This week we are finally releasing the new version of MonoX, our portal engine built on top of ASP.NET Web Parts framework
. The main idea of Web Parts Framework is to let end users create and configure Web pages by dragging in functional blocks (called Web Parts) and setting properties on these blocks. This configuration happens right inside the Web page, using nothing but a standard Web browser. To change a page in the site, you browse to this page, switch to edit mode and change it. Non-technical users can change the layout of their page by dragging and dropping the web parts to different zones on the page. Each of the parts exposes a configuration user interface to change its behavior and appearance.
We have used a concept similar to Web parts in the first commercial release of MonoX portal framework (published during 2003). It was based on a very popular IBuySpy portal application, and introduced drag and drop and visual configuration features that are now accepted in the new Web part framework. However, the initial version was not using the standard API, as it was not available at that time. Nevertheless, it enabled us and our clients to build very sophisticated portal solutions.
This new version of MonoX fully supports all the features of ASP.NET 2.0 Web part framework. To the best of our knowledge, it is the only commercially available product including this feature, as other portal products use proprietary Web part/module architectures. In addition, MonoX fully support all other standard ASP.NET 2.0 features, including personalization, master pages, themes and provider models, and adds significant additional functionality described in the user manual that is a part of the installation package.
There are a few custom large-scale portals that were built on top of the MonoX v2. EmployIreland.ie
is one of them; it includes dozens of custom Web parts and shows how far can you go with MonoX. We encourage all potential users to download the trial version and try it on their local machines - there are so many features that cannot be presented on a public Web site.