Aaronontheweb

Hacking .NET and Startups

Upgraded to BlogEngine.NET 2.0, Updated Extensions

December 28, 2010 07:11 by Aaronontheweb in BlogEngine.NET // Tags: , // Comments (2)

BlogEngine.NET 2.0 was released just before Thanksgiving this year, and it includes a bunch of major changes, the most noticeable of which is the drastically improved admin dashboard.

There are also a number of external-facing improvements too such as jQuery out of the box, SEO improvements, and so forth. I contributed one small improvement to BlogEngine.NET 2.0, and that was the alternative captcha engine I wrote – Recaptcha causes as many problems as it solves and was rife with bugs in BlogEngine.NET 1.6 1.

SimpleCaptcha

SimpleCaptcha was inspired by the captcha engine Jeff Atwood used on Coding Horror for so many years, where he asked his bots to politely type in the word “orange.” In that vein I decided to follow in his footsteps.

The default SimpleCaptcha out of the box looks like this:

image

Simply stated, the end user is expected to be able to add 5+5 = 10 in order to post their comment. If they cannot, then the comment isn’t posted. Feel free to give it a try on this post if you’d like.

Of course you can modify the captcha prompt and answer in the extensions panel like so:

image

 

I released a small UI update for SimpleCaptcha this morning and committed the changes to a BlogEngine.NET fork (waiting for somebody to accept my pull request;) I recommend downloading it here if you’re already using BlogEngine.NET 2.0 and want to use SimpleCaptcha: SimpleCaptcha1.1.zip (3.07 kb)

Subscribe Remind

One of the things that happened in BlogEngine.NET 2.0 was a major refactoring of how extension settings are stored, so a number of really simple extensions like my Subscribe Remind BlogEngine.NET Extension were broken in the process.

I’ve released an updated version of Subscribe Remind for BlogEngine.NET 2.0, which you can download here.

Many other basic extensions may have been broken in the process of upgrading to BlogEngine.NET 2.0, so make sure you check your App_Code folder carefully when you upgrade. Virtually any extension that saved settings data has been subject to breaking changes.

New Theme – “NerdRage”

I’ve also updated this blog’s theme – I wanted a theme that I could call my own, so I hacked and hacked the Inove and Indigo themes until I had something I was happy with. My goal here is to try to maximize readability and I really need your feedback to make that possible, so please let me know if you find my blog difficult to read in any way, shape, or form.


1just ask the people who were trying to comment on my post on ASP.NET MVC3 Remote Validation the other day

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BlogEngine.NET Extension: Footnotes

July 6, 2010 18:06 by Aaronontheweb in BlogEngine.NET // Tags: , // Comments (1)

I finished this extension up last night but I was reluctant to deploy it to my own blog given that there was a major flamewar in progress on my recent post about Why .NET Adoption Lags Among Startups. Having actually tested this extension on that very post, I feel confident sharing my latest BlogEngine.NET extension with you: Footnotes!1

Once you've installed it, all you have to do to add a footnote is to click on the new "footnote" button visible on your TinyMCE text editor:

Once you click it you'll see a pop-up window - just type in whatever you want2 to include in your footnote (no special syntax required) and it'll automatically be inserted into your blog entry.

And this is what your footnote will look like once it gets rendered by the plugin: 

That's it. Pretty simple, no?

Modifying Footnote Styles

If you need to modify the default styles for your footnotes3, you can do so by modifying User controls/footnotes/be-footnotes.css.

Alternatively, you can also specify your own stylesheet location for footnotes if you wish via the Extension's settings:

Installation Instructions

The only special instructions for installing Footnotes for BlogEngine.NET are thus:

  1. If you are already using the SyntaxHighlighter extension for BlogEngine.NET, make sure you grab the Footnotes 1.0 (SyntaxHighlighter) download below instead of the normal one - otherwise his handy TinyMCE plugin will disappear from your text editor!
  2. If you do not have SyntaxHighlighter installed, grab the Footnotes 1.0 (Normal) version below - otherwise you might get an annoying JavaScript error every time you load up TinyMCE.

For both versions of BlogEngine.NET Footnotes: simply extract the folders onto the root of your blog and everything will slip into its appropriate place.

Downloads

Footnotes 1.1 (SyntaxHighlighter).zip (7.59 kb) [new:8/31/2010]

Footnotes 1.1 (Normal).zip (7.59 kb) [new:8/31/2010]

If you run into any problems with Footnotes, please leave a comment on this page and I will respond as quickly as possible.

Update:

Whoops! Fixed a bug which prevented BE.NET's syndication feed from displaying properly. This has now been fixed in the 1.1 release of Footnotes.


1A lot of credit is due to Ruslan Tur for his awesome blog post on How to Create a Custom Plugin for TinyMCE. I used his code as a basis for developing my own plugin and he's quite masterful with both C# and JavaScript.

2Actually, not WHATEVER you want. The only character to avoid is either of the square brackets since the extension will think you're trying to close the footnote.

3I had to modify the default styles for footnotes for my own theme here - mostly I just had to do some tweaking in order to make the footnotes appropriately smaller than my posts' body text styles.

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BlogEngine.NET Extension - Remind Your Readers to Subscribe to Your RSS Feed with SubscribeRemind

May 15, 2010 17:55 by Aaronontheweb in BlogEngine.NET // Tags: , , // Comments (1)

One of my favorite WordPress plugins dating all the way back to when I first started blogging is Subscribe-Remind (WordPress) - it simply appends a small RSS subscription reminder to the footer of every blog entry for your readers! The reminder reads something like this:

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Simple enough, right? I've made a port of this popular WordPress plugin for BlogEngine.NET, SubscribeRemind, which does exactly the same thing as its WordPress counter part. It appends a small subscription reminder at the footer of every blog post using the RSS feed specified through the BlogEngine.NET settings.

If you're using an alternate RSS address (i.e. FeedBurner), the extension will automatically use that one as the target - it uses whatever RSS feed target you've specified in your BlogEngine.NET settings. 

I've found that adding an RSS susbscription reminder at the footer of all of my blog entries has historically increased my total number of subscribers, so I highly recommend that you add this Extension to your blog!

Download: SubscribeRemind1.1.zip (1.66 kb) 

UPDATE for BlogEngine.net 2.0: SubscribeRemindExtensionForBlogEngine2.0.zip (1.65 kb)

Customizing the Reminder 

You can change the reminder call to action yourself using the BlogEngine.NET extensions manager. Simply go to the Extensions page and click on the "edit" button for SubscribeRemind's settings:  

If you want to change the reminder call to action / message that appears at the bottom of every blog post, you can simply modify the value shown below:

Hit the update button after you've made your changes and placed the [link] [/link] tags around your desired anchor text.

 

The instructions included with the ExtensionsManager are straight-forward.

Download: SubscribeRemind1.1.zip (1.66 kb) 

UPDATE for BlogEngine.net 2.0: SubscribeRemindExtensionForBlogEngine2.0.zip (1.65 kb)

If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments about SubscribeRemind, please leave them below and I'll answer them as soon as I can.

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About

My name is Aaron, I'm an entrepreneur and a .NET developer who develops web, cloud, and mobile applications.

I left Microsoft recently to start my own company, MarkedUp - we provide analytics for desktop developers, focusing initially on Windows 8 developers.

You can find me on Twitter or on Github!

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