After three years of good service, r.a.d.designer
will be discontinued. As of r.a.d.controls Q4 2005 SP1 next week, the product will no longer be part of the ASP.NET suite. Wondering why we decided to do it?
A bit of history... r.a.d.designer was telerik's third product after r.a.d.editor and r.a.d.menu. It was born out of an experimental project and it's initial goal was very different from what it is today - it had to be a tool that allows you to put stuff in containers and move them around. It was supposed to be very close to what r.a.d.dock
does. Back in time though, for some reason we insisted that this great concept be morphed into a semi-CMS product. It offered basic CMS capabilities, but it was neither developer-friendly, nor end-user friendly. Some of the folks in our team joked that it's a great product but it's like a house with a great interior but without an entrance and a roof. Customers also weren't pretty happy with the fact that there was no API that would allow them to programmatically control page/layout creation, there was no workflow, that everything was being stored in folders and files rather than in a database, etc. It was not very usable and it didn't offer the scalability most people seemed to expect.
So, it was becoming clear that r.a.d.designer falls short of a CMS but people wanted to see a true CMS from us. After a few rounds of minor improvements and a lot of customer feedback, we started thinking about a major update of the product but we ran into another big problem. This time it wasn't technical - it was a matter of SKUs and product positioning. The Marketing folks around here couldn't find a way to fit r.a.d.designer (which includes other telerik controls) into the product line-up. It was definitely not a control, and its evolution mandated that it become an off-the-shelf product rather than stay as something undefined. We then made the tough decision to abandon our plans for r.a.d.designer 2.0 and this is how Sitefinity
was born. The “unwanted stepchild” had to leave the r.a.d.controls family and have a life of its own. I guess this was the day r.a.d.designer's fate was sealed.
r.a.d.designer was a nice value-added, so we decided to leave it in the suite rather than remove it when we launched Sitefinity (January 2005). Perhaps this wasn’t too smart because we kept on getting requests for functionality that was available in Sitefinity, but people wanted to see it in r.a.d.designer. Those who tried to use r.a.d.designer weren’t happy with it. Those who didn’t need it were wondering why it’s there when it has nothing in common with the rest of the r.a.d.controls.
The fact that more and more customers started asking why it’s there got us thinking. After a lot of deliberation, we decided that it’s in the best interest of both customers and the Sitefinity product that we discontinue r.a.d.designer. It just didn’t make sense for us to keep a product that doesn’t fit in the r.a.d.controls family and which doesn’t evolve at the fast pace of others.
Now that the “death” of r.a.d.designer is more or less official, I wanted to wrap up with some good news - all existing r.a.d.controls customers are eligible to a 50% discount on ANY Sitefinity license. Sitefinity licensing and pricing was recently changed (we added per-developer licensing) to accommodate the removal of the r.a.d.designer product from our line up. We will continue to support r.a.d.designer, but we hope that customers will start using Sitefinity as it offers truly great capabilities – it offers the powerful visual approach of r.a.d.designer, however, it adds workflow, support for Intranets and public users, intelligent URL re-writing, MS SQL (and soon Oracle) database support, rich API, full Visual Studio.NET support and much more. If you need to streamline the roll-out of a CMS/Portal solution, you should give it a try:)