A New Look

by cdwise 15. January 2013 21:16

I Since you are reading thing I’m sure you must have realized that this site has undergone a major change. If you thought it was bright before well its even more so now.

It has needed some serious updating for a long time. The last major change was when we moved off of Community Server – same basic platform Microsoft is using for their MSDN forums (enough said?) to BlogEngine.NET. For our purposes Community Server was not only far more than we’d ever need it was also cumbersome to modify. Okay, if you are a Visual Studio devote who thinks that C# is the cat’s meow you probably feel different. Like most front-end folks I don’t want to have to fool with the backend of the site anymore than I have to. Okay, I could have created a traditional site but since I thought it might be nice to let people comment on posts (what was I thinking?) it seemed some sort of blog or CMS would be appropriate.

So I originally settled on Community Server for a couple of reasons. First, they had a “free” community edition and the generous folks at telligent offered an upgrade to Microsoft MVPs. So I took them up on it. Unfortunately, while Community Server is a very good enterprise level system I’m not an enterprise sort of person. It took the good folks at orcsweb to get it installed on their hosting service to get it up and running with all the correct permissions.  I kept using it for a couple of years through at least one upgraded version before deciding that Community Server was not only overkill for my needs but since this is a volunteer “in my spare time” sort of site I didn’t have the time to master the skills necessary to make it do what I wanted how I wanted it.

So since I was getting a special offer to Microsoft MVPs from orcsweb I went looking for another asp.net based solution. That’s where I found BlogEngine.NET.  A much, much simpler solution that used XML files instead of a full fledged MS-SQL database. Ah, something I could work with to customize in Expression Web. A much better fit for me than an application that required Visual Studio to successfully modify. The folks at orcsweb helped with database back-up so I could extract content already published through Community Server.  That was sometime in 2008. The site hadn’t a redesign since. Sure I had downloaded and worked locally with newer versions of BlogEngine.NET but somehow I never got around to migrating site content to a newer version.

Over the years some of the links had moved and video tutorials were hosted elsewhere due to bandwidth constraints. Which caused some issues with content being “lost” and links broken. Still, a bandaid was put on and “updating” this site was still on the back burner. When considering New Year’s Resolutions I decided to move a new site design to the front of the list. Not just because it was well past time to do so but also because I had resigned as a Microsoft MVP and as a result knew I should move off OrcsWeb.  Something I would have preferred not to do since they are without doubt the best web host I’ve ever used in the 20 years I’ve been creating websites. However, with Microsoft announcing end of life for Expression Web and my no longer being an MVP it seemed to be the best thing to do.

That brought on a whole new round of what should I use for Expression Web. I thought about migrating over to WordPress since that is the platform I use most often. I even exported this site’s content and imported it into a more or less generic default WordPress site. Then out of curiosity I took at look to see where BlogEngine.NET was in its development. After all one of its big attractions initially was how easy it was to work with. Guess what? It’s still easy to work with and  while I’ll probably find some bugs I figured I’d give it a go for a bit. If it doesn’t work out I can always move over to WordPress.

orcswebI want to reiterate my thanks to the folks at orcsweb for the help and support they  have provided over the last 7-8 years. I cannot recommend them highly enough. If you need a web host with superb support, one that needs the ability to scale, or your website is mission critical you cannot ask for a better company to do business with.



Merry Christmas

by cdwise 24. December 2009 17:57


Merry Christmas



Call me list-nazi

by cdwise 11. June 2009 03:19

Okay, I’ll admit it when I own/moderate a web group I enforce the list rules. I’ve been on too many lists where there was no List Mom and ended up being filled with spam or dreck. If this makes me “arrogant” then so be it.

That means if you post a question to a list where I’m List Mom you need to:

  1. Be on topic – if you have  a question not directly related to the list topic but related to web design/development in general mark it with OT so that list members are alerted to the nature of the question. Keep it relevant or it moderators will shut down the thread.
  2. Use a descriptive subject line – this helps ensure that you get the attention of contributors who are knowledgeable or interested about that particular area. Do use subjects such as PHP form display issue, or Content Div not displaying, or Set a default editor for images. Don’t use “Question”, “Help”, “I’m a beginner”. This is especially important on a large or high volume list.
  3. Trim your quotes, other than the forum here at http://by-expression.com/forms every group I moderate is an email group whether on Yahoo Groups or Google Groups. On some of these there are a substantial percentage of folks using dial-up, being charged by the byte or receiving the digest version. So we ask that people be considerate and not quote everything when they reply. In addition to removing any adverts put in by say Yahoo, trim everything except what is needed to put your reply in context.
  4. Be courteous, and that means to everyone including the moderators if they make suggestions on how to improve your post. Flaming is not allowed nor is trolling. Doing either will get you banned.

Lists I own/moderate include by topic:

<moderator hat>

This is a convention used on many mail lists that I first saw years ago on one of the mail lists I belong to (I think it was css-d but I really don’t remember) that is used to distinguish a post made by a list owner or official moderator to remind people of list rules OR to call a halt to a thread that has drifted too far off topic or become abusive.

The use of this tag is meant to be a more or less gentle reminder that the list is moderated and keep the list on topic. The alternative is to either ban participants in off topic threads and/or violation of list rules, something that seems to harsh or go to a list that is a free for all. Neither of which would be good for any list in the long run.

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Dreamweaver | Expression Web | Misc

Google Election Homepage

by cdwise 5. November 2008 02:26

Friends in the UK were unable to see the Google homepage image today community today as an important electron day so I'm posting a quick screen snip for their enjoyment.




New Computer

by cdwise 4. November 2008 01:37

Which as I  love my Motion tablet I got a new convertible table last Friday. I am spent much longer setting it up than I had expected. if you are curious about why I am replacing my beloved Motion tablet with a Lenovo x200 the answer is simple: Adobe CS 4 master Collection. Motion to save weight uses 1.8" hard drives which is not available in a large enough capacity for me to use Creative Master Suite 4.

Normally I can set up a new computer in a couple of hours but this time has been different. There are several reasons for the longer set-up time. First, I usually reformat any new computer and start from scratch. This time because I am using a 64 but version of Vista  I started by upgrading from Vista Business 64 to Vista Ultimate 64. I would have ordered my Lenovo x200 tablet with Vista Ultimate 64 but Lenovo of offered Ultimate pre-installed in the 32 bit version.

One thing I discovered that many, if not most, of the pre-installed Lenovo specific 64 bit drivers were replaced by older generic 64 bit drivers during the "upgrade". I found this very annoying, especially considering that upgrading takes much longer than a clean install, sigh.

Fortunately there was relatively few pre-installed programs to uninstall. The only one I have uninstalled so for is the trial version of Office 2007 since  I have an enterprise license for Office 2007. The MacAfee trial was not pre-installed just available for install if desired, a much better option.

I now have the essential programs installed: Office 2007, Adobe CS4 Master Suite and Expression Web. Remaining to install are Camtasia, SnagIt and a bunch of smaller special purpose programs like WS-FTP Pro.

Now that my x200 is ready for use I will be able to start comparing the two. One thing I know already is that I will be using the Cross tables pens I first bought for use with my Toshiba m200 with this x200. The pen that came with my Motion tablet has such a pleasant feel that the Cross pens were regulated to my desk drawer. However, battery life is better on the x2oo and it runs cooler. Both I suspect are due to processor improvements since I purchased my Motion. I must admit that the decision to replace my Motion with this x200 was a hard one since I really do prefer the Motion in many ways, sigh.



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