DefinIT

Why I’ve changed my blogging software from BlogEngine.Net to WordPress

| 21/07/2010 | Tags: , ,

wordpress Up until now, I’ve been using BlogEngine.Net as my blogging platform, and up until now I’ve been relatively happy with using it. One of the major drivers for me as a “Microsoft” person was to use something that is based on Microsoft technology – BlogEngine.Net is based (as the name suggests) on the .Net framework. I’m much happier these days writing limited amounts of C#.Net than I am with PHP.

The problem is, I seemed to be spending more time fixing the blog than writing on it. I’ve had all sorts of problems, ranging from incompatibility with my hosting provider, theme compatibility issues, random code issues and more. Email notifications seem to work, then stop, then work again. Simple things like adding reCAPTCHA support to cut down the enormous amount of comment spam have taken days of head scratching. Whether or not these issues are down to my ignorance or the software, the outcome is the same, I don’t want to be fixing my blogging software, I want it to just work!

Then there’s the search engines, and the existing web presence that I have. A major consideration for me when changing the software is the fact that a lot of my traffic comes from links that are embedded in forums and other blogs – and that search engines respond with the existing BlogEngine posts rather than the newer ones. I’ve considered this, and I think it’s worth the risk. I will leave the BE running for a while and block search engine traffic to it so that direct links in will still be valid. I’ll see where the traffic takes me – but the advantages of changing now outweigh the risks. I will look to do some sort of URL redirect if it becomes an issue.

So  why move to WordPress then? It’s not based on Microsoft technology and it could potentially set me back to square one with my web presence. Quite simply, it just works. It has a massive ecosystem built up around it of plug-ins, themes and widgets. It’s mature – very mature – software that is actively developed and much more widely used than BlogEngine.Net is.

The import of the BlogML from BlogEngine was pretty pain free -  the categories came in as a GUID rather than the friendly name, but that was a simple matter of updating the MySQL table using a query. I’ve decided to slim down the categories, and as such I’ve moved the existing post categories into tags (handy little plug-in that). The theme I am using is nice enough, maybe when I have some time I’ll customise it a bit further.

But, I’ve made the jump; Windows Live Writer is plugged in to WordPress and I am hoping that it all comes together nicely. Recently I’ve been studying for my MCITP: Enterprise Exchange Administrator exams which I’m taking on Monday (70-662 and 70-663), so hopefully I can push some more Exchange stuff this way.

Until then, thanks for reading!

Sam

Commenting re-enabled!

| 03/06/2010 | Tags:

Shhhh, don’t tell the spam-bots, but after a blissful month of having broken the comments system and not having enough time to fix it, I’ve finally got round to doing it! Comments will now work without errors – and the spam-bots should have a hard time getting past reCaptcha too!

At some point I’ll update to 1.6.1, but for now, I’m glad it’s working again!

BlogEngine.Net 1.6 is released – and I’ve upgraded! Also migrated to IIS 7

| 04/02/2010 | Tags: ,

I’ve just upgraded to BE.Net 1.6, and I thought I’d migrate to GoDaddy’s IIS 7 servers at the same time. The theory is that this would be a an easy migration and I’d have the weekend to iron out any bugs. Not so.

After testing on my local IIS 7 and working perfectly, I uploaded the updates to my live blog and hit the “Migrate to IIS 7” button, which promises it will be completed in 24h. I received the “update your DNS” email, and duly updated my A records to the new server, and the transfer seems to be ok – aside from the fact that viewing any specific post causes an error – I’m guessing with the permissions of the App_Data folder. The catch being that I can’t access my IIS settings until GoDaddy have completed their 24h migration process.

It’s now been more than 72 hours since I kicked of the migration and still I cannot access and fix the IIS permissions issue which is dogging my blog. I’ve emailed twice and am still waiting for some resolution. Perhaps I won’t be renewing this year?

New look and feel, revised categories and a traffic milestone!

| 07/04/2009 | Tags: ,

Just a quick note to mark the fact that I've updated the look and feel of the blog – hopefully with a bit more space and cleaner lines. It's still teething, so report any bugs you see! I've had a bit of a cleanup of the categories to remove some of the less "category" like ones – they were being a bit blurred with the tags.

Lastly, I'm really quite amazed to say that my blog is now well over 100 visitors a day on a weekday, so thank you for visiting! (Now if only a few more clicked on the adverts, It would start to recover some of the cost of hosting!)

As ever, let me know what you think!

Sam

Code syntax highlighting in BlogEngine.Net

| 12/05/2008 | Tags:

I've just added some code syntax highlighting to this blog using SyntaxHighlighter and a great how-to article by Scott Dougherty this means that any code I post should look like this:

public static string SayHello(string name){    return String.Format("Hello, {0}!", name);}

There are a few bugs at the moment, one being that tiny_mce is stripping linebreaks from the code posting (just a minor one) and the theme somehow removes the line numbers, but I'm sure I'll find a way around them…somehow.

Posting to BlogEngine using Windows Live Writer

| 09/05/2008 | Tags: ,

One of my unpublished gripes with the DotNetNuke blog was that it was a pain to make work with WLW. One of the cool things with BE.Net is that it does work with WLW, not only that but it works well. Setup was a breeze and within 2 minutes I'm now writing my first post, including tags and categories (hit F2 if you're trying to do that in WLW).

Now this is cool! 🙂

Force BlogEngine.Net to update its cache after an import

| | Tags:

Well my first real post on BlogEngine.Net is…about BlogEngine.Net!

After running the import program from my old DotNetNuke blog I found that the importer had worked, but that the blog entries had not shown up. This was because the cache that BE.Net uses for the XML data files. Since I'm on a shared hosting I couldn't just run an IISReset.exe, so I obviously needed a work around, and here it is:

  1.  Open default.aspx.cs in Visual Studio (or just a text editor)
  2. Add the following to the Page_Load function:

    BlogEngine.Core.Post.Reload();

  3. Save and upload default.aspx.cs, refresh your blog.

Et voila, posts will appear. Phew.

Lament for WordPress and a call for a .Net WordPress killer

| 08/05/2008 | Tags:

I miss WordPress. I miss the fact that it would save my work periodically, and that if my session timed out while the I was writing a blog, it would be there when I logged back in as an unpublished daft. I miss having my categorised posts. I miss having tags to tell me what I've written about. Even Google seems to prefer my old blog, old pages that don't exist are returned where these ones sit in anonymity.

It's not that DotNetNuke isn't good, because it is. It's powerful and has a load of really good add-ons and…it just isn't WordPress when it comes to blogging.

All that said, I've burned my bridges – my web host is .NET only. Somehow I need to find some blogging software in .NET that is free, open source and comes close to WordPress.

Perhaps it portends a slightly fruitless search when my first result takes me to a blog post from 2005 with the same lament, why can't I find some .NET blogging software that's as good as WordPress?

Ever the optimist, here's my (very) shortlist I am going to look at:

BlogEngine.Net – The most promising bit of .Net blogging software I have seen, could it be a WordPress equivilent for MS junkies?

Community Server Express – Certainly mature, certainly powerful, but I get the feeling I'll end up with the same frustrations and a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

dasBlog – Not even sure if this is still developed, it's written in .Net 1.1 but it looks quite mature.