Barnyard BBS

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New Code Released
4/5/2007 6:39:00 PM

Some of you might remember the previous posts about the Content Control.  It's a client-editable content management tool for building websites.  I built it a few months ago, and it's become the foundation for a lot of new work.

I'm proud to announce that I've released both an update to the Content Control AND two totally new projects.  Here's a quick description of the three of them:

  • The Content Control (client-editable regions in a web page, implemented as a control)
  • The Blog Control (a fully validating and CSS based blogging engine, implemented as a control)
  • The Photo Gallery Control (a fully validating and CSS based photo gallery, implemented as a control)

I originally created the Content Control because I wanted the flexibility of a CMS without the overhead and commitment. A CMS isn't part of the site; the site runs inside the CMS.  I didn't want that kind of lock-in.  So I built the Content Control.

The Content Control is meant to be inserted into a page; and it acts as a client-editable region.  It doesn't impose any constraints on the containing page; and it leaves the developer free to format it as they choose.  All said, it's worked very well.

Since the Content Control worked so well; I started looking at other projects that could benefit from the same philsophies...

I've used a number of blogging packages in my time; and to be truthful, none of them really made me happy.  They were typically packages that set up a site, provided blog features, and offered some degree of customization.  Rarely did their code validate.  Usually you could easily tell a blog package at "first sight".

I wanted a blogging package that didn't dominate the site.  I also wanted a blogging package that I could radically restyle using CSS. Additionally, I wanted something that complied with established web standards.  I couldn't find anything like that; so I started building.

It seemed natural to me that it should be implemented as an ASP.Net control.  Controls are like small programs that you can insert into a web page.  By implementing it as a control, this meant that a person could have multiple of them in the same site; and they wouldn't conflict.  The Blog Control uses the same TinyMCE editing interface as the Content Control.  It also offers a number of optional features, that make it quite easy to customize.  If you're reading this, you're probably already looking at the Blog Control.  I use all of my controls on my website.  Wanna guess what runs my blog?

The third control in the series is the new Photo Gallery Control.  I realized that my friends were getting jealous that I had a really sweet photo gallery (and they didn't).  I decided to re-implement a photo gallery similar to that on BarnyardBBS as a re-usable control, so I could share with the group.  While I was working on it; I decided to make some improvements to the original design.  The Gallery Control features automatic image resizing (custom to screen size), automatic thumbnail creation, easy administration, simple categorization, and magic EXIF reading code.  It's all compliant code and CSS-styled.  I switched BarnyardBBS to use the new Gallery Control (from the custom gallery we used to use) last month.  I've been testing and refining.  It's solid now.

I've been busy, and I've got another surprise.  I've built a new complete sample project for the controls.  It contains a complete working website, which demonstrates all three of them in one working package.  It begs to be customized.  Furthermore, I've made an online test drive of the controls.  You can see all the controls in action; including admin mode (where you can make changes).

Try the Test Drive now; or download the code as a package.

Also, here's my page devoted to the controls.  It includes coverage of all three ASP.Net controls, and the PHP version of the Content Control.

Additionally, I've posted the new sample project and source code to SourceForge.  You can visit the SourceForge project here.

I've put a lot of time into creating the three controls, but they're really helping people to create great websites.  You can see the newest controls in real-life action at Ancora Imparo, as it was the pilot site for the new Gallery Control.

New Content Control code posted
1/19/2007 4:58:00 PM

I've posted an update to the Content Control in the Projects section of the site.

After much pondering, I decided to perform a rewrite on it.  Originally, it was a server control (entirely code-based).  I rewrote it as a user control (markup and code).  It's greatly simplified; and the code is a lot cleaner.  I've updated the project on SourceForge as well.

In addition, I've coded up a PHP port of the same concept.  Although I don't work in PHP much, Wick had use for it.  The PHP version, with a sample project is also included in the Content Control area of Projects section.

News
12/23/2006 10:21:00 PM

I've been working a number of different concepts during the runup to Christmas.

Soon I will be replacing the BarnyardBBS blogging system with one of my own creation. I've become very strict about having my sites validate, and none of the existing packages have a fully validating editing interface. Not to mention, I've grown to love the TinyMCE javascript-based editor. I'm reusing a bunch of the code from the Content Control project to make a self-contained blogging control. I'll switch over the site's blogs as soon as I have it ready. Hopefully, other people will be able to make use of it as well.

Speaking of other people making use of things... I've posted the Content Control over at SourceForge. Although I've distributed the source here at Barnyard for a long time, I wanted to make it more available to the masses (who gravitate to SourceForge). SourceForge is the hub for open source software. I hope by making the Content Control available there, it will be more useful.

Also, I've been experimenting with HDR photography lately. I've posted a few photos in the gallery's Philadelphia section. HDR is an abbeviation for High Dynamic Range. It's a technique where several photographs of different exposure are merged together to create a hybrid image. Andreas Tofahrn is the master of HDR. This is the best example that I've managed thus far:

BenFranklinHDR.jpg
The Ben Franklin Bridge, by night. Three photo hybrid.

Oh, and one final note. Jessawick has no idea what her Christmas presents are...