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Kentico Portal vs MVC

What you need to know to future proof your Kentico website

Change is an inevitable occurrence in life, yet a constant challenge for most to embrace.

The fluidity of change within Technology and Web development these days is evolving more rapidly, allowing for online platforms and interfaces to become much more intuitive, sleeker and time-efficient, to both businesses and their end-users.

The fundamentals for change are to understand the when, why and the how of any situation. Knowing the fundamentals helps circumvent chaos, disruption and eliminates the unknown, but instead, empowers us with the knowledge to plan and future proof.

"What has change got do to with my Kentico website", you may ask.

Well, significant changes are happening with Kentico, we at i3 Digital are giving the lowdown on how to help future proof your Kentico website during this transitional change.

Firstly, let's discuss what the changes are and why they're happening. 

The End of Kentico Portal Engine

Kentico CMS Admin Dashboard

September 2020 drew an end to the development of any further portal engine versions by Kentico, with the releases of hotfixes and security patches for portal engine version 12 ending in 2021. However, technical support for portal engine version 12 will continue until the end of 2023. After this, it will be MVC.NET and Core .NET at the heart of the Kentico technology stack.

Why the Change to MVC

We are seeing more and more traditional ASP.Net CMS companies such as Sitecore, EpiServer (Optimzely), Umbraco, Sitefinity (Progress) evolving and moving to MVC.NET and Core MVC.

Kentico Portal vs MVC - i3 Digital

This is mainly due to Microsoft and its plan to sunset and no longer support ASP.NET Web Forms. This has been on the table for quite a number of years. The decision from Kentico was not to move to MVC.NET Core straight away. Kentico's approach was to carry out a gradual transition via a release-by-release approach towards a full .NET MVC / Core .NET development model by 2020/21, which includes supporting ASP.NET Web Forms until then.

Microsoft made the call several years ago, stating they would cease developing Web Forms and that MVC is the future. In the beginning,  there was a significant push back, so much, so they retracted. Microsoft’s stance now is that .NET MVC and Core MVC are the defacto platforms to work with and receive support. Consequently, the time has come to acknowledge that the end of ASP.NET Web Forms is here.

Initially, the Kentico platform was developed during the switch from ASP Classic to ASP.NET WebForms. This was an exciting period when innovative development technologies delivered all that developers required to meet businesses needs and expectations. 

However, as applications evolved and moved from the desktop to the web and then to mobile devices, developers wanted to replicate the fluid experiences users were having with native apps. Technologies such as MVC.NET which separated design, content and technical architecture allowed developers to build fluid applications which were device and platform-independent.

The Impacts to Consider

Making changes to a website has many important factors, with time, money and energy being at the forefront. Other components to consider are the intricacies and complexities of the existing website's build and structure.

As support for Kentico 12 portal engine comes to an end, your business will inevitably face an impact if planning to continue with or start Kentico based projects over the next year.

If your portal engine website is reaching the point where you are considering a redesign or rebuild, then the best approach is to rebuild on MVC. During the redesign, most likely some content will be reused, as will data and extensions etc. The front end will probably be created from scratch to keep in line with the redesign and MVC development methodology.

It is not a case of businesses choosing the CMS version they prefer anymore, as the feature sets now available on MVC have finally caught up. Instead, it's about ensuring businesses are choosing the right platform for the future.  As to whether it's with Kentico, Sitecore or any other .NET based platforms, the future now lies in MVC and primarily MVC Core.

Do we have to switch to MVC immediately?

The short answer is, not necessarily. However, if your site is currently utilizing Portal Engine and is on version 11 or earlier, we would strongly recommend upgrading to Kentico 12 Portal engine. We recommend this because Kentico will be providing technical support for version 12 on the Portal Engine until 2023, which provides enough time to start planning towards the eventual transition from Portal Engine to MVC.

A critical factor we recommend taking into consideration is that the longer you stay on an older Kentico portal engine version, the more it will cost to move from each version to the most recent and supported version. 

This is due in large part to the Kentico upgrade process, which involves stepping through each version incrementally to get to the latest version. Also include taking into account the fact that there will be differences in features from version to version, with some features not available in other versions.

Here's what a typical Kentico upgrade path looks like:

Kentico Portal vs MVC - i3 Digital

Interested in learning more? Check out our other recent article Key Benefits of Upgrading your Kentico Xperience Website.

If you have any questions or need help with your Kentico upgrade, feel free to get in touch with Keith Gutu.


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