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The Side Dish

How to Customize the Kentico CMS

BIG YAM / 2.12.2018

Kentico is a Content Management System (CMS) where content editors can log in and update the content that is displayed on their website. The great thing about Kentico is that it’s very customizable according to your website’s needs.

Here are some ideas on how to customize the Kentico CMS, with examples taken from our work with client Parsons Extreme Golf (PXG).

Customize Kentico CMS

Options to Customize the Kentico CMS

Kentico is written in Microsoft C# .Net. Using Microsoft’s Visual Studio program, we can write code that will run alongside Kentico’s code and override certain behaviors in the CMS.

Out of the box, Kentico has an e-commerce solution built in. We created a store inside Kentico for PXG’s goods. On the website, users can buy putters, apparel, headwear and accessories. We utilized Kentico’s store to create the products available, set pricing, assign images and create different variations of the products such as size and color.

We also created data types to store data related to custom pages. For example, when PXG launched the University Program, we created the university data type for each of the university programs we support. Each data type contains information for each school such as name, logo and abbreviation. We then created WebParts that can query the page types and pull the data through. An example of this is located on the University Program page, where all the universities are listed in a rotator.

Page templates are another way we customized Kentico for PXG. For example, we created a page template for the tiles on the homepage. When the editors want to display a new tile, they can log in to the CMS, choose the tile page template and enter the content they want to be displayed. The page template ensures that every tile is displayed similarly even when the data is completely different. The template dictates the layout of the tile, so there is only one template, but many different tiles.

Customizations outside of Kentico play an important role in the functionality of the CMS. We have a whole code solution with many different facets of the website updated. We have user controls for calls-to-action, forms, breadcrumbs and rotators. These were created to allow us more control over what information is gathered from the CMS and how it’s displayed on the site.

Behind-the-Scenes Access

Kentico offers its own Application Program Interface (API) that allows developers to gain access to the data inside of the CMS without having to be IN the CMS. With that freedom, we can query the data we want dynamically from the website without having to log in. All of it can be done in the code behind the scenes.

An example of this is the player rotator at the bottom of the PXG homepage. We use the API to ask Kentico to give us all the pages on the website that are of type “Player.” With the page data, we take the information that the content editor entered in for each player (in the CMS) and display it on the page. This is also the same data that is displayed on the individual player’s page. We didn’t need to duplicate the data to have it show in different places on the site.

When Do We Customize?

When customizing Kentico to meet requirements, you don’t have to stick to the out-of-the-box widgets and templates that Kentico offers by default. The customizations happen inside and outside of the CMS. When deciding what customizations to make, the BIG YAM development team looks at the requirements for the functionality on the site and we determine if the out-of-the-box features will fulfill them. If not, we have the flexibility with code to make the website do something that the CMS does not give us the ability to do.

As part of our full-service agency, BIG YAM offers access to an experienced digital development team. We do all the heavy lifting for website and application development marketing automation, email marketing, CRM integration and, of course, Kentico customization. What can we take off your plate? https://bigyam.com/capabilities/digital/