Thursday, March 18, 2010

Installing Telerik’s Sitefinity CMS

So I’m only a day away from heading to the east coast’s first Give Camp, where I’ll be working with about 100 other volunteers to build websites for non-profit organizations in the Southern Maryland area. Shameless plug: If you’re a developer and you’re available this weekend, March 19-21, we still need more volunteers! Sign up at

We’ll have only one little infinite weekend to accomplish this for 19 non-profits! So… then the question becomes, how are we gonna get this done???

The teams have several options, and it’s up to each team lead to decide on the most efficient technology for their team.  I heard at least one team is using SharePoint, and several are using DotNetNuke. The only restriction we have: it must be hostable at DiscountASP, who’s sponsoring free hosting for all completed sites.

Telerik is sponsoring Sitefinity CMS licenses, so I thought I’d install it and get familiar with it, as I haven’t used it before. I’m glad I took the time to work this out before the actual Give Camp, as it took me a bit of time to work through the issues. So I’ll summarize the easiest way to blast through the install and avoid the issues I ran into.

Step 1: Follow the directions

No, I’m not being sarcastic here. After I simply downloaded and ran the setup, and received several errors (including the inability to create the telerik virtual directory), I did a bit of googling on bing, and found the Sitefinity installation guide. While the guide calls out Vista, the steps work equally well in Windows 7. Seriously, follow this guide step-by-step, and you should be up and running.

Thanks to Jim Pendarvis, our Give Camp Fearless Leader, for pointing out this most-excellent webcast showing how to follow the directions. So now, with both the installation guide and the video, you’ll be all set.

Step 2: Follow the directions

Seriously, step 1 is what you need. But since I have a Step 2 now, let me call out a few things:

  • Several steps reference the app pool configuration (mainly Step 2). If you are running a 64-bit Windows installation, you will likely see an HTTP error 404.17 when trying to run the Sitefinity Project Manager. This is because the app pool must be configured to run 32-bit applications. Here are detailed instructions for doing this.
  • The installation guide talks about creating databases, in Step 8. This will save much pain and anguish. Once you have your site created, manually create the database and then specify that database in Sitefinity’s Site Creation Wizard.
  • When specifying your database, be sure to select the SQL Server 2005 / 2008 option, even if you’re using SQL Express. For the database path, you can then point to localhost\SQLExpress

Step 3: Start building your first Sitefinity CMS

Once I worked through the issues with the app pool and database, I was off and running. I built a very simple site just to get familiar with the product. It appears to be very straightforward and has several features that our non-profits are looking for (such as a discussion forum for members of their organization, a much-needed feature for the group I’m working with).

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