Oct 06

I'm Speaking at Kentico Connection 2018 Chicago

Wow I can't believe that I almost forgot to mention it here on my blog, but in little less than a week from now, October 10th-11th, Kentico developers, partners, employees, and customers will be meeting up in Chicago, IL for the 2018 version of Kentico Connection. I'm happy to announce that this will be the 7th time that I am speaking at the conference.

The good thing is that I am just as excited about it as I was back in 2012. Why, you might ask? Well that is because this year's conference is centered around one of my favorite topics, the fact that Kentico 12.0 is about to release with first class support for ASP.NET MVC.

This time I will be giving a session on how my team at BizStream has been utilizing Kentico EMS with the MVC development framework for a few years now, and what we were able to do with it for one of our customers, National Heritage Academies. Keep reading after the jump for the full abstract of my session.

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Sep 30

Debug the KenticoCloud.Delivery Source Code Like a Pro

Being able to efficiently debug through source code is a critical aspect / skillset to performing the day to day duties of a .Net developer. Typically, using Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code makes this task very easy, however, for awhile now there has been a bit of a loophole to debugging through a full project. That loophole comes to light when a project has different dependencies that were referenced as NuGet packages. That's where traditional debugging stops (since those packages are compiled binaries and not true source code on a local machine).

However, did you know there is actually a better way to handle this for certain NuGet packages? The answer my friends is SourceLink, a technology that allows you solve this issue. I recently had a chance to check this out first hand using the KenticoCloud.Delivery NuGet package since this package recently became SourceLink enabled. I mean why not, as I was doing a little maintenance on my headless CMS project anyways. Keep reading after the jump to find out how.

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Aug 31

Kentico Rocks Podcast Episode 18

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, Brian McKeiver and Bryan Soltis review the state of using ASP.NET MVC in the upcoming release of Kentico 12. Yes, that's right after a small hiatus, we are looking to revive the podcast. This time Brian and Bryan talk about why Kentico MVC is a first class citizen now in 2018, how an agency might start to transition from the legacy Portal Engine to MVC, and behind the scenes in BizStream's journey into MVC development. And for an extra special bonus, this time we recorded the session with live video as well. Listen and/or watch on to find out how you can start MVC in your own Kentico website development process now.

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Jul 29

Leveling Up A Kentico Cloud Project - Part 2

Make sure you have read part one of Leveling Up a Kentico Project before continuing on. Reminder, in the first part, I reviewed mostly the coding issues of updating my Kentico Cloud ASP.Net MVC site to .Net Core 2.1, the Kentico Cloud Delivery SDK 4.14, and other technical issues with getting the solution running. But all that was really to get me ready to something much more intriguing.

In the second part of this mini blog post series I will focus on how I added support for some new Kentico Cloud features.

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Jul 29

Leveling Up A Kentico Cloud Project

It's been right around a year and half since my team and I decided to give this new Headless CMS thing a try. We really wanted to use it for a real world solution, not just a starter site. So for the original scope of the project, we leveraged Kentico Cloud to build www.CaseStream.net in 12 days. It was actually a lot of fun to create the new site because I was able to use the latest and greatest technology at the time. It was like a breathe of fresh air. 

But that was in 2017, and time flies, ridiculously fast. Just ask one of my new employees who's 90 day review didn't exactly happen anywhere near 90 days, or 120 days.... Fast forward to where we are at here in the end of July 2018, and that's like 15 months that went by in a blink of the eye.

Since that first release of www.CaseStream.net, Kentico has been rapidly improving Kentico Cloud, adding new feature after new feature. I have been keeping my eye on it, and been able to play with a few demos of the new features here and there, but it wasn't until about a week ago that I was able to put those features into real use. I'd say the feature that really got me motivated however was the new responsive image based API (named the Image transformation API) that Kentico Cloud released in June of this year. 

After reading the documentation and excellent blog post on transforming images, I decided to fire up my code and try to add this feature feature to the site. That's when I realized I had a problem. Quite a bit had changed, and my code was in dire need of an update. But I always love a challenge.

Keep reading after the jump to see how I leveled up my Kentico Cloud ASP.Net MVC site to .Net Core 2.1, the Kentico Cloud Delivery SDK 4.14, and added support for a few of those lovely new Kentico Cloud features.

 

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Jul 21

I'm Speaking at Code on the Beach 2018

In just less than a month from now (August 10th, 2018) I will be speaking at Code on the Beach 2018 in Atlantic Beach, FL. I am very excited about participating at this event because it will be the first time attending for me, and one of the big draws of this event is that it is family friendly, so my family is making the journey with me. And don't forget any change to go to Florida is pretty nice when you live in Michigan.

This time I will be giving my popular chat bot talk on "How to Build an E-commerce Chat bot with Azure Bot Framework". The talk was very well received at CPL this year and a few other events. For this instance I have added another new ability of the bot to show off as well.

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Jun 30

Kentico 12 Beta 2: Chasing the Raptor

In case you were not aware, the second beta release of Kentico Raptor dropped last week ("Raptor" is the code name for the Kentico 12.0 beta releases). I have been keeping my eye on the first two releases of Raptor for one main reason, and that reason is the proclamation that Kentico made  earlier this year that announced ASP.NET MVC would be the main development model supported in Kentico 12 and later. This announcement was music to my ears as my team and I at BizStream have been pushing MVC in Kentico for the past two years.

Since we are such big fans of the MVC development style in Kentico getting the installation of Kentico Raptor up and running was the second highest priority of the week for me (sorry Kentico, coffee is always, and will always be the highest priority for me). And actually one of the newest features of the Kentico platform in version 12 is the updated installer that allows you to seamlessly install an ASP.NET MVC based solution and project type on your development machine. But that is not the most interesting part of the story here. The biggest star of the show in Kentico 12 is the new MVC Page Builder that allows content authors to use a drag and drop method of building content pages on MVC sites. Trust me this feature does not disappoint. It comes with many abilities including the long awaited MVC widgets that most developers have wanted for a while now. 

Keep reading after the jump to hear my impressions of Kentico Raptor and whether or not this Raptor is better than "Blue" in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, or just another box office flop.

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May 20

I'm Speaking at the next CDNUG

In about two weeks (May 31st, 2018) I will be presenting at the next Chicago .Net Users Group meetup in Downers Grove IL. I'm looking forward to my first time attending and speaking at this group's meetup because I have heard good things of the group even all the way up here in Michigan from a few other developers in the .Net community.

I'll be giving my chat bot talk on "How to Build an E-commerce Chat bot with Azure Bot Framework". The talk was very well received at CPL this year, and today I am working on updating a few of the samples to give the session a small refresh. 

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May 19

Handle 3rd Party Analytics Scripts in a GDPR World with Kentico EMS

With the May 25th 2018 GDPR deadline looming it seems like every third email in my inbox is about either a privacy policy change, or a client asking for information about how to handle GDPR on their Kentico website. More than one of those emails have asked me how to handle GDPR compliance when it comes to analytics tracking scripts like Google Tag Manager, Universal Analytics, or Marketo. This is a bit of sticky situation in my mind because the personal data is not exactly stored in the Kentico website, but the website definitely serves the JavaScript code that starts to track the person. As far as I can tell, this is still very much a GDPR issue to deal with that you can't just ignore if you want to stay in compliance.

Now, Kentico 11 has a great new Data Protection app that makes it easy to handle GDPR compliance compared to most CMS's. However, the fully built in features are targetted mostly at Kentico functionality like Kentico E-Commerce, Kentico Analytics, and Kentico Activity Tracking. So I thought I would try out the new Data Protection functionality of tracking and applying consents on third party services instead. Keep reading to find out how easy it is to integrate these services with the Kentico to achieve GDPR compliance.   

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Apr 23

I'm Speaking at GLSEC 2018

SoftwareGR is once again hosting its annual software conference, the Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference, known as GLSEC. Each year the conference is dedicated to building and enhancing the software industry in the West Michigan region. The conference brings hundreds of software professionals and business leaders together for a day of learning and networking. And once again I am happy to announce that I will be speaking for the second time at the event.

GLSEC 2018 takes place this year on April 30th, 2018 in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. This year the theme is on "Data Protection" or how to keep your company's data and systems safe and secure. The goal is help software developers understand the security risks that are always present whenever dealing with potentially sensitive or personal information, and how to create applications and systems that protect against that risk.

As a result of the theme, my session is titled "Doom, Gloom and the New GDPR, What's a Web Developer to do?". If this is the first time you are hearing about GDPR and reside in West Michigan, I fully recommend joining my talk to find out more about this important topic. Keep reading after the jump to see the full abstract of my talk.

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