.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. More...

Entity Framework 7 Getting Started

If you are new to Entity Framework, especially to all new EF7, best way to start is to look at this code from sample application. It shows all you need to know to get rolling: connecting to database, creating a table, inserting and selecting data all in one simple console app. You can run it in the new shiny Visual Studio 2015 with break points on any line that you want to verify and literally walk step by step understanding the process. Which is: More...

Bootstrap List Pager

Bootstrap provides nice lists to display all kind of items your website might need. It is very useful, and because it meant to show just few items it is not paged. Problem is, sometimes I do need it paged. For most cases, it can be just a few rows, but for some it can grow in few dozens. Not hundreds, that would mean you need a grid, but still having dozens rows would make UI look really ugly. For these cases, I would want paged list kind of like one on the right in this picture. More...

ASP.NET Globalization in BlogEngine.NET

The basic globalization in ASP.NET pretty simple: you create resource (.resx) file for every supported language and include it in App_GlobalResources. ASP.NET will compile it and load on demand. If you put your resources in labels.resx, in your code you can access individual resource like this: More...

Updater utility for BlogEngine 2.9

If you want to try new BlogEngine.NET 2.9 beta just released to the public, and planning to upgrade your blog, here is little handy utility you can use. Using it pretty simple, just follow these steps and you'll get your blog upgraded in no time. Well, at least I did - no guarantee it will work for everyone, of course. So please don't skip backup and testing and blame it on me :) More...

Custom Fields

Usually blogs have well known structure, which is understandable; one of the core ideas behind blogs is ability to "talk" to each other using RSS, format that defines very strict set of entries like "post", "category" or "tag". Also common format helps to move data from one blog engine to the other making your data portable - big plus. But there are times when you want to go beyond this limitation, and add something valuable to you and your readers. So there is need to extend blog's data structure somehow to hold this extra data. For example WordPress adds meta tables for most main entities, and you have post meta, comment meta, user meta etc. I don't necessarily like this approach as it tightly binds extensibility points to existing structure. To borrow from famous Rumsfeld's rant, those are "known unknowns", and sometimes we have to deal with "unknown unknowns". Maybe single generic entry where post or user defines a type would be a better choice, because then we could add new type instead of creating new entry (table). This also allows (oh my!) to have meta for meta entries and not just stick another key/value pair into the post or comment. More...

BlogEngine 2.8 Theme Structure

Looking for improvements to layout and theme structure in the next BlogEngine, I went through existing code analyzing how these things work now. Its not very straightforward, so I decided to put together a quick overview that might help someone maintaining and modifying blog built with BlogEngine.NET. More...

Updater for BlogEngine 2.8

BlogEngine.NET 2.8 was just released to the public, and if you feel lazy going through the steps to upgrade, here is how to do it easier. Download little utility from the link in the end of this post, watch short video with example how it works and you should be able to upgrade without breaking a sweat. One thing that is not mentioned in the video is that this utility if it finds issue it will try to fix it and log this into log.txt in the same directory where you run it. You might want to check this log file to make sure it did a correction properly. More...

Woopra Update

woopra2This real-time customer analytics service just released public beta 8.0 and I tested it with BlogEngine.NET to make sure they still work great together. If you a fan of statistics then you might like it a lot, this service provides functionality similar to Google Analytics with a stress on real-time activity. It is done very well and works great, and with Google dropping services (yep, I’m going to miss Reader) it is not a bad idea to have a plan “B”. I would not recommend to run both at the same time, this might generate too many service calls – although I did it for some time without noticeable downsides. The way it works you create account with Woopra and they give you a script that you add to your admin/settings/custom code/trailing scripts. Then you just go to Woopra site and log in into your dashboard. More...

Jcarousel extension for BlogEngine

This new extension for BlogEngine will let you save images for multiple albums and display any album in carousel-like fashion in your posts and pages using jCarousel plugin for jQuery. It is light-weight and pretty easy to use. I reused code from NivoSlider as foundation, making few improvements and adding ability to create thumbnail images on the fly. You install it from dnbegallery.org and access extension UI under admin/appearance where you should see "Jcarousel" in the menu list in the right side-bar. There you can upload images. To display album on the page as in this post, you add "CAROUSEL:AlbumName" to the post, substituting quotes with square brackets. More...