1 June 2007

Content Management Systems: Umbraco 2.1.6

by mo

Umbraco is open source .NET content management system. It’s current release is version 2.1.6, and seems to look like if offers a better UI then some of the other content management systems. The demo shows you how to create pages and users and some other things.

You can check out the demos at http://umbraco.org/frontpage/demos.aspx

Umbraco needs .NET Framework 1.1, Microsoft SQL Server ( I used 2005 ) or MSDE. The target browsers are claimed to be:

  • Internet Explorer 5.5,
  • Firefox (no version specified, but I found it sucked on
  • Safari

I was kind of impressed by the demo’s but let down when I actually tried to install this guy and use it. When I tried to pull the source from the SVN server I received errors about to many locks and gave up. Maybe you’ll have better luck: svn://svn.umbraco.org/var/lib/svn/Umbraco2.1

The Installation

I had a lot of problems installing Umbraco, I copied the full project after I downloaded it from here.

I created a folder in C:\inetpub\wwwroot\ called umbraco21 (C:\inetpub\wwwroot\umbraco21). I fired up inetmgr.exe, and changed the properties for this site to create an application. And specified ASP.NET version to 1.1.4322

I then opened up the web.config in notepad++, the documentation says that you have to change 4 keys in the config file:

  • umbracoReservedPaths
  • umbracoContentXML
  • umbracoStorageDirectory
  • umbracoPath

The original looks like:

<add key="umbracoReservedPaths" value="/umbraco/,/install"/>
<add key="umbracoContentXML" value="/data/umbraco.xml"/>
<add key="umbracoStorageDirectory" value="/data"/>
<add key="umbracoPath" value="/umbraco" />

I found the documentation didn’t really describe what these really mean or how they were supposed to be used so I tried a few different variations before finally getting the installation wizard to start up properly. (Note: the forward slash at the start was very important!)

<add key="umbracoReservedUrls" value=",/umbracoTextGen.aspx,"/>
<add key="umbracoReservedPaths" value="/umbraco21/umbraco/,/umbraco21/install"/>
<add key="umbracoContentXML" value="/umbraco21/data/umbraco.xml"/>
<add key="umbracoStorageDirectory" value="/umbraco21/data"/>
<add key="umbracoPath" value="/umbraco21/umbraco" />

Next, I then fired up firefox and punched in http://localhost/umbraco21 into my browser, and got the Umbraco 2.1 Configuration Wizard!

When I pressed Next, I found that I was staring at “Directory Listing Denied” (take a look at the URI in the address bar!)

It appears that the install wizard tried to add a query string to the page and post back to itself, I had not specified a default document in my IIS configuration. So I went back and set “Default.aspx” as the default document!

The database setup was moderately simple, as long as the connection string is set properly in the web.config file.

At the end of the wizard I was told to add the following key to the web.config and to delete in the /install folder.

<add key="umbracoConfigurationDone" value="211"/>

During the process you’re asked to set a password for a default user, but it never told you what the default username was. I had to dig it out of the database but it’s “umbraco”.

Once I logged in I found that nothing seemed to render properly in Firefox.

If you start to dig into the source you’ll see that it uses IFrames, and Frames in different sections of the Administrator section. Because of this I basically could not do anything in FireFox 2.0. So I tried Internet Explorer 7.0, when I did I kept receiving JavaScript warnings and saw the same thing. I could do anything with Umbraco… I suppose you could say my experience with Umbraco is a non-experience.