Jun 30

How Search For Kentico Works

In the second quarter of 2016 BizStream launched Compare for Kentico, part of the BizStream Toolkit, a suite of add-ons for Kentico developers. Today I'm proud to review the second tool of the toolkit, Search for Kentico.

The goal for Search for Kentico is to be able to easily search across every object in your Kentico instance. If you search for a term like "console.log", our tool will look through every peice of code you have in your website, on the filesystem, as well as every database object that Kentico knows about (and doesn't know about) and return you intelligent results. 

This is a very useful feature in case you want to check for debug statements, look out for dev URLs in content or email templates, or rename a column or SQL View name in the database. Now instead of waiting for some dependant object to possibly error, you can move on with confidence that your rename worked. Keep reading after the jump to find out how this free tool works.

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Jun 09

How the Internet of Things is Changing Our Work

I recently wrote an article that was published via the Grand Rapids Business Journal on how the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we work at BizStream. I was pretty honored to be asked to submit an article for their technology blog. The summary is below and you read the full article via the provided link after the jump.

At BizStream, we use many different internet-connected devices. “Things” like NEST (thermostats), Dropcams (automated cameras), Amazon Echo (voice search), etc. These devices help manage our facility.

We've automated the building’s climate control, lighting, and security settings with these IoT tools. But with the addition of Amazon Echo, Cortana in Windows 10, and Slack with its bots, we are starting to use IoT not just for physical automation, but to now answer questions and do simple tasks in our everyday work.

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May 26

8 Things Developers Should Know about Kentico MVC

For a few years now the great debate around the ASP.NET community has been around how ASP.NET MVC is the only framework of the future. The general point of this debate is that MVC is the winning framework that is finally ready to obsolete the ASP.NET Webforms technology. While I could write an entire blog post on my full opinions of this debate, today I am not going to do that. Instead, today I am going to focus on how Kentico 9.0 has come to fully embrace ASP.NET MVC.

In the latest release of the CMS, MVC is getting very close to being a first class citizen in the choice of Kentico development models, with the other leading candidate being the Kentico Portal Engine model (which has always been based on ASP.NET Webforms). I say first class citizen because the MVC improvements in version 9.0 have been considerable enough for my team and I to start building out client projects in this model, and we are quite happy with the results.

In fact in the last 6 or 7 months of using Kentico 9.0 MVC we have learned a few things that I feel are worth sharing with the Kentico developer community. So without further ado, keep reading after the jump to find out about 8 Things Developers Should Know about Kentico MVC

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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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