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BlogEngine.NET, An Open Source Blogging Platform

For those who want to go their own way in the blogosphere and ignore the big guns of WordPress, Blogger.com, Movable Type or any number of other options, we take a look at BlogEngine.Net. This fella is an open source, server-based software package that aims to simplify the increasingly sophisticated world of online scribbling.

Introducing BlogEngine.NET

BlogEngine.NET is a product for .NET developers who want to bolt on a useful feature to their sites or create something that the herd of blog sites cannot do — but do not want to reinvent the wheel. The software is maintained on CodePlex, it aims for clarity, lack of complexity while making use of all the features that .NET offers.

You may already have heard of BlogEngine.NET — it is offered by several Web hosts — or you could have come across it on CodePlex or one of the other open source sites. Let's round up some of its key features:

  • No Database Needed. It uses XML to store blog entries, although a SQL database can be used if required.
  • Quick Start. Upload the files to your server and you are ready to blog.
  • Feature Support. Comments, trackbacks, referrals, syndication (RSS 2.0 and Atom) plus there is support for multiple authors.
  • Web 2.0. Supports features like Gravatar, AJAX, coComments, Google sitemaps, OpenSearch support, social bookmarks and tag clouds.
  • Customization and Widgets. Widgets help make a blog stand out and BlogEngine.NET helps integrate these into any blog. It has some custom widgets, such as an AJAX calendar and an auto updating blogroll, while coders can create their own. Extensions can turn an ordinary blog page into a media-heavy, social monster.

The Basics

Vendor BlogEngine.NET
Product Name
BlogEngine.NET
Product Category
Blog/Micro Publishing System
Typical Scenario
Blog platform for simple or customizable online publishing
Bad Fit Scenario
Any small company whose staff will happily use a hosted (SaaS) blog service or for those that prefer the LAMP stack of technologies.

 blogengine_cp.jpg
Creating blogs can't get much easier

Company History & Origins

BlogEngine.NET is an open source project with a pair of coordinators and six developers. As such it's not really fair to delve into their deep executive psyche. However, the platform has been around since April 2007 when it was conceived as a lightweight blogging engine for .NET developers.

Since that time, it has evolved and grown intermittently, exploding into life in March this year with a raft of revisions and updates culminating in April's release of the Version 1.5.

As well as on the code side, this year has also seen an expansion of blog themes to entice users and BlogEngine is now available on Microsoft's Web App Gallery, garnering more than 55,000 downloads and a four-star rating in just a couple of months.

Key Features

Product Core Technology

With its open-source and extensible nature, BlogEngine.NET can become a lot bigger than just the platform. A massive list of potential additions to your blogs shows just what the possibilities are. But that's for the user to choose, let's take a step back.

BlogEngine.NET uses ASP.NET 2.0 or Mono to achieve its aims of a server-based open-source blogging engine available for free using the Microsoft Reciprocal License. Data is stored natively in XML or can be kept in a MySQL database. As it can be customized by the developer, it offers a flexible solution for those looking to build their own blogs. TinyMCE is provided as a part of the install package as the WYSIWYG editor.

Installation is just a matter of copying the files over to any ASP.NET 2.0 compatible server which has write permission for the App_data folder. You won't be alone as close to 125,000 people have downloaded the latest version. There are practical video tutorials on the site to help those in need of assistance when installing, using or even trying out some advanced features.

 

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