Random thoughts of wisdom - the personal blog of Michael Holm Andersen

Composite C1 - THE best open source .NET CMS?

I’m in the process of making a small website for a customer and after KimJ have recommended Composite C1 several times, I figured it was time to give it a go!

Composite C1 was originally a commercial CMS (develop by Danes), however this changed September 2010 where it became free and open source, offered under the Mozilla Public License. Composite C1 have a lot going for it – I’ve been playing around with the example sites for a few days, and already I can conclude:

  • The “backend” is really nice and fast.
  • Composite C1 is well-structured.
  • The documentation is WAY better than most other .NET CMS systems (yes, Umbraco – I’m looking at you!!)
  • When used together with Visual Studio is rocks! - Code files, configurations and styling are all on disk aka. you get full Intellisense, full debug support, etc.
  • .. and best of all: no “DynamicNode” or similar stuff (which typically means no intellisense, bad syntax highlighting, weird errors and warnings! - which is often the case with e.g. Umbraco and embedded macro scripts).

2014-09-29 15_45_36-C1_ localhost.opencphmp - Opera
A screenshot of the Composite C1 user interface.

Apart from Composite C1 there are a number of other open source CMS systems based on the .NET platform – you might take a look at these:

  • DNN – formerly called “DotNetNuke”, is the most well known and popular .NET CMS with more than 750.000 sites worldwide. It's very stable and there's a huge amount of add-ons and a large community. Grap the bits from CodePlex if you want to check it out!
  • Umbraco – like Composite C1 this CMS is also from Denmark and power more than 250.000 sites worldwide (e.g. the site is using Umbraco).The CMS can be installed either using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer or from
  • Orchard – the Orchard CMS is community developed, but backed by full-time developers from Microsoft. The iead behind Orchard is to create a repository of ASP.NET components that are versatile and reusable, which is also the reason why this CMS lacks some of the features  you'd expect in a more robust CMS.
  • mojoPortal – as defined on the website: “You can think of mojoPortal as a Starter Kit for Advanced ASP.NET Web Sites and Portals” – mojoPortal is a good standalone CMS or website framework which include blogs, photo galleries, chat, newsletters, pools, forums, and much more.

Other CMS systems worth mentioning are: Kentico - Sitefinity (from Telerik) – koobooprontoN2 CMS

I will be posting “follow-up” articles about C1 as the above mentioned website is being developed – so stay tuned…

Peger op Do you have any tips or advice about open source CMS systems for the .NET platform? Leave a comment and share your recommendations!

Comments (2) -

  • Tummas

    04-11-2014 11:43:58 |

    Nice article. I am one of the few that has fallen for the Orchard CMS. And so far i'm liking it, it's just the learning curve is pretty steep and lacks a bit of documentation. But their support forums are quick with responses.

    • MHA

      04-11-2014 12:46:32 |

      Hi Tummas,
      Yes, I have looked at Orchard CMS too - however it did'nt really appeal to me, seems a bit "messy" and not very logical (maybe that's just me!) Smile

      That's was I really like about C1 - it's just (for me, at least) very easy and well structured, that I hardly need to think about how it works - it just works as I would expect it to do .. which was not the case with Umbraco or Orchard.

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