Ken Robertson's Blog

Ramblings of a .NET developer

November 2004 - Posts

Community Server v1.0 Beta1 Released

Community Server v1.0 Beta1 was released today (ScottW's post, announcement on

So far, it has been released for about 2 hours and we've already had a flood of feedback (and bug reports, but hey, its beta).  If you have any issues with it, please check out and post in the Bugs & Issues forum on

Community Server :: Galleries differs from nGallery in a couple of ways:

  • Albums are now called Categories.  One nice thing is that a single picture can belong to multiple categories.
  • Can no longer specify a highlighted picture for a category.  The field to specify one just isn't there.  It will added in the future, but right now, it is not available.  The next release of Community Server will show a random picture in the header instead of the folder icon.
  • Cannot have subcategories, at this time.  This might get added for the next release, but a way to specify a parent just hasn't been added.
  • No watermarking feature for images.  The nGallery watermarking was a little problematic (especially with using images).  This will be coming back in the future once we can make it a little more thought out.

There are also major improvements in Community Server :: Galleries over nGallery:

  • Entirely SQL based with great caching.  In nGallery, using the XML storage, it would eat a lot of memory when you had a lot of pictures.  Using nGallery's SQL storage, it generated far too much database traffic.  Community Server keeps everything to a minimum and have put a lot of thought into caching data and figuring out what is used most often.
  • Multi-user!  Can finally configure multiple users and give them permissions as to whether or not they can upload images or not.  Can also specify whether or not they can login and view the gallery or not.
  • Ability to have multiple galleries.  You can have multiple users, each with their own galleries and pictures.  Think a .Text site, but with photos.  I'm working on a write up for the final release which will cover how to use it in a single site setup.
  • Vastly improved skinning.  Without saying, the skinning in nGallery was rather complicated and scared many people away from making their own skin (including myself!).  Community Server's is much much easier.  Just look in the ~/Themes/default/Skins/Galleries folder and the main pages you'll have to modify are Skin-GalleryDefault.ascx, Skin-ViewGallery.ascx, Skin-ViewCategory.ascx, Skin-ViewPicture.ascx, and Skin-PictureListing.ascx (should be somewhat obvious what each one is a view of).  Everything is in there and is all based on user controls.  The other files in the folder are for some of the smaller components or for the admin pages.
One of the main questions many people have is how can I migrate from nGallery to Community Server?  The answer for right now is that you can't.  We don't have converters yet for either of the components.  I have started working on a conversion tool for the Galleries and it will be available with the final release.  In the meantime, the beta is mostly intented to toy around with and isn't yet recommended to use it as a replacement.
Posted: Nov 17 2004, 03:09 PM by qgyen | with 2 comment(s)
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Live at DevConnections

In Vegas this week for two purposes.  One, going to the DevConnections conference at the Madalay Bay, and two, going to my cousin's wedding this weekend.

So far, DevConnections is great.  Finally had a chance to meet Rob Howard.  Nice to actually meet the person cutting your paycheck. :)  Been to a couple great sessions.  Missed all the ones yesterday, since I was wrapped up in doing other things (like flying in), but today saw Rob's session on migrating and planning for 2.0 and went to Julia Lerman's session on new things in the base classes for 2.0.  That was great, since I hadn't seen anything on the debug visualizer.Tomorrow, looking forward to a couple more, mainly on mobile devices.  Those should be interesting.

Then these are mostly for Brain Goldfarb.  Was telling him about a group of my friends dressing up as characters from The Big Lebowski.

I'll probably upload more pictures next week... when I get my new site up and running and using Community Server beta1 (releasing it 11/15).

Posted: Nov 09 2004, 11:11 PM by qgyen | with no comments
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Fustrated with Exchange...

I find Exchange so frustrating to work with sometimes.  It is a great application and provides vital functionality, but working with it can sometimes be a bear.

My task today: RPC via HTTP.  Something many people struggle with, from what I've seen.  I am working on getting this server colocated and I have my copy of SBS2003 Premium from the TS2 seminar I went to.  I have seriously spent probably the past 6+ hours on it.  I could not get it working at all.  Tried many different guides, many different configurations, everything.  I finally figured it must be SP1... it changes the RPC-HTTP stuff a little and it is funkier for single server installations.  So I format the drive and completely reinstall SBS2003.  Go to set it up... still doesn't work.

Finally, a stroke of "why did I think of this before".  SBS must have a guide somewhere for users to configure Outlook.  Sure enough, they do in the Remote Web Workplace.  What was my problem before?  I never installed the certificate for the server!  I don't have a trusted CA, so I needed to install the certificate so it would recognize it.

6+ hours of work, all for missing a ~30 second step.  I am done, going to bed.

What does a bored developer do late at night?
How about create a specialized repeater that allows you to define a NoneTemplate to be used when there are no items in the data source.  Did this simply because I was (a) bored, (b) curious how it would look, and (c) would like to use it in Community Server rather using a footer template with a table row or DIV marked hidden and lame logic for showing it.
Posted: Nov 05 2004, 12:39 AM by qgyen | with 4 comment(s)
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