Blog Posts

Sep 23

#035 - Examining Web Spotlight for Kentico Kontent

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, Brian McKeiver is joined by fellow Kentico Kontent MVP Andy Thompson. Andy and Brian discuss the newly released Web Spotlight feature for Kentico Kontent.

According to Andy, Web Spotlight addresses the elephant in the room when it comes to utilizing a Headless CMS, which is, how can we expect our content teams to develop a website without a head to look at it with?

Check out the latest episode of Kentico Rocks to find out what developers need to know about implementing Web Spotlight, how to implement it in a .Net Core MVC project, and how it possibly changes your content model requirements. Brian and Andy both agree that ultimately, when implemented correctly, Web Spotlight by Kontent can take your Headless CMS site editing experience to the next level.

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Sep 05

Azure Logic App URL Too Long for Webhook ?

Microsoft Azure Logic Apps is an Azure cloud service that helps you schedule, automate, and orchestrate tasks, business processes, and workflows when you need to integrate apps, data, systems, and services across enterprises or organizations. Well that is the official definition any way. I like to think of them as a serverless way to bridge the gaps between systems like Slack, CRM, Twitter, Email and other APIs.

What really has always impressed me about Logic Apps is that they are incredibly simple to setup and use, where in years past, you as a developer, would have to write a lot of code to integrate each of the actions that they can take. Instead of having to spend hours per integration point, the work becomes just a few minutes of configuration inside of the Azure Portal and Logic Apps designer.  

That is why I was surprised a few weeks back when I was using an Azure Logic App to integrate with my Kentico Xperience website and internal Slack team. During that work, I received a message from the third-party service that I was using, that my Webhook URL was too long. WTF? “How can a Webhook URL be too long?”, was my first thought when I saw that message. Then when I went to see where I could to configure the URL endpoint in my Logic App, I was again surprised that this didn’t seem possible.

Keep reading after the jump to find out how I solved the problem of my Azure Logic App HTTP endpoint being too long to use. Hint, with Azure, there is almost always a way to workaround issues like this.

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Aug 23

Introducing The Kentico Xperience SQL Utility Scripts Open Source Repo

Over the years of working with Kentico CMS, Kentico EMS, and now Kentico Xperience I have either written, or been a part of team that has written, various TSQL scripts to support the SQL Database side of working with the tool. Most recently I was actually working on a script that was meant to clean up e-commerce order and customer history. That task had some acceptance criteria of keeping some order history for a certain list of customers (those customers with a certain email domain), but removing all the rest (which is a pretty good idea in the world of data privacy and data security when you are copying databases to bring up new environments of a e-commerce website). That last requirement made the task call for a custom script as opposed to a one time TRUNCATE all type of solution. 

As I was doing that, I got to thinking, there have been many times over the years where I have had to do this. Why not find all of these one of utility type of scripts and open source them on GitHub so that other Kentico Xperience developers out there could benefit. And with that, the idea for the Kentico Xperience SQL Utility Script repository was born.

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Jul 19

How to Add Azure App Configuration and Feature Flags into Blazor in .Net 5

In case you haven't heard, Azure App Configuration is a newer service out of Azure that is billed as a tool that provides a way to centrally manage application settings. Azure App Configuration is not just another way to manage configuration files, in my opinion, it is a bit different because it actually provides a mechanism to easily modify your application's behavior at runtime with the click of a button. It does this through the use of Feature Flags which seamlessly connect to App Configuration and can easily be used through a few simple NuGet packages in your applications.

The ability to easily change my application's behavior would have been nice to have in a side project I worked on this year. I was creating a dashboard and scoring application in Blazor that I needed for a local event. II had two goals for this project. One, I wanted to learn how to use Blazor, and two, I needed to build something fast as I only had a few days to create a solution. Had I started with App Configuration in Blazor and utilized a Feature Flag, I would have saved myself from the production disaster that happened during the event.

Keep reading this blog post to find out How to Add Azure App Configuration and Feature Flags into Blazor in .NET 5.0.

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Jul 05

#034 - How Easy Is It for a Beginner to Build a GatsbyJS / Kentico Kontent Site?

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, Adam Amran, Product Designer at Kentico Kontent, joins host Brian McKeiver. They talk about Adam's experience with creating a GatsbyJS site backed by the Kentico Kontent Headless CMS as a new programmer. Adam and Brian go into the story of how Adam needed to create a new website for a side project he was working on, Untools.co.

Being a Designer by trade, Adam wasn’t quite sure where to start as he only had basic programming knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. After forming the new idea for the project, creating his content model in Kontent, and settling on GatsbyJS as the right solution, the new site came together quickly and is now blazing fast.

Listen to the episode to find out what pitfalls happened along the way, and why Adam us now very happy with the result.

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Jun 27

#033 - The .NET Core Future is Now For Kentico Xperience 13

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, our host Brian McKeiver is joined by Sean G. Wright, Kentico MVP at WiredViews. Brian and Sean discuss the recently released beta 3 of Kentico Xperience, the digital experience platform offering from Kentico. They get into how the newest release will allow for full support of .NET Core, the most modern released version of .NET.

Sean and Brian also talk about what this technology shift means for MVC 5 or WebForms developers who are not yet well versed in .NET Core. Listen to the episode to gain some tips and insights on why .NET Core is different, and how to get started in Kentico and .NET Core if you are still in the Portal Engine of MVC 5 world.

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Jun 14

The Latest on Kentico 13 Beta 3 or Should I Say Kentico Xperience

This past Friday, I had a chance to sit down and chat with Kentico Xperience Product Director, Michal Kadák and Product Owner, David Komárek. Our goal was to discus the Kentico EMS to Kentico Xperience re-branding from an insiders standpoint. But we spent most of our time on Kentico 13 beta 3, including the reveal of long awaited release date of beta 3.

Michal and David and I were actually trying to record the next episode of my Kentico Rocks podcast. But, the technology gods frowned upon my OBS abilities /skills. The audio recorded with such a bad echo that it is unusable. You'd think after 30 episodes or so I would have figured this out by now, but 3 audio streams was too much for me. I promise I'll have it correct next time. Yet, technology be damned. The content of the recording was so good, and the timing so right, I couldn't wait to get this information out to the Kentico community. Instead I have went with plan b, and I have turned the audio recording into this interview style blog post.

Keep reading to find out David and Michal's thoughts on Kentico Xperience, what's included in Kentico 13 beta 3, and when you can get your hands on it.

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Jun 11

#032 - What's New in .Net, Azure Static Web Apps, and Kontent

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, Brian McKeiver discusses what's new in the .Net world post Microsoft Build 2020. He covers a bit about the Build announcements and how to watch them if you missed it, briefly dives into the new Azure Static Web Apps service from Azure, and ends up highlighting what's new in the Kentico Kontent Delivery SDK for .Net developers. Existing .Net developers who utilize Kentico Kontent do not want to miss this episode.

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May 25

.NET News & What's New for Kontent in .NET

It's May, and the means that many things in the US. People are looking forward to Memorial day, the opening of summer, the welcoming of warm weather, the end of the stay at home orders (unless you are in Michigan), and plenty more. However, it also means that the biggest event of the year is here if you are a .Net developer, that's right the annual Microsoft Build conference.

MS Build 2020 happened last week, with a new virtual only format, and with tons of new announcements as it always does. For .Net developers who weren't paying attention the biggest announcements being Blazor WebAssembly has officially made it to its first production release, Azure Static Web Apps preview, .Net 5 preview 4 is out, the unveiling of .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI), C# 9.0, Windows Forms Designer for .Net Core, a Microsoft Bot Framework update, and updates to our favorite developer tools like Visual Studio and Code. Honesty, there is a ton more as well. 

With the announcement of so many cool .Net things, it got me thinking, how could Kentico Kontent developers take advantage of these new things, and also what else is new or updated in the Kontent world for .Net projects and solutions. The rest of this post is where I will cover that very thing, plus mention how we might be able to take advantage of the latest and greatest from MS Build 2020 as well.

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Apr 30

Kentico MVC Page Builder Do's and Don'ts

Kentico 12.0 (and really Kentico 12.0 Service Pack 1) has brought many welcome enhancements to the Kentico platform when it comes to the ASP.Net MVC development style. But the one true killer feature when it comes to MVC is the Kentico MVC Page Builder. The drag and drop Page Builder allows content editors to create content and control page layout very easily. Combine that with the ability to create MVC page templates, easy to use A/B tests, and easy to use Personalization variations, and you don't have much excuse not to use it in Kentico 12.

Even though this feature is pretty new, time has moved on since last summer, when service pack 1 was officially released. That means developers have most likely had enough time to enjoy the pleasure of working with the system, as well as the pain of dealing with the system when it doesn't quite behave as designed. I know personally I have lost more than just an hour or two to a weird random JavaScript error that kept the Page Builder from loading, or some weird Content Security Policy error that prevented the Preview mode from even loading the Page Builder. The list goes on from there.

I have also seen the beauty of the system working in advanced ways, such as MVC Page Builder widgets being crafted out of ReactJS that makes front end developers happy or MVC widgets that pull from structured data in the Content Tree to allow for full content reusability and flexibility, and my end clients raving about how easy it is to build landing pages out of the Page Builder. This list goes on too.

Since the feature has been out for a bit now (and matured quite nicely), and I have seen the good and the bad, I felt it time to create a list of what I will call the Do's and Don'ts of Kentico MVC Page Builder to help other Kentico developers and Kentico partners out there get the most out of the system.

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