Feb 10

I'm Speaking at Orlando Code Camp 2018

I'm happy to announce that I have been selected to speak at the 13th Annual Orlando Code Camp on March 17th, 2018 at Seminole State College. The code camp is a free, one day learning event for programming professionals and students with a focus on .NET and other related technologies. This year the Orlando Code Camp features 89 Speakers, 91 Sessions, and 13 Tracks on a diverse range of topics, and I am happy to be one of them.

My session for this conference, "Serverless Architecture Shootout", has me really excited. I get to do my favorite thing, which is debate the age old question of who does it better, Azure or AWS.  Keep reading after the jump to see the full details of how I will present on which platform reigns supreme.

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Jan 28

Why Kentico.Glimpse is a Must Have Tool for Kentico MVC Developers

Recently I was tasked with troubleshooting a problem with one of our Kentico MVC projects that we were working on. The issue was that, at a high load, the performance of the front end MVC live site was not scaling very well. This was an issue that I had not really seen before in our Kentico MVC projects because typically Kentico’s API caching system does a really great job at making sure sites are very high performing.

As long as you follow best practices for Kentico MVC development you are usually pretty good on the performance side, well, that is until a client loads a 5 MB image file on the home page, but alas, that is a different story for a different blog post.

The root issue seemed to be that the Time to first byte (TTFB) was relatively high in the first few tests and didn’t efficiently drop as much as we would like on the primed cache hits. This was a clue that it was something to do on the server-side rendering of the page, before the HTTP response was even being sent down to the browser. And with any asp.net database backed CMS, this usually points to something being up with the SQL database calls that it takes to render the page.

Keep reading to see how I used the fantastic Kentico.Glimpse debugging tool to solve where the slowness was on this Kentico MVC project.

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Dec 26

Kentico MVC Quick Tip - Fix Broken Insert Link Button

Last week, a developer that I work with here at BizStream came to me seeking some quick help on one of our Kentico MVC projects. When he showed me the issue, I was initially quite surprised because the thing that wasn't working, was inside of the Kentico admin interface. It had nothing to do with our custom code on the live site. The issue existed when editing content with WYSIWYG content fields, something that has always "just" worked in Kentico since the very first version. Specifically, the problem boiled down to creating links inside of the content field that targeted internal site pages using the Insert link button's dialog picker. 

The expected behavior of the Insert link button dialog would be to allow a content admin to navigate the Kentico content tree, find an internal page that the link should target, and with a simple click of the Save & Close button the CMS will generate a correct relative URL to the that page of the tree. Dead simple right?

Well in this case, no matter what page we chose in the picker on our Kentico MVC the dialog always generated the link with an href that was "~/" instead of the correct URL path to the content page. Crazy right?

Keep reading after the jump to see what was causing the issue and how to resolve it.

 

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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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