Bringing .Text v.96 further

Almost one year ago I upgraded my .Text blog to .96. I blogged about it several times, my last post was about adding the rel=”nofollow” attribute to links in comments.

Since then I’ve got several requests how to get the .96 sources and upgrade. One of them was Dave Burke. Yesterday he published the entire upgrade process. (Thanks, Dave, now I can forward all request to you ;-) ) BTW, he has done awesome improvements to .Text.

Today, I’ve got another request by Dennis van der Stelt. First, we talked about how I could provide him with my code base. But then I’ve got another idea. But first some points which lead me to it.

  • Since last summer Scott, the creator of .Text, works for Telligent, and now .Text is bundled with nGallery and ASP.NET Forums in Community Server. They are working on version 1, currently beta 3 is published. I haven’t tried CS yet, but I’m not sure whether I like it. I only want a simple blog engine, not a full bloated server.
  • There are many lone warriors like Dave, Bob Roudebush, Chrissy LeMaire, or Dan Bartel, who have done minor or major tweaks to .Text, such as a solution against comment spam or a webcam panel.
  • I don’t know, how these others handle their .Text engine, but whenever I see an interesting improvement I try to adopt it in my code base. Currently, I’m incorporating Chrissy’s anti-spam solution into my blog. I’m a developer and I love to code. But I believe there are other bloggers who would like to use all these .Text improvements (at least a newer version of FreeTextBox like Dan did), but either don’t want to mess with the code, or just don’t know what sources are ;-)

Therefore, I thought about bringing the knowledge and dev power together. We could build and publish a new .Text release, .97 or whatever. I hope Scott or some others don’t feel offended, because that’s not my intention. As I said, I haven’t tried CS yet, so I don’t know neither how much of .Text is left in CS, what features are already implemented, and how difficult it is to incorporate mentioned “tweaks” into it.

So what do you think about it?

But maybe I’m completely on the wrong track, and Community Server it better than I fear ;-)

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Comments

Dave Burke

Gosh, lots to think about in this topic. I wanted to mention first, however, that the excellent work you’ve been doing with .text motivates guys like me to keep hacking away.

For me, .text modification is more about the process of coding within ScottW’s .text architecture than it is just building cool blog features for their own sake. As a minor point of clarification, I don’t think I ever specifically asked for any one’s source mods. They’re wonderful to study and glean good stuff from, but I like to get in there myself and get deep, deep, deep (aka Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Copy) into .text and Scott’s Code Brain. (That said, I definitely want to check out DonXML’s trackback/pingback mods at http://donxml.com/allthingstechie/archive/2005/01/25/1749.aspx!)

I also want to plug Jason Alexander’s nGallery application as a great learning vehicle and all-around great app! At my blog I integrated DotNetNuke, nGallery, and .Text for basic authentication and with common CSS styleguides across the apps, and I definitely want to continue to maintain all three in my site approach. So even though I totally agree with your sentiments on a big ol’ Community Server app (how many guys need a forum module, anyway?), there is more coding I want to do in integrating DNN and nGallery into my .text experience. Top of the list is a component in admin\EditPosts.cs to generate a row of images from selected nGallery pics when posting a blog. It would automatically generate the HTML and would appear on the blog like in my iPod and Dog series posts: http://dbvt.com/blog/series/19.aspx What motivates me to build that component would be, yes, to save time when inserting images, but also to give me the opportunity to work with Jason’s Code Brain, which, like Scott’s, is pretty darn big.

Guess I’m a loner that likes the virtual companionship of developers who are better than me. Man, the work day’s getting away from me. I better get back to some of that loner coding action!

I’ll definitely be tracking this topic. Thanks for posting and getting the discussion started.

Dave Burke

I think your goal to extend .text features for non-coders to use is very commendable. For good or bad, (and this is no knock on my friend and fellow Jason and the Argonauts appreciator, Gary) I never once considered non-coders as beneficiaries of the .text coding I’m doing. Guys like you and Dennis are more altruistic than I am, I guess.

I think Dan Bartels described the developer’s position very clearly, as you did in your follow-up post, regarding the benefits of working with Open Source .text and the difficulties in sharing those changes with others.

A .Text Mod library or repository (or whatever) on the surface sounds reasonable, but after a second look its quite unworkable. Dan touched on this point. A modification to, say, support podcasting (not a good example, since its a lesser-extensive mod) can extend across .text projects, biz objects, database, etc which makes tracking those changes/additions, documenting and packaging them for sharing a time-consuming task for the developer. .Text mods are rarely if ever plug-n-play as you know.

I am proposing we embrace the virtual .Text mod library which already extends across the blogosphere in the form of a .Text Developers Mod Circle, where we who are doing .text mods can communicate with one another, build relationships with one another, get ideas and possibly bits of source to enhance our own work.

I personally want to put more mod packages online, but I want to know whose accessing them for the relationship factor–as corny as that might sound. I also want to collect basic stats on how many times a .text mod package is downloaded. Just because.

I’m giving a presentation on Customizing .Text at the upcoming Code Camp III in Waltham, MA in March, and as a working code sample I plan on providing a package for supporting podcasting, only because that’s such a popular feature at the moment. I’ll see how that goes. I should have a simple mod package download component online before the conference to record basic stats and possibly some mod packages online by then, too. But then again, if putting the packages together takes too much time away from .text coding I doubt I’ll be doing too much package building.

Oh Hell, I don’t write POSTS this long! Signing off…

Jeremy

If the link is dead, doesn’t that suggest there is no license at this point?

I think .Text was a great start for a blogging engine but it is by far not perfect. Scott probably realized this and is why he’s working on CS.

Personally I can’t mod my blog because it’s hosted elsewhere. The customization options in .Text simply just aren’t there compared to other CMS systems (when you get down to it a blog is a stripped CMS). So either .Text needs to be expanded or something else needs to come in to fill the plugin/skin void. We all want to personalize what we use but I can’t do that at all right now. I’d love to introduce some SQL triggers and possibly fix up what’s broken in our version but I just don’t have that access.

Hopefully Scott has little of .Text in CS::Blogs so he could be able to simply “let go” of .Text for the public at large. The only problem would be it would directly rival CS::Blogs so I don’t think his employer would like that too much especially if they paid him money for the technology. Those of us who care may be left with developing a .Text clone to keep the hope alive. Personally I don’t think I could choose anything other than .Text. It’s good enough, though not perfect, for everything I need in a blogging engine today. Tomorrow? Who knows but it’s all I need right now.

Thomas Freudenberg

Dave, thanks for your public comment ;-)

Dont’t get me wrong, guys. I don’t intend to start a new blog software right now. .Text is an awesome piece of work, and I’m really thankful to ScottW. Like Dave, I love to dive into Scott’s code and learn from the architecture.

Well, it’s just that many of you have made great additions to .Text, and others, who are not developers, want to integrate these into their own setups. It’s cool that Don has published his additions as sources, but not everyone is able to integrate them to their server. Just look at Gary’s comment above.

Dan Bartels

I too find it very educational and useful to see other, sometimes better, approaches to coding styles and challenges… My open source experience has made me a much better coder. The reason I blog, is to give back to that community, as well as to organize my thoughts (kind of like an engineering logbook). I chose .Text because I didn’t want to take the time to make my own blog engine from scratch, and it came with the source, so when I wanted to make a change, I was only limited by my own time, energy and knowledge. It is an added bonus that there are other developers out there using the same blog structure out there, but really once you start to customize there is nothing too easy about sharing code. What has really kept me from going hard core into mods, is the promise of community server… I am looking to be able to better monitor my site, add things like ATOM, Podcasting, Inline Content editing, Maybe even a browser plugin for a “Blog about this on my site” button. I also think that .Text could be stripped down into a couple of modules for DNN, there has been a lot of talk about this, but I have not seen any results as of yet.. I too just run the systems in parallel with an identical skin. Of course I am also a bit busy, and don’t have time to make my changes work in everyone else’s environment or special case, which has been my most difficult challenge to date (to try to give back as much as I take =)…

Dan

Gary Twose

Hi Thomas

Great post. I completely agree with you on every point. There are some fantastic modifications out there for .Text but many of them require a rebuild of the source and I’m no coder, so there are hard if not impossible to implement. I would love to upgrade my version of .Text to 0.96 but its look like its out of my hands - even with Dave Burke’s instructions. In fact without Bob Roudebush MyBookShelf and MyCDPlayer add-ons my site would look a little too thin. For this reason I’m getting back into C# in a big way and taking my very first steps in looking at the .Text source and trying to figure out how I can implement the new features that I want. However I’m keeping a really close eye on CS:Blogs to see what direction that takes grin and whether it will be right for me.

Kind Regards

Gary

Ryan A. Rinaldi

Wow.

I had the exact same idea. I just implemented a whole bunch of spam blocking to my site, but all of it was through modules or httphandlers so I wouldn’t have to touch the code base. The site works, as-is, but I figured I would go out, get the latest source and start bringing it up to speed.

Like you, I really don’t think CS will be for me. There is little interest from the other bloggers on my site for the forums and gallery.

My current plan is to add some spam blocking to the.96 codebase and then start to add some of the features that other blogging engines have. (Easy skin creation, geocoding, etc.)

If you are interested in starting up a small, distributed dev team let me know.

Dan Bartels

Any idea on the licensing for .96… I thought Scott retained all rights, meaning that we could not re-release his source.

Dan

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