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Hey all! I've been needing to do some work on the blog here for awhile, and since it looks like I'm about to get very busy starting tomorrow I figured I better try and sneak it in tonight!

Comment Logo
I've had to chnage out the comment engine again.  This time to the new Facebook comment plugin.  I know this may be an unpopular move and I *really* liked Echo (the last comment engine we had), but the price had jumped from $12 a year to $120, and I couldn't relly justify that since I only had about 100 comments last year anyway.  I will miss the cool way it pulled in stuff from Twitter and Friendfeed automatically, but it seemed like the best discussions were either directly "on the site" (no social networks) or Facebook.

So anyway, try out the new comments widgets... it's just like facebook.  Cool thing is if you allow it to post through to facebook as well, then any comments your friends make on the post will also show up here on the blog (don't worry, it makes it clear whats happening when they reply).

Unfortunately, this also means that every post on The Kickboard now has 0 comments.  That kind of hurts, but since I've been so bad at posting over the last 6 months or so anyway, it doesn't hurt nearly as much as it might.  Please let me know if you notice something not working right!



CKS LogoSharePoint 2010 Logo
So for those of you following me on Twitter or Facebook, you might know that this blog is now running on SharePoint Foundation 2010 and the newly released Community Kit for SharePoint Extended Blog Edition Version 3.0.  It was rumored that this may work, but also a little bit cryptic in the release notes, only saying:

*Preliminary SharePoint 2010 Beta 3 compatible (with web.config edits)
 

No mention what these web.config edits may be however, and when I tried reaching out to some of the folks on the dev team I didn't actually get an answer, but I did hear from Matthew McDermot that it did indeed work, and so I decided to just give it a go and deal with the problems as they came up.  So here goes, but first, if you need to download the software, do so with the following links:

Now I had an existing site running in it's own web application (and it's own content database) on WSS 3.0 and CKS:EBE 2.0 (never upgraded production to 2.5).  So my first step was to get that upgraded to SPF2010.  Since I had it in it's own separate content DB this was pretty straight forward.  I just detached and reattached the DB in the SQL servers, created a new web application on SPF, and then ran the following STSADM command:

stsadm -o addcontentdb -url http://thekickboard.com -databasename WSS_Content_TKB -preserveolduserexperience false
 

A couple notes about this upgrade process:

  • You have to run that command from stsadm or powershell. The GUI doesn't support adding content databases that require upgrading.
  • You need to make sure if you are using all the default database settings (server, username, password, etc...) like I did above that you give the appropriate accounts access to your newly attached content DB
  • You can use other methods for doing this upgrade of course (in place, etc..) If you want to do the DB attach method but don't have the site in it's own content DB, you can do a site collection backup with stsadm, then restore it to a new web application (with it's own content DB).  Don't try restoring your backup directly to the SPF server though, that will fail since there's no "upgrader" in that process (that would have been a nice feature though). For more information on how to migrate to SharePoint 2010 see the TechNet Resource Center on the topic.
Next we need to install CKS:EBE 3.0 on the server. You might be thinking that would have been a good idea to do before, but I tried that and ran into some troubles. It probably doesn't matter, but I'm sure it works this way.  So anyway, on your server deploy the CKSEBE.wsp file.  Make sure that you activate both the web application scope feature as well as the web scope feature.  If you navigate to the site, you will notice some things working (like all your previous settings should have migrated over into the new CKS:EBE settings page in Site Settings), but a lot that isn't working, like your theme.
 

First of all, it's not necessarily your theme or the MTF that isn't working, but rather the HTTP module that does the URL redirection needs some attention.  This, I gather is the "with web.config edits" the note above was referring to.  So crack open web.config on the site and find the following line:

<add name="CksEbeModule" type="CKS.EBE.BlogHttpModule, CKS.EBE, Version=0.1.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=3e8b700c069fb747" />
 

You will find the above in the <httpModules> section.  Go ahead and CUT that line above (we'll be pasting it somewhere else in a minute).  Next find the section simply labeled <modules>.  In this section you will probably find 5 <remove> tags and 4 <add> tags.  Paste the "add" tag that you cut above so that it's after all the removes, but before the add's in the modules section.  Also, you need to add a preCondition="integratedMode" attribute to this element.  So, your whole <modules> section will look something like this (with your additions bolded below):

<modules runAllManagedModulesForAllRequests="true">

      <remove name="AnonymousIdentification" />
      <remove name="FileAuthorization" />
      <remove name="Profile" />
      <remove name="WebDAVModule" />
      <remove name="Session" />
      <add name="CksEbeModule" preCondition="integratedMode" type="CKS.EBE.BlogHttpModule, CKS.EBE, Version=0.1.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=3e8b700c069fb747" />
      <add name="SPRequestModule" preCondition="integratedMode" type="Microsoft.SharePoint.ApplicationRuntime.SPRequestModule, Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" />
      <add name="ScriptModule" preCondition="integratedMode" type="System.Web.Handlers.ScriptModule, System.Web.Extensions, Version=3.5.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" />
      <add name="SharePoint14Module" preCondition="integratedMode" />
      <add name="RSRedirectModule" type="Microsoft.ReportingServices.SharePoint.Soap.RSRedirectModule, RSSharePointSoapProxy, Version=10.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=89845dcd8080cc91" />
    </modules>​

[EDIT: 7/25/2010] I also discovered that for some things to work like the RSS feed and other items controlled by httpHandlers (like pingbacks if you are crazy enough to enable those) need to be moved from the <httpHandlers> section of web.config to the <handlers> section.  Just cut and copy them as you did above, it would also be good to give each element a name attribute as well. [/EDIT]

Ok, so now at this point you can hopefully pull up the EBE site and have the MTF working.  If not, then try going into the CKSEBE settings and change your default theme to DEFAULT (and make sure you have that one deployed).  This will eliminate any issues in your customized theme for a baseline.  Another gotcha (which got me) is that you need to make sure that you have all of your access mappings done correctly.  It seems like under SPF the BlogHttpModule is a lot more finicky that it was under WSS3. In my case I have my blog server being reverse proxied by an IIS 7.5 server, so it can get a little confusing with all the host headers flying around.

So now we are at a point that the OOB CKS themes should be working on SPF 2010. Yey! The next step is to get your theme working.  If you made any changes to the "content" pages, like home.aspx, post.aspx, categories.aspx, and month.aspx, then now is the time to go and make those again since when you activated the new CKS:EBE web feature it would have overwritten those that were upgraded from your old content DB.  For example, in mine, since I don't use webparts on my blog, I changed all of these pages to not inherit from webpart page since that does lots of crazy things like pushing down core.css and core/init.js which we don't need.  I also don't have a placeholder for blogcomments in my theme's masterpage since I use JS-KIT Echo.  If I didn't remove those from the content pages, then they would throw errors.

And finally, the one last thing that I had to tweak to get my blog working again was related to the tagcloud.xsl where it was rendering all of my tags tiny (w8 class).  After a little debugging it appeared that the PostCount variable was not getting set for each category that came back in the <EBE:CategoriesList> webcontrol.  A quick look in reflector showed me that this control has a property IncludePostCount.  It seems that in the past this defaulted to true and now it defaults to false.  Not a big deal, just make sure you set it to true in the <EBE:CategoriesList> webcontrol if you want those populated so that the TagCloud.xsl can do it's thing and calculate relative frequency styling.

I have a feeling I will find other little quirks along the way- which won't be a suprise since this version doesn't actually make claims that it is "SP2010 Ready" or anything.  I may start trying to take advantage of other SP2010 native functions over time, but for now if nothing else, I recommend this upgrade for the sole reason that the post editing interface is so much nicer!

If you want to read more about how this blog is put together and more about customizing the CKS:EBE (older 2.0 version), then look through the kickboard tag on this blog.


I recently did a presentation at the Indianapolis SharePoint Developers group, nSpin (a SIG of the IndyNDA) on how to use the Community Kit for SharePoint Extended Blog Edition (CKS:EBE) to customize your blog running on top of SharePoint.
 
Due to other environmental factors outside of our control, we ended up having to compress the 85 minute presentation into 30 minutes.  There were also quite a few people that couldn't make it and were asking me for slides.  Well, I'm not really a slide kind of guy-- this particular presentation was about 33% Animated MindMap and 66% demos.  So anyway, I decided to record it over the weekend as a screencast for everyone!
 
Hope you enjoy it, it is split into two parts below (sorry Viddler had trouble encoding it as a single file).  Please let me know if I got anything wrong- I'm always looking to improve.  If anyone out there is wanting a live version of this presentation (speaking engagement) or any others for that matter, now or in the future, please keep me in mind and drop me a line.
 

PART 1
Customizing CKS:EBE Part 1 Video

PART 2
Customizing CKS:EBE Part 2 Video


Well as some of you may notice, I've replaced the blog comment system here on The Kick Board (which had been using a standard SP-Based List) with JS-Kit Echo (the free version at present). So far it seems to be working pretty well although I did have to play around with the order I'm loading and running scripts, but this is more just an issue with my crazy design than any other JS components.
 
Why?
 
Why did I do this? Well, there are a couple of reasons, the primary one is that I was tired of dealing with spam. Even though I was using Akismet with the CKS:EBE, it seemed that the spammers had found lots of ways around that. I considered going to an "authenticated only" comment system, but obviously to be effective I couldn't just make people sign up for my blog- so I would have had to use a third party identity provider. I actually got an open facebook widget working in sharepoint, but I wasn't really sure that many visitors to my website would bother auth'ing to FB just to leave a comment. For now I'm going to leave anonymous comments on for Echo and see how it goes, but if things get spammy, then I'll just require authentication-- luckily Echo supports auth'ing to 5 or 6 different open systems.
 
The secondary reason I really wanted to try Echo out is that it supports a lot of real-time social network connectivity (for example, it can show tweets about your post). This does require an upgrade to the paid version of the control (it's only $12/year), so as soon as I get the free version stable and working consistently then I'll do this. Really I'm using this as a proof of concept platform for an idea I have related to bringing social media content into the SharePoint collaboration space.
 
For more information about JS-Kit Echo go check out their site at http://js-kit.com and please give it a whirl here and leave me some comments so I can shake all the integration bugs out. Thanks!
 
[update 8/17 11:00PM]
Ok, I just couldn't resist... so I sprang for the Echo Live upgrade so I could test the social aggregation features.  Also I decided that I'm not going to try and port any of my old comments in-- sorry to everyone that commented here in the past, but I just don't know how I'd do it.


Hey everyone!  Thanks for visiting my newly re-launched blog now named "The Kick Board".  In addition to the new styling, I'm planning on a whole new set of content that I think a wider audience will enjoy, and hopefully more engaging as well (feed me comments please).
 

Buy This
(picture originally by Kathy Sierra on her blog)

Please note that this blog was originally an internal blog (at Ambassador Solutions) that has now been made public.  Therefore I had to strip out many of the non-appropriate posts from the past as well as removing all comments.
 
While I'm still shaking out the publishing process for pod- and vodCasts, I will also be "mirror-posting" some of the best audio and video I find on the internet-- much of which in the past I would just email links to folks...  It's not that I'm looking to "steal" content and I realize most of you could easily find them yourself on their original locations, but think of this as a pre-Kevin-filtered best-of-the-web one-stop-shop for your multimedia pleasures (or something like that).
 
DevLife Video
 
Finally, the design of this website is intended to be a dynamic view of my whiteboard (duh).  As such, I'll probably be posting much more whiteboard friendly posts in the future (ie. not a ton of text, but many more sketches and stuff).  To be sensitive to those pulling an RSS feed, I'll not go overboard and try to keep the text content as TEXT.  The blog engine I'm using is a pretty customized version of SharePoint with the CKS:EBE extensions... the Pingback/Linkback/Trackback functionality is still in need of testing, so please give those a go!  Lastly, the "bookmark" functionality (digg, stumbleupon, etc...) could use some shakedown too :)
 
I'm really excited to start getting some more content up here, but I would very much appreciate feedback in the form of comments to let me know what you think, and what you're interested in hearing about from me.  If you want to know more about me personally, click my picture taped to the board.  (and to get to the homepage, click the picture of the green house in the upper right corner).

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