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Episerver vs. Enonic

Morten Eriksen on

How do Episerver and Enonic XP compare? Here is an essential overview of similarities and differences.

It might be difficult to navigate the market of content management systems and web platforms. To help you consider essentials between certain contenders, we have crafted this presentation of Episerver versus Enonic, so you can get a tidy overview.

Quick Episerver facts

Episerver is a global software company founded in Sweden in 1994 and owned by American private equity firm Insight Venture Partners. The company’s main product is the Episerver Digital Experience Cloud, built on Microsoft .NET technologies. It is a digital marketing suite which includes separate solutions for CMS, e-commerce, campaigns, search, personalisation, and social media. The CMS solution features user management, access control, WYSIWYG interface, and A/B testing.

Episerver is closed source, and those interested in the product can get access to a limited demo or proof of concept before buying. Access to the demo requires a 30-minute discovery call, where you are first shown the demo and finally get a demo set up by a certified Episerver partner.

Quick Enonic facts

Enonic is a Norwegian software company founded in 2000. The company is primarily known for Enonic XP—a web application platform based on JavaScript, Elasticsearch, and the Java virtual machine. With Enonic XP you can build progressive web applications, complex websites, and web-based APIs. The platform features integrated NoSQL and search, while the CMS interface “Content Studio” can be installed and upgraded as an application. The CMS features a WYSIWYG interface, permissions and roles management, version control, multi-site, and advanced image editing.

Enonic XP is free and open-source, meaning you can try it extensively before subscribing to software support or a hosted solution. It is also a hybrid CMS, which means that developers can create traditional websites and landing pages, while at the same time use XP in headless mode for distributing editorial content to any device or client.

See also: Drupal vs. Enonic »

Episerver pros and cons

By default the Episerver Digital Experience Cloud platform contains a whole suite of marketing tools for digital commerce, CMS, campaign management, enterprise search solution, personalisation, AI enhancements, email, analytics, and social media API.

Chris Osterhout of agency WSOL states that Episerver is polished and easy to use, with a logical and familiar user interface. Other highlights include on-page editing, fast performance, and robust personalisation capabilities.

It is worth to point out that Episerver is a traditional platform, based on Microsoft SQL Server and .NET. By this token, several verified user reviews on G2 imply that you should have a.NET expert if you are to purchase Episerver.

A disadvantage with Episerver CMS is that the included search engine has limited features. To be able to search for terms found across all levels of your website—including documents, PDFs, and other subsidiary websites and other data sources—you must buy the separate search engine service Episerver Find.

Episerver also features a great number of choices, switches, and options. Whether this is perceived as an advantage or a disadvantage depends entirely on the preference of your editors. In any case, it may take time for both developers and editors to teach themselves the solution, and it may be time-consuming to set up a test run.

Enonic XP pros and cons

Enonic XP was first released in 2015, using a lean and modern microservice architecture that allows for faster development. It also uses server side JavaScript, the language of the web. Installing the Enonic development environment and building your first app takes a few minutes—a developer can be productive in less than a day.

Simultaneously, every web developer knows JavaScript and can thereby build Enonic back-end functionality without the need to involve for instance .NET or Java experts. Furthermore, JavaScript allows for tighter integration with front-end frameworks like React. This enables execution of the same code both on server and client, and teamwork is bolstered by less separation between front-end and back-end.

Support for headless CMS comes out of the box, and the same goes for a fast built-in search engine. The platform is well-suited for covering the customer journey, as you can build sophisticated services, and content within the same framework.

For the disadvantages, Enonic XP may have a too minimalistic user interface, as Mike Johnston of CMS Critic calls out for more help and support options within the dashboard. In the verified user reviews at Gartner.com reviewers miss a migration tool for migrating sites to XP.

Another disadvantage of Enonic XP contra Episerver is a smaller user base and a smaller ecosystem. However, Enonic’s vision is to integrate with the “best of breed” third-party tools and services. Siteimprove, Visual Website Optimizer, and many popular Google tools are already integrated and available on Enonic Market.

See also: WordPress vs. Enonic »

Comparison between Episerver and Enonic XP

 

Episerver

Enonic XP

Coding language

.NET

JavaScript

Database requirements

Yes, Microsoft SQL Server

None, embedded NoSQL

License

Proprietary

GPLv3 with linking exception and commercial license for paying customers

Source code

Closed

Open: https://github.com/enonic

Integrated search

Yes, with limited features. Episerver Find for full search functionality.

Yes, based on Elasticsearch

Headless/decoupled

Yes, through a headless API

Yes, based on GraphQL

Flexible content types

Yes, page types

Yes

WYSIWYG page editor

Yes

Yes

Responsive UI

Yes

Yes

Image editor

Yes

Yes, including focal point and image service

Page template editor

No, requires coding

Yes

SEO management

Yes, add-on

Yes, app from Enonic Market

Version control

Yes

Yes

Video content

Yes, embedding

Yes, embedding

Hosting

Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft Azure, Episerver DXC

Linux or Windows Server, Any Cloud, Enonic Cloud

Support plans

Yes, by vendor or solution partner

Yes, by vendor

Free support

Forum, email

Forum, Slack

Community

Yes

Yes

Training

Yes, by third party or vendor

Yes, by vendor

Plugins

Yes, add-ons

Yes, apps from Enonic Market

 

Example: Publishing content in Episerver

Due to its closed nature, it is difficult to assess Episerver independently. From available data, it is possible to point out that Episerver CMS features a content tree structure, a visual editor, context menus, and an asset menu with blocks, media, templates, and forms.

Example: Publishing a blog post in Enonic XP

In Enonic XP you decide the location of a content in a logical tree structure. Once the blog post draft is created, you can navigate through fields systematically, before saving, previewing, and finally publishing:

Enonic XP publishing demo

Essential reading: What makes Enonic your choice? »

What CMS should you choose?

As always, what CMS you should choose depends on your context and a variety of factors. Episerver may be expensive, but comes with many advanced services in its pre-packaged solutions. If content marketing and e-commerce is most important, Episerver might be the right solution for you. But remember that you need .NET expertise.

If your focus is on building services and content, however, and not only a content driven website, Enonic might be the preferred choice. Enonic can easily integrate with existing tools for personalisation, A/B testing, SEO optimisation, and so on. Also, Enonic is open source and offers more flexibility and speedy development with fast solutions and the newest technology.

As for customer journeys, both Episerver and Enonic cover this need thoroughly—with their respective content management systems working as a hub for distributing content to different channels. Enonic offers a flexible solution with headless CMS, microservices, and APIs, while Episerver may be a bit more rigid due to its locked-in solution and fixed marketing suite.

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Topics: 
Enonic XP
Episerver
cms comparison