free geoip May 2006 - Jayson's Blog -
A conduit to the voices inside my head.

May 2006 - Jayson's Blog

  • CS Tidbits #7: More Compression Options

    [update] It turns out there is an issue with this mod...Gallery thumbnails are not being displayed.  Only thumbnails are affected, everything else in the Gallery applications displays fine.  I'll have a fix posted shortly. [/update]

    I posted earlier about enabling IIS compression to get some great performance benefits from your Community Server site.  Of course not everyone has this option, especially folks who cohost their CS sites.  So I set out to either A) write a CSModule that compresses content, B) write an HttpModule that compresses content or C) find a pre-built library that already does this.  C turned out to be the easiest option as it turns out the good folks over IC#Code have already done this.

    First off you'll need to download the source code and samples.  In that archive you'll see a folder called HttpCompressionModule.  If you have Visual Studio you can compile it yourself, if not I've attached a pre-built binary to this post that you can use (NOTE: there is a dependancy on SharpZipLib.dll as's already pre-built in the download archive, but I'm attaching it to this post as well).  Just drop them in your /bin folder and then merge the attached web.config file into your CS web.config and you'll be good to go.

    The library supports both gzip and deflate compression, which all major browsers support...deflate uses less server resources, but gzip gets about a 5% compression benefit over deflate (albeit at more resource usage).  I noticed about the same page size decrease on my site as enabling IIS compression, i.e. my main blog page went from around 70kb to under 15kb, which is pretty substantial and leads to much faster pageload times.
  • CodePlex -- Not Impressed

    The buzz around CodePlex is starting to make me nauseous.  I first read about it yesterday and was actually somewhat excited about it (and was even in the middle of hammering out a post saying “great idea”…then I started poking around the site and promptly deleted the draft).  I’m not the only who thinks this won’t work, and I’m sure I won’t be the last person to say that.  First off, I don’t have Visual Studio Team System (though I do remember reading somewhere that MS will be releasing a free TS plug-in for non VSTS VS installations soon (wow, enough acronyms there?)), so it’s unusable for me.  Second off, I just really don’t the CodePlex website.  Granted it’s simpler than say…SourceForge, but it’s too simple.  SourceForge is complex for a reason…having a distributed team building a project is complicated.  So I say, nothing to see here…move along.  Stick with established solutions like SourceForge (love it or hate it…it just works, well most of the time).
  • CS Tidbits #6: Create URL Redirects

    I don’t know how I missed this feature in Community Server, but setting up URL redirects is a great way to manage your content in a trackable fashion.  From Jose’s post:

    Let's walk thru an example. I've decided that I want to track how many folks get to my blog from my profile. So instead of entering my blog address directly, I'll create a url redirect.

    1. Go to Control Panel > Administration > System Tools > Manage Url Redirects
    2. Enter the location you want folks to be redirected to. In this case, it'll be my blog url.
    3. Enter an optional description to help you remember where you're using this. In this case, it'll be "my profile on"
    4. Click Create.

    Now you'll see a new entry in the grid. To see what the "tiny url" is, just click on View. A modal will popup that allows you to copy/paste the url and use it anywhere.

    As users click on your url redirect link, they'll be redirected to the appropriate url, and the hits will be recorded. Come back at any time to view how many times it's been used.

    There’s more information in Jose’s post, so be sure to follow the link above.

  • CS Tidbits #5: A Couple Of SEO Mods

    I figured I’d make today’s tidbit a 2 for Tuesday deal and post about a couple of ways to make your Community Server site even more search engine friendly.  CS out of the box is quite SEO, but there’s a couple of simple mods you can add to boost this even more.  The first is Scott Water’s Auto Name Your CS Posts CSModule.  By default (unless you specify the name of the post in the post editor) all CS posts are named as /archive/year/month/day/postID.aspx.  Most (if not all) major search engines would rather see keyword related content in the post title, which is exactly what his module does…if you were to have a post titled The World’s Greatest Post, the URL for that post would then become /archive/year/month/day/the_worlds_greatest_post.aspx.  Very SEO.

    The second mod is Dan Bartel’s Google Sitemap generator.  For anyone not familiar with what a Google Sitemap is, head over here for more information.  Basically it’s an XML file that the GoogleBot can parse to get a tree-like representation of your site, which makes it easier for Google to spider and thus can increase the visibility of your site.  To see this in action, have a look at my SiteMap Index here, and my blog’s SiteMap here.  As an added bonus, once you get your SiteMap up and running, the SiteMap admin page will give you some high level stats about how the GoogleBot is spidering your site (such as unreachable URL’s, timeouts, crawl stats, etc…very useful for site admins).  On a scale of 1–10 for must have CS add-ins, this one ranks about an 11.

  • Get LINQ'd Up With Scott Guthrie

    It looks like Scott Guthrie is starting a new series on using LINQ with  LINQ is something I’m eagerly anticipating, as I’m sure most of us are.  I normally don’t do development related CTP’s, but I might have to give this one a shot.  Regardless, this should be a good series to follow, looking forward to the rest of it.
  • CS Tidbits #4: Adding Raw Header Information

    A really cool new feature that was added in Community Server 2.0 is the ability to add raw header information to your site without having to edit any of the skin files like you did in 1.x.  The location of this is <siteRoot>/controlpanel/Settings/SiteContent.aspx; you’ll see a text box called Raw Header.  Basically you can use this to insert any code you like, and it’ll be automatically be placed in the <head> tag of all your pages.  I personally use it for my Google Analytics, StatCounter, and global javascript code…but you can use it for anything that’s allowed inside a head tag.

    A feature that may or may not make it’s way into 2.1 is in addition to the global raw header section, each application would get it’s own raw header, i.e. if you’d like to put different tracking codes for separate applications this would possible, and only that application would have that header information.

  • CS Tidbits #3: Reindex Your Database

    Today's tidbit actually is something you can (and should) do to any database on a fairly regular basis:  Rebuild all of the indexes in your SQL Server database.  For those of you not familiar with indexes in SQL Server and how they work, they basically exist to improve the performance of your SQL Server databases; conceptually they are similar to indexes in a book in that they speed up the amount of time it takes the database engine to locate data.

    The Telligent developers have been kind enough to define all of the indexes you should need, however as your database grows the indexes can get cluttered and slow down the overall performance (sometimes drastically) of your CS application.  The busier the site, the faster this happens.  I've attached a SQL script you can run that will rebuild all of the indexes in a given database.  You can either run it manually or set it up as a SQL Server job to run on a regular basis.  For small single user sites, the need to reindex is minimal...but for large sites you probably would want to run this on a weekly basis, and of course during a time that your CS website is least trafficked as reindexing will incur quite a bit of overhead.
  • This Is Un-F'ing Believable

    I swear to god I have the worst luck of anyone I know with computers (aside from my best friend, but his bad luck is completely due to him tinkering with his rig too much).  Regular readers know that I lost all of my personal data about 5 months ago.  I now have (potentially) lost my entire .pst folder (that’s the file that Outlook uses to store all of your email for any non-tech readers).

    I’ve been running Office 2007 since some pretty early builds and really haven’t run into many issues…until now.  In the wee morning hours of this past Thursday I was performing (what I consider to be) routine maintenance on my Outlook folders and decided it was probably time to empty out my spam folder as it contained in excess of 20,000 message.  So I right clicked the folder and chose the empty command.  About halfway through emptying, an exception was thrown and Outlook crashed…no big deal, this happens to all of us.  Fire Outlook back up and it goes through its usual “repairing inbox” routine and...promptly crashes again.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Getting a little worried at this point, but not sweating too bad yet.  Office ships with a standalone mailbox repair tool called scanpst.exe, so I fire that up…it completes after about 5 hours of chugging along and says that it successfully repaired the file.  Awesome, so back in mail properties I attempt to hook Outlook up to the new .pst it created and get a whole slew of new errors.  Googling them points towards corruption, so I re-run scanpst on the new .pst that it just created and it says everything is ok with the file.  So what the hell is going on???

    I’m cursed I tell ya…CURSED!  Maybe I’ll get a job somewhere that only requires working with a mop, though I’d probably find some way to muck that up as well.  At the rate I’m going, I’ll wake up one day and my computers are just going to be gone without any explanation as to why.  All jokes aside, this absolutely sucks…all my email, all my contact info/calendar/etc are (for the time being) gone.  What sucks even more is that since this is beta software it’s going to be tough to get any support from Microsoft on it.  They do have a “best effort” policy, but since this is data corruption I believe I have to go through their “professional” support group instead of personal.  Professional support is $245.00 an incident last I checked.  So that be a last resort option.

    How can something as benign as emptying your spam folder lead up to a fiasco like this?  Absolutely ridiculous.  Anyone know of any good 3rd party .pst repair tools?

  • CS Tidbits #2: Change Your Default Job Interval

    Today’s tidbit is another quickie.  The location of this fix is in CommunityServer.config; search for “jobs minutes.”  This one must have slipped past the Telligent QA dept somehow, but by default all jobs are set to run at 1 minute intervals (even though in the HTML comments above this sections it clearly says “The default minute interval for all jobs is 15 minutes.”  For larger sites this would most certainly have an adverse affect on performance.  If you need more fine grained control over individual jobs you can change the singleThread attribute to false and then change each job’s minutes attribute to whatever you need.
  • Community Server Tidbits

    Jaxon has his Community Server tips and tricks (generally relating to CS skinning/CSS/etc) going strong, Keyvan started a CS tips and tricks section of his own (leaning more towards developers), so I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon and start a series as well, but geared towards CS site admins…i.e. how you can get your CS installation configured and keep it humming along smoothly (I may throw in some random tips as well…ya never know).  Some of the tips (such as the one I’m about to post about here) will only apply to site admins who have full control over their site (IIS/SQL Server/etc), while others will be more general in nature.  This will also kick off a new category called CS Tidbits (RSS feed is here)  Enough chatter, on to the first tidbit!

    The first tidbit is actually a pretty simple one to do, and I’ve posted about it before…enable IIS compression!  You should see some pretty extraordinary performance increases when it comes to pageload times, plus your bandwidth will go down quite a bit.  This guy did it and is enjoying the benefits.

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