I finally upgraded my blog with the latest version of BlogEngine.NET. This is a free, open source, implementation of an ASP.NET 2.0-3.5 blog. I was running v1.3 till now and have now upgraded to v1.5.07. There are a ton of new features in this release including new widgets, nested comments and more. I’ve implemented these features on the left column as you can see.
The theme that I use is called StarGazer created by Jason Lay. I’ve made massive modifications to this theme for my blog including:
- Moving the right side column completely to the left using CSS. This is because I sometimes have code and images that flow across the page and in the case of a right side column would cause the layout to go for a toss.
- Added the ability to use the first post as a Internet Explorer 8.0 WebSlice. This also requires a code change in the BlogEngine.NET core. I’ll be submitting this patch to the developers of BE soon.
- Changed a bunch of ASPX layout to add the nested comments feature of v1.5 of BE.
- Changed a huge bunch of CSS to get the styles correctly setup for different elements that didn’t even exist in the original theme but now appear due to structural changes in BE’s rendering.
For doing all this, it took me less than a couple of hours which included downloading, setting up and understanding the changes in BE1.5 on my local machine. I was greatly helped in the entire endeavor by Visual Studio 2008 and the Internet Explorer 8.0 Developer Toolbar. The latter was exceptionally useful in figuring out the classes and styles being used in any page and on the fly changing them to see what happens. Clearly a great tool to have for Web developers.
There are still some small changes that I need to do. The visitor info widget has a annoying icon that I want to get rid of and the Twitter widget doesn’t refresh automatically and the “Follow me” gives an error. I’ll need to look into this soon – but for now the blog is back up and running.
For anyone who is interested in the StarGazer theme, I’m putting it here to download:
UPDATE: I've now used a different Twitter widget called TwitterFeed
. This allows a little more customization than the default one. Also, I made some changes in the styling by adding CSS classes for the date, feed and links shown in each Twitter.