Sitecore Versus Kentico

About a year ago I had a client who was comparing the advantages of using Sitecore or Kentico and was asked to make an assessment. In my development career I have worked on only a handful of Kentico based websites but have over 6 years of Sitecore experience. So as a disclaimer I am certainly more for Sitecore than Kentico, but as it is common enough for clients to want to compare several CMS tools before jumping in, we as developers are asked to make that assessment from time to time. This article’s intent is to make an objective comparison between Sitecore and Kentico based on my experience. In general things that are the same: Overall both CMS tools appear to have a strong following. Each with its own list of success stories sites to pull from. They both have in place training paths for developers and authors for learning their tool. Both have a strong community that supports them. Beyond their sites being filled with knowledge, developers write blogs and submit shared source to further enhance the tool.   Out of box options: When it comes to out of box features Kentico wins this comparison at face value. Kentico has a very large arsenal of modules built into the initial install that include but not limited to: News, Blog, Forum, and Image Gallery. This can be real handy if you are looking to get up a site fast and are ok with using the default tools that are provided. Sitecore on the other hand may not have all these modules available in the initial install; however the strong framework it puts in place over time will show to be valuable. With a pre-built Kentico module you find yourself stuck in the boundaries of what the module provides and lets you modify. Any variations to a module may find a developer doing a very large amount of rewrite to get the module to behave to your new specification. With Sitecore there might be more time spent with creation up front, but it will be built of its very flexible content tree and framework. And simply put anything built from the ground up will do exactly what you desire it to do, no compromising needed.   Security: Sitecore in general wins in this area. The security editing tools allow for some real extensive breakdown of user roles in both the back end and front end. If you want an author only to ever see and edit a news directory under one site and only in English language, as well as not have access to publish then this is fully supported by Sitecore and easy to configure. With Kentico it appears to not be as flexible. In general there is a division based on roles, and if you want an author to have specific access to an area only accessible by admin, then you have to give them admin rights and in result giving them access to everything that an admin will see. Furthermore Kentico in general is built on a one server principle. This makes the architecture simple, but also gives way to concern that your authors are accessing your admin from the same location that your public users use. With Sitecore the most basic architecture is to have a CMS authoring server and a production server. So even though you install the same solution on both servers a common security hardening practice is to remove access from production to admin, leaving only your CMS server access to the most sensitive part of your site which in most cases lives behind a firewall with no public access.   Workflows: In general it is a tie between Kentico and Sitecore when it comes to workflows. They both have a fairly extensive setup to allow all sorts of steps and actions to be placed in your workflow. Kentico does have a neat interface for working with workflows that makes the process a bit more visual. However if you ever need to go above and beyond the bounds of the workflow options that Sitecore customization would be much easier.   Content Author Experience: Both tools have access to both content authoring and page authoring. This is important and in my opinion any CMS lacking either option in this generation of technology should be put on the bottom of the list. Authors have the need to have access to visually create pages but as well the ability to configure and update more data heavy items. Kentico appears to have more out of box exposure to CSS in HTML. This can be looked at as both a good and bad thing. If your authors are non-technical then you certainly don’t want to tempt them with updateable areas that could cause havoc on your site. However if they are technical this gives a bit more exposure. Of course, this is all exposure you can give your users in Sitecore, you just have to plan your site structure for it and code in some customization. The one area about the page editor that makes Sitecore a bit stronger is simply its placement of tools. Kentico places the site inside of a frame. This makes seeing the site a bit challenging in smaller resolutions and can defeat the purpose of even having that full visual needed in designing a page. Sitecore on the other hand places a ribbon above your site, allowing for your page to fully flow from left to right just like they would show publically.   Development: In general these two tools vary greatly in this area. They both can be developed using C# .net however the approach to how you would create or extend an area are very much different. Sitecore comes with the concept that you create a structure of layouts and sublayouts that render specific content out. These items are linked to a file that is generally an ASPX or ASCX type file. With Kentico your development happens inside the database and you place various code chunks in various areas of this structure to accomplish your rendering. In my opinion the separation of database and code is an important key for good development and puts Sitecore ahead in this area. With its separation it allows all customization to live in a separate Visual Studio solution, allow developers to source control this separately, place company specific build rules against it, and compile / package this portion to be dropped into new Sitecore instances.   Summary: In summary I find that Sitecore and Kentico are specifically different in their architecture. Kentico is more of a stream lined approach to providing the most common needs for your everyday generic site. If you have the need to spin up a site fast with a general idea of the tools you might need but no real specifics to how they behave, “a forum is a forum” mindset, then Kentico might be a good CMS to use. However if you are looking for something where you are planning a lot of custom development, or something you have a 5 to 10 year goal to how you see your site growing and expanding, then Sitecore has a much stronger mindset to meeting that goal. Of course the biggest question you should always ask about any tool is if the company that supports its product will be around for years to come. Unfortunately I do not feel that I have had enough exposure to Kentico to make an assessment to where they sit in this area. However having dedicated the last 6 years to Sitecore I have grown to love a product that has been reliably supported over the years with constant new development and new ideas coming out all the time. I see Sitecore staying a major cornerstone of CMS tools for years to come.  

Zac Malmquist