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Firefly.NET Overview

Firefly.NET is a web-based content management system, designed originally to power  intranets and websites in an academic environment: hence its particular strength is in enabling the development and continuing maintenance of large and expandable sites which must be built quickly and simply by a disparate team of people each responsible for different parts.

This central objective of easy development and subsequent growth, by enabling distributed control and management of content, is valuable in many environments outside Firefly.NET's origins, and allows it to be compared favourably with the well-known competitors in the field.

Firefly.NET allows user departments to create and maintain their own content without requiring specialist IT skills.  Hence there is much greater departmental buy-in to ownership of the content, and consequent commitment to keeping it accurate and to enhancing it.

At the same time Firefly.NET also allows the enterprise to maintain control of standards and of security.  So, for example, it is possible to impose a common "look and feel" across the whole site, or to design and enforce specific styles for different areas of the site.  Further, Firefly's powerful permissions system ensures that user departments can only change the content for which they are responsible.

For more information, please contact firefly@stpaulsschool.org.uk

Key Characteristics

For the Enterprise

  • Designed for a standard Microsoft technical environment, Firefly-NET is written in C# and ASP.NET, and is based on Windows 2000, IIS and MS SQL Server. 
  • Integration with a Windows domain for user authentication and permissions.
  • Support for hosting multiple totally separate or interconnected sites (e.g. intranet and website) with one installation.
  • Each site is split into nested sections, which themselves contain pages organised into a tree-like hierarchy.
  • All content is stored in an MS-SQL database, and pages are built up on demand as they are requested by the user, allowing total flexibility over look and feel and automatic navigation systems.
  • Full template support, meaning a uniform appearance and behaviour can be imposed, but also that any parts of a site can be made to look entirely different.
  • Fine-grained permissions control, allowing both read and write access to be specified on a site, section or page level.
  • For backup or disaster recovery purposes, a whole site can be exported as a set of static HTML files.
  • Hit statistics reporting: Firefly.NET gives figures and draws bar graphs showing hits against time, user group etc., for pages, sections, sites between specified dates.

For User Departments

  • It is Firefly.NET's editing features that make it unique:
    • All operations can be performed from within the web browser with a graphical, WYSIWYG interface.  Sites, sections and pages can be added, modified, deleted and dragged around so they are positioned exactly where desired in the hierarchy.
    • Page content can be edited using Firefly.NET's own built-in WYSIWYG HTML editor, with full support for nearly all standard design elements; in addition there is built-in image library management,  with automatic resizing of images as needed.
    • Rollback support: every time a page is changed, the old version is archived.  This means a user can roll back to how a page looked before the change, or to a version from a week or a month ago. 
    • It is also possible to recover from an accidental deletion: that is, to un-delete a deleted page.
  • There is no need to worry about navigation or look and feel when adding a page: Firefly.NET manages this.  The user simply clicks the Add button, enters content, and stores the page at the appropriate point in the hierarchy. 
  • Content from existing folders of static HTML files can be simply imported and rearranged in the desired structure.
  • Built-in Services.  Firefly.NET includes as standard:
    • An advanced, self-managing search engine, reaching across all sites to which user has authorised access.
    • An automatic news management facility, with top story summaries displayed automatically and archived as they are replaced by new ones.
    • Support for feedback forms.
    • Support for training or education departments: online, self-marking testing on any topic relevant to the business.  This may be
      • for revision purposes whenever an individual user wishes
      • timed, official class tests with instructor reports etc. 

Problems? Questions? Please contact us and we will be pleased to help.