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.

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