DevHawk Has A Brand New Blog (Engine)

So it would make a crappy song, but the title of this post is still true. This is my first post on the new-and-improved DevHawk running on WordPress.

I decided a while back that it was time to modernize my blog engine – DasBlog is getting a little long of tooth and there hasn’t been a new release in over two years. I spent some time looking at different options, but settled on WordPress for much the same reasons Windows Live did: “host of impressive capabilities”, scalable and widely used. Also, it’s very extensible, has about a billion available themes and has a very active development community. I was able to find plugins to replicate DasBlog’s archive page as well as archive widget that replicated custom functionality that I added to DasBlog via custom macros.

Of course, moving eight years worth of posts to a new engine took quite a bit of effort and planning. I wanted to make sure that I maintained all my posts and comments as well as take advantage of some of the new features available to me from WordPress. For example, I took the opportunity to flatten my list of categories and move most of them to be tags. I also went thru and converted all of my old code snippets to use SyntaxHighlighter instead of CodeHTMLer or Pygments for WL Writer. Of course, I automated almost all of the conversion process. For anyone interested in following my footsteps, I published my PowerShell scripts for converting DasBlog to the WordPress WXR import/export format up on BitBucket.

Not only did I want to save all my data, I also wanted to make sure I saved my search engine mojo (if I have any left after blogging a paltry six times in the past sixteen months). So I hacked up a WordPress plugin to redirect my old DasBlog links to the new WordPress URLs. That’s up on BitBucket as well for anyone who wants it. It’s got some DevHawk specific bits in there (like the category cleanup) but if you tore those parts out it would be usable for any DasBlog-to-WordPress conversion. If there’s interest, maybe I’ll write up how the conversion scripts and redirect plugin work.

The plan is that now that I’m finally done moving my blog over the new back end, I will actually start writing on a more regular basis again. We’ll see how that works out.

Morning Coffee 95

  • New version of dasBlog is out, the final version on ASP.NET 1.1 (unless this release “kills a kitten” as per Scott Hanselman). I don’t have the time (make the time?) to run daily builds, but I do try and upgrade to new major releases in a timely fashion. I’m also moving hosters, so expect a little downtime around here at some point in the near future.
  • Matt Winkler is doing a series on alternate WF execution patterns. His first is the N of M pattern. While I can nitpick some things in WF – especially the limitations of transaction flow – WF’s support for variability and extensibility of execution patterns is fraking brilliant. (via Sam Gentile)
  • Joe McKendrick is all excited about a SOA built without web services! We’ve been “doing SOA” since the EDI days without web services, so I’m not sure this level of excitement – with an exclamation point and everything – is warranted. But it is good to see people realize web services != SOA. Instead of web services, CERN is using JMS to move messages around. I don’t know much about JMS, but I do know it supports async and durable messaging, two things I think are critical for enterprise services.
  • I saw on LtU that there’s a new paper on Singularity out. For those who don’t know, Singularity is a MS Research platform designed for reliability instead of performance. But there’s more than just a new paper. According to the project home page, “Singularity Version 1.0 is complete. We’ve shipped the Singularity Research Development Kit (RDK) to a small number of universities for their research efforts.” I wonder if I can get my hands on that RDK?
  • Jeff Atwood is starting to show ads on Coding Horror, but he’s donating “a significant percentage” of the ad revenue back into the programming community. He’s starting with $5,000 and Microsoft is matching for a total of $10,000 to be donated to open source .NET projects. Go tell Jeff which projects you think he should donate to. Castle seems to be an early favorite.
  • On Monday, Nick Malik posted what he called the Simple Lifecycle Agility Maturity Model (aka SLAMM) as a way of measuring your “agile factor”. Surprisingly, the community response has been zilch. After Nick’s comments on Agile last week, I figured someone would have something to say about it, even if only to slam it. (Slam SLAMM, ha ha.) Maybe nobody opened the spreadsheet and saw Mort has an agile factor rating of 71%? Personally, SLAMM seems like a rather coarse tool for measuring how agile you are, but coarse tools are better than no tools at all.

Morning Coffee 87

FYI, I’m at TechEd all next week. Given that WiFi access at conferences usually blows, I’m not planning on regular morning coffee posts. I’ve asked Dale again to keep the lights on around here and he’s graciously said yes. Since I’m not on vacation, I’ll be lurking around as well, but I’ll be in an out. See you in Orlando!

  • Jeff Atwood proclaims that developers are their own worst enemy, because they write too much code. Add in a pinch of “not invented here” syndrome and I think you’ve got it. This is one of the reasons why people think Ruby is the tits.
  • Scott Hanselman has already taken advantage of the new WLWriter provider customization API.
  • Erik Johnson writes about the thunderous REST bandwagon. He doesn’t explicitly say it, but my take is that he thinks this all ends up in some middle ground between REST and WS-*. I hear that, at least, if that’s what he’s saying. I’m not sold on “HTTP is all you need” – I need durability and async messaging, but I don’t see how to get there from here with just HTTP.

Morning Coffee 28

  • From the “Ask and ye shall receive” department: A couple weeks ago I wondered how good or bad my Gamerscore conversion rate is. just launched a completion leaderboard where they rank you on your Gamerscore times your completion rate.
  • Shane Courtrille pointed out that the prize you receive in from the Xbox Rewards program gets better if your Gamerscore is higher. With a meager 1090 points, I’m in level 1. But those with 10,000+ or more can get a copy of Fuzion Frenzy 2 for completing the challenge.
  • Yesterday, I complained that code in my RSS feed looks awful. It appears to be a problem with dasBlog. In validating the HTML is actually XHTML, it screws up the white space. Of course, usually that’s not a big deal, but inside a <pre> tag, it is. Until I get a chance to submit a patch to dasBlog to fix this, I’m using CodeHTMLer, which has a “convert white space” option that doesn’t use the <pre> tag at all. As a bonus, it even support PowerShell! Note, you have to use the website, not their WLWriter plugin, if you want the convert white space option.
  • There’s a new beta of Ruby.NET available. Now that I’ve moved on to PowerShell, I’m only slightly interested in Ruby these days. If I can figure out how to create internal DSLs with PS, what would I need Ruby for? (via Larkware)
  • My old team just shipped a single-instance multi-tenancy SaaS sample called LitwareHR. Details are on Gianpaolo’s blog, code is up on CodePlex.

FeedFlare Finally Fixed

I moved over to FeedBurner a while back. DasBlog has great support for FeedBurner – all you do set your FeedBurner feed name in the DasBlog config and it handles the rest, including permanently redirecting your readers to the new feed.

However, I haven’t been able to make FeedFlares work today. FeedFlares “build interactivity into each post” with little links like “Digg this”, “Email this” or “Add to”. Since FeedBurner is serving the XML feed, it’s no big deal for them to add those links into the RSS feed. But to get those same flares to work on the web site, you have to embed a little script at the end of each item. Scott shows how to do this with DasBlog, except that it didn’t work for me. I’ve tried off and on, but for some reason, the FeedBurner script file I was including was always empty.

Then I noticed the other day that my post WorkflowQueueNames had the flare’s on them. Hmm, why would that post work and none of the rest of mine work? Turns out that it works because there’s no spaces in the title. Unlike most of the rest of the DasBlog community, I’m using ‘+’ for spaces in my permalinks, instead of removing them. So I get as the permalink url instead of In fact, that feature is in DasBlog because I pushed for it (a fact Scott reminded me of while I was troubleshooting this last night). And it was breaking the FeedFlares.

The solution is to URL encode the ‘+’, which is %2B, in the FeedFlare script link. I created a custom macro, since I already had a few custom macro’s powering this site anyway, and now I get the FeedFlares on all my blog entries. I’ll also go update the DasBlog source, but creating a custom macro was both easier and less risky than patching the tree and upgrading everything.