Nov 30

11 Reasons to Feel Good About Upgrading to Kentico 11

If you or your company uses Kentico to power your website, chances are you’ve seen the marketing that Kentico 11 will be released in a mere 11 days from now, on December 11th 2017. Yes, that’s a lot of elevens in a row right there, and there might be a small coincidence that I planned this blog post for to go live today. 

I have made few posts before about new version releases of Kentico, in fact it's turning into a little bit of an annual activity for me, but each new release is worth talking about. I can say that not just because I am a Kentico enthusiast, but really because each major release of Kentico tends to add something that community is demanding. Typically it is a deepening of the Online Marketing feature set, more configurability of the e-commerce APIs, or performance enhancements that Kentico users and developers want, and for as long as I can remember Kentico has always moved the ball forward with each of the major releases. 

Keep reading after the jump to find out if Kentico 11 delivers yet again on this strong history.

 

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Oct 31

A Google Chrome Extension for Utilizing Kentico Cloud Content in the Browser

This past week I was able to attend the Kentico Roadshow conference in Chicago. I attended a few different sessions, but the morning session by [A]'s founder Cruce Saunders and afternoon session by Get Started's founder Marty Drill got me thinking quite a bit about Content Modeling and the beginning phases of a web project. This process is something that we do often at BizStream and it typically involves creating a set of wireframes that illustrate how content might look on a page or view.

In fact, the very first task I had to do back at the office the next day was to review a set of wireframes for a new project we are working on. And it dawned on me in that meeting, that wireframing could be thought of as another channel for content to be used. What if we could quickly grab the content from Kentico Cloud, since it existed already, and leverage it in these wireframes instead of Lorem Ipsum text. And thus, my idea was born to create a browser extension to easily grab content from Kentico Cloud and simply copy and paste it into our browser based wireframing tool.

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Sep 30

Kentico 10 Upgrade Quick Tip: Users, Contacts, Subscribers, Oh My!

By now most of you should know that Kentico 10 was released about 10 months ago. What you might not know is that as part of the 10.0 release, under the hood, Kentico re-engineered the major relationships between the CMS’s Users, Contacts, and Subscribers (newsletter recipients). The primary reason for this was to address and increase the scalability of the Kentico EMS platform. As a result of this work, Kentico 10 can now handle a shockingly high level of Contacts in the system (100 million according to best practices).

All of this awesomeness is the reason why I was a little bit shocked when my team and I were troubleshooting a problem with a Kentico EMS site that we had recently upgraded to Kentico 10.0. In the final stages of pushing the upgrade live, our client noticed that there seemed to be something amiss between Users and Contacts when a registered user updated their profile using the My Account functionality that comes with Kentico. The short of it was that when a user updated their email address, everything worked great, except for the fact that we were using Kentico EMS functionality to track anonymous and known website visitors and their web activity, and the user’s related contact record did not contain the correct updated value for the newly entered email address. It just didn’t feel correct.

Keep reading to find out what the cause of the issue was, and how to quickly resolve it.   

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Sep 02

I'm Speaking at Little Rock Tech Fest

I'm excited to announce that my next speaking gig will be at Little Rock Tech Fest 2017. Little Rock Tech Fest is an annual developer conference featuring popular web, mobile, database, devops and related developer topics from industry leaders. It is a fairly popular event in the Little Rock, AR area for both professional and aspiring software developers.

The event takes place on October 5th and 6th at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. My session this time will be "Build a Big Data .Net MVC App in 30 mins". I'm going to cover what it takes to build an ASP.NET based site that utilizes a few different APIs / microservices to show what Big Data can do.

I won't be there alone either, Bryan Soltis, Technical Evangelist at Kentico Software, will also be presenting. Bryan will be giving a session titled "Building Your Evil(?) Empire with Azure Functions". Kentico is also a top sponsor this year at LRTF. We will both be manning a sponsor booth, so come say hi! 

The full abstract of my session can be read after the jump.

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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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May 29

I'm Speaking at Chicago Coder Conference

The Chicago Coder Conference (CCC) is entering its fourth year of supporting and promoting the Chicagoland area’s technology community. The conference, which runs June 26th through June 27th 2017, boasts topics that include Agile, Architecture/Integration, Big Data, Cloud, DevOps, .Net, Java, Mobile, IoT, Robotics, Security, Tech Leadership and UX/Front End Dev and features over 100 sessions. This year I am pleased to announce that I will be presenting one of those sessions. 

I will be presenting my session "Search Bogging You Down? Move it to the Cloud!" on the first day of the event. The presentation is intended to introduce cloud based search technologies, such as Azure Search, and how developers can leverage such a microservice in their solutions. Keep reading after the jump to see my full session abstract.

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May 07

2017 Kentico Roadshow Roundup

I was lucky enough to attend both the Chicago and Boston editions of the 2017 Kentico Roadshow this past week. For those of you that might not have attended, or don't know too much about it, the event was hosted by the product management team at Kentico in various cities around the world. The main agenda consisted of Kentico communicating its vision for a dual rail strategy of continually developing and enhancing Kentico EMS as well as building new functionality into Kentico's new product, Kentico Cloud.

As usual with a Kentico event, there were two tracks throughout the day, one for the business / marketing focused attendees, and the other for technically inclined attendees. There were also a few deep dives into the Kentico Cloud technology, a performance optimization session on Kentico EMS, and case study presentations of websites that have been built with Kentico Cloud. Since I was able to attend two of the roadshows, I actually got to see pretty much every session that was available.  I was also honored that Kentico asked my team and I at BizStream to present our own case study of our first Kentico Cloud project, www.CaseStream.net.

Keep reading after the jump to hear my thoughts on some of the key takeaways from the event, and see the slides from my our presentation on our impressions of using Kentico Cloud to implement a content first strategy for building a website. 

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Apr 09

I'm Speaking at GLSEC 2017

Every year SoftwareGR puts on the Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference, known as GLSEC. The conference is dedicated to building and enhancing the software industry in the West Michigan region. The conference brings hundreds of software professionals and business leaders together for a day of learning and networking.

GLSEC 2017 takes place this year on May 22nd, 2017 in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. I have attended this conference multiple times, but am excited to announce that this will be the first time I will be speaking at the event.

GLSEC normally has a specific theme that the conference centers around. Last year it was around Mobile technology, and there were some great sessions held around Native, Responsive, and other soft skills growth. This year the theme is on "Big Data". The goal is to explore how organizations across a variety of industries are collecting and utilizing big data to drive organizational behaviors.

As a result of the theme, my session is titled "Build a Big Data .Net MVC App in 30 mins". Keep reading after the jump to see the full abstract of my talk.

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