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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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    The release of Kentico CMS 6.0 can be summed up in one word. Huge. I counted over 100 new features or improvements listed on the official Kentico CMS 6.0 New Features document that Martin Hejtmanek (CTO of Kentico) released last week. In fact the document weighs in at 114 pages. I recommend downloading it and reading  through it all to get a full grasp on the 6.0 release.

    In an effort to summarize and quickly communicate the most beneficial additions, I have started this blog post as the first in a series. The goal of this series will be to break out the best new features by the intended audience.

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    This is the second post in a series about the newest release of Kentico CMS. If you have not done so, please be sure to start out with reading the introduction to the Top 5 New Features for Developers in Kentico CMS 6.0. Then jump right back here.

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    In my last two posts I talked about what should make Developers and Designers happy. With this post I will shift my focus to the actual end users of the product, or what we like to lovingly refer to in the industry as the Content Editors.

    In my opinion, it is neck and neck between Developers and Content Editors for when it comes to who will receive the most benefits from the 6.0 update. So lets get right to it.

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    This post continues my series on the new features of Kentico CMS 6.0. Today I am targeting website administrators and Kentico site administrators as one audience. Mostly though it’s the group of people in the trenches, or in our case network closets, normally tasked with installing the occasional SSL certificate or making sure the servers aren’t on fire.

    The release of Kentico CMS 6.0 brings some much needed love to this area of installing, maintaining, and monitoring an instance or multiple instances of the Kentico product. Let’s dive in.

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    imageThis past week, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 2nd annual Kentico Connection conference in Denver, Colorado. The conference served as a stage for Kentico to release the newest version of it’s software, as well as, provide a place for the members of the Kentico community to meet up and discuss all things CMS. Kentico bills it as the the place where developers, marketers and business connect.

    I have only been to a few other conferences of this type, but this one easily rises to the top of my list. Every aspect of the conference was excellent.

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  • 10/23/11--17:46: Announcing Cloud Power GR
  • I’m proud to announce a free educational technology event November 9th, 2011 in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, Cloud Power GR. The event is hosted by BizStream and NVINT, providers of cloud hosted applications and cloud hosting services. The goal is to explain cloud computing in a way everyone from the seasoned IT Director to the typical business person can understand.

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  • 11/10/11--19:29: Cloud Power GR Wrap Up
  • Yesterday, a collection of System Administrators, CTOs, Business Owners, and IT Workers gathered at Grand Valley State University's Eberhard Conference Center for the first ever Cloud Power GR event. The event was run by BizStream and NVINT. It featured four presentations explaining what exactly cloud computing is and how the cloud can benefit organizations large and small alike.

    Patrick Foley from Microsoft kicked off the morning with a discussion of where the whole cloud computing concept originated from and how Microsoft is positioning it’s public cloud and private cloud offerings. Patrick did a great job of explaining the various cloud models, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

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    Lately at BizStream we have been doing more and more upgrades of Kentico CMS 5.5 R2 to Kentico CMS 6.0. During the latest upgrade project we came across a very curious error while using the Kentico CMS Installation Manager.

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    In this blog post series:

    1. Top 5 New Features for Developers in Kentico CMS 6
    2. Top 5 New Features for Designers in Kentico CMS 6
    3. Top 5 New Features for Content Editors in Kentico CMS 6
    4. Top 5 New Features for Site Administrators in Kentico CMS 6
    5. Top 5 New Features for Internet Marketers in Kentico CMS 6 (this post)

    Today we have made it to the last post of the series and will cover what’s new for Internet Marketers. I must admit I am a little behind in finishing this series off, I thought it would be done sooner, but enough with the excuses lets get on with it.

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  • 01/16/12--09:24: I’m a Kentico MVP!
  • A little while back Thom Robbins, Chief Evangelist from Kentico CMS, and I sat down and had a private conversation. It was then that he first informed me that Kentico would like to make me a Kentico CMS Most Valuable Professional. After getting over my initial shock, I felt honored about being the recipient of this award.

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    It was long overdue, but I finally was able to finish migrating my blog from BlogEngine.Net to Kentico CMS. And as you can tell, not only did I migrate it, Adam Reece was kind enough to do a complete redesign. So thanks a lot Adam!

    I actually enjoyed using BlogEngine.Net quite a bit because of it’s slick widget / plug-in capabilities. However, those capabilities can’t compare to the out of the box functionality of Kentico CMS. Plus the previous version of my blog had a theme that really limited what I could do with content. It was tough to fit good screen shots and code samples in the main content area. So it was time to move. 

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    Like I have mentioned before, at BizStream we have done our fair share of upgrades from Kentico CMS 4.x, 5.x, or 5.5 R2 to Kentico CMS 6.0. Along the way we have run into more than a few issues, but overall the process is usually quite smooth. Today I had an interesting problem though. When a newly upgraded site loaded up in the CMSDesk, the main content area was just a blank looking box. It appeared to be in some sort of disabled state. This was something that I had not seen before. Especially since the site was not using workflow nor the versioning system.

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    As I have mentioned before Kentico CMS version 6.0 introduced a ton of new features. One of those new features does not get mentioned enough in my opinion. In this blog post I will try to shed some light and how and why you should be using the new Kentico CMS REST Service. The real world example that we are going to walk through building is a very typical home page element, the venerable content slider or image rotator as it is sometimes called. We will use the REST Service to handle retrieving images from the content tree and populating the content for the content slider.

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    Now that we are sure our REST Service is working. Let’s setup the example. Create a page in your site named Image Slider or re-use the Home page that you probably already have. You might want a page that has a unique Page Template because we will be adding some web parts to it. Next lets add some images as Attachments to the page. Basically we are going to use the page as the container for the image slider, and the attachements will be the content of each slide in the slider. At the end you should have something that looks like this.

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    Tonight I was lucky enough to have a few hours of free time between work and family activities.So I decided to take some of the next generation of developer tools from Microsoft for a spin. I downloaded and installed the newest Microsoft SQL Server 2012 release and the Visual Studio 11 Beta release. Once I got past those installers, I fired up the Kentico Installation Manager and installed a fresh Kentico CMS 6.0 instance.

    I’m happy to report that everything works flawlessly. The default Kentico CMS solution was effortlessly upgraded to a Visual Studio 11 compatible solution. The web project itself compiled and built just fine. Running the project via the built in web server, as well as, IIS Express worked without a hiccup.

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    Kentico CMS 7.0 will be released at the end of June 2012. That's less than a month people! As usual there will be a host of new features added to the Kentico CMS and Kentico EMS products. The full feature list can be found on the official Kentico Roadmap. As soon as I get my hands on the beta, my plan is to start reviewing the new features just like I did for the 6.0 release. Then when 7.0 officially comes out I hope to have my full review ready to go.

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  • 06/29/12--16:38: Kentico CMS 7 RC Released
  • Today Kentico CMS 7 Release Candidate (RC) was made available to the general public. Again there are a large new set of new features and improvements that come with this newest version. I recommend reading the official Kentico CMS 7 RC blog post, and then diving into the release notes.

    I have downloaded the RC, and got it running. It looks very polished at first glance. The first thing that looks very nice is the new e-commerce starter site. This is an option you can now choose right away during the installation process.

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  • 07/06/12--16:16: More on Kentico CMS 7 RC
  • I've been playing around a little more with the latest release candidate of Kentico CMS. After reading up more on Martin’s Hejtmanek’s post about the full set of changes and updates, I was inspired to blog about a few of the new features and changes that excited me. Don’t forget to check out my last post about the release of Kentico CMS 7.0 RC if you have not done so already.

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    This post continues my review of some of the new features of Kentico CMS 7. Up next on my list is the new Auto Publishing feature. This feature adds even more social media integration between Kentico CMS and Twitter / Facebook. The icing on the cake is that Auto Publishing comes right out of the box, no custom code is needed. Today I am not only going to review how to use the new Auto Publishing feature of Kentico, but also show you how to add it to any custom document type that you might have.

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    In part 1 of this mini blog post series we setup a Twitter App that eventually we will connect Kentico CMS to automatically publish content to. This post will continue the series by showing you how to create the last piece of setup that we need, the Facebook App and the Facebook Page. So if you have not read the introduction post please do so now, and then come right back.

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