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Brian McKeiver's personal blog. This blog is mostly dedicated to Kentico CMS and ASP.NET development.

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    In part 1 of this mini blog post series we setup a Twitter App that we will connect Kentico CMS to automatically publish content to. In part 2 of the series we walked through doing the same thing but with Facebook. Now as we wrap things up, this post will complete the series by getting down to heart of the new Auto Publishing feature of Kentico CMS 7. So if you have not read the previous two posts in the series please do so now, and then come back for the finale.

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    Yep, you read it right. I am officially opening a new contest. I am giving away a FREE ticket to the upcoming Kentico Connections 2012 conference in Denver, CO on September 17th and 18th, 2012.

    Kentico Connections is Kentico Software’s annual user conference. This year the conference will commemorate the launch of Kentico CMS 7.0, give insight into where the product is going, and give attendees direct access to the people who built Kentico CMS.

    To find out how to win continue reading after the jump.


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    Yep, its that time if year again, the best, most informative Kentico CMS conference is back. If you read this blog than you probably already know that. On September 17th and 18th Kentico Developers, Partners, Employees and Customers will be meeting up in Denver, CO for the 2012 version of Kentico Connection.

    This year I am thrilled to be speaking at the conference. I will be giving a session on integrating Kentico CMS with just about anything you can imagine. I may even show you how you can customize Kentico CMS to wash your car. Full abstract is below.



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  • 08/31/12--08:41: And The Winner Is...
  • By now I think everyone knows that I am giving away a ticket to Kentico Connection 2012. So let's get right down to business. Drum roll please....

    Congratulations to @probrandono!

    ProBrandono was selected at random from the 10 different entries that the contest received.

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    Content Staging is a really great feature of Kentico CMS. We use it all the time at BizStream. The major benefit that we get by using this feature is that it saves a ton of time when it comes to deploying content and object changes from our development servers to our client's production servers. However, earlier this week I ran into a slight issue with Content Staging. The dreaded synchronization failed error happened when I went to sync a new file in the Media Library.

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    Last month I attended and spoke at the 3rd annual Kentico Connection conference in Denver, CO. This was my second time attending the conference, but first time presenting at it. As expected it was a great event. I meant to get this blog post out earlier, but it has been a crazy past few weeks at BizStream as far as deadlines go.

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    I finally had a few spare minutes to upgrade my blog. Let me know if you see anything that doesn't look right. Now if only I had time to turn on all the cool new features. Oh, and one last thing, Kentico Installation Manager is pretty damn sweet. Download, apply, next, next, done!

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    In case you missed it, this week my fellow Kentico MVP's and I took over Kentico Chief Evangelist Thom Robbins' Blog.

    Kentico EMS provides a great way to create marketing campaigns that allow website owners and authors to measure the effectiveness of their different marketing activities. I really feel that it is a great tool to use. So in doing my part in the blog take over, I created a post about how to use the Kentico EMS API to create on-line maketing campaigns automatically and on a scheduled base. 

    The full blog post can be read over on Thom Robbins' Blog on DevNet.

    Also don't miss out on Bryan Soltis's post on the Top 5 Things When Deploying Kentico CMS to Windows Azure and Jeroen Furst's take on Mobile layouts in Kentico 7.


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    A very common request that my team and I receive at BizStream revolves around adding on a new chunk of functionality to a web site. This request can come in the form of social media integration or a customer feedback form, but 9 times out of 10 it has to do with adding e-commerce functionality to an existing site. This type of work is very common for sites that have been around for awhile or previously acted as just a brochure type site.

    These sites commonly already had product pages defined, but were only intended to serve out information about each product or service a company offers. As a web site grows, the logical next steps are to add the infamous “Buy Now” button, configure e-commerce store settings, hook up a payment gateway, and start collecting more revenue (hopefully).

    The above steps are all easy to do if the site is built with content management system like Kentico, but what if the site has 100, 500, or even 1,000 products that already exist? I sure would not want to create those SKUs by hand. This scenario is a perfect time to use some automation to solve the problem.  Below is an example code snippet that used the Kentico CMS API to accomplish this task.


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    The holiday season has provided me with some rare downtime, as a result,  I thought it would be a good time to take a moment and reflect on the past year. 2012 was a very successful year no matter which way you slice it. The year started out with a bang for me personally, as I was named a Kentico MVP for the first time. I was and still am honored at having this distinction. My very own blog here at Mcbeev.com saw it’s traffic increase by over 25% from 2011, and the number of followers that I have on Twitter increased roughly about the same amount too. But, enough about me, let’s get to the good stuff.

    One of the most significant events of 2012 when it comes to Kentico, was the the release of version 7. The 7.0 release focused on optimizing and improving the Kentico CMS Desk user’s and/or developer’s experience. The overall interface is also a bit snappier than other previous releases of Kentico. And of course the release also included a whole host of new features and functionality; On-site Editing, Advanced Workflow, Translation Management, Chat, Banner Management etc. etc..

    But without any further ado, below is my list of the Top 10 Kentico Related Posts of 2012 at Mcbeev.com.

     


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    Calling all Kentico Developers, Customers, and Partners; about one week from now, January 24, 2013, a panel of Kentico Experts will be getting together to answer any and all questions you may have about Kentico CMS. The panel will be made up of the three Kentico MVPs, including myself, and official Kentico representatives Juraj Ondrus and Thom Robbins.

    During the virtual panel you and the rest of the internet will be given the chance to have your pressing Kentico CMS or Kentico EMS questions answered by the panel of experts.

    We are very excited to see how this session pans out, and can't wait to start the discussion. See how to participate further over at Kentico DevNet. After the jump I have some ideas for common questions that I get asked all the time about Kentico. Click the Read More link to see them.


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    Over 200 web sites were submitted to the Kentico “Site of the Year 2012” contest. Those submissions were divided up into 12 categories based on which industry that each website was based in, as well as a few special categories like best mobile website and best overall graphic design.

    One of the sites that was named a finalist is www.MaryFreeBed.com. The Mary Free Bed website falls in the Healthcare category. It just so happens that it is a website that BizStream developed from the ground up, and one that we are very proud to be a part of. We worked with a great set of people to make this website and I commend everyone who was part of  the team. This is the second time in the past few years that an implementation of the Mary Free Bed website has been recognized in this global competition.

     


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    If you are reading this blog post then you probably already know that I think Kentico CMS is the best ASP.NET based Content Management System around. Kentico is an incredibly powerful and flexible platform to build web sites and web applications with. With that being said, just like any other system on the planet, if you are not careful you can end up using it the wrong way. Today I am going to try to shed some light on a few common mistakes that I have seen in the wild with Kentico. Hopefully after you read this list you will be able to avoid some of them.

    Keep reading to see my list of 7 things that developers should not do with Kentico CMS.


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    My co-worker and all around good guy, Adam Reece, has blogged about a slick CSS and JavaScript loading technique on his site at Adam-Reece.com. Adam works as a Senior Web Designer and Front End Developer with me at BizStream. He is also a certified Kentico developer. What I am trying to say is that he really knows a ton about designing and building websites, so when Adam speaks we all listen.

    The tip itself relates to how a developer can control the order of script and link tags via simple web parts on a page template in Kentico CMS. Selectively controlling the order that CSS and script loads on a page is very important in terms of overall load speed of a page. You dont want your script loading before your style sheets because the browser will block until all of the CSS is loaded. 


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    I’m proud to announce the second edition of our free educational technology event March 19th, 2013 in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, Cloud Power GR. The event is hosted by BizStream and NVINT, providers of cloud hosted applications and cloud hosting services. The goal is to explain cloud computing in a way everyone from the seasoned IT Director to the typical business person can understand. You can read my recap from the first edition of the Cloud Power GR event too to find out more.


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  • 03/22/13--20:59: Cloud Power GR 2013 Wrap Up
  • I’m happy to report that the Cloud Power GR event went off without a hitch this past week. We had a pretty decent turnout, although the unexpected snow storm that morning did not help attendance wise. The event was hosted this past Tuesday at Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center in downtown Grand Rapids MI.

    Cloud Power GR 2013 featured six different presentations on a wide variety of technical and non-technical aspects of how cloud computing can help businesses reduce IT cost and increase productivity. The morning started off with the audience hearing about trends and changes to Microsoft’s Cloud platform and service offerings from Paul Schenkel. Paul challenged the audience to think how they could leverage cloud services to meet their infrastructure needs.

     


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    In just about 10 days from now, my fellow Kentico MVPs and I will be joined by Thom Robbins and Juraj Ondrus from Kentico to answer your questions about Kentico CMS and Kentico EMS. Recently I spoke with Thom Robbins about how the first virtual panel went and what to expect this time. You can watch our discussion below. We'd love to answer any of your burning questions so don't miss your chance.

    • Date: Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
    • Time: 8 AM PST/11 AM EST/4 PM BST
    • Location: Everywhere! Google hangouts and Twitter at: #KenticoExperts

     


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    Today I am pleased to announce my latest contribution to the Kentico developer community, the Bit.ly Metrics Module for Kentico CMS 7.0. The purpose of this module is to bring everything you need into Kentico CMS when it comes to using the Bit.ly URL Shortening service. The module gives you a way to see all of your Bit.ly metrics, aka user link history, as a custom Tool in the CMSDesk and at the page or document level. The data for each shortened link is stored in a custom table, and it is kept in sync using the Integration Bus component of Kentico CMS.

    The Bit.ly Metrics module also gives content editors the ability to shorten any Document URL right from within the CMSDesk. Utilizing this module saves you or your content administrators the time of jumping out and logging into the backend of Bit.ly to see how often your links are being clicked. My favorite part about it is that with one click I can sort the data and compare how often one or more of my links are being clicked.

    Modules in Kentico CMS represent groups of functionality in Kentico. They can be a set of web parts, scheduled tasks, custom settings, and just about anything else in the platform. They are a great way to extend the system to allow for custom functionality. They are also easily exportable from one instance of Kentico to another. This module is a result of my presentation last fall at Kentico Connection 2012 about integrating with Kentico CMS. I demo’d the functionality to the audience during my session, but time flies fast, and I did not have a chance to finish it until a few days ago.

     


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    I'm honored to be a part of the first ever Windows Azure Kentico Virtual Conference hosted by Kentico Software. This event is set to take place on June 11th, 2013. The day long virtual conference will feature multiple sessions that intend to help jump start Windows Azure development using Kentico CMS and Kentico EMS.

    I'm presenting my session, "Get set.. Introduction to Windows Azure Development", that reviews how to prepare your development environment for Windows Azure and Kentico CMS. It will include a review of the required components, a walkthrough on how to setup your Microsoft Windows Azure developer account, and an install of Kentico CMS configured for Azure via the Kentico Installation Manager. I will also try to give out some pro tips on how to enhance your day to day Visual Studio 2012 productivity.

    Don't miss your chance to sit back, relax, and learn about Windows Azure and Kentico CMS from some of  the best and brightest members of the Kentico community. To find out more about the event and register for it, visit Thom Robbins blog post -  Announcing the Azure Kentico Virtual Conference - Registration open!


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    Have you ever had your Shopping Cart web part not get past step two in the checkout process? Or ever had your Logon Form web part not authenticate correctly. Maybe your Comment View web part doesn’t allow you to edit or add a Blog Post comment ? There is nothing more frustrating to a Kentico developer than spending time on a problem that should not be a problem.

    Most developers that have experience with Kentico have probably added hundreds of web parts to web part zones in their careers. 99.9% of the time they just work the way they should. However, every once in awhile something goes wrong, and when it does, it can be infuriating. I have put together the following list below to hopefully save even the most grizzled Kentico veteran some time when it comes to troubleshooting why a web part refuses to work the way it should.


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