Information and Tutorials for Popular Content Management Systems

This post is just a quick reference for information and tutorials about common CMS’s. I’ll try to update it as I have time.





SilverStripe CMS



What’s New in Ektron 8.6?

Ektron 8.6 was released on June 28, 2012, without much fanfare. I did a quick Google search but was hard pressed to find much about it. So, I’ve decided to post my own findings, based mainly on Ektron’s product release notes and from my own quick installation and testing.

This is not an extensive review of all of the updates in 8.6 — but more of an overview of some of the major changes.

Adaptive Image Resizing for Mobile Devices

Responsive images for mobile devices have been gathering a lot of attention lately, and fortunately, Ektron is now offering the ability to serve up images based on the user’s screen size. Unfortunately, it relies on device detection to do so, but as there is no real standard yet for handling this problem, I commend them for taking the time to implement this useful feature.

Ektron has been trying really hard to be a leader in the CMS mobile market, and changes like this help to reinforce their dedication to that position.

New WYSIWYG Editor

I’ve never been a fan of Ektron’s default WYSIWYG editor, so I’m glad to see them moving toward third-party alternatives, such as Aloha Editor. Aloha is a great editor, especially when editing content in-line, and is a huge step forward. Personally, I’m relieved that I won’t have to deal with that annoying bug where <p> tags are removed when only one paragraph appears in content.

Improved Search

Microsoft FAST is available as a search provider, and popular features such as “did you mean…” and auto-suggestions are now included as well. Each new Ektron release tends to focus very much on search improvements. In the future, however, I would like to see a little less attention paid to this area. Although better search results and features are nice, I rarely hear complaints from clients about how slow the search is or how they wish the results were more accurate. Maybe that’s just me, though.

New URL Aliasing Options

In addition to the automatic and manual URL aliasing features, you can now use improved regular expressions to determine the URL structure. There are also options for managing URL redirects — very helpful when a URL needs to be changed.

Other Updates

Version 8.6 also offers three more templated server controls (Content, Menu, and Access Point), updates to eSync, and a ton of bug fixes. Overall, this doesn’t seem to be a major update unless you’re sick of the eWebEditPro editor or have a vested interest in regex URLs or serving up mobile-optimized images, but there appears to be some clean-up going on, and I think Ektron is heading in the right direction by placing more emphasis on mobile devices and making it easier on authors through third-party WYSIWYG editors.

Minifying and Combining Multiple JavaScript Files in ASP.NET

Newer Web technologies make all kinds of new features possible, but with them come additional file bloat, slowing down your websites. Browsers can only download a limited number of files simultaneously, and all file requests that come afterward are stalled until the others are done. Fortunately, by compressing your files and combining them into a single file, you can greatly improve your site’s performance.

I recently found an ASP.NET solution that automatically minifies and combines your JavaScript files. You can read the article yourself for an in-depth look at the code, but I figured I’d post the basic steps here as a reminder to myself in future projects.

Step 1

Download the files, and extract them to the appropriate folders in your website project (create them if they don’t exist).

Step 2

Modify the file at App_Data/Site_Scripts.txt to include the scripts you want to combine, each on a separate line. If you have more than one set of scripts to combine, you can create more .txt files — just make sure they have unique file names.

Step 3

You’ll need to make some changes to your web.config file. Update the following sections, or create them if they are missing.

For IIS7:

         <add name="ScriptCombiner" verb="POST,GET" path="ScriptCombiner.axd" preCondition="integratedMode" type="ScriptCombiner, App_Code"/>

For IIS6:

         <add verb="POST,GET" path="ScriptCombiner.axd" type="ScriptCombiner, App_Code"/>

Step 4

Add the following to your Web form or master page, where the JavaScript files would normally appear.

<asp:Literal ID="jsLiteral" runat="server"/>

And, add the following to your code-behind in the Page_Load event.

jsLiteral.Text = ScriptCombiner.GetScriptTags("Site_Scripts", 1);

The first argument passed to the GetScriptTags method is the file name for your .txt file in the App_Data folder. The second argument is a version number. The version number appends a query string so that browsers know not to serve the file from cache (remember to update the version number when you update your JS).

And That’s It!

You should now be able to preview your page and see that all of your JS files have been combined and minified. If not, make sure you aren’t in debug mode (<compilation debug="false"/>). When in debug mode, files are not combined, but a query string is still added for the version number.