.NET and Open Source: better together


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Introducing the Blogifier

I've been playing with this idea for a while now, trying different approaches, building proof of concept samples, throwing them away and starting over. Here is scenario I going after: your client asks you to build web application and, when you done, there is a little extra - "can you also add a blog to our website please? The PR people say it might come in handy and we want our product managers to engage by posting news etc. Shouldn't be too hard, right?" Well, you can add Wordpress or alike and call it a day, but what if they want it truly integrated, not another external application but part of website you just built? That would be a challenge. For example, here is 21 step (!) guide on integrating BlogEngine.Net into your application. And this is a challenge I was trying to tackle by creating Blogifier.

Blogifier is a component with common bloggin functionality - post lists, editor, content manager, RSS feed, categories etc. Point was to make it as easy as possible to plug into Visual Studio solution. I wanted to use Nuget for this, but blogging is heavy on the front-end side - scripts, styles, images, views - and Nuget deals with packaging back-end code into compiled libraries. There whole bunch of authentication libraries on Nuget for example, but they all require you build your own UI and only provide back-end functionality. I wanted adding blog really, really easy. Copying project and adding it to solution would work but seems lame - Nuget is better channel for code distribution by far. So I kept going back to using Nuget until I got whole web site compiled and packaged into set of DLLs, with all the styles and scripts. I guess this is pretty unique - at least Visual Studio completely freaks out trying to manage Razor view or JavaScript file in the class library project :)  

From technology point, I wanted cross-platform solution and went with ASP.NET Core (currently using stable 1.1). So first thing I did was setting up continues integration and deploying sample application to Azure and Digital Ocean, to test Windows and Linux in parallel. It took me about a week to reconcile differences between the two, but I think it was important to do it from the start and make Linux first class citizen and not an afterthought. 

Now I got to the point where project hits beta territory - it is usable but not completed. At this point I feel like I could use some feedback and second opinion before it is too late make any big changes. Below are links to short introductory video and project sites - everyone welcome to try it out and feedback is appreciated.

Theme Packer

boxAs much as I like power and flexibility NuGet provides to developers, I do realize that lots of people just want their packing task done fast and efficient and have no desire dig into command line. NuGet also has a little tool for building and editing packages graphically, and I’ve been using it for a while too. Unfortunately with 1.2 released last week, packages created with this tool (as well as NuGet 1.2 command line) no longer compatible with dnbegallery. Gallery built on top of several OS projects that all utilize NuGet 1.1, and upgrade will probably take a while. With all that under way, I made small utility to help me package themes for the gallery really quick, may be others would like to use it too. So here it goes. More...

ELMAH on BlogEngine 2.0, the easy way

Just got an email asking about how to install ELMAH on BlogEngine.NET 2.0:

I am trying to use Elmah with BE
Keep getting web.config errors one after the other.
Are you currently using it? Could you provide me a web.config for BlogEngine

Come on guys! Installing ELMAH by hand? It’s so 2010! More...

Using NuGet with BlogEngine.NET

nuget-logo2If you are .NET developer you no doubt heard about NuGet – this little package manager rapidly becoming a big deal in .NET open source community. There is a lot to like about it, and if you want to learn more go subscribe to Phil, Scott Hanselman or Scott Guthrie blogs to stay on top. To me interesting question is how NuGet can help me with daily development, for example, how can I apply it to build things for BlogEngine? Lets check this out. More...