Blog Posts

Mar 16

Kentico Rocks Podcast Episode 19

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, Brian McKeiver and Bryan Soltis focus on what's going on with the Kentico community, open source projects, and blog posts for both Kentico EMS and Kentico Cloud, as well as, a special update for one of our co-hosts.  Listen on to find out what's new and happening in Kentico community. You just might find out how you can win yourself a $150 Amazon gift card as well.

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Feb 24

Why a Kentico MVC Upgrade Should Not be One Hour of Work - Part 2

In the second part of the series, I am going to continue on with the reasons why Kentico Upgrades take what they take and answer the $64,000 question as to what should an upgrade take for a Kentico MVC Site. Be sure to read part one first of the this two part mini blog post series about Why a Kentico MVC Upgrade Should Not be One Hour before continuing on.

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Feb 24

Why a Kentico MVC Upgrade Should Not be One Hour of Work

Recently, I have been involved in multiple Kentico MVC Upgrades and Hotfixes for versions 10, 11, and 12 of Kentico. Some have went really well, and some have went not so well.  This hasn't really surprised me as, this is typical of any complex software upgrade. Raise your hand if you have even seen a Visual Studio or MS Office installation completely crap out due to user permissions, mis-matched .Net framework components, or even in the old days dll hell. Yep, I've been there too.
 
But here's the deal, sometimes customers, and even developers, expect an upgrade to hit all three points on the magic business triangle of the speed: fast, the cost: cheap, and quality: good. Over the many years of working with Kentico and end clients, I have been told by Digital Marketers, IT Directors, and CEO's that why can't this upgrade "just" be finished tomorrow? Why is it so hard? Can't it "just" be done in an hour or two?
 

Pro Tip: Just is the most evilest word in I.T. Can't we just add this feature? Can't we just deploy right now? Can't the code just work as I told showed you in my napkin drawing? If I had nickel for every time someone used the word Just…I'd have a lot of nickels.

 

My answer to all of these questions never beats around the bush. I always look the person directly in the eye, take a small deep breath and simply say "No". 
 
Keep reading after the jump to find out why a Kentico MVC upgrade really does take more than an hour or two.
 

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Dec 28

How to Create an XML Sitemap in Kentico 12 MVC

Wow, it is nearly the end of 2018 already. It is amazing that the older I get, time seems to move faster and faster. I can't believe how fast the time has went this year. In fact, time has went by so fast that I didn’t really have time to join in on the buzz of the Kentico 12.0 release that happened last month (well other than having some fun on Twitter celebrating the launch of Raptor).

In case you didn’t hear, the Kentico 12 release focuses 100% on moving the Kentico platform to an MVC first development methodology. This is great news for ASP.Net developers out there who want to move into more modern technologies and tooling. Kentico is even working on updating the platform to have support for Dot Net Core in the near future. If you are interested in more on the technology roadmap I would recommend checking out the Kentico MVC transition guide and definitely watch Michal’s video towards the bottom of the page.

Now, I could sit here all day and write about the benefits of MVC and how it is flat out a better choice for any Kentico web project these days, but I am not going to do that today. Instead I am going to focus a bit on the argument that I have heard from some Kentico developers, Kentico partners, and even some end clients against the move to MVC. I have heard the point that many of them say: “Why would we move to MVC? We have a CMS with a Portal Engine and pre-built Web parts that gives us so much built in functionality and moving to MVC means that you have to give up that functionality and do everything 100% in code”.

While this is a somewhat valid point, there is indeed more code involved in a Kentico MVC solution, I want to point out that the opposite of this statement is also true, and almost never said by that side of the argument. When you implement in MVC you are opening the door to using solutions that are part of the whole .Net community and not just Kentico specific. Developing your site in MVC gives you the ability to use things like NuGet packages that are well known, secure, and maintained over time. These packages can easily add in a ton of functionality to any ASP.Net site, just like web parts could for the Kentico Portal Engine.

To illustrate my point, I am going to use a concrete example of building out an XML Google Sitemap for a Kentico MVC based website. I think this makes sense as a comparison because yes, the Kentico Portal Engine has this feature built in to it, and the MVC starter site that ships with Kentico 12.0 does not.

Keep reading after the jump to see one option for How to Create an XML Sitemap in your Kentico MVC site.

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Nov 18

How to Configure Kentico MVC Sites for Azure Blob Storage with Media Libraries

In this How To guide, I will show you how to connect your Kentico MVC site to leverage Azure Blob storage for hosting and providing media library files. This process is not exactly new, it has been around since Kentico 8.0 or so, however, with the new focus on the MVC development methodology, it is not exactly as straight forward as the Kentico documentation mentions. Don't get me wrong, each small part of the Kentico documentation is 100% correct, but there is no great 100% holistic walkthrough for MVC based sites.

Plus, the trend of hosting Kentico sites on Azure PaaS via Azure App Services is very much increasing. I would say at this point it is the most common way that we deploy Kentico sites at BizStream (sorry AWS and Rackspace lovers). The only down side of hosting on an Azure App Service is that each App Service filesystem is limited to 50 GB in total size. That's where Azure Blob storage comes to the rescue. You can offload your media libraries to get those site images, pdfs, and other downloads to a storage mechanism that does not have this size constraint. After all, the largest benefit of utilizing the Microsoft Azure cloud for hosting your Kentico MVC site really boils down to added performance and scalability that the cloud gives you.  

Keep reading to see the whole process step by step of how to connect an external storage provider for Azure Blog storage on your Kentico MVC site.

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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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