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Migrated from Community Server to DasBlog

Posted in Community Server | dasBlog | Sql and Xml at Saturday, October 17, 2009 8:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time

If you’re reading this then you’re on my new blog homepage at http://bryantlikes.com. I’ve wanted to move off of http://blogs.sqlxml.org for some time but every time I start to work on it I get overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. I would usually get stuck on (1) how to migrate all my content and (2) where to host it since there is a lot of content and most hosting providers give you very little SQL storage.

I looked at a lot of options and even setup Oxite on Azure by following this guide, but since I didn’t know what the monthly costs will be I decided not to take that route. Since I was recently awarded the MVP award I decided to look at some of the benefits and I found that Orcs Web offers a free hosting account to MVPs. I know Orcs has a great service so I was excited to give that a try, but I didn’t think their SQL storage would be enough for my blog. That is when I got the idea to give dasBlog a try. DasBlog stores all your data in xml files instead of using a SQL database. At first that sounds like a bad idea, but if it can support Hanselman’s blog, then surely my blog would have no problems at all. Plus it solves the SQL storage issue.

Now the harder question, how do you migrate all the content. At first I tried using the BlogML stuff to pull all my content out of Community Server, but I have a lot of content so I ended up getting lots of exceptions. I tried to hand code some solutions, but finally gave up. Then I got the idea to just take the simple route and write a custom program to read the data from my CS database and generate the XML files that dasBlog uses. So I used some Linq to SQL classes and wrote the XML using Linq to XML. It was fairly easy to do and it worked great.

The next step was to setup the redirects on the old site to point to the new site. I have all the articles redirecting and I think they all work (for the most part). I had to setup some custom redirects for some of the articles with non-standard characters in the titles, but other than that it was pretty easy. I also followed Scott’s post on canonicalize my URLs and using IIS7’s rewrite module. Orcs provides access to your IIS7’s manager remotely which works great.

I still need to migrate my articles, but I’ll get those done later today. Other than that it is a done deal. I’m very happy to be off the sqlxml.org domain which I still host at home and to be off of Community Server.

Lately, I wanted to thank Alexander Groß for the great theme which he created. I think this new blog is much easier to read and so far I’ve enjoyed the dasBlog software. I’ve even write a custom macro to put the RSS feeds on the category pages. I’m sure I’ll do some more customization down the road and post about as I go.

Hope you like the new blog!

Running a Home Office Web Server with a Dynamic IP

Posted in General | Windows Server 2008 | Community Server at Tuesday, February 10, 2009 2:19 AM Pacific Standard Time

I’ve blogged about my server closet in my home office before. I used to have three servers running in my home office and for Internet service I had AT&T DSL with 5 static IP addresses. That all changed by accident when I was looking into current pricing and found I could upgrade my speed and I would get a lower cost. However, someone over at AT&T DSL misread my order and changed me from static to dynamic, so yesterday morning I got knocked offline. I spent over 2 hours on the phone with them and they told me it could take up to 48 hours before they could get me static IP addresses again. So I started looking into getting my blog back online with a dynamic IP.

One of my goals for last year was to outsource most of my home network to external servers because I didn’t like dealing with it. So last year I did outsource email to Google Apps, DNS and some websites to Godaddy, and Subversion to Dreamhost. Because of that I was able to downsize to a single server which I run a few websites on. I also had been having network speed issues so I had just purchased a new router+dsl modem, the D-Link DSL 2540B which happens to support Dynamic DNS.

Setting it up:

  1. You need to make sure your router supports Dynamic DNS and you need an account with a Dynamic DNS service. I used dyndns.com since they have free accounts. I setup mine to be bryantlikes.dyndns.org.
  2. Delete the A record for your DNS (if you have one) and then create a new CNAME for your domain that points to the Dynamic DNS name. So, for example, blogs.sqlxml.org has a CNAME that points to bryantlikes.dyndns.org. If you have other CNAME records already (for example, www), then point those to your dynamic DNS entry as well.
  3. Forward port 80 to your web server in your router settings. This is different for each router, D-Link calls it Virtual Servers under the advanced tab.

At this point your website should be available from the Internet. However, internally you won’t be able to hit it. The port forwarding only happens from the WAN interface and not the LAN one. In order to get it working internally you have to take a couple more steps.

  1. Setup DNS on your web server if it isn’t already on there. Then add a new domain for the domain that you used in your dynamic DNS. For example, I added the bryantlikes.dyndns.org domain and then created an A record for the root that points to my web server’s local IP address.
  2. Make sure your DHCP clients all point to your web server as their DNS. It is the only DNS Server that redirects the dynamic DNS entry to your local server.

That’s it! You should now have your dynamic IP serving up web pages both internally and externally. This caused me a bunch of headaches and googling yesterday so I thought it was worth blogging about. I glossed over lots of setup in each of the steps so if you want more information let me know and I’ll try to add it.

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