EPiServer 7 was released last week. One of the features I have a good feeling about is the add-on store. In theory it would allow non-techies to install new site features using a web user interface. Actually it sounds quite scary at first. On the other hand Wordpress and its kin have had similar features for ages.
In the past we’ve had a customer ask us to reuse a blog module from the EPiServer templates. It makes perfect sense not to implement everything from scratch. Unfortunately there isn’t a real blog module available from EPiServer. You can only install “Demo Templates” and have a lot of garbage installed at the same time. It’s not something we want on a production site.
In the future we could have a couple of alternative Blog Add-Ons to choose from in a similar situation. The Add-On store encourages developers to package the modules as sane-sized bundles so we wouldn’t have too much garbage to get rid of. If the Add-On installation is as easy as clicking “install” in the Add-On store, we get better results with less hassle.
It’s all about Prototyping
The Add-On store will give us feature packaging to manage the solution better. But it’s not the real reason I like the concept. The main benefit of the Add-On store is fast prototyping. There are many typical website features we discuss in every project. With the Add-On store we can install a basic implementation and start the discussion from there. It’s a lot more concrete, more visual and more immediate way to drive the design process. Most likely the need is a bit different than what the Add-On provides, but sometimes we might get lucky.