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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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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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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Mar 22

I'm Speaking at Code PaLOUsa 2018

One week from today (March 29th, 2018) I will once again be speaking at one of my favorite conferences of the year, Code PaLOUsa. CPL is a multi-day software development conference, located in Louisville, KY, designed to cover all aspects of software development regardless of technology stack. The conference schedule features presentations from many well-known professionals in the software development community.

I am pulling double duty with two sessions this year for the conference, "How to Build an E-commerce Chat bot with Azure Bot Framework" and "Serverless Architecture Shootout". The first talk about the Azure Bot Framework has me excited because it is the first time I have been able to give this talk, and I firmly believe that chatbots are an example of technology that every organization could use.

For the second talk about Serverless Architecture, I am calling in some backup to help me out (or crush… depending on how you look at it). Keep reading after the jump to find out more about both sessions and which special guest will debate me on the age-old discussion of who’s better at Serverless computing, Azure or AWS.

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Feb 10

I'm Speaking at Orlando Code Camp 2018

I'm happy to announce that I have been selected to speak at the 13th Annual Orlando Code Camp on March 17th, 2018 at Seminole State College. The code camp is a free, one day learning event for programming professionals and students with a focus on .NET and other related technologies. This year the Orlando Code Camp features 89 Speakers, 91 Sessions, and 13 Tracks on a diverse range of topics, and I am happy to be one of them.

My session for this conference, "Serverless Architecture Shootout", has me really excited. I get to do my favorite thing, which is debate the age old question of who does it better, Azure or AWS.  Keep reading after the jump to see the full details of how I will present on which platform reigns supreme.

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Aug 27

Kentico Cloud Delivery .Net SDK Quick Tip: Synchronous Call

While working on a few different Kentico Cloud based projects, I ran into a situation that was a real head scratcher when working with the Delivery .Net SDK. I had done the research, installed the fabulous Kentico Cloud Boilerplate for ASP.NET, followed the getting started examples to a T, and for the most part everything worked perfectly. However, every once in a while the whole application came to a screeching halt, with a deep level exception being thrown the very first time I ran the project. Hitting refresh always fixed the error, but the whole situation really made no sense to me at first.

I know what you must be thinking, "Well Brian, it's probably just a caching issue if it works on a refresh". Trust me, I wish it was that, but it isn't. Keep reading after the jump to hear the whole story and see how I resolved the issue using an unexpected technique.

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Jul 30

Building a Kentico E-Commerce Chat Bot - Part 5

This is the final post in my blog post series, Building a Kentico E-Commerce Chat Bot. At long last I have finally had time to do a little code refactoring, wrap up the solution into a nice GitHub repository, and ensure that a test page to host the bot works here at Mcbeev.com. Keep reading to check out the final code, and most importantly, make sure you give the chat bot a try yourself.

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May 29

Building a Kentico E-Commerce Chat Bot - Part 4

This is part 4 of my blog post series, Building a Kentico E-commerce Chat Bot. Today we will review the Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) aspect of the solution. During the review we will see how to create and train our bot to communicate with humans in a smart way.

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