.NET and Open Source: better together

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Sneak peek on BlogEngine 2015

There has been a lot of activity lately on BlogEngine.NET development that went under the radar, so I want to clear things up a little. Because code moved from Codeplex to Github without much publicity, people don't see any changes in a while and assume project is dead done. This is exaggeration :) New release is under active development and coming along in a month or so. It is a bit of ironic that auto-update added in the previous version supposed to allow small quick releases, but somehow we ended up with another monster update. Old habits die hard, I guess. Anyways, here are some highlights on the coming features, some already implemented and some planned or in the works.

Code restructuring

This goes largely under the hood, but actually second most requested feature on our UserVoice. BE grew organically, meaning people contributed to the project pilled things up without code Nazis to stop them. As a result, project got messier over time and new release should make structure hopefully more logical and easier to navigate and understand. Some old stuff go out as they don't make much sense today (seemed cool and clever at the time...). Main purpose here is to make code much more maintainable.

Better UX

Although project always tried to stay simple, with more features added admin UI got a little complex. Developers love to make things configurable, and we got over 100 settings to play with. For average blogger who wants to write posts about cats this can be terrifying. Normal people should not be asked if they want to "enable AXD compression" and other scary stuff. So UI is ruthlessly reviewed to make it safe for noobs. For advanced there will be docs on Github to help micromanage setup, with all application and blog settings listed.

Sharper focus

With exactly zero testers on the project, we need to narrow down usage scenarios to be able to guarantee things work well. Two major scenarios that will be supported are:

  1. Simple single user blog (XML back-end)
  2. Multiple blogs on same install, aggregated (SQL Server back-end)
There will be detailed walk-through for these two scenarios to validate before release to guarantee its quality.  

New old editor

The TinyMCE is back. It was originally used but at some point we ran into issues and switched to lighter JavaScript editors. After revising latest TinyMCE, however, it seems like it went through very impressive transformation. It is fast, packs tons of features, easy to customize and extend. Definitely won me over. 

New file manager

New file manager works hand-in-hand with TinyMCE, available from toolbar. Nothing fancy, lets you manage files and folders and inject them in the post with a click. For pictures, you can modify and edit in the editor itself - which keeps manager quick and light.

Admin themes

Although this might seem like added complexity, it is not. We not going to support multiple themes, instead we separate admin theme from the other code using Razor layouts, so that it can be designed and developed without messing up with other application code. There will be second theme (below), just as example, and if your are developer and your client wants you to make admin look like one from here - would not be hard at all. You can even hire me for this - but that will cost you :)

Getting SEO right

Admittedly not my favorite task, but this has to be done. We'll have to validate next release with trusted SEO tools and make it go green. Right now it is not a pretty picture.

There are lots of other small things, bug fixes and improvements. Hope you'll like them. Because see this chart with big bump in August? It looks like a python that ate my vacation.