that at a basic level EpiServer would have the website templates and configuration settings that could be easily changed.
EPiServer comes with a Template package. But most people will use a developer to either extend or create new templates to make the site work and feel the way the customer wants.
If you check in your bin folder of the site you should be able to make out what dll:s come from the third party company as all EPi dlls will be within the episerver namespace.
But yes, if you want to just add new stuff I would create a empty episerver installation on your dev machine (check what version of episerver the site is running and download it from this site).
Then just connect your empty solution to the database from your prod enviroment. (you might have to add some dll and .aspx files that the 3d party added) then you could just create your new stuff within your own namespace.
But to change anything that is developed by the 3d party compay you would ofcourse need to get the code from them. (Or use reflector and try and override with they have done).
What you need to deploy of a epi site is the same as any other .Net site. Your dlls, templates, web.config, database and something we call vpp (virtual path providers). The VPP folder is where episerver by default will store any files uploaded in the system by editors.
First class Petter.. This is very useful information!
Glad I could help.
Good luck with your project and welcome to the wonderful world of EPiServer! ;)