Why put a highly functional site in Sitecore
In the past I have had many clients bring up the question of "Why should we put our highly functional site in Sitecore?" As in the content of the site involves forms, developed conditional logic, and third part tools and services to make up the majority of what is displayed. At face value Sitecore is a CMS with a lot of use for a site that is heavy content. However the tools that Sitecore provides can still be of great value for a functional site. Consider the following features:
- Global module development - Proper structure and some forward thinking will allow even non-technical users to drop and drag highly functional tools into new sites. A loan widget that displays current balance for example could be added via page editor. Or an entire structure of items placed in the content tree to create a work flow through a form.
- Content - In many cases functional tools will have some form of content. This can be controlled in Sitecore and allow for authors to change content using workflows, versioning, and publish.
- Tokens - Using Sitecore’s dictionary and a small amount of development we can tap into the Field Renderer to replace token values with the dictionary values. This would allow developers to create forms with text based areas (like field names and instructions) using tokens and allow authors to control their value. You can also get started with this concept by using my shared source module: http://marketplace.sitecore.net/en/Modules/Tokenizer.aspx .
- Security – In some cases a functional site will require some form of authentication. Sitecore can handle the authentication or it can be done by a third party service. In either scenario we can attach roles to Sitecore pages to limit access to only authenticated users or certain groups. All of this can be handled by authors from inside Sitecore Admin to allow for easier management down the road. In the case of a third party authentication, virtual users can be created on the fly to support this.
- DMS – Using personalization and multivariate testing we can enhance the functionality of the tools allowing us to present certain functionality in different ways based on assumptions created by DMS.
Overall I would not limit your debate to this on reasons why you should incorporate your functional site into Sitecore. But this will give you a few talking points to get started.