Entries for 2014

December 15, 2014

DNN Quick Tip: Ajax Postback Controls

In an effort to get more regular content out here to the blog I am going to try and resume my "Quick Tips" posts.  These are much shorter posts than some of the more involved ones that I do, but cover common questions and tips that I get via email.  A very common request that I get from developers after they have set the "SupportsPartialRendering" flag within their module manifest is how can they set a control to force a postback quickly & easily.  Lets investigate!
December 15, 2014

Vendor API Integrations: Developer Beware

Since I started IowaComputerGurus in early 2006 I have worked on more than 100 different vendor API integrations.  Now two integrations have been the same, even if they are both going to the same vendor API.  Each integration project is a unique beast, the business requirements however similar are exactly that, similar.  The small changes, the small tweaks that you might have from one client to another on the same platform can be catastrophic.  Having done so many of these, I thought I had seen it all, from poor API's, to poor support, and everything in-between I could go on for days with the things I've experienced over the years.  However, after two recent experiences, by far the most horrible I've ever experienced I thought I'd share a few lessons learned to help others out there learn from my experience over the last 4-6 months.
November 17, 2014

Keeping Your DNN Website Clean: The Web.config

In the past 6 months I have been working on a large number of migrations from older versions of DNN to newer.  This blog post is going to be a first post in a series of posts around various activities that site administrators can do that will make future site administration easier.   Over time websites will have modules installed, modules removed, upgrades performed and other activities that can often leave lasting marks that only add confusion to things in the future.  Lets look at one area that can/should be cleaned on a regular basis and that is your web.config.
November 17, 2014

2014 St. Louis Days of .NET Presentations

This past week I had the pleasure of giving 4 different talks at the fantastic St. Louis Days of .NET event.  This event has become one of my favorite events to attend each and every year.  Well attended, great sessions, and engaged attendees makes for a truly spectacular event.  In this post I'll provide relevant links for materials from each of the talks!
November 03, 2014

Back to the Basics: LINQ and You

This past weekend I was a presenter at IowaCodeCamp, my favorite local .NET event each spring/fall.  My session this year was "Back to the Basics: LINQ and You" and it was much more popular than anticipated!  After spending a lot of time training development teams over the past year I found that although LINQ has been available since 2008 many individuals have either not yet had the chance to use it yet in their projects or those that are using it still didn't fully understand how/why it works the way that it does, and thus my session was born!
October 08, 2014

Performance Testing Success Story: An Active Third-Party Vendor

I often talk about the importance of having well performing applications.  The reasons for my focus on performance are vast and range from the user experience, ability to handle load, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and everything in between.  One of the most common issues that I will encounter with client sites when optimizing is that the root of their performance problem might reside with a third-party component that they have used.  Sometimes this was a component they selected, other times it was a component another consultant recommended, and even other times it was an item that was part of the framework that they were using and they did not have a choice.

This post is dedicated to a "happy story" with regards to performance optimization and experiences with third-party vendors.

September 12, 2014

Load Testing Your Application: Art or Science?

Earlier this year I blogged about this importing of understanding and knowing how your application will perform under load.  (See it here).  After receiving a lot of questions from individuals wanting to learn more about "how" they can load test their applications and the tools that I use when testing applications I thought it would be good to follow up with a post to shed a bit of light on the process.  
September 12, 2014

Understanding the Logistics of Moving Websites

Recently for a number of reasons I've been working with individuals that are taking a website and moving them from one hosting provider to another.  Sometimes these moves are taking the existing site as is, other times it is migrating to a "new site" at the same time.  However, after doing at least 10-12 of these in the past few months a few common points of "confusion" have come to light.  As such, due to popular request I'll lay out the basics of how to move a website from one hosting provider to another and discuss the component parts that are involved in such a move. Although a bit "off" from my normal development or performance topics this is still a very real thing for many people!

August 01, 2014

DNN Spam Registrations & You!

Recently there has been a lot of discussion in the community around DNN Spam registrations and methods and processes to prevent or fix the issues that are associated with them.  I've been debating on if/when I should actually write about this given that there is an Official DNN Software response on the issue, as well as many other community comments.  Well, tonight, while on vacation I had a server go down and guess what it was because of this very issue so I think its time to give my quick perspective and recommended action points for those of you that are running a DNN site.  These recommendations apply for ALL DNN versions!
July 06, 2014

Module Performance; Set Yourself Apart

With a plethora of modules on the market today, it is often hard for users to select the "right one" for their solution. Help yourself, and help your customers by setting your modules apart in one of the most important ways, performance. Not all DNN sites are large, not all DNN sites are small, that's the beauty of the platform. However, many modules & vendors ignore this major difference. Lets look as some simple tips & tricks to help us set our modules apart.

May 30, 2014

Improving Web Application Performance - Part Three Client Side Considerations

In the first two parts of this blog series we introduced the importance of defining metrics prior to starting any performance optimization activities and the importance of identifying any user or role based issues.  In this part of the series we start to dive into the actual optimization part of the process.  I will start by introducing key concepts to look for, and then we will review the tools of the trade that can be used to help identify trouble points.  It is important to note that the information contained in this post is 100% applicable to ALL server side languages, regardless of .NET, PHP, Java, or anything else you might select to use.
May 29, 2014

Improving Web Application Performance - Part Two Users & Environment

Now that we have a set of metrics to use to validate the performance of our web application we can now start to dive deeply into resolving issues.  The first step in this journey is actually a step often overlooked by those that I encounter.  Professionally speaking 3 in 5 performance consultations that I am involved with are actually resolved by taking the points in this post into consideration.  So lets get started looking at users & environment.
May 27, 2014

Improving Web Application Performance - Part One Metrics!

For the last four or five years I have given a number of presentations on improving the performance of web applications, sometimes specifically focusing on DNN other times taking more broadly on ASP.NET.  However, the most popular of all presentations that I have given on Web Application performance was a session that took a broad look at application performance not only from a server side but also a client side application.  This talk was actually tailored to users that came from many application development backgrounds.  In this blog series I will share the information that was contained in that talk as well as a few more items of consideration that I have learned along the way.
May 26, 2014

DNN Performance: Understanding ModuleCache and PageOutputCache

Over the past 4-5 months my company IowaComputerGurus has help to optimize the performance of more than 50 different DNN based websites.  This is a major uptick in performance related inquiries as compare to past years which is to be expected as website owners become more-and-more concerned about the performance of their applications. In the current era it is important for websites to be fast not only for the user experience, but also for placement within the Search Engines.  The faster the internet connections we get the more impatient our users are when it comes to waiting for our sites to load.  Depending on who you talk to you will see metrics that show page load times of anything greater than 3 seconds can lead to lost customers & revenue for your website.  What exact e"metric you are looking to meet is up to you, but regardless a DNN based site can still easily render in sub-second times with proper configuration & maintenance.  In this post we will look into two of the most commonly overlooked configuration elements for performance the ModuleCache and PageOutputCache.
April 11, 2014

Avoiding Performance Issues with Multi-Portal DNN

In the first 3 months of 2014 I have encountered multiple multi-portal DNN installations that have been suffering from severe performance issues.  In most cases these users had already followed the whitepaper recommendations that I have had published since early 2007 and the sites were still slowing to a crawl at best.  Digging in, each time I found that a single fundamental issue was the root cause, with a few other secondary considerations.  Given the popularity of DNN continuing to grow and the relative ease of Multi-portal configurations I though it would be important to share.
March 24, 2014

A Practical Introduction to .NET Async

I have been speaking quite a bit recently at events about .NET Async and how to use this .NET 4.5 and later language feature in day-to-day code.  Due to popular request I have decided to make the most current version of my presentation materials available for prior attendees, or those curious for a quick example to quickly download.  

January 17, 2014

DNN's Display on All Pages an Alternative to Avoid Nightmares

One of the age old pieces of functionality within DNN is the ability to check that magical little box "Display on All Pages." This single action might seem like the best thing since sliced bread the first time you use it, and even for days after.  But fast forward a bit and get to a year or two down the road and you might be paying the price for this little "efficiency" in ways that you might not have though about.  In this post we will take a look at the goal, the good, the bad, and the alternatives to this long standing DNN feature.
January 01, 2014

2013 a Year In Review

For the last 4 or 5 years I've done a year-in-review post to summarize technology happenings from the prior year as well as to help set a path into the following year.  Therefore, lets take a look back at 2013 and prepare to leap into 2014!

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