Now I know it's Christmas! I just read on Mary-Jo Foley's blog about the new, free CMS/Blog system released by Microsoft called "Oxite". It is built using the new ASP.NET MVC framework and is highly extensible, touting such features as Microformats and source control integration. In fact, it is so customizable that users can swap out Microsoft technologies and use search and database providers of their choice. In addition, it can be used with different source control products such as TFS or SVN.
The Oxite team who were responsible for Channel 9, have put considerable effort into establishing a strong base that developers can both use off the bat, as well as extend themselves. I'm itching to give this a test drive but am somewhat nervous of the beta-state of MVC right now. So, I'm treading carefully before attempting the full install. It might be worth the time spent to read the MVC release notes and Phil Haacks account of some installation issues before jumping in head first.
You can run Oxite on any version of XP, W2K3 or W2K8. You only need three pieces of software: some version of Visual Studio or Express, ASP.NET MVC and either SQL Express 2005 or 2008 - I'm guessing that SQL Server 2005 will work as well? Note that the online installation instructions for full version VS and database have not at the time of writing, been added. Like that's going to stop us, right?
You can create single blog or multi-blog sites. You can create your own pages and sub-pages, etc. It's got pingbacks, trackbacks, multi-level RSS feeds, gravatars... the list goes on. Plus, we get to use Live Writer to post to our blog :-)
The only thing about all this is that I no longer have an excuse not to learn the MVC framework. So, I guess I better head over to the ASP.NET site and educate myself...
Up until today, CodersBarn was based on BlogEngine 1.1. using XML. I was having ongoing problems with the comments system, and honestly believe that without feedback from readers, nobody gains. So, for the past week, I have been working on porting it to the new 1.3 version using SQL Server.
The comments system is now up and running :-) Please feel free to comment on any existing posts or to make suggestions on what content you would like to see from an ASP.NET point of view. Use the contact form to ask questions or to request code snippets. I will attempt to respond to all emails. Over time, the goal for this blog is to move closer to a real community, a community that shares the knowledge rather than guarding it like some trade secret known only to the few.
The CodersBarn blog only began last summer and is already receiving over 5,000 page views per month, roughly 2,300 unique hits. It takes a little time to find a niche that needs to be filled. In the future, I see this blog offering up more and more practical, "How To" articles and code samples. It's not a news blog and doesn't attempt to create traffic by throwing up cheap links to other people's work. The original idea was to create a place for students of software and professionals alike, to speak candidly about this great profession and where it's heading.
Hats off to Mads Kristensen and his colleagues who put BlogEngine.Net together. It's an amazing piece of blogging software and was sorely needed. Prior to the launch of this free blog engine I was already procrastinating for over a year on coding my own engine... a case of the mechanic's car? The availability of this software and the ease of installation saw this blog designed, a name chosen and registered, and the first post published, all in a single weekend. This migration to a databased version was made particularly easier by the availability of intructional installation videos from Al Nyveldt.
Here goes... I guess I've been gleaning the goods from other people's
sites long enough! They say committing to a blog is a time-consuming
venture. I've decided to get this site out fast and then add to it
gradually. The main motivation behind this blog is to create a forum
where developers like myself can discuss programming and design issues.
I want to encourage beginners and experts alike to make this site a
place where people can have fun and learn at the same time.
I have been reading Mads Kristensen's
blog and it is his Blog Engine that is under the hood. I have been
using ASP.NET and C# for around three years. I'm no expert but was able
to download Mads' Blog Engine this afternoon and have it up and running
in no time. I made some minor changes to the theme stylesheet and that
was it. The previous night, while browsing through iStockphoto
I came across the banner picture you see above. This morning, I took
one look at it and the domain name just jumped out at me. Five minutes
later, I had it registered on GoDaddy and this baby was born!
This is a really exciting time for Web Developers in general.
Hopefully, some of the subjects that interest me personally will be
representative of some of the new technologies emerging in our industry
as we look forward. Please email me if you have any thoughts about
interesting directions this site could possibly take.
I am currently embarking on the Ajax and SharePoint learning curve but
ASP.NET 2.0 is still the main focus of my work and future posts will
probably reflect that.
Anthony Grace :-)