Blog Posts

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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Mar 22

.Net 5.0 Preview 1 with Kentico 13 Beta 2 - A Double Phoenix

If you have been listening to some of my recent podcast episodes, you have been hearing how I have been excited for a bit now about the Kentico 13 Beta 2 release and how it sets up Kentico EMS for the future. You may also have heard me talk about the future of .Net and why it matters to the .Net development community and why .Net Core is better than ASP.Net MVC 5 on the full .Net 4.x Framework.

Well I decided to put my money where my mouth is over the weekend. I was inspired to give the absolute latest bleeding edge scenario of .Net technology a try with the Kentico 13 Beta. I wanted to download Kentico Phoenix, install a clean version of it, and attempt to run .Net 5 Preview 1 as my front end MVC live site connected to Kentico. That's right, to hell with the 18-year-old full .Net Framework. Sorry young .Net Core 3.1, I am even skipping right past you too. I'll take the 6-day old version of .Net 5 (the successor to both). 

Or, as I aptly have termed this scenario, let’s create a Double Phoenix. Get it? .Net 5 is .Net Core reborn just like Kentico 13... Yeah, I know it's cheesy, but it’s a catchy hashtag for sure #DoublePhoenix.

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Jan 26

20 Things Developers Should Know about Kentico 2020

I actually can't believe how fast the new year came upon us, but here we are in January 2020. A new year means that a new version of Kentico is around the corner, and I feel this time around the release situation is a little different. You see I have been using Kentico for over 10 years now, and I can remember some special releases. Version 5.5 R2, version 8, and version 10 are right up there in terms of examples of drastic new releases for the best .Net CMS on the planet. They each had major differences over past versions (just think of how CMSDesk and CMSSiteManager merged into the new clean single Admin tool in version 8). But in my opinion, no past version or past major release can hold a candle to the upcoming release of Kentico 13, aptly code named Kentico 2020 or Kentico Phoenix.

I say that because there are so many things going on in Kentico 2020 that it is actually hard to keep track. That might be because Kentico has actually had more time than normal for this release, or maybe its because the technology stack in the Microsoft .Net world has had a seismic shift in the last 2 years with the release of .Net Core, or maybe because the people are Kentico are a talented, motivated bunch and want to make sure that Kentico EMS continues to be a market leader. Or maybe it's all three of those factors. 

Either way, I thought since there have been so many announcements and updates along the way, it might be good to summarize the key aspects of the release that developers should be aware of it. So without further ado, keep reading to find out my 20 Things that Developers should know about Kentico 2020

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Nov 10

Kentico MVC Quick Tip - Fix Scheduled Content

When troubleshooting an issue, do you ever have that feeling of, "well...this should just work, it always just works..." ? Yeah, I get that a lot. In fact, today's quick tip on Kentico MVC gave me this feeling at least 3 times during a project I was recently on. I was tasked with figuring out why page content in our upgraded Kentico EMS 12.0 site was not publishing automatically when the publish from date was set in the future and that time had passed.

The thing is, the ability to have content scheduled to be published in the future has been in the Kentico platform for ages. I'd guess it was probably there all the way back in version 4 or version 5 of the CMS (maybe even earlier). The feature hasn't really changed in any version I can remember. It should. just. work. I didn't think it had anything to do with MVC vs. Portal engine either, because this feature is only really part of the Kentico Administration tool, and not the MVC live site. My head immediately went to the fact it could be a caching issue (it's almost always a caching issue right?), or server side time zone issue, or heck, in the US we just went through the daylight savings time zone change, maybe it was that. But I was wrong on all accounts.  

Keep reading after the jump to see the problem illustrated and find out how to ensure your content will be published correctly when set to publish in the future.

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Sep 01

KenticoCacheDoctor 2.0 Now With Kentico.Glimpse

Today I have a quick update for Kentico developers out there on my KenticoCacheDoctor project. In case you are not famliar with it, KenticoCacheDoctor is my mini open source project for working with Kentico 12.0 and Caching. I'm happy to announce that version 2.0 has been released as an updated NuGet package. A HUGE thank you goes out to Sean G. Wright for his contribution to the project, as this whole update was created by him. 

Not only did Sean clean up some of my lazy coding, he also created an integration into Kentico.Glimpse for KenticoCacheDoctor. That's right, now you can install a slightly different new NuGet package and the information that KenticoCacheDoctor provides is shown as a custom tab in Glimpse, just like the Kentico.SQL tab is shown for debugging Kentico SQL statements.

Keep reading after the jump to see this new integration.

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Jul 14

Introducing the Kentico Cache Doctor NuGet Package

Over the past many years, there is one pretty important thing I have learned while working with Kentico (and most other Web based CMS platforms out there). That one thing I have learned is that when it comes to problems with a page not showing the right results, or the code not working, or the content not quite lining up the right way; it almost always boils down to one of three things. Those three things in Kentico EMS are macros for dynamic content (and all the fun macro security issues that come with them), client side browser cache (where the latest Javascript file is not being loaded or is stale), and server side caching (where the CMS has placed data in the server memory and the latest page is not being sent down to the user's browser).

With Kentico's focus on MVC first for the latest Kentico 12 SP1, that last one, server side caching, is actually more important and fun to deal with than ever. The thing is with MVC, the caching strategy you use is up to you, and there are many different ways to do it. One of the most powerful ways is add what's called Output Caching into the solution. Output Caching is excellently detailed out over on Michal Samuhel's blog post on fixing a slow Kentico MVC site. If you have not read that post, STOP, and go read it right now. Then come back over here.  

In working with Kentico MVC sites for over 3 years, I have seen many issues during project development cycles that were resolved by simply clearing the page's Output Cache and/or restarting the app pool for the MVC live site. This is fine and all, but it does take a bit of time to do this and slows down the development process. To combat this I have decided to work on a little add-on for Kentico MVC development that gives the developer a quick short cut to clear the Cache without having to restart the site. Enter the Kentico Cache Doctor.

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Mar 16

#019 - Kentico Kontent Open Source Status

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 Kontent, 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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