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Posted By Innovation Mill on Saturday, November 07, 2009
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From Installation to Blogging in 10 minutes ...

SpeedBlog CE Beta Preview

For those of you who requested for a SpeedBlog Beta Preview invite, “Thank you.”

Here’s  a quick run down on how to go about installing the beta preview, setting up Windows Live writer to connect to SpeedBlog and making your first post, in much less time than it takes you to read this post!

 

First and foremost: Make a complete backup of your existing site. Both the database as well as the website where DNN is installed. If possible, try installation on a development machine before installing on a live machine!

 

Let’s begin.

 

Getting the invite.

 

 

Get  your SpeedBlog invite

 

Please be patient. SpeedBlog Invites are being sent in small batches. Once you have the invite, head over to SpeedBlog download page

 

Download SpeedBlog

 

Download and Activate

 

Enter your invite code and download the zip file. Extract the contents into a folder. The package contains four DNN modules.

 

 

Contents of SpeedBlog install package

SpeedBlog needs a minimum of DNN 5.0.1 on root (no child portals), ASP.NET 3.5, Ajax 2.0 (packaged along-with SpeedBlog) and an XHTML compliant skin as bare minimum. SpeedBlog does not work with AjaxToolkit 3.5 yet. MetaPost Community Edition v 1.3.6 is packaged for your convenience. If you have (and you should) a PE version of metaPost, you do not need to install this package. SpeedBlog works best with IIS7, has been tested on IIS6, any other versions of IIS may or may not work. Login as Host on your DNN portal and install metaPost. The next installation should be for SpeedBlog main modules.

 

Allow ignore .inc extension warning.

 

SpeedBlog Installation

 

From Host->Module Definitions->Install Extension, choose SpeedBlog_01.00.07_Install.zip and proceed to the next screen. Check to allow installation of Mailformat file with .inc extension. This step is required so that Mailformat.inc file is not publicly downloadable from your DNN portal; it still allows you to format your outgoing mails.

 

Please do read the release notes, license information EULA and if you accept the license terms, proceed with the install.

 

Once the installation is completed, Goto Host->Settings –>Basic Settings->Host Details and change the fallback skin Doc type to XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

 

SpeedBlog and XHTML compliant CSS

 

A word of caution here. SpeedBlog really needs an XHTML compliant skin. The default skins shipped with DNN are not worth the trouble. Maybe we didn’t try hard enough, maybe there’s something we missed but unless you have a DNN 5.0 + XHTML compliant skin, you might find a few funky and sometimes hilarious screens. SpeedBlog also uses yui extensively; which also means you would have to (at some point), trim down the portal.css and default.css from the (default) DNN install. We really do not know why DNN ships with default CSS styles that declare things like fixed font sizes and list styles at the top level. These are minor and easy to fix issues though and in no way impede SpeedBlog installation.

 

SpeedBlog Setup

 

Create a new page on your portal and add a metaPost instance if you’ve not already done so. Add SpeedBlog from the drop down menu. Take care NOT TO specify anything in the title field just as yet or it would be very hard for you to identify which controls are which. Once you get used to the interface, please feel free to rename the titles. The following screenshot shows the correct approach.

 

Adding SpeedBlog to a page

 

 

The above step would create many modules inside of your page. Today’s post will only cover the SpeedBlog.Admin module and we’d try to cover the rest in the coming days.

 

SpeedBlog, Admin Module

 

 

You can use either the Blog Settings menu drop down or the Blog Settings icon to reach the Settings page. SpeedBlog needs to know a few things before it can start working for you.

 

SpeedBlog, Settings

 

At this page, you need to specify whether you use a FriendlyURL module or not, what extension you use and whether you really went through the effort of requesting an invite through twitter or not. We know, the last one may not sound all that great but we need to do it just because we want to see ourselves if SpeedBlog really is worth spending our time and money on and if it really helps someone/some-people out there. So, grab that invite code you received and Save it.  If all goes well, SpeedBlog would activate itself and return you to the main screen. Couple of other notes here: SpeedBlog works really well with ifinity URLMaster. If you’ve not tried it yet, please do so. If you use URLMaster, please do switch to extension-less URLs. Set the Default extension to <empty>. you would do yourselves, your readers and even your SEO ranking a ton of favor.

 

Setting up your Blog(s)

 

Once SpeedBlog is activated, you should be able to manage Blogs. Click the manage Blogs icon and create a new Blog. Make sure you mark it as Published. Once you are done with creating a Blog and marking its settings, you would also see an additional icon that allows you to import directly from the DNN Blog. We’d cover that in subsequent posts, let’s get you started with your first SpeedBlog post. Notice that you can give Blog-wide access  to any user from the Manage Blog screen. You can also goto Admin->Global Roles->SpeedBlog Roles and add users to any of the Editorial, Moderators and Friend roles. SpeedBlog Roles are valid across all Blogs. Blog Editorial roles apply across all posts. If you need to give a per post access, each post’s settings section can be used to provide selected (for example a guest writer) access.

 

Setting up Windows Live Writer

 

Fire up Windows Live Writer, goto Tools->AddNew Blog

 

SpeedBlog, WLW setup

 

Choose other blog service. Next.

 

SpeedBlog, WLW Setup

Give the address of your portal, a valid username and password. Next.

SpeedBlog, WLW Select metaWebLog API as teh blog type

 

Choose MetaWebLog API as the type of Blog and in the remote posting url, make sure you specify key=SpeedBlog as shown in the screenshot above.Next. Allow WLW to download the theme and you should be greeted with

 

 

SpeedBlog, WLW Final setup

 

That’s it. You’re  all set to write a new post! Until the next post, Happy exploring!

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