A(nother) Fresh Start

This is my 4,223rd "Hello World!"

My domain, including this website, went down for a while due to a domain overhaul/migration.  Such is the life of an enthusiast who's never happy with good enough.

So once I got everything re-situated, tech refreshed, new domain set up and configured, new web server built, etc., I decided I'd try something new with my web presence.

See... I've been building websites for about 15 years now.  Never anything great or fancy, but I always had something.  Do you remember those early to mid-nineties websites with the flashing starry night backgrounds, animated gifs of rotating skulls and dripping blood, while Van Halen's Jump MIDI played in the background?  Yeah... I admit I was a part of that problem.  I'm always creating a new looking site, it lasts for a year or two, then I get bored and radically redesign it.  The thing is, I always used to build websites in Notepad. (Notepad++ once I wised up a little more.)  I got pretty good at it too.  I can bang out HTML, PHP, Javascript and CSS from scratch without much thought.  I do not aspire to ever be known as a web developer or designer, but a good technologist should know how to do a little bit of everything.

Anyway, eventually I got a little more evolved and decided to try Wordpress. Wordpress is pretty cool. It makes standing up a new website too fast and easy to ignore. It has a plethora of user-created themes and plugins and it's completely customizable. What's not to like?

But with this go-round I wanted to try something that is not only new to me, but is 100% Microsoft-integrated.  By "Microsoft-integrated" I mainly mean being able to use an MSSQL backend instead of MySQL and offering .NET integration.  Not that there's anything wrong with MySQL, and not that I can't install PHP on my IIS web server with the click of a button, it's just that this site's purpose, other than for my geeky catharsis, is for exploring and learning Microsoft technologies.  I'm very comfortable with HTML and PHP, so writing web pages in .NET is a little intimidating, but it's also exciting to think about the potential.  I already love .NET for Windows development.  So the choice was simple.

Wait no it's not simple.  There are a ton of Content Management Systems (blogging platforms) out there.  Umbraco, Orchard, DotNetNuke, etc... Which one do I choose?

After I built and patched up my new Windows 2008 R2 Web Server, the first thing I did was install the Microsoft Web Platform Installer.  It's seriously bad ass; if you run Microsoft Web Servers, you need to at least take a look.  It was from there that I started looking at blogging platforms.  Wordpress is there and is obviously very popular, and it tried to tempt me back into its comforting embrace of PHP and MySQL.  But I resisted the urge; I was determined to learn something new.  So I chose Umbraco.  I toyed with it for about a day until I couldn't take it any more and uninstalled it.  I mean, I appreciate that it's a good and powerful product, but for me it just seemed very complicated with a kludgy UI. So today I again resisted the urge to go back to Wordpress, and instead tried out BlogEngine.NET.  And so far I'm really liking it.  It's not too complex, but it still sports some really awesome features that .NET and ASP have to offer.

So bear with me as I continue customizing and fleshing out this site.  Partly because I wanted to see and learn something new to me, and partly because I'm hoping to uncover something new with it that will make my 4,223rd blog even cooler.