Entries for 2008

August 01, 2008

Review of BaseCamp

In the past I have completed reviews of various DotNetNuke modules, components, and skins, however, recently I have been receiving a number of e-mails with questions about how I manage my business.  Typically these questions have been from individuals that are just starting out with consulting business, or those looking for better ways to manage their pending products.  Once item that I always recommend to people is BaseCamp, a hosted project management solution provided by 37Signals.  This article will go through the features/services offered, and why I use it to manage all projects.

July 23, 2008

Site Issues Resolved

All site display issues should now be resolved, if anyone is experiencing difficulties with this site and the navigation, please send me an e-mail at ...
July 21, 2008

Known site issues

To let everyone know I am aware of an issue that currently exists with this site and the navigation menu in FireFox 2 and FireFox 3. I am working wit...
July 18, 2008

SQL Server Table Size Calculation

In one of my previous blog entries I provided a helpful script that would allow you to find the space used for all SQL Server tables in a single database.  It was a very simple method using the SP_SPACEDUSED stored procedure that is included in SQL Server.  In that article I touched a bit on the general usage for the method.
July 15, 2008

iFinity UrlMaster Module Review

As many of you may have noticed in the past few weeks since I have updated this site that there were a number of major changes.  Improved site performance, new site skin, re-organized content, and most importantly new URL structures.  In this article I will provide a review of the Url Master module created by IFinity, with a detailed account of my experiences with the module and how it helped make recent content changes possible.

June 30, 2008

Site Update and Announcement

Well as I'm sure that many of you can notice I have completed the upgrade to this site.  Tonights upgrades resulted in about an hour of downtime due to slow file transfer and network speeds.  However, many improvements have been made.  Please view the full post for details as well as the BIG Announcement!

 

May 28, 2008

Streamlined Upgrades from 4.6.2 and Later

Well after following a similar practice for upgrading my DotNetNuke sites since pre DNN 4.4.1 days I have just learned of a very helpful new feature for those upgrading from 4.6.2 or later versions.  Starting with 4.6.2 a new function was added to the DotNetNuke core known as XML Merge, which removes the need for you to manually update the web.config file on each and every upgrade.  This takes the complicated manual merge process and reduces an upgrade to two simple steps.  I will detail these steps below.

May 27, 2008

Selecting a DotNetNuke Hosting Provider Revisited

Three months ago I created an article discussing my thought process on selecting a hosting provider for DotNetNuke installations.  I recently modified that article due to a recent change in opinion.  I have sense decided to re-visit the article entirely as I wanted to expand a bit on a few items that were referenced by others in the comments with the older article.  As most people are aware my hosting provider of choice is 3Essentials, being with them for almost a year and a half now I have only good things to say about them, however, I'll be the first to admit that they might not be for everyone.  In this article I will look at the various items that lead me to select and retain 3Essentials as my hosting provider.  These statements in no way are considered offical, and you MUST take the time to do your own research to form your own conclusions before making a decision.  Moving hosting providers is not all that complicated, but it is a somewhat complex and time consuming actiivity and something that you don't want to do unless you have to.  If you are having problems finding a hosting provider that meets your needs, please feel free to e-mail me at msellers@iowacomputergurus.com and I'll try to help you out with the decision.   Please click the link below to read the full article!

May 27, 2008

Installing DotNetNuke 4.8.3 Locally (non Vista)

Installing DotNetNuke can be somewhat difficult at times, therefore I am writing this article to give you a full step by step guide to installing DotNetNuke on a Windows XP Pro system. The instructions are similar for Windows 2000 but might vary slightly, I have tried to note as many differences as possible. Windows Vista installation is similar but requires a few different steps relating to IIS. I will be publishing a text version of this guide for Windows Vista users within the next 2-3 days.  This guide is my seventh revision and includes additional steps and information based on feedback from previous users.  Additionally a few new instructions and notes have been provided for users installing on Windows 2003 Server to address a few common "stumbling blocks" that have prevented successful installations.

May 27, 2008

Installing DotNetNuke 4.8.3 on a Remote Hosting Provider

This is my fourth revision of a DotNetNuke remote hosting provider installation tutorial.  This tutorial will provide you the basic overview of how to perform a clean installation of DotNetNuke 4.8.3 on a remote web hosting provider.  In the article I will try to point out the most common differences between different hosting providers, I will also be providing specific examples regarding the use of the Plesk control panel which is what my hosting provider (3Essentials) uses.  All steps within this tutorial are promised to work with 3Essentials hosting, others are most likely possible, but have not been fully confirmed with the provider.  Additionally this guide is geared towards a manual instlalation at the root of the site, which is not supported by all hosting providers.

May 27, 2008

Upgrading to DotNetNuke 4.8.3 from 4.x

This is my eighth revision DNN Upgrade guide.  This version includes an important notice regarding the need to upgrade to take advantage of the most recent security inprovements provided in DNN 4.8.3.  Many portions of this upgrade guide are the same as previous versions, however, there are some new items and many minor changes/clarifications.  This is simply due to the LIMITED changes that have truly occured in the area of DotNetNuke upgrades.  This should be the final version of these guides for the 4.x DNN platform, keep an eye our for 5.x guides shortly before the public launch of DNN 5.x.

May 22, 2008

Exporting a DataGrid to Excel The Easy Way

Recently I have answered a number of questions regarding an easy way to export datagrid contents to excel format.  In this blog post I will share a static class that I have created called "ExportHelper" which I use quite often to generate quick Excel exports of datagrid data.  I will outline the process and the code below.  It should be noted that this solution is NOT a DotNetNuke specific solution, I use this for both DotNetNuke and standard ASP.NET solutions.

May 20, 2008

The How, What, and Why of Injection Vulnerabilities

Recently when browsing the forums on DotNetNuke.com I have noticed more and more questions regarding Script Injection vulnerability in the core and third-party modules.  I have often found that at times it is hard for non-developers to truly understand the concept of script injection and what makes a site vulnerable.  So in this article I will take a bit of time to discuss both types of injection that users of DotNetNuke should be aware of, how to test for them, and also how to prevent the vulnerability when creating modules. 

May 19, 2008

Delete Confirmation The Easy Way in DNN

In continuing my writing series on hidden nuggets in the DotNetNuke core I will show you a handy method from the ClientAPI that allows you to add a Javascript delete confirmation in a much easier manner than normal.  As with the previous articles of this nature please feel free to send in any suggestions on helpful, somewhat hidden features inside the DotNetNuke core.  Click the link below to view the full detail

May 19, 2008

Migrating DotNetNuke From Development to Remote Production

Recently I have been answering a large number of questions regarding the processes to deploy an existing development site from localhost to a remote hosting provider.  Typically this has been something that I was not willing to publish a tutorial on due to the complex nature of the matter and the major differences between hosting providers.  However, due to popular demand this article will be my first documentation of the end to end process to move a localhost DotNetNuke installation to a production environment on shared hosting.  I will be basing this article on the proceses that are needed to deploy to 3Essentials which is my hosting provider of choice, the process is similar for other hosts, but there may be charges or other complications introduced. 

May 12, 2008

Adding A Popup Calendar to Your DNN Module

Recently when working on modules for clients and enhancements for my own modules I have been looking for better ways to utilize core DotNetNuke functionaltiy.  This article is the first in a long series of articles that I will be posting regarding using DotNetNuke core functions and controls in custom modules.  This first article will walk you through the process to add a simple popup calendar as an option for a user that is being prompted for a date.  Many people do not know that DotNetNuke provides a very nifty interface that handles all the hard work.  This article will walk you through this step by step, first with the .ascx code, then the .cs or .vb code, the lastly with a screencapture of the component in action.

April 29, 2008

Semi-Automatic DotNetNuke Module Package Builds Revisited

Back in January I made a post here about creating semi-automatic module packages on the fly from within Visual Studio.  The method I showed at that time was a little bit primitive but it worked perfectly.  Recently I have had some time to refine the batch script itself as well as the integration point to the DNN project inside Visual Studio.  My recent changes now allow me to make 2 small changes for each project and builds work as I expect, it also creates a conditional system that can handle file deletions as well as dynamic loading of debug or release .dll files to the package.  This posting will cover this new process in detail..

April 19, 2008

Modules, Compatibility, and Developer Responsibility

Recently I have worked with multiple clients that have had "minimum version" issues with DotNetNuke modules.  They have a new module, or a new version of an already installed module and they install it on their site.  Just after installation they find out that the module doesn't work with their version of DNN.  Sometimes this isn't a major issue as long as it is only the module that doesn't work and it was a new module.  However most of the time it isn't the case, usually it happens to existing modules that include lots of data.  Since DotNetNuke doesn't offer a rollback function these types of issues can be critical to users of DNN.  Now the first argument that I always hear on this topic is that "people should be backing up their site before an install/update to anything".  I agree with this to a certain extent, but on the other hand these people expect that we as developers will make using our product a pain free situation.  This is where this article come into play, I'll discuss a few methods where developers, including myself need to step up and provide better quality services to the general DotNetNuke public.  I'll even include a step by step guide that will show developers how to accomplish what needs to be done.

April 15, 2008

DotNetNuke Performance Settings Explained!

My last article on DotNetNuke administration topics was very popular "DotNetNuke Host Settings Explained", this article is the promised follow up that will provide detailed information on the Performance/Compression settings section of DotNetNuke Host Settings.  I will explain what the values do, and also my personal experience with the settings, please keep in mind that all DNN sites are different and your needs may differ from those listed in the article, if you are unsure of the proper settings for you environment, please don't hesitate to ask for assistance in my forum.

April 03, 2008

DotNetNuke OpenForce08

For those of you that monitor the DotNetNuke.com Announcements forum you will notice that DotNetNuke Corporation has announced they are doing OpenForc...
March 26, 2008

Upgrading to DotNetNuke 4.8.2 from 4.x

This is my seventh revision DNN Upgrade guide.  This version of the guide includes important updates for working with DNN 4.8.2 and customized SqlDataProvider configurations.  Many portions of this upgrade guide are the same as previous versions, however, there are some new items and many minor changes/clarifications.  This is simply due to the LIMITED changes that have truly occured in the area of DotNetNuke upgrades.  If a newer version of DNN has been released and I do not have a new version of this document, please use this version as there are most likely no breaking changes!

March 26, 2008

Installing DotNetNuke 4.8.2 on a Remote Host

In previous articles on this site I have provided tutorials for installing DotNetNuke to a local machine, however, I typically avoid the topic of installing DotNetNuke to a remote web hosting provider.  I have been asked many times why and the answer is simple; installations to remote hosts are not standardized, depending on the hosting providers environments the steps to install can differ greatly.  However, due to popular demand I have created this tutorial which will provide you the basic overview of how to perform a clean installation of DotNetNuke on a remote web hosting provider.  In the article I will try to point out the most common differences between different hosting providers, I will also be providing specific examples regarding the use of the Plesk control panel which is what my hosting provider (3Essentials) uses.  This article is my third revision updated to add some more clarifying points, be sure to share any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of the article!

March 26, 2008

Installing DotNetNuke 4.8.2 Locally

Installing DotNetNuke can be somewhat difficult at times, therefore I am writing this article to give you a full step by step guide to installing DotNetNuke on a Windows XP Pro system. The instructions are similar for Windows 2000 but might vary slightly, I have tried to note as many differences as possible. Windows Vista installation is similar but requires a few different steps relating to IIS. for Vista information please view my video tutorial.  This guide is my sixth revision and includes additional steps and information based on feedback from previous users.  Additionally a few new instructions and notes have been provided for users installing on Windows 2003 Server to address a few common "stumbling blocks" that have prevented successful installations.

March 25, 2008

What Modules Do I Have and How Many of Them?

Finding out how many modules you have installed on a site, and additionally how many times those modules are used is something that you would think is very simple within DotNetNuke.  However, it is a bit more complex than one would hope.  By default DNN does not provide a mechanism for you to perform this kind of research, however, I have a very simple SQL Script that will allow you to see ALL modules and from there the total number of instances (in all portals) and the total number of instances that are deleted (in the recycle bin).  From an administrative perspective this is a key piece of information to know.

March 13, 2008

DotNetNuke Host Settings Explained

Following the high popularity of my previous article about the DNN Scheduler I thought I would follow up with this article explaining DotNetNuke Host settings.  This article will give an overview of each section of the host settings.  Some areas might be highlighted in future articles to provide more detail regarding specific configuration options that are of high importance to site administrators.

March 02, 2008

Visual Studio Code Snippets

Recently I have been asked by multiple people what rapid design tools I use, or what types of code generation tools do I use.  Many people are surprised when I tell them that for the most part I don't use any rapid generation tools.  I do use a few home grown tools, such as my Info Class Generator, which is available on this site.  However, that is as far as I go with automated code generators.  However, one thing that I have started using more and more frequently are Code Snippets within Visual Studio.

I have found that creating a few helpful Code Snippets has allowed me to quickly and easily format my code, and build my needed structures in almost no time.  In this blog article I will share two of my most commonly used Code Snippets, if there is a demand I will post future code snippets here as well.

February 20, 2008

Selecting a DotNetNuke Hosting Provider

The topic of choosing a hosting provider for DotNetNuke is something that I see appear on a regular basis on the DotNetNuke forums and here on my forums as well.  The way I see it the selection of a hosting provider isn't just about the price, it is something that requires a much more detailed look at what services you get and what services you really need.  You can then balance those to find the right hosting provider for your needs.  As many people are aware I typically direct people towards 3Essentials. In this article I will walk you through my decision process on the items that I look for in a hosting provider, and why I might choose over the other.  Consider this my approach towards Shared Hosting solutions.  These statements in no way are considered official, and you MUST take the time to do your own research to form your own conclusions before making a decision.  Moving hosting providers is not all that complicated, but it is a somewhat complex and time consuming activity and something that you don't want to do unless you have to. 

February 20, 2008

Creating a DotNetNuke SkinObject

A few weeks ago Tom Kraak of Seablick Consulting made a blog post regarding modifications to the core Breadcrumb skin object to prevent the last page in the tree from rendering as a link.  I created two different solutions for him, the first was simply a modification to the core breadcrumb object and was not necessarily the best solution.  The second solution I provided was the creation of a custom skin object, based on the core, but isolated so that it will not be prone to issue with an upgrade.  This tutorial is the promised "overview" of how to create a skin object.  I will not discuss the technical aspect of the modifications that were made to the breadcrumb, but just a general overview of what you actually have to do to create a new skin object.

February 13, 2008

DotNetNuke Scheduler Explained

I have found that many people that work with DotNetNuke sites are often unfamiliar with the various scheduled tasks that are implemented within DotNetNuke.  Is this a bad thing?  It depends, by default the configuration of scheduled tasks will work just fine, but as your site grows there are specific tasks that can become problematic due to the size of the site, resulting in increased resources being used or worse site failure/errors.  This article will discuss each of the default tasks that are included in DotNetNuke, I will describe the function of each and discuss the default schedule and when you should change the schedule.

January 27, 2008

Implementing Captcha in a DotNetNuke Module

Recently I was working on a project for a client of mine where I needed to implement a Captcha within a DotNetNuke module.  Now in the past I have implemented Captchas on standard ASP.NET sites but I had yet to work with them in DotNetNuke.  Now, DotNetNuke does have a built in Captcha control which can be used on login/registration, but there doesn't appear to be much information out there about how to implement it in your own projects.  I wanted to provide a quality solution for my client by matching the standard DNN look and feel so I decided to take a dive into the core code and find out just how you can use the Captcha control in your own module development projects.  This article will first quickly explain how I went about finding this information and then will discuss the very simple steps needed to add a Captcha to your project!

January 27, 2008

Developing a C# WAP Module in DNN

Ever since OpenForce '07 in Las Vegas last year I have found myself answering more questions regarding module development and being asked to provide training to more individuals.  I have decided that I should start creating more tutorials here that explain the module development process, therefore this article will be the first in a hopefully long series of DotNetNuke module development tutorials.  This article will walk you through the process of creating a new DotNetNuke module using the C# WAP Templates that are available from BiteTheBullet.co.uk.

January 16, 2008

Installing DotNetNuke 4.8.0 on a Remote Host

In previous articles on this site I have provided tutorials for installing DotNetNuke to a local machine, however, I have never yet approached the topic of installing DotNetNuke to a remote web hosting provider.  I have been asked many times why and the answer is simple; installations to remote hosts are not really standardized as depending on the hosting providers environments the steps to install can differ greatly.  However, due to popular demand I have created this tutorial which will provide you the basic overview of how to perform a clean installation of DotNetNuke on a remote web hosting provider.  In the article I will try to point out the most common areas of difference between different hosting providers, I will also be providing specific examples regarding the use of the Plesk control panel which is what my hosting provider (3Essentials) uses.  This article is my second revision updated to add some more clarifying points, be sure to share any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of the article!

Content provided in this blog is provided "AS-IS" and the information should be used at your own discretion.  The thoughts and opinions expressed are the personal thoughts of Mitchel Sellers and do not reflect the opinions of his employer.

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Content in this blog is copyright protected.  Re-publishing on other websites is allowed as long as proper credit and backlink to the article is provided.  Any other re-publishing or distribution of this content is prohibited without written permission from Mitchel Sellers.