Category: Software


5 CMSs Compatible With ASP.NET

ASP.NET is a developer’s web framework from Microsoft. While there is a tendency for Microsoft products to be proprietary, there are some open source content management systems (CMS) that are compatible with ASP.NET and that you can use for your web business as you move forward. Here are five open source CMSs that are compatible with ASP.NET.

  1. WordPress – Let’s start with the most popular one. WordPress started as a simple blogging platform. It has blossomed into a full-fledged CMS and is compatible with ASP.NET.
  2. Joomla – Joomla is a basic CMS, but it too has grown into an enterprise solution. It is capable of helping you build large websites, applications, and many powerful Web entities.
  3. Moodle – Moodle is a comprehensive learning resource center. You can run a full online school with many dynamic capabilities in any niche with Moodle.
  4. Drupal – Drupal is another popular CMS platform with many capabilities and dynamic plugins. It is capable of all the same functionality as Joomla and WordPress.
  5. Dropthings – Build your own Web 2.0 community. You can use it as a standalone or in conjunction with other CMSs like Joomla and Drupal.

ASP.NET is a powerful web application framework, but you can make it even more powerful by combining it with one of these powerful CMSs.

Free software is often called freeware. You download it and use it for your business or personal use and never have to pay for it. But can you host it in the cloud or on your website?

In most cases, yes. It’s free and once you download it you can do whatever you want with it. However, some free software might come with its own set of user permissions and restrictions. You’ll have to read the Readme file or other developer notes that come with the software to see what is allowed or not allowed.

Assuming that you have free reign with the use of free software you download for use with your business, can you host it on your website and share it with your website users? Absolutely – again, with the proviso that nothing in the developer notes prevents it. Usually, it doesn’t.

Free software is actually good for hosting in the cloud. If you have a website that allows people to download software or use that software while logged into your website, check with the software developer about rights and attribution. If you are allowed to host free software online and share it with others, you might have to tweak it to operate via website interaction. Be prepared to work out any bugs.

What Is A Cloud Stack?

Some terms can be confusing to a lay person. Cloud stack is one of them. What does it mean?

In simple terms, a cloud stack is a set of software or applications that haveĀ  been integrated into one product. They are usually unrelated applications that have been put together for one purpose. Think of them as software packages stacked on top of each other with the ability to interact with each other.

For instance, LAMP is a popular cloud stack that consists of Linux as an operating system, Apache as the server software component, MySQL as the database management system and PHP as the programming language. Alternatively, or often in addition to, Perl and/or Python are used as programming languages.

The LAMP cloud stack allows companies to manage a server environment for their own business needs or for multiple businesses. Many web hosting companies operate on LAMP for shared and dedicated hosting services.

There are other popular cloud stacks. The stack is usually put together by a service provider or SaaS provider to fulfill a particular market niche or business need. It is a useful model for SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service, providers in the cloud.

You may be tempted to host your WordPress blog through one of the cheap shared hosting companies that exist on the Web, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Not if you are hosting your other websites in the cloud. There is no reason why you can’t host your blog on the same servers as the rest of your websites. But you should take a look at two software platforms that are essential for running your WordPress blog.

  • Apache – Apache HTTP Server is the name of an open source web server software that is easy to implement, flexible, scalable and plays well with other platforms and systems like WordPress. In fact, it’s so popular that most Web hosting companies, including the cheap shared hosting companies, use it. Apache is good for static web pages, dynamic web pages and web applications. Its flexibility and ability to play well with other essential software platforms makes it desirable for any number of computing environments.
  • PHP – PHP is another free open source software that is necessary for running a WordPress blog. Designed as a way to parse dynamic web pages as early as 1995, PHP has become the primary scripting language for much of WordPress, including plugins, add ons and premium themes and skins. You cannot really run a WordPress blog without PHP.

With these two open source software applications on your web server you can run your WordPress blog and make it compatible with your other websites. No need to sign up for a cheap web host if you’re already hosting in the cloud.

What Is A Solution Stack?

A solution stack is a cloud hosting term that you’ll run across, especially if you are shopping around for a platform-as-a-service provider to handle your basic software infrastructure needs. So what does it mean?

A solution stack is a bundle of essential software that is pulled together from several subcomponents, usually unrelated, in order to provide one fully functioning software solution. Microsoft has been known to provide solution stacks for businesses for years. In fact, most of its business products are solution stacks – Microsoft Office, for instance.

Microsoft has another type of solution stack as well. It’s called WINS.

WINS consists of the Windows operating system, a web server solution called Internet Information Services, the .NET programming language and SQL database management software system. This solution stack is very popular among Windows users and is one of the leading solution stacks in the PaaS category.

For Linux users, LAMP serves as a viable solution stack. LAMP consist of Linux as the operating system, Apache as the web server, MySQL as the database management solution and PHP as the programming language. Alternatively, Perl or Python may be used instead of PHP.

Both Windows and Linux have alternative solution stacks available. In fact, you can substitute any of the individual components of the solution stack with another component and create your own solution stack.

MAMP is a solution stack for Mac OS users. It is comprised of the following components:

  • Mac OS X
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • PHP/Perl/Python

Almost any business can benefit from one of these solution stacks, but there are many more available on the market, including an open source solution stack called OpenACS.

The Internet has spawned a whole new way to deliver software to companies that need it to run their business operations. It used to be that you had to buy a software program and pay to maintain and keep it up over time. That required an expenditure for the software program then an expense in hiring someone to manage the software. It might have even meant paying to send someone to a school or course to learn how to use the software. At any rate, the cost of owning the software was expensive and many times companies never saw a return on their investment.

Software as a service takes a lot of the risk out of those expenses. Because you don’t own the actual software you don’t have a large expense up front, nor do you have to pay someone (including their travel expenses and cost of training) to learn how to use it then an ongoing salary to manage the software.

Your expenses are tied up in the use of the software and how you use it. Software as a service is most often delivered over the Internet and your costs are the price for what you actually use. Here are three pricing models that you may run across in software-as-a-service business models.

  1. Per user fees. Some software-as-a-service providers charge you according to the number of users who will log on to the software and use it, not necessarily simultaneously.
  2. Time logged in. More rare than the per-user fee, you might pay for software as a service in seconds, minutes or time increments. For instance, you may pay for 15 minute time slots even if you only end up using 8 minutes on a particular session.
  3. Units used. Some software may be bought as a unit. For example, if you use a particular program to deliver business forms to your company as you need them then you could pay for each form you download.

Pricing models vary for software as a service. You may run across other pricing models as well, but these three pricing models are likely to be the ones you’ll see most often.

We’ve covered Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Now let’s discuss SaaS, also known as Software-as-a-Service.

PaaS and IaaS are obvious hosting solutions. SaaS, not so obvious, but it really is another kind of cloud hosting. It may just as easily be called cloud computing and it’s the most common form of cloud services at present (though that is likely to change).

Software-as-a-Service allows businesses to lease specific applications as software packages. The advantage is that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on bundled software applications such as what you’d find in traditional software where you are only interested in a few functions the software provides. With SaaS you can lease only the applications that you are interested in for a smaller fee.

This can often by more efficient and less expensive than traditional computing. For instance, if you are interested in an application that allows you to bill your customers but not necessarily handle your accounting and banking functions then you find applications in the SaaS category that allow you to do that.

When you’re ready to delve into your cloud hosting needs, consider whether you need SaaS, PaaS or IaaS and choose the hosting you need based on your own in-house goals.