# Tuesday, 07 November 2006

The last couple of weeks I got several questions about my article on creating custom macros for dasBlog. The biggest problem seems to be that most people run dasBlog under ASP.NET 1.1 while the macros were created in .NET 2.0. Xerratus made an article about it a while ago but I would like to point out to it since it's not an isolated story. The article can be found here: DasBlog custom macros "error" solved.

Grz, Kris.

Tuesday, 07 November 2006 18:22:26 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 24 September 2006

Yesterday evening I upgraded my blog from 1.8 to 1.9.

The things I like already is the easier way to navigate to the previous or next day in the statistics (admin pages). Also the better way to navigate in the itemview to navigate to the previous or next blog article. It makes it much easier for someone to start reading a blog post and navigate to the follow up blog items. The tagcloud control is something I like a lot. It doesn't have the same advanced use like the tagcloud control of del.icio.us where you can further select "subtags".

When I downloaded the code and tested it on my laptop I quickly noticed that my IE7 RC1 didn't show the tagcloud correctly. After taking a look at the .css files of the dasBlog theme that I use, I quickly noticed that dasBlog.css contains definitions for the css classes that are used by the tagcloud but they were overridden in the base.css file. Commenting these overrides fixed it for me.

I also made the necessary adjustments to the itemtemplate in order to get my custom macros working. If you're interested in creating custom macros yourself you can check out my article about it: Creating custom macros for dasBlog.

Grz, Kris.

CSS | dasBlog
Sunday, 24 September 2006 08:17:12 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 22 September 2006

My morning just got better: dasBlog 1.9 is out. You can already guess what I'll be looking at the coming weekend :-).

dasBlog19IsOut.aspx">kick it on DotNetKicks.comdasBlog19IsOut.aspx" border="0">

Friday, 22 September 2006 06:40:50 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 17 August 2006

Hi,

I'm just testing out Windows Live Writer. A completely new tool by Microsoft, still in Beta but it works already great with dasBlog. You can also extend it with extra plugins (1). It still lacks some extra's but I already like the nice integration with dasBlog. Even the Categories are available.

Update: There are already some nice plugins available on CodePlex: Window Live Writer Plugins, Flickr4Writer and Tag4Writer.
Update 2: It seems another VISUG member also has created a plugin for Live Writer: SyntaxColor4Writer.

Grz, Kris.

(1): windows live writer plugins: flickr and tagging and Write a Windows Live Writer plugin using C#.

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Thursday, 17 August 2006 18:24:39 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 14 August 2006

I got contacted recently by Scott Hanselman, to ask if they could reproduce my recent article on creating custom macros for dasBlog. I agreed and so here it is: http://dasblog.info/2006/08/10/Creating+Custom+Macros+For+DasBlog+.aspx.

Grz, Kris.

Monday, 14 August 2006 17:40:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 07 July 2006

dasBlog is a decent blogging engine originally created by Clemens Vasters. A nice thing that not many people seem to be aware of is that you can easily extend it by creating custom macros. Such a custom macro isn't anything else than just a class library that you can hook into your copy of dasBlog and use it later on in one of the available templates that make up the website.

I couldn't really find a lot of information about this, so I decided to create my own article about the subject that also puts in the solutions I found. 
Also I would like to show the code that I use in my current installment that's reusable directly for other dasBlog users.

Creation:

So, as I already mentioned, creating macros is just like creating a class library. So lets fire up vs.net, create a new project and in the templates choose Class library like in Figure 1. The name of the project is also important when we will be configuring dasBlog to let it know about the existence of our macros. I chose MydasBlogMacros but you can choose your own name of course.

dasBlogMacro_01.png">dasBlogMacro_01_th.png" border=0>
Figure 1: Create a new project based upon the Class Library template.

If you haven't downloaded the code for dasBlog now's a good time to do so. You can download the bits from the official site(1) or you can use the guideline to get the latest bits and pieces(2) like I did.

Now we have to add 3 references in order to be able to create our custom macro. You do this by right clicking in the Solution Explorer of Visual Studio.NET on the References node. Take a look at Figure 2 to choose System.Web, and Figure 3 to choose 2 assemblies that are from dasBlog itself. These 2 are newTelligence.DasBlog.Runtime and newTelligence.DasBlog.Web.Core. The result is shown in Figure 4.

dasBlogMacro_02_01.png" border=0>
Figure 2: locate and choose System.Web

dasBlogMacro_02_02.png" border=0>
Figure 3: Navigate to the bin folder of the compiled bits of dasBlog and select the needed assemblies.

dasBlogMacro_solexpl.png" border=0>
Figure 4: After adding the needed references.

In Figure 4 you can also see that I deleted the default Class1.cs file and added a new class with the name Macros.cs. This is the only class we'll need for the moment. Here's the code for the Macros class:

    1 using System;

    2 using System.Collections.Generic;

    3 using System.Text;

    4 using System.Web.UI;

    5 using newtelligence.DasBlog.Runtime;

    6 using newtelligence.DasBlog.Web.Core;

    7 

    8 namespace MydasBlogMacros

    9 {

   10     public class MyMacros

   11     {

   12         protected SharedBasePage sharedBasePage;

   13         protected Entry currentEntry;

   14 

   15         public MyMacros(SharedBasePage page, Entry entry)

   16         {

   17             sharedBasePage = page;

   18             currentEntry = entry;

   19         }

   20 

   21         public virtual Control EmailIt(string linkText, string cssStyle)

   22         {

   23             if (this.currentEntry != null)

   24             {

   25                 string link = this.currentEntry.Link != null

   26                     ? this.currentEntry.Link : Utils.GetPermaLinkUrl(this.currentEntry);

   27 

   28                 return new LiteralControl("<a href=\"mailto:?subject=" + this.currentEntry.Title +

   29                     "&body=I found this to be a great read: " + link +

   30                     ". Hope you like it too.\" class=\"" +

   31                     cssStyle + "\">" + linkText + "</a>");

   32             }

   33 

   34             return new LiteralControl("");

   35         }

   36 

   37         public virtual Control Delicious(string linkText, string cssStyle)

   38         {

   39             if (this.currentEntry != null)

   40             {

   41                 string link = this.currentEntry.Link != null

   42                     ? this.currentEntry.Link : Utils.GetPermaLinkUrl(this.currentEntry);

   43 

   44                 return new LiteralControl("<a href=\"http://del.icio.us/post?url=" + link

   45                     +  "&title=" + this.currentEntry.Title + "\" class=\"" + cssStyle + "\">"

   46                     + linkText + "</a>");

   47             }

   48 

   49             return new LiteralControl("");

   50         }

   51 

   52         public virtual Control Digg(string linkText, string cssStyle)

   53         {

   54             string link = this.currentEntry.Link != null

   55                     ? this.currentEntry.Link : Utils.GetPermaLinkUrl(this.currentEntry);

   56 

   57             return new LiteralControl("<a href=\"http://www.digg.com/submit?url=" + link +

   58                 "\" class=\"" + cssStyle + "\">"

   59                 + linkText + "</a>");

   60         }

   61 

   62         public virtual Control Technorati(string linkText, string cssStyle)

   63         {

   64             if (this.currentEntry != null)

   65             {

   66                 string link = this.currentEntry.Link != null

   67                     ? this.currentEntry.Link : Utils.GetPermaLinkUrl(this.currentEntry);

   68 

   69                 return new LiteralControl("<a href=\"http://www.technorati.com/search/" +

   70                     this.currentEntry.Title +

   71                     "\" class=\"" + cssStyle + "\">"

   72                     + linkText + "</a>");

   73             }

   74 

   75             return new LiteralControl("");

   76         }

   77     }

   78 }

Note that the signature in the constructor is required in order to let the macros work!
Besides the constructor I created 4 methods, which will be the macros eventually, the first one EmailIt is for creating a link with the url of the current item in the body so someone can easily mail it to someone whom (s)he thinks will also be interested in the article. The other 3 are for well known web 2.0 services: del.icio.us, digg and technorati.

The methods/macros take all 2 input parameters: the string to appear in the link and the css style that will go in the class attribute of the rendered tag. Separating content and layout has several benefits: it's easy to update in a single place and an external .css file can be cached on the client.

After compiling the source code, preferably in Release mode, and after that open windows explorer and navigate to where the .dll file is created. By default this will be the place where you created your project and in there the subfolders /bin/Release. Now copy the .dll file to the /bin subfolder of the dasBlog solution (this is the same folder where you got your references from).

Configure dasBlog:

We created our macros assembly, dropped it in the /bin folder of the dasBlog folder, but we still need to configure dasBlog in such a way that it knows of the existance of our macros. This is entirely done in the web.config file that can be found in the root folder of dasBlog. Open it with your favorite IDE and uncomment the following line at the top of the web.config:

<section name="newtelligence.DasBlog.Macros" type="newtelligence.DasBlog.Web.Core.MacroSectionHandler, newtelligence.DasBlog.Web.Core" />

Now navigate to the tag <newtelligence.DasBlog.Macros>, uncomment it and add this line:

<add macro="mymacros" type="MydasBlogMacros.MyMacros, MydasBlogMacros"/>

Remember I told in the previous part that you could name your solution somewhat else, well here that name comes into play. If you take a look at the previous line you can see this combination: type="TypeName, Name of the assembly". TypeName in this case is NameSpace.ClassName. The name in the macro attribute, in this example mymacros will be used when we want to use a specific macro.

Use the macro in your template:

So at this point we created our macros, configured dasBlog that they exist. Now comes the part where we embed, or better use, our macros so they become visible in the what a visitor can see by altering the templates in the themes. dasBlog ships with several themes out of the box and people can switch between them. You can however push visitors to only have one theme available by deleting the rest of the themes. If you don't this you'll need to do the next steps for every theme if you want those themes to also have your macros available.

Navigate to the theme folder of choice. There you'll see several .css files and 3 files that have the extension .blogtemplate. Because the macros will be used for every item, they contain specific information for a specific item, open the itemTemplate.blogtemplate file. Here you can call a macro with the following syntax:

<%EmailIt("Email it!", "mailLinkStyle")|mymacros%>.

The call can be easily identified, it's the first macro in our example EmailIt. The method takes 2 parameters. After the method call you see the | followed by the name we provided in the macro attribute when we configured the web.config. I also created a new external .css file where I put the specific styles. After that I imported the newly created file into the base.css file with this statement: @import url("mymacros.css");

Resources:

- (1): dasBlog download.
- (2): Compiling the dasBlog source code.
- The class FooMacros in the dasBlog total solution.
- Creating dasBlog macros.

 

Well that's it for this article. I hope you found it interesting and if you create new macros yourself or have questions feel free to use the Comments field to let me know.

Grz, Kris.

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Friday, 07 July 2006 19:42:12 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [8]  | 

I just installed the latest binaries of dasBlog. If you like to know how to get the latest source code yourself I like to point out to this excellent post: Re-Post of "Compiling the DasBlog Source Code" from DasBlog.info. Also be sure to use the package.bat file at the root of the downloaded bits because publishing, using vs.net 2005, doesn't seem to work out that very well.

I also created several macros, a great feature to have IMHO, of which you can see the result in every post at the bottom. I include links to email, add to delicious, digg or technorati. It's my plan to create an article about this soon.

Grz, Kris.

Friday, 07 July 2006 14:50:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |