Setting up BlogEngine.NET

After deciding to get this blog, I needed to find some software to run it on. I briefly considered writing it myself, but decided that it would be too much effort, and that I probably never would be able to finish it, considering work and other projects.

So I started hunting around for some open source blogging software, and after an hour of googling, I decided on BlogEngine.NET. My main considerations where that it needed to be open source .NET (so I can fix stuff if it breaks), highly customizable and easy to extend. It was also important that it would work without a database, since my current web host only provides access to a sluggish and unreliable MySQL server (but hey, it's cheap ;-)

I also considered dasBlog, but BlogEngine.NET seemed simpler and more suitable for my simple needs. 

Setting stuff up was simpler than expected.  BlogEngine.NET target audience is developers, according to their web page, so I was prepared to be hand-editing a myriad of obscure configuration files - But after downloading the source and creating a virtual directory on my local machine for the application, it just ran. I actually started editing the settings.xml file before I found out that a UI was provided for it. So i customized some settings, and did a bit of changes to one of the default templates, before I was ready to go online. I actually think that setting it up for debugging in Visual Studio took longer than the actual customizations (My home machine runs Vista, and I had some problems with ASP .NET and IIS7, which I was able to resolve by using the "Classic ASP.NET pipelining" mode).

I downloaded the source, so that I could try to compile it for myself and poke a bit around, before ultimately deciding to base my blog on this application. I haven't spent too much time looking at the code, but it seems to be well designed and thought-through.

Anyways, uploading the site via FTP to my web host was no problem. I used Visual Studio to make a precompiled copy of the web site first.

Setting up the blog, customizing it and publishing it took less than 2 hours. I did not get stuck at all, and everything behaved as expected; overall it was a nice experience. So thumbs up to the BlogEngine.NET developers !