Adventure setting up Orchard with my site and blog.

I’ve been blogging for years, mainly with community server.  I’ve had a desire to switch my blog over to my own domain, which currently is www.iislogs.com (the domain which sells IIS Logs program).   I selected Orchard as it seemed different, fresh and challenging.  Plus it was built on top of the MVC framework, has an up and coming community.   I came from the days when I tried to be a web developer using Classic ASP and lets say Classic ASP.NET.   Enough reflecting Smile 

My first challenge was to get my blogs and comments exported out.  Community server allowed me to export them using BlogsML standard. This was real handy, my first challenge Internet Explorer wasn’t useful, Google Chrome didn’t work.  I ended up going using Opera to get the proper formatted XML file from my old blog. 

The next phase was to import into Orchard.  The process was pretty straight forward.  My first attempt imported without an issue.  The only thing the default data store was SqlCE.   I prefer to use SQL Server as the backend.  After a few days of trying to migrate from SqlCE to SQL Server.  I gave up.  My content has a lot of references to PowerShell, which uses the dollar sign ($) for variables.  There was a bug preventing stuff from migrating cleanly.  I tried to use WebMatrix to migrate.   I started from scratch setting up Orchard again and setting the back end to SQL Server.  It only took a couple hours to get the pages re-entered and the import wouldn’t work. Make sure to upgrade to the latest BlogML module.

The next challenge was Orchard is entirely database driven.   My existing site has content on disk with articles, help files for IISLogs.  It took a bit of tweaking to find the right web.config settings to work within sub-directories.  I used AppCMD to convert sections for me.  For example, http://www.iislogs.com/help and http://www.iislogs.com/articles/23 (for example) need an additional web.config on a per directory basis.  This took some additional testing.  I used the Microsoft IIS SEO module to crawl my site and find things.  Although I’ve not completely cleared all errors.  From what I can tell, everything is displaying properly. 

One thing I did after I got all the kinks worked out.  I used WAST (web application stress tool) to perf test my website.  I have a copy before it was removed my Microsoft from the web.  That is another blog post, but this is an excellent tool.  I took 4 months of my actual web traffic, created a single log file and replayed it testing my site.  The performance was acceptable. 

The last adventure was setting up an RSS feed.  As I type, the RSS feed itself works, the icon doesn’t show up.  The community response to questions has been top-notch.  So for a Classic ASP spaghetti coder and ASP.NET days, working in Orchard is like starting completely over.  Here are some reference links. 

http://weblogs.asp.net/bleroy/archive/2010/04/07/rss-feeds-in-orchard.aspx (real doozie, didn’t understand much there)

http://www.orchardproject.net/docs/rss-atom.ashx

http://orchard.codeplex.com/discussions/242274

http://devhammer.net/blog

As I type this, it’s my first blog post ever with Windows Live Writer.  Orchard comes with a functional WYSIWYG editor, it’s hard to enter links and such.  Windows Live writer is just like working in a traditional word processing program.    I’ll share other thoughts, ramblings as I continue to completely relearn how the web is done within MVC. 

Steve Schofield

Microsoft MVP – IIS

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