Nov 26

November 2016 the Best Kentico Month Ever?

I've been working with Kentico for quite a long time now, and I'm hard pressed to remember a more important and/or exciting month than this November for Kentico. Trust me, this isn't just the leftover turkey / high level of tryptophan in my system talking. Normally around this time of year, there would be a new major release of Kentico, and the usual enhanced features of Kentico EMS to be excited about. That would be expected item to discuss here at my blog. However, I really feel that Kentico has out done themselves this time around.  

Keep reading after the jump to find out why I feel November 2016 just may be the best month ever for Kentico.

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Oct 04

4 Expectations I Have for Kentico's New 404 Conference

In case you haven't heard, there is no Kentico Connection conference this year. 2016 will be the first time that Kentico does not throw global events in multiple regions around the world to talk about everything Kentico related. Instead Kentico has decided to push its comfort limits by taking a bit of an out of the box approach to its annual conference. This will be the first year for a new conference dubbed, 404.

The goal of this new event is to open some eyes to the human factor of web development and digital marketing and show attendees what happens when a project fails, highlight crucial mistakes of those failures, and turn the lessons learned into valuable shared experience for all. It will be the only event of the year for Kentico, but the key takeaway is that this event is different than past Connection conferences. 404 will focus on general web development and digital marketing (in two main tracks). The 404 conference is slated to be thrown in Las Vegas, at The Mirage, on November 2nd - 4th.

Keep reading to find out my expectations for what the 404 conference has to offer.

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Sep 26

Generate Realistic Test Data in Kentico

Recently I wanted to play around with some user specific scenarios in my Kentico instance for a presentation that I was working on. To do that I needed a Kentico 9 instance with a lot of various users, user settings, and role associations already setup. After firing up a few instances of Visual Studio and running locally, I realized that I didn't have any good sandboxes to play in. So I bit the bullet, and started down the path of automating the creation of a few hundred users.

I figured that there was no way it would take more than just a few minutes to do this task. It’s just creating a few users in Kentico which is like 4 or 5 lines of code in a for loop, right? As it turns out, there is a good way to do this, and then an even better way to do it using some freely available NuGet packages.

Keep reading after the jump to see some sample code that will make generating realistic test data in Kentico a breeze.

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Sep 10

I'm Speaking at Digital Summit Detroit 2016

Digital Summit Detroit features over 40+ sessions and 50+ speakers on the latest digital trends & best practices from industry educators. The two day event is happening October 11th and 12th at the Cobo Center in Detroit Michigan.

Digital Summit gives digital professionals an opportunity to learn directly from the world’s digital industry experts on topics that include Marketing, UX & Design, Search, Content, Mobile, and more. Digital Summit Detroit is part of the Digital Summit series that runs in multiple locations across the country including, Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Raleigh, and Washington DC.

I am happy to be representing BizStream and Kentico at the event as a speaker. This time I will be talking about Reducing Churn via Predictive Analytics. BizStream and Kentico are once again sponsoring the event so If you are attending don’t forget to stop by the BizStream / Kentico booth. We have some fun planned for the booth that I can’t give away yet.  If you haven’t registered and are interested in attending make sure you take advantage of the $50 off registration promo code that we have made available.

Keep reading to see my entire session abstract. Make sure you follow along at the hashtag #DSDET16 as well.

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Aug 14

How To Search by PO Number in Kentico E-Commerce

One of the primary strengths of the Kentico e-commerce platform is that it can be customized with relative ease. Honestly, this one of the main reasons that my team and I decided to go with Kentico in the first place. The Kentico API and provider object model is top notch, and it can be extended to do just about anything. This is especially true in the e-commerce pillar of the all-in-one solution. Do you need to integrate your Kentico e-commerce site with an ERP system, roll your own custom payment gateway implementation, or sync up with a shipping carrier's API? Have no fear, all of these tasks are totally accomplishable in Kentico.

With that being said, one of the most common requests that we get at BizStream when building a custom e-commerce site in Kentico is the ability for B2B users to make purchases via the use of a Purchase Order Number (PO Number) instead of a standard credit card payment method. That's one feature that isn't totally 100% out of the box when you have a custom checkout process. Again this task is not a tough issue, and there are many helpful links to get you started in this area if you need to.

Funny enough, we are actually currently working on a project that has this requirement in Kentico 9 (yes this is actually a Kentico MVC site too). And after demoing the working functionality to the client, we received a question of how to then look up orders in the administrative interface by a PO Number. And that is something that I didn't have an immediate answer for. After doing some quick research, it turns out that this customization is not that hard to do.

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Jul 28

Revenge of the JavaScript Web Part

According to a recent report, JavaScript is used by 93.6% of all websites. To say that's a large amount is a gigantic understatement. Considering the fact that there are over 1 billion websites in the world, that means there has to be at least 100 million different ways JavaScript is used today (it sure feels like it somedays anyway). Even though many developers strive to use the latest patterns, best practices, and modular implementations, the fact is, we all do our client side scripting a little differently. This trend continues into how we use JavaScript in Kentico CMS web development. There are many different ways to handle it in Kentico, and every site seems to have it done just a little bit differently from the next.

There are great articles out there, from some very smart people, on how to best utilize scripts in Kentico. So I'm not going to cover those scenarios in today's blog post. Instead I am going to focus on a real world scenario that I have dubbed "The Revenge of the JavaScript Web part". Basically it boils down to a Kentico quick tip on one very sneaky gotcha, when dealing with the built-in JavaScript Web Part in Kentico. Keep reading to make sure that you are not bit by the same hard learned lesson that my team and I recently went through.

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Jul 21

Kentico Rocks Podcast Episode 17

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, Brian McKeiver and Bryan Soltis review the state of using ASP.NET MVC in Kentico 9. The discussion includes why MVC matters for Kentico developers and Kentico partners, some tips and real world experience with using MVC in Kentico, and use cases for where MVC makes sense over the venerable Kentico portal engine. Listen on to find out if you should be using MVC in your own Kentico website development process.

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Jul 02

Kentico Ask the Experts 2016 #2 Recap

A few of my fellow Kentico MVPs and I fielded questions and answers this past week in the latest edition of the Kentico Ask the Experts live webinar series. For those of you that missed it, you can watch the recorded version below via YouTube (there is a larger version after the jump too). There were some great questions around Kentico optimization, solution architecture, and best practices. Enjoy.

 

 

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Jun 30

How Search For Kentico Works

In the second quarter of 2016 BizStream launched Compare for Kentico, part of the BizStream Toolkit, a suite of add-ons for Kentico developers. Today I'm proud to review the second tool of the toolkit, Search for Kentico.

The goal for Search for Kentico is to be able to easily search across every object in your Kentico instance. If you search for a term like "console.log", our tool will look through every peice of code you have in your website, on the filesystem, as well as every database object that Kentico knows about (and doesn't know about) and return you intelligent results. 

This is a very useful feature in case you want to check for debug statements, look out for dev URLs in content or email templates, or rename a column or SQL View name in the database. Now instead of waiting for some dependant object to possibly error, you can move on with confidence that your rename worked. Keep reading after the jump to find out how this free tool works.

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Jun 09

How the Internet of Things is Changing Our Work

I recently wrote an article that was published via the Grand Rapids Business Journal on how the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we work at BizStream. I was pretty honored to be asked to submit an article for their technology blog. The summary is below and you read the full article via the provided link after the jump.

At BizStream, we use many different internet-connected devices. “Things” like NEST (thermostats), Dropcams (automated cameras), Amazon Echo (voice search), etc. These devices help manage our facility.

We've automated the building’s climate control, lighting, and security settings with these IoT tools. But with the addition of Amazon Echo, Cortana in Windows 10, and Slack with its bots, we are starting to use IoT not just for physical automation, but to now answer questions and do simple tasks in our everyday work.

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