Open Platform Overview
Blackbaud Internet Solutions provides an open, programmable architecture that allows you to incorporate powerful customizations into your website. With custom parts and the Infinity SDK, you can create a vast array of rich website enhancements to surface on the website and in Blackbaud CRM. The integration between built-in features and custom features is seamless and transparent.
Blackbaud Internet Solutions is built on Microsoft ASP.NET technology, and the CMS leverages the Web User Control concept to construct pages with distinct reusable components called parts. Each part is implemented as a web user control, so if you can create a .NET user control for a custom part, you can store and manage it in Blackbaud Internet Solutions. To build customizations for your website, you should understand Blackbaud Internet Solutions from a site designer’s perspective and have a working technical knowledge of ASP.NET.
Blackbaud Internet Solutions builds web pages on demand from content in the database, but it can pull content from other places as well. For example, the News Reader part pulls RSS feeds from other sites and just stores design-time settings in the data base such as which blog to show. Several parts also pull data from Blackbaud CRM, and you can pull additional data with custom parts as necessary. Custom parts allow you to add features and content to your website, and with the Infinity SDK, you can allow custom parts to access back office data and capture new data for the back office from custom parts.
Blackbaud Internet Solutions is built on a Service Oriented Architecture and uses .NET Web Services to deliver data between the website and back office. Two built-in web services manage the website’s access to Blackbaud CRM data and the back office’s access to web transaction data such as donations and profile updates. The web service technology provides data access across the Internet using firewall-safe protocols such as HTTP and HTTPS, and this allows you to host Blackbaud Internet Solutions websites in different locations than the back office if necessary.
Blackbaud Internet Solutions components form a pipeline that connects the website and the back office. This full circle model allows you to display and edit back office data on the website and to download data from the website to the back office.
At key points in the pipeline, Blackbaud Internet Solutions provides open access to developers. With a moderate level of ASP.NET programming experience, a developer can create custom parts and include them in the CMS just like built-in parts. Custom parts surface in all content management features, such as the page designer, role-based security for targeting content, and scheduled publishing. Custom parts can do anything that .NET web user controls can do, including the display of HTML-based content, forms, and information from other systems.