This web site and De Blog
by Hans on 2009/10/06 13:55
in Categories: General

Well this is the first post I am going to do for my newly created web site and associated Blog. It is very much in it's infancy stages but I was really wanting to get it published live asap. So be nice!

So what's it all about? I have been a professional IT consultant and software developer since the year dot. In the last 15 years I have spent all my time building web solutions and business products for everyone else but myself. So as we crept through the recent credit crisis that has swept the world of it's feet and feeling the effect of this on my customers and consequently myself! I got to thinking that I really need to give myself a web presence, an identity of sorts, a here I am world statement of sorts, yes it's me the very same person who built your web site. Oh yes and chuck in a Blog.

Now I can tell you this web site is a cumulation of many technologies, concepts and some really bright ideas and components that I have been using over many years. so I think its only fair to mention some of the few good folks out there who go out of their way to build and share their ideas and components in this post as I go along. I really am a great fan of the open source community and whilst I have not been a great contributor in the way of code contributions, this due to my hectic schedule, I have been a great proponent and messenger of  open source. Perhaps now I may start contributing!

This web site is built on some really great Microsoft technologies including ASP.NET, Ajax and in this case SQL2008 for a database. Check out the Microsoft SQL web site! now there's a dark theme for you, I like. Now these are core technologies that everything else is built on top of. I must take my hat off to the folks at Subsonic especially the head honcho Rob Conery. I first discovered Subsonic when it was in an early 2.0.1 version and was smitten with just simple it was to get a DAL up and running. For those of you who don't know what a DAL is it means data access layer and it comprises all that code that on many projects I have seen takes weeks and months to complete to get data in and out of your business solution. BUT with Subsonic its a little config, a point and a click or two and presto your DAL has been done for you! I really like what the guys have done with version 3 Check it out! Something else I introduced into this project was the CMS components from Subsonic 2. Ok I needed to tweak them a bit to get them to work with the new Subsonic 3 framework but it really was no big deal and as you can see from this post IT WORKS WELL! So if anyone needs some help no problem just ask. The CMS components let you create editable sections on existing pages. So all you need to do is drop the control where you need it and when next you log on as an administrator you can edit and go crazy. The second CMS component allows you to create virtual pages with content. This is made possible using a little piece of technology called URL Rewriting combined with regular expressions. I have used an implementation which can be found here it is an Open Source URL Rewriter for ASP.NET and IIS. It works well but there are definitely some things you need to understand before you tread any further than the very simple Subsonic usage thereof. Scott Guthrie has an excellent post on his Blog about this topic be sure to start there first. Again if you get stuck ASK!

Now I need to talk about graphics, themes, CSS and all those other things that make a great web site. Now in  terms of graphics this web site is NOT a great web site. I chose to use a "dark" theme which to all intents and purposes should not be used for a business web site BUT its my web site and like it so until I get some time to create a nice Web 2 theme and a little switch to let you chose your theme of choice well you are stuck with what you are currently seeing unless you are no longer in 2009 and I have changed things subsequently. Now one thing I can tell you is that on the entire site there is only one REAL image being used and its the Saxon Systems logo. Now when it comes to products like Adobe's Photo Shop I'm really sucky. Its just something that I don't do. I always get in a pro to do this type of work for my clients. So don't worry folks it wont be me doing your graphics! Now for the purposes of this web site I insisted on doing everything! myself so naturally this presented an issue when I wanted to create a company logo and as i do not own a copy of Adobe's Photo Shop I naturally resorted to finding something FREE and easy to use. Now check out this product its called Paint.NET and yes it's free and not quite as easy as I had hoped but as it was my first time using this type of product I suppose that 30 minutes to create my very simple company logo with a transparent background etc. was not at all bad. I do believe its possible to make a monetary contribution to Paint.NET and I would certainly encourage you to do so especially if you end up using this product on a regular basis.

Last but not least the folks who do the hosting of my Web Site HostWorx. If you need a hosting company for your web site then give them a ring or drop them an email. Again if you are not sure about how things work especially from a technical aspect I can help. ASK!

So after a few days of tinkering and figuring things out presto here is my Web site and Blog ready for deployment. I must say I did enjoy the rather short project and all the interesting components and tools I have been using.

Ok folks that's about it for now so I hope I have given back some of what I have taken and I have imparted some interesting knowledge and tools. Happy hacking! 

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