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Brian McKeiver's personal blog. This blog is mostly dedicated to Kentico CMS and ASP.NET development.

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  • 06/21/10--20:25: Blog Update
  • I finally decided it was time to update my blog. So we are now running version 1.6.1 of BlogEngine.Net. So far the upgrade has went well. You might see some small glitches, hopefully I can get them fixed before you notice...

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    You have just finished importing your export file onto the live server, generated that fresh new license file and installed it, double checked your server's host headers, and fired up your browser of choice to http://www.somesite.com. Now wipe that smile away from your face, you still have work to do.


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    Kentico CMS is extremely powerful when it comes to controlling the URL of a website. Right out of the box, you get the power of aliasing whatever URL you want to whatever document or resource you have in the content tree.

    Heck since Kentico 4.x you can even mask/change the extension or just get rid of it all together, to get more control of your site’s URLs.

    I can’t stress enough how beneficial this feature is when it comes to creating SEO friendly links, maintaining out of date website paths/structure, or just making it easier on your visitors to reach the pages that they need to get to.

    Let’s get started with an example. For instance let’s say your website had a products section that sold different types of potato chips. My favorite potato chips are Baked Lays. So we will go with that for the example.

    Way back when developers didn’t do much to make the URL SEO or user friendly, you would have a typical URL like these:

    
    
    http://mcbeev.com/products/chips.aspx?name=Baked Lays
    
    

    Google and other search engines see this only as one URL, …/chips.aspx, which doesn’t do us very good.

    Now let’s say you had this same website in Kentico. It might look something like this:


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    (Note: this post assumes that you read the primer post on URL Rewriting & Aliasing in Kentico CMS)

     

    In my last post I described what it takes to use the URL Rewriting and Document Aliasing capabilities of Kentico. I also promised a twist to those who made it through the entire blog post, and here it is. So without further ado, I now present my solution for creating a Custom Document Alias in Kentico that is QueryString aware.

    Let’s get started. Now that you understand more about URL Rewriting say you had a URL like this:

     


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    I’ve been pretty surprised at the traffic, mention, and email feedback that my last post, 7 Things you might want to check after launching a new Kentico CMS website, has received. In fact I was presented with a very good question in my inbox today about a detail from the fourth item in that list.

    Pretty much the question boiled down to, why after submitting the Google site map URL to Google’s Webmaster tools, was the specified website’s pages not showing up in the resulting index or when viewed at the sites ~/CMSPages/GoogleSiteMap.aspx page.

    Since the question came in from a friend, I decided to dig deeper and lend a hand. As soon as I logged into the site’s CMSDesk I quickly noticed what was up. Most of the content pages were using Custom Document Types. I was actually impressed to see this because it is sort of an advanced feature to use inside Kentico and normally an under utilized feature as well.

    The output of the GoogleSiteMap.aspx page looked something like this, only the normal Menu Items from the CMS Tree:


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    I’m a huge fan of using a wiki to help organize our business and it’s various functions, such as creating software. In fact I usually end of recommending the use of a wiki to almost all my clients who do not already have one.

    If you are not familiar with what a wiki is, let me give a simple definition right here:

    A wiki can be defined as a web page or web site that allows a community of users to add, edit, and maintain content that usually surrounds a given topic or topics.

    It’s a simple concept really, a web page that holds content, that’s almost no different than any web page out there. But the real difference between any old web page and a wiki is that anyone can edit a wiki right on the fly, while a web page is normally maintained by one person. In fact the more users that a wiki has adding and editing content, the more relevant and informational that wiki will become.


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    This post applies to using Kentico CMS 5.5+ and Visual Studio 2010. It may seem a bit basic to some veteran Kentico developers, but I had to show a few co-workers the ins and outs of setting up a solution the right way. Once they had it, they were able to debug through a local project that contained both the core Kentico code and the extra sample code for creating a custom event handler. You might have a question on what exactly a CustomEventHandler is for Kentico. Well it is basically an avenue...

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    Reader Tip - Cick the Hide Sidebars link at the top right toolbar on this page to give you some more room to read this post on the screen, because it is code heavy. The Kentico CMS WebService is a little known tool when it comes to the functionality of Kentico. It is used in a few Web Parts, the Repeater for web service Web Part comes to mind right away. The WebService’s job is pretty straightforward, it’s main purpose,  as you could probably guess, is to return data from the Ke...

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    Today I'm writing a small quick tip type of post that allows you to customize the Smart search wep parts inside of Kentico CMS in a way that I think helps the usability of searching Kentico based web sites.

    Kentico's Smart search web parts easily create functionality that allow you to have a very powerful search engine right at your own disposal. The built-in functionality indexes your site's content and displays search results that are ranked based on relevancy. Trust me, it's much more than just a SQL WHERE clause.  I'm not trying to cover the entire spectrum of search inside a Kentico site so if you are not used to using the Smart search check out the Smart Search documentation on Kentico's Devnet.


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    Over the last few days I have read about a security flaw that many sites and blogs are reporting, that Scott Guthrie originally posted. In fact I am quite surprised that it has gotten so much attention, usually these things go a bit un noticed.

    That attention prompted me to check out the default Kentico installation and see what the settings are in the web.config file, to see if the default installation was at risk.

    Sure enough the default installation looks like this (ASP.NET 4)


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    This may seem like a very obvious tip, however, it is something that can easily be overlooked. Check your server to make sure that the ~/App_Data folder of your Kentico installation is totally excluded from its antivirus engine. If the antivirus engine is scanning that directory then you might already be a victim of a performance hit. Let me give a little background first. The Kentico CMS application utilizes the ~/App_Data folder to perform various tasks like importing and exporting objects, pu...

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    Over 150 sites were submitted to the Kentico “Site of the Year 2010” contest. Those submissions were divided up into 10 categories based on which industry that each website was based in, as well as a few special categories like largest integration website and best overall website design.

    One of the sites that made it to the final round of voting is www.MaryFreeBed.com. The Mary Free Bed website falls in the Healthcare category. It just so happens that it is a website that BizStream developed from the ground up, and one that we are very proud to be a part of. We worked with a great set of people to make this website and I commend everyone who was part of  the team.

    We are so proud that we really want to get the word out. We want to get as many people as possible to vote for the site so that it can win the contest. Browse on over to the Site of the year 2010 contest on Kentico’s site and vote for the www.MaryFreeBed.com website in the Healthcare category right now! I promise it will only take you about 3 minutes of your time and it will help us out.

    At the very least, you will also be able to see some great examples of websites built with Kentico CMS that are powerful, easy to use, and look great.


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    The ASP.NET and C# based ScrewTurn wiki is one of the baddest wiki’s on the block. It is sleek and powerful at what it does, and oh did I mention that it is completely open source and free ? Do I have your attention yet ?


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    To date, the most visited post on my blog has been “7 Things You Might Want to Check After Launching a New Kentico CMS Website”. Based on that post’s success I have decided to create this follow up post. Below are 5 more items to add to your launch checklist.


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    Kentico CMS 6.0 is slated to make it out in either Q2 or Q3 of 2011. Recently via twitter feeds, a few internal developers have been posting about some of the new features, and even better, there have been a few screenshots as well. Some of these new features that they have made public are Windows Azure support for multiple instances, Health Monitoring, and Improved Settings configurations. After reading through the Roadmap on some of the planned changes and upgrades, I can tell you that I am pr...

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    Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 is hot off the presses and it includes a great new feature, IIS Express. IIS Express is a step up from the old Cassini web server that had previously been included with Visual Studio since the 2005 edition. You can read more about IIS Express at Scott Guthrie’s blog.

    To switch your Kentico project to use this new feature, you just need to go to the Visual Studio top menu after your solution is loaded, and click Website –> Use IIS Express.

    From there you can debug the solution as normal. If you need any help with setting up a Kentico project for debugging check out my post about it. The project should start compiling normally and your default browser should pop up pointed your localhost. This request should now be served up through IIS Express and you should see the IIS Express logo appear in your system tray.

    Sure enough that all worked for me, and after the default project loaded I was presented with a nice new shiny………error message.

    Kentico CMS and IIS Express HTTP Error 500.22

    Hmm that seemed odd to me. But as it turns out there is an HttpModule in the system.web node that IIS Express doesn’t like.


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  • 04/03/11--16:46: Kentico CMS QR Code Module
  • What is a QR Code ? A Quick Response code, or QR code for short, is a a two dimensional bar code that is readable by QR code scanners and various mobile devices. The QR code was originally created to store such things as serial numbers, part numbers, and other manufacturing type information. There is now a trend to store more web friendly information in these codes such as URLs, vCard contact information, or anything web marketers can dream up these days. You’ll notice them all over the pl...

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    This post is intended to introduce my latest web part that I have created for Kentico CMS. This new web part wraps up all the logic you need to add a Google +1 button to your Kentico CMS pages or page templates.


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    This weekend I finally had time to sit down and focus on taking the Kentico developer certification test. And after 42 minutes of test taking, I passed! Obtaining the Kentico cert was on my list of things to do since back in 2010 when it first came out, but we have been so busy at BizStream that I haven’t had a really good time to do it.


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  • 08/19/11--18:51: Kentico CMS 6.0 Beta is Out
  • Right now Kentico CMS partners can login to the Partner Portal and download the beta version of Kentico CMS 6.0. The beta of 6.0 is intented for testing only.

    I'm downloading/installing it right now, and I can't wait to get it up and running to see all the new features. For more on what to expect check out the great post by Jeroen Furst a Kentico MVP and his review of the 6.0 CTP.


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