EPiServer  /  CMS July 27, 2009

The beginning of something new

Since I started this blog I haven’t been very happy with my choice of platform, BlogEngine.NET. While it had me up and running in just a few minutes and it comes with a lot of nice features and skins I find it tiresome trying to extend or modify it as it violates some, at least in my book, very basic best practices such as no logic in the markup and no markup in code behind files.

While the most important thing on a blog is the content it’s depressing blogging on site/platform one doesn’t like. So, I started thinking about alternatives. I could of course build my very own platform, but considering all the million other things I want to do, and having a baby on the way I really don’t feel like I have the time.

Another alternative would be to switch to another open source platform such as dasBlog or Subtext. I’m however not convinced that I would like those more than BlogEngine.NET and it would require me to spend time learning another platform. Since all I want to do is write on a blog platform that I’m happy with while being able to modify and extend it easily I needed another alternative. An alternative that involved a platform that I already know. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m usually all about learning new stuff, but this time I just want a kick-ass blog where I can write about other stuff I have learnt :)

Then I started thinking about the fact that as a EMVP I get a free EPiServer CMS license for non commercial use. What if I could convince EPiServer to also let me have a license for EPiServer Community? Then I’d have a platform I know fairly well which would allow me to build a really great blog fast and in a way where I later very easily can extend it. And since I know the platform I can also blog about how I build it and the posts might actually be useful to the community.

So, last Friday I sent an email to EPiServer explaining my idea. I asked for licenses for CMS and Community and explained what I would use them for. I also promised to make all of the code for the blog open source/free, that way extending the “EPisphere” with another template package (albeit for a personal blog). Of course I would also use Page Type Builder when building the site, thereby creating a live example of how it can be used.

I must admit that I was a bit surprised when I received a very positive response a couple of hours later from Peter Sunna at EPiServer. He thought the idea was great and my request for licenses where granted! So, this post is the official beginning of my new project, building my personal blog on EPiServer CMS and Community using Page Type Builder. Since naming is one the things I do best, I dub the project “The new blog” ;)

Step one

The very first thing that I’ll have to take is to decide whether I should build the site in Web Forms or with ASP.NET MVC. While my experience with MVC is very limited this would be a perfect project for learning it, at the same time finding ways to use it with EPiServer CMS. I’ve done some initial experimentation and while strongly typed EPiServer pages with Page Type Builder is the perfect model there are some issues to work out concerning URLs. I’ll do some more research and hopefully I’ll soon be able to write a post about my findings.

The plan

Once I’ve decided whether to use Web Forms or MVC I’ll move on to actually building the site. My preliminary plan is build the following (in order of importance):

  • The general framework for the site such as templates, menus etc
  • Windows Live Writer integration for EPiServer Community's Blog module
  • RSS feeds
  • Special categories (I need to find a way to mark some posts for publication at EPiServer World etc)
  • Comments
  • E-mail and possibly Twitter notifications for both for posts and for comments
  • A file archive for the source code for the site and possibly other projects
  • Trackback/pingback functionality, both incoming and outgoing
  • Gravatar integration for comments
  • Integration with OpenID, Facebook connect and Google Friend Connect

Damn this is going to be fun! Have you got a fun idea for what else I should build? Let me know!

PS. For updates about new posts, sites I find useful and the occasional rant you can follow me on Twitter. You are also most welcome to subscribe to the RSS-feed.

Joel Abrahamsson

Joel Abrahamsson

I'm a passionate web developer and systems architect living in Stockholm, Sweden. I work as CTO for a large media site and enjoy developing with all technologies, especially .NET, Node.js, and ElasticSearch. Read more


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