BlogEngine.NET Theme Contest

October 19, 2011 at 5:17 AMBen

If you haven't heard yet about the BE.NET theme contest, it started a couple of weeks ago, and continues on for about 1 more month -- until November 15th.

The 1st BlogEngine.NET Theme Contest!!.aspx

If you know your way a bit around HTML/CSS and BE.NET themes, submit a theme, and you'll be contributing to the growing collection of BE.NET themes, and a chance to win one of the prizes.

So far there hasn't been too many submissions, so winning a prize is easier odds than a lot of other contests out there.

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BlogEngine.NET 2.0 RC - Available now!

November 24, 2010 at 12:36 AMBen

On Tuesday, a release candidate for BlogEngine.NET 2.0 was published.  Many nice features were added, with lots of great contributions from the community.  Switching to Mercurial for source code management made it very easy for people to create their own forks and for us to merge their code in.

Here's the official RC announcement that contains some additional details, including a short 5 minute video demo'ing the redesigned control panel.

If you're already using BlogEngine, I think you'll really like the improvements.  These upgrade instructions will come in handy.  If you're not using BlogEngine, what are you waiting for?!  Stop copying your friends, throw away WordPress and get BlogEngine! :)

I expect we will get some good feedback on issues people run into while using the RC.  During my own testing, it's actually working very good even now.  Depending on how well the RC goes, the final RTW version may be out in December.

If you download it and find any issues, the best place to report those are in the Issue Tracker.

Give it a try and have fun with it!

Download BlogEngine.NET 2.0 Release Candidate

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BlogEngine 1.6 – Released!

February 1, 2010 at 7:50 PMBen

Today BlogEngine.NET 1.6 is available to everyone as announced here.

The two big features are a new Comment Management area to view, edit and delete comments across all posts.  This also includes a new automated comment moderation system.  Just like how you can build custom Extensions, custom filters can be built and plugged into the event system when a new comment is posted.  BE.NET 1.6 ships with two custom filters – a filter for Akismet filter and one for  It’s quite slick.

The other notable feature is Multiple Widget Zones.  This has actually been in the code base for several months now.  I blogged about Multiple Widget Zones back in April.

If you’re upgrading from BE.NET 1.5, there are a couple of changes to be aware of, including one change you must make related to the ExtensionManager sub-folder in the App_Code folder.  Simple upgrade instructions are available here in the documentation.

A more complete list of features and changes in BE.NET 1.6 can be found here.  It’s definitely a worthwhile upgrade I recommend going to.

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BlogEngine.NET 1.5 Ships!

April 13, 2009 at 8:59 PMBen

BlogEngine.NET 1.5 Ships! The next version of BlogEngine.NET has been released and is available for download.  This new version features several new upgrades including support for IIS7, a much newer version of the tinyMce WYSIWYG editor, support for WLW 2009, compiled extension support, and nested comments to name a few.

Arguably even more important for BE.NET users since the last release is the growing number of available themes, widgets and extensions for BlogEngine.  A few noteworthy places to get themes is from this site that has aggregated themes from several locations (live previews available), from another theme aggregator with live previews, or directly from onesoft who has adapted several themes for BE.NET.

The documentation has also been updated and moved with this release.  The new location is now at CodePlex.

If you're already using BE.NET, upgrading should be pretty painless -- especially if you haven't done too many customizations to files outside your theme.  If you're looking to start blogging, BlogEngine.NET is a great blogging platform to go with.  It runs right out of the box, and since it's open source, you can optionally customize any part of it.

BlogEngine.NET 1.5 can be downloaded here.

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View Source improvements in IE8

March 27, 2009 at 10:38 PMBen

Compared to Firefox and Chrome, IE has always had a very plain rendering when viewing the source of an HTML page.  The source just shows up as plain text in Notepad.  HTML is of course just plain text, but Firefox and Chrome add coloring for matching HTML tags which makes looking at the source a little more pleasant.

IE8 now does what these others browsers have been doing.  The HTML source no longer is displayed in Notepad, but in an IE source viewing pop-up window.  This IE source viewer now does tag coloring and even includes line numbers.  This is a nice little improvement.

IE8 Source Viewer

I did notice one other interesting feature when doing a View Source in IE8.  On the File menu of the source viewer, if you select 'Save', you have a choice to save the HTML Source (nothing special here) or save the 'Formatted HTML View' (screenshot below).  This "save formatted HTML view" will create an HTML file of how IE8's source viewer is displaying the source -- including the tag coloring.  You can then open up that saved HTML file in any browser to have the source display exactly as it does in IE8's source viewer.

IE8 Source Viewer - Save as Formatted HTML View

The file size of the "formatted html view" is considerably larger than the size of the plain HTML source without the formatting.  For instance, for a particular 45 KB HTML page I tried this in, the formatted html view file is 452 KB.

I'm guessing the new color tags and syntax highlighting in the new source viewer was done via HTML markup.  So it probably wasn't a big deal for the IE team to just include this new save as 'Formatted HTML View' option -- since the formatted HTML source was already there.  In any event, it's nice it's there for whenever the need of the formatted html source could be used.

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The Ctrl-Z of Browsers

February 21, 2009 at 9:04 PMBen

In today's tabbed browsing world, maybe you find yourself opening and closing tabs left and right.  If you're into the keyboard shortcuts, that would be Ctrl-T and Ctrl-W respectively   What if you accidentally close a tab?  This happens to me most often when either I thought I was done with the website I was on, or I thought the tab I was on was a new tab with nothing to go 'back' to.

Fortunately, the good browsers out there offer a Ctrl-Shift-T keyboard command to open up the last tab you closed.  I like to think of it as the "ctrl-z of browsers".  This keyboard command is very handy because you can actually keep pressing Ctrl-Shift-T to open up all the tabs you previously closed.  Each tab you re-open not only opens up with the page you were on when the tab was closed, but the browser history for that tab is also preserved.  So once you re-open a closed tab, the entire 'Back' button browser history is there.

Ctrl-Shift-T works in Firefox and Chrome.  It doesn't appear to work in Safari/Windows and doesn't work in IE7.  That's what I meant by this keyboard shortcut working in 'good' browsers   It does appear to work in IE8.

Since discovering this keyboard command it's something I use probably at least once a day.  Sometimes many times a day!

SSL Certificate for WWW and no WWW

February 1, 2009 at 12:14 PMBen

I was recently buying a SSL certificate and remembered being on a website where some HTTPS pages had a WWW host in the url and other HTTPS pages didn't have the WWW prefix.  I vaguely remember from when I last bought a SSL certificate, you would normally indicate the host name you are buying the SSL certificate for -- whether it be,,  And the SSL certificate would only be valid for that exact host.

There's also wildcard SSL certificates that cover all hosts.  These certificates are a lot more expensive.  Wildcard certs cover,,  Interestingly, it appears SSL certificates do not necessarily cover cases where you have no host -- i.e.   An example of this is the customer login page at the hosting company where I have this blog hosted.  If you examine the certificate, it looks like it uses a wildcard certificate as the common name is *  However, if you remove the WWW from the url, my browser (Firefox) warns of an invalid security certificate.  What a sour deal ... you spend the extra money for a wildcard certificate and it doesn't even work when there's no host name!  I'd suspect that may not be the case with all wildcard certificates ... it probably depends on who you buy the certificate from.

In my case, I didn't need a wildcard security certificate, but I was hoping I could cover both and  One option would be to buy two separate SSL certs, one for and one for  Fortunately a few SSL certificate sellers cover both WWW and no host in a single certificate as a standard feature.  GoDaddy was one of the two places I found that offered this.  I didn't search around that much though.  GoDaddy's SSL certificate is dirt cheap at just $30.  What a great deal considering how expensive SSL certs once were.

GoDaddy briefly explains this feature in this help topic.  What I wasn't sure about was when creating the CSR that you submit to the SSL certificate seller, I wasn't sure if I should put or for the common name (CN) field in the CSR.  The website I had previously seen where HTTPS worked with and without WWW was using a GoDaddy SSL cert and the common name on the cert was just without the WWW.  And then I ran across this post where the blogger discussed this feature of the GoDaddy SSL certificates, and towards the end of his post, he says,

Therefore, to summarize the solutions, I can say that you can use a wildcard certificate or issue two separate certificates that both cost money and may not be a good option for many cases. You can also look for a SSL certificate issuer that automatically includes the base domain name when you generate one for the domain name with "WWW."

This last part sounds like you would generate a SSL certificate with as the common name -- not  But, when I examined his SSL certificate, the common name doesn't have the WWW!  Anyhow, I decided to include WWW in my common name field, sent the CSR to GoDaddy, received the certificate, installed it, and the good news is my site works both with and without the WWW.  Looking at the certificate fields when examining these SSL certificates from GoDaddy, of the ones I've seen, they all have a field named "Certificate Subject Alt Name" where the field value is:

Not Critical
DNS Name:
DNS Name:

This may be the field that tells the browser the certificate is valid with or without the WWW.  In summary, it appears you can probably put either or in the common name (CN) field of the CSR when purchasing the SSL certificate from GoDaddy.  I included the WWW in my common name, and the certificate is valid with and without the WWW host.

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Would Like to Switch to Chrome, but ...

December 26, 2008 at 12:05 PMBen

I spent a couple of days using Chrome as my primary browser.  Chrome came out of beta on December 11th, and its version number is already over 1.0.  There's a number of nice things I like about Chrome, but for now, I've switched back to Firefox.

There's two big things I like about Chrome.  I like how each tab runs as in its own isolated process within Windows.  I leave my browser open all day, usually with Gmail open in one tab at a minimum.  Not all the memory from closed tabs in Firefox seems to get reclaimed and firefox.exe usually shows up using around 150 KB of memory mid-day even if only Gmail is open at that time.  Firefox 3 is supposed to be a lot better than Firefox 2 for preventing memory leaks, and I'm sure it is.  150 KB of memory is not a big deal, either.  But the Chrome architecture of running each tab as its own process has the big advantage of basically guaranteeing all memory used for a tab will be completely reclaimed once that tab is closed.

The other big item I like about Chrome is how you can easily drag a tab out of the Chrome window into a new Chrome window.  Especially if you have multiple monitors, this is a really great feature when you want to see two or more tabs at the same time.  I was breaking the tabs out into separate windows when composing an email in a web interface or when typing messages on forums / blogs.  I could compose my messages while seeing other information I'm referencing in the other Chrome window at the same time very easily.  After I was done composing, I would drag the tab back into the main Chrome window.

I'm back to Firefox now as a primary browser because of some features not yet available in Chrome.  The big one being Firebug.  I didn't realize how often I right-click on an element to inspect it in Firebug, check the Net tab, etc.  I also like how when you change the text size in Firefox (i.e. zooming text), how Firefox remembers the size you last had when coming back to a website.  In Chrome, you have to adjust the text size again every time you go back to a website.  Also, URLs in the status bar when you hover your mouse over a link are often truncated because the space Chrome allocates to show the URL in the statusbar seems to be a fixed width.  There's actually a lot of extra room to show the entire URL, and I hope this gets resolved soon.

So for now, Chrome is not yet ready for prime time (for me).  Google is of course working on lots of improvements for Chrome.  This includes adding an extensions framework so people can start developing extensions for Chrome.  I haven't heard of any type of Firebug for Chrome initiative, but for me, something like this would add mega value to Chrome.  I plan on sticking with Firefox which has treated me well, but checking back on Chrome every once in a while.

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Folders vs. Tags

December 19, 2008 at 6:05 PMBen

I still see web-based and desktop-based email applications which only support folders to file email away into.  I'm a Gmail user and have the luxury of using tags to organize emails.  Tags are actually known as labels in Gmail.  But whatever the name, tags are in my mind, unquestionably superior to folders.

I don't remember talking to anyone who said they do not find the tag system better than the folder system.  And even if a person felt more comfortable associating an email with only one identifier, a single tag can be put on an email as multiple tags are of course not mandatory.  Given the benefits of tags over folders, I can't see why any company developing an email application would not want to replace the old, inflexible folder system with a tagging system.

Folders and tags are not limited to just the email world.  They exist for bookmarking urls too.  Tags were introduced in Firefox 3 which now supports both folders and tags.  I don't regularly use other browsers, but taking a glance through IE7, Safari and Chrome, it appears FF3 is the only browser among these that supports tagging bookmarks.  FF3, Safari and Chrome also have search capability to find bookmarks.  This may seem like a given, but I don't see any bookmark searching capability in IE7.  FF3 also introduced a very cool concept of saving the criteria used in a bookmark search as a "virtual bookmark folder" so you can later click on the virtual bookmark folder to see real-time bookmark matches satisfying the saved criteria.

I use multiple tags for my bookmarks too.  I've actually been using Google Bookmarks since before FF3 was released, so I've unfortunately never spent any significant time using FF3's bookmark tagging.  The big advantage of Google Bookmarks being that I can access all of my bookmarks on any computer since my bookmarks are stored on Google's servers.  I just need to log into my Google account to access these bookmarks.  Google makes it easy to bookmark a page too with a bookmarklet they provide and I keep in my Firefox bookmarks menu.  So bookmarking a site into Google Bookmarks requires just as little work as it would be to bookmark a site into Firefox.

Whether it be emails or bookmarks, tagging has proved to be really helpful when looking for stuff later.  There's probably lots of areas other than email and bookmarks where tagging would be useful as well.  If you're stuck with the restricting folder system for emails or bookmarks, I'd suggest requesting your provider to upgrade their app to a tagging system or, if possible, move to a provider that supports tagging.

It's Alive!

September 20, 2008 at 9:28 PMBen

This is the first blog post on Ben's Quarters.  If you search for a post prior to this one, you simply won't find one!

I'm excited to finally put a blog on the web.  I can't tell you how many times I've had some code sample, problem, idea, rant or thought to share, but didn't have anywhere to post!  Well, those days are now over.  Although I don't anticipate very frequent posting, I do hope to post on a consistent basis.

If you don't know me, don't fret -- I put together an "About Me" page (see link on left side).

The focus of posts on Ben's Quarters will be programming and software development related.  This is a large field.  My software development career has revolved around Microsoft technologies -- .NET, Visual Studio, SQL Server, etc.

I finally got a chance to work with jQuery a couple of weeks back.  I'm honestly not crazy about these types of libraries and have actually never used a JS library prior to jQuery.  There was definitely a learning curve and I wouldn't say that I can't live without it.  It seems like most JavaScript I need is not a big deal to just create straight without any libraries.  I see the biggest benefit of using a library such as jQuery is the cross browser support it gives you.  But again, the JavaScript I usually create without jQuery for validating input and manipulating some elements on the page already seems to run fine in the browers I test against.  I still don't mind incorporating jQuery into some web projects I work on, but don't feel like I need to.

I actually have a short jQuery related post I'll get up shortly.  It'll be post #2 Wink

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