Apr 21

Application Insights for Kentico

At the recent Build 2016 conference Microsoft really wowed developers with all sorts of new bells and whistles for Visual Studio, Azure, Bots, and Windows 10.  Included in some of the new enhancements for ASP.Net and Visual Studio was a pretty cool new feature called Visual Studio Application Insights. According to Microsoft, Application Insights allow developers to detect issues, solve problems and continuously improve their applications. The technology is intended to help quickly diagnose any problems in a live application.

Since my team and I are in charge of monitoring quite a few web applications, I found the topic of Application Insights particularly interesting as it relates to Kentico based applications. I immediately thought of questions like would this technology work for web applications only hosted in Azure, or would it also work for existing applications that were on-premise. I was also curious if how easy it was to install and use the technology, how much overhead that it introduces, and exactly how the heck does it actually work. 

Keep reading to find out how easy it is to add Visual Studio Application Insights to a Kentico based web application and what value, if any, this technology can add to your every day job as a web developer or architect.

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Apr 09

How Compare For Kentico Works - Part 3

This is the third part of the How Compare For Kentico Works blog post series. Make sure that read part 2 first before reading this post. In this third post I show you how to use the final output of the comparison and give you examples of how my team at BizStream uses the tool.

Keep reading to find out how you can cut your deployment time, be more confident that the deployment actually worked, and keep some of your own sanity intact when it comes to moving changes from one environment to the next.

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Apr 06

How Compare For Kentico Works - Part 2

This is the second part of the How Compare For Kentico Works blog post series. Make sure that you read part 1 first befor reading this post. In this second post we skip by the how and why, and move right in to guts of using Compare for Kentico. We will also walk through how to use the tool to focus in on the differences that really matter.

Keep reading to find out how you can cut your deployment time, be more confident that the deployment actually worked, and keep some of your own sanity intact when it comes to moving changes from one environment to the next.

 

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Apr 03

How Compare For Kentico Works - Part 1

This past week BizStream launched a new product targeted at Kentico developers, Compare for Kentico. We have been very excited to do so because we believe that Compare for Kentico makes Kentico deployments easier, quicker, and more accurate. We strongly believe this because we have been using the tool internally for quite some time. In fact we have had almost a year to take this tool from a concept, and cobbled together set of functionality, to production worthy. We started with using it on just a few test sites, and are now happily using it to make deployments easier on our client's sites. Our development team loves it, and we think you will too.

With that being said my goal of this blog post is to do a deep dive on using Compare for Kentico to visually compare two different Kentico website instances to show you how it actually works. Keep reading to find out how you can cut your deployment time, be more confident that the deployment actually worked, and keeping some of your own sanity intact when it comes to moving changes from one environment to the next.

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Mar 13

Upgrade to Kentico EMS Checklist

From time to time I get asked: What are the steps to upgrade to Kentico EMS from an existing Kentico CMS site? The technical answer is that upgrading only requires having the correct EMS license added to the installation of Kentico (which you can generate from the client portal). Once the license is in place, the system automatically enables the full feature set of Kentico. The easiest way to check if it worked is to look and see if all of the menu items (Contact management, Email marketing, Marketing automation, etc. etc.) show up for the On-line marketing category in the Kentico menu.

However, if you want to make sure everything is working perfectly, and get the fullest out of your Kentico EMS site there are few more things to consider. For instance, if you have upgraded from previous versions of Kentico like 5.5 R2, 6.0, or 7.0 some of the required features and settings didn’t yet exist and therefore can cause issues. Ensuring that the EMS functionality works correctly really does come in to play if you have had your Kentico CMS site running for a while.

As a result of upgrading many Kentico sites over the years, my team and I at BizStream have found that there are a few things that seem to be recurring issues, and honestly there are some items that we sometimes forgot to check or configure, when upgrading a Kentico 7.0 CMS site to a Kentico 8 or 9 EMS site. To solve this issue I have created a checklist to make this process easier for my team, and I thought it was worth sharing with the Kentico developer community. So today I am presenting my Upgrade Kentico CMS to Kentico EMS Checklist as a free downloadable pdf.

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Feb 23

Kentico Rocks Podcast Episode 16

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, Brian McKeiver and Bryan Soltis sit down and cover Macros in Kentico CMS. The discussion includes an overview, common use cases, best practices, tooling, and gotcha's for developers who are working with Macros in the CMS. Listen on find out how to best utilize this important aspect of developing websites with Kentico.

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Feb 14

Presenting at a Few Upcoming Developer Conferences

There are a few developer conferences that I will be presenting at in the next few days and weeks. The first one is actually coming up in just about a week from now. At the South Florida Code Camp I will be giving a new presentation that I am pretty excited about related to optimizing mobile pages of your site and/or cms. The SFCC event is happening on February 20th, 2016. It is billed as a free one day geekfest in Fort Lauderdale, FL on all things that developers are interested in .Net and beyond. Considering that right now as I write this it is 13 degrees in Michigan, a trip to Florida is going to be well worth it.  

The second event that I will be presenting at is the annual GR DevDay 2016. This is my second favorite of event of the year because it is right here in my back yard in Grand Rapids, MI (first favorite being Kentico Connection). DevDay is coming up March 12th, 2016. BizStream is once again a platinum sponsor for the whole GR DevDay and GR DevNight series. We really beleive this is the best event (and series of events) in West Michigan for developers.

If you are an ASP.NET developer from South Florida or Grand Rapids I hope to see you there. Keep reading to check out my abstract for these events.

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Feb 06

How To Use Kentico Custom Module Help Topics

Recently I was having a conversation with BizStream founder, Mark Schmidt, on how we could simplify the learning curve for using some of the custom functionality that we had created in one of our projects. Mark was on the side of adding custom labels into the pages where needed. I was on the side of trying to leverage the excellent help system that Kentico comes built with. The argument actually got quite heated, as it tends to do around the office, and we finally ended the argument without a real agreement.

The fact is that we frequently create custom modules in Kentico to handle any large customization need. Building your own modules is actually the preferred choice and Kentico best practice when it comes to adding in functionality to a site built with Kentico or the actual Kentico admin interface itself. But neither Mark nor I had actually taken the time to sit down and browse through the lesser known aspect of module development.

This morning I had a chance to do that, and it turns out there is a really simple solution to linking any helpful information or documentation to a custom module. The best part is that the solution was just a few clicks away. 

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Jan 17

My First Impressions of Kentico 9 - part 2

This is the second part to My First Impressions of Kentico 9. It finishes up my thoughts on some easy to miss changes in Kentico 9, plus what it was like to upgrade from Kentico 8 to Kentico 9. Make sure that you read the first part of the post before continuing.

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Jan 17

My First Impressions of Kentico 9

Today I would like to share my thoughts and observations on the latest version of Kentico. Especially since I recently finished upgrading my site here at Mcbeev.com. That’s right my blog is now on the latest and greatest version as you read this.

Kentico 9.0 has been released officially for about a month and a half. However, I have actually had my hands on it for much longer. Thanks to being a Kentico MVP, I was actually lucky enough to be included in some of the preview builds of 9.0 for a few months prior to release. During the beta period I was tasked with giving as much feedback as possible to the Kentico product team and I tried my best to do so. As usual I basically let them know that they knocked it out of the park with this release.

Keep reading to learn more about the big and small changes that come with Kentico 9.0.

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