Saturday, May 19, 2012

Getting Started with EPiServer

 

Although I’m not an specialized EPiServer developer, I have had to do some research and benchmarking of EPiServer against other CMS products out there (post is on the way!).

EPiServer is a popular (more popular in Europe than in USA by the way) CMS platform. It provides a platform and several modules and tools to manage content, communities, communications and commerce.

Although I have a lot more experience building custom CMS solutions using .NET and ASP.NET MVC, I have had several clients in the past that require an existing product that can provide required functionality out of the box and reduce the need of internal development teams for maintenance and platform support.

In this post I’ll try to get you started with EPiServer and get it up and running so you can start creating sites right of the bat.

First, you need to understand the hardware needs and get the servers in place. The recommended initial development setup should include one database server and one web server:

  1. DB Server: MS SQL Server 2008 R2 – v10.0.27.46
  2. Web Server: EPiServer, IIS, CI Server

Notice that the version of SQL Server will depend on the version of EPiServer you need to install. 

Now, you need to acquire the EpiServer Development Demo Licenses. EPiServer allows you to request developer licenses for the Demo products, which will allow you to download and install EPiServer and use it for a period of time. This will get you started. You can always acquire the  production licenses later (when the client pays for them for example !).

You should at least get demo licenses for EPiServer CMS and EPiServer Composer (current version at the moment of this writing is v6.0 for CMS and 4.0 for Composer). When requesting the demo license generation for the products you want to install, notice that the licenses are generated for specific IP addresses, so you need to know the server IP address prior to generating the license.

Now go ahead and download the installers for each product on the EPiServer downloads page. Make sure you match the version that you are supposed to run on your production environment. You want your development environment to mirror the product versions you will have in the production environment. The product version should be the same for development, QA, staging and production.

To download installers you need to be register as a user in the EPiServer World community. Once you have logged in, you can download the individual products.

Once you have downloaded the installers and have the demo licenses, you are good to go and install the products. Copy the installers to your server.

First, run the EPiServer CMS installer (setup.exe)

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Read the End User License Agreement and check the box to accept it. Click OK next.

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The installer will prepare the installation wizard.

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Click next once the installation wizard starts.

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Ok. Here you need to decide what you want to install. The first option will just install the application files, without any website sample or anything else. I would recommend to choose the Custom option instead and review which components and files you want. Is always good to install the sample websites so you can have something to work with out of the box and do some preliminary testing.

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Choose what components you want and where to run from.

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Click install to initiate the installation process once you have selected all the previous options.

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Once the installation process finishes, you will get notified.

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At this point you are done with the CMS installation part. You can launch the main Deployment Center and display the Getting Started guide.

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The EPiServer CMS Deployment Center.

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The EPiServer Getting Started Guide.

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Now is time to install the EPiServer Composer module. Fire off the setup executable from the downloaded files.

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Click next.

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Click Install to initiate the composer installation.

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Once the process completes, you are done.

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Awesome! We are done with the installation. You have configured EPiServer CMS and Composer on your server and you are now ready to start building and deploying EPiServer powered sites.

I’ll keep an eye on the topic and hopefully publish a few posts about creating, managing and deploying sites using EPiServer. One part that is interesting to explore and share is how to integrate EPiServer with the CI process. I’ll definitely come back to this and share more information and tips on how to get this done.

Drop me a line or a comment if you would like specific topics to be covered or if you have any issues with the installation process. I’ll be more than happy to get back to you.

Cheers!

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