Andrew Connell

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  • Published on

    Blog: AndrewConnell.com v5 - new year & a new site theme

    After 3,240 days, I figured it was a good time for a good refresh. Recently I took some time to rebuild my site theme & after launching it, I’m excited to share it with you! In this post, learn about some of the things that went into the process.
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    Blog: Retiring comments for articles on my sites

    In the last two weeks I’ve rolled out a feature on two of my sites that’s quite significant… at least to me. I should clarify that when I say I “rolled out a feature”, I mean rolled a feature out my site. I started this blog in September 2003. Over 2,500 posts since the very first post, I’ve left commenting enabled on the site. Comments were first stored with the content on the site & later, I used Disqus.
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    Blog: Automatically Reindex Hugo Sites with GitHub Actions

    In this post, I’ll show you how I trigger Azure Search to reindex the site each time it’s redeployed as part of my existing GitHub Actions.
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    Blog: Automated Hugo Releases with Github Actions

    I recently switched the CI/CD process to replace Azure Pipelines with GitHub Actions and in this post, I want to show you how I did it.
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    Blog: Seven months later, analyzing the cost of hosting a Hugo-based site on Microsoft Azure

    In August 2019 I relaunched this site as a static site, generated using Hugo, and hosted on Azure. Moving to a static site brought quite a few benefits, from speed, ease of authoring new content, and simplicity. While it wasn’t a factor in the decision to move to a static site, cost has been another huge benefit. I’m saving over 97% per month by switching from a dynamic to a static site!
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    Blog: Automatically Reindex Hugo Sites with Azure Pipelines

    In this post, I’ll show you how I trigger Azure Search to reindex the site each time it’s redeployed as part of my existing Azure Pipeline configuration.
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    Blog: Monitor Azure Search With Azure Application Insights

    In my last post, Add Search to Hugo Sites With Azure Search, I explained how I added a search capability to my site using Azure Search. In this post, I’ll show you how I monitor it to see what queries people are running and which result they are clicking on.

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    Blog: Add Search to Hugo Sites With Azure Search

    A few months ago I re-launched my site on Hugo, but search wasn’t included in the release. That’s what this post is about.
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    Blog: Automated Hugo Releases With Azure Pipelines

    In this post, I explain how this site is automatically built & deployed when I push commits as well as on a scheduled basis with Azure DevOps Pipelines.
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    Blog: Hosting Hugo on Azure

    Last week I wrote how I migrated my site from a dynamic CMS to a static site generated using Hugo. The entire site and all supporting processes are hosted in the Microsoft cloud, specifically Azure DevOps & Microsoft Azure. In this post, I will explain how the site is hosted in Microsoft Azure. This assumes the static files have already been built so you will see how it’s exposed to the world.

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    Blog: Moved This Site to Hugo

    I started this site and blogging as a personal journal almost exactly 16 years ago today, in September 2003. Over the last 16 years, I’ve used three different open source engines to implement the site, starting with .Text, it’s successor SubText and then moved to Orchard CMS in 2013. Orchard served me well for the last six years, but after much consideration, I’ve made yet another re-platforming move. The site you’re reading right now is on the new platform!
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    Blog: Blog Update: New Blog Posts Published in RSS and Email

    A little over a month ago, I blogged how I shut off my RSS feed on my blog to replace it with an email newsletter. You can read more about that decision here: Blog Update: No more RSS, Moving New Blog Post Notifications to Email. Today I’ve turned the RSS feature back on for new posts, however, the only thing in that post is a message about going to the site to read the whole post, not the body of the actual blog post.
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    Blog: Blog Update: No more RSS, Moving New Blog Post Notifications to Email

    After years of struggling to find a solution to something that’s bothered me, I’m finally making a big change on my site. Starting immediately after this post, I will no longer syndicate my content out in an RSS feed. After this post, if you want to get notified of new posts, you can subscribe to my newsletter using the widget at the bottom of all pages on my site or signing up using this form.
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    Blog: Orchard CMS vs. WordPress: It's On!

    Every time I seem to publish a post on Orchard CMS, I get all this random and unsolicited input from people either asking why I didn’t use WordPress or that I should have used WordPress for my site. To be very clear: I know it’s an option but it isn’t what I wanted. I wanted to continue to tinker and extend the engine I was going to use and had zero interest in learning PHP for that task.
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    Blog: HowTo Setup: Orchard CMS Source Enlistment for Local Dev and Automated Git Publishing to Azure

    I’m not thrilled with this post title, but it does say what I’m trying to convey in this post. In a recent post I explained where I was and what I was trying to achieve. Ultimately my goal was the following (stolen from my previous post): I wanted to easily get the most recent changes from the master Orchard source tree. I then wanted to easily make edits and changes to that tree but keep them separate but I also wanted to easily make contributions to the Orchard project and submit changes as a Git pull request.
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    Blog: HowTo Setup: Orchard CMS Source Enlistment for Local Dev and Automated Git Publishing to Azure

    In this post, I’ll walk through the process that I’ve setup to deploy my Orchard CMS site to Azure using git publihsing.
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    Blog: Upgrading Orchard CMS from 1.6 to 1.7.1

    Earlier this year, in March of 2013 (all posts on the topic), I relaunched my site using the open source CMS engine Orchard CMS. I based my deployment on the 1.6 release which was the most current stable release at the time. I’ve been very pleased with the engine and have enjoyed doing some customizations to the codebase as well not to mention some minor contributions to the project in the documentation and bug fix areas.
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    Blog: Get Insight Into Your Site Traffic and Improve Your Site's Search Ranks with HitTail

    For the last few weeks I’ve been testing out an interesting service that I learned about while catching up on my new favorite podcast, Startups for the Rest of Us. The service is called HitTail (http://www.hittail.com). So what is HitTail? The concept is actually quite simple although admittedly it took me most of the trial to finally realize exactly how it could benefit me specifically. I’ll explain it more for how I see it rather than how their marketing explains it on the site because it wasn’t until Derrick (from HitTail support) explained it in a way that finally resonated with me.
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    Blog: My Blog: Hosting on Azure - Why, What, How & Costs

    Looking at the title of this post, you might notice something missing. It’s the classic five questions: What Why Where When How But the title is missing two of them… where & when. Well those are easy: What: look at the title… my blog is hosted on Azure… that’s what When: right now… actually, starting back on March 19, 2013 In this post I want to touch on a few questions I’ve been getting about my blog since I elected to move it.
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    Blog: My Blog: Creating a Custom Brand and Orchard Theme

    About a month and half ago I relaunched my blog onto a new web CMS platform moving away from the SubText engine to Orchard (you can see more on the background here). When I relaunched, I got a lot of questions on how I did it and about some of the decisions I made along the way. At the time I committed to writing a bunch of posts but I got a bit behind on writing these posts because some billable work got in the way as well as some other business stuff.
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    Blog: My Blog: Comments are Re-Enabled on Article Pages

    When I launched my blog, I had comments disabled for the time being. The reason for this was that I was migrating all the comments from being stored in my engine to being stored and managed by a 3rd party service. After launch I got all the comments imported into the service I’m using (Disqus), but I was still having issues with comments showing up on my articles. Happy to say I finally got that sorted out.
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    Blog: My Blog: Comments are Re-Enabled

    I’m not sure if “re-enabled” is the correct way to say it considering they were never enabled on the new site, but they were most certainly enabled on the old site! I had more than 5,400 comments on my blog over the last 9 years. My old blog engine did an ok job with it in that comments were logged in the database until I manually approved them. This worked at the beginning of my blogging venture, but two things happened: (1) more people started subscribing my blog and it started showing up in search results and (2) spam bots come to life.
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    Blog: My New Blog: Why Orchard as the Engine & Azure as the Host?

    Ever since the original post when I said I was going to make the changes to my site, the number one question I kept hearing was “why Orchard” as the engine for the new site. Of course the next question I got is “why not SharePoint” and of course “why not Wordpress.” I found it interesting was that no one asked “why Azure?” I guess that was the no brainer…
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    Blog: My Blog is Now on Orchard, Hosted in Azure and Redesigned!

    A little over a month ago I blogged about how I was planning to re-launch my blog. This post is from the newly launched site! Before I say too much here I want to mention that I will be writing quite a few posts on the reasoning behind some decisions I made with the new site as well as how I did it. Since posting that I was making the move, I’ve received quite a few comments from folks on Twitter asking why and how so these posts will serve those answers.
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    Blog: My Blog Engine and Design has Served Me Well, But its Time for a Big Change

    Over nine years ago I started this blog on an open source engine (.Text v0.94). I was using one of the out-of-the-box skins which served me well for a while. Then Phill Haack picked it up, forked the source and created the engine SubText. I can’t recall when I moved over to SubText, but it was a painless move being that SubText was really just a fork of .Text. Then sometime between 2003 & 2005 a co-worker at the time (many of you SharePointers are likely familiar with Heather Solomon, yes we cut our teeth on SharePoint together back in the day) built a custom skin for me which is still to this day mostly unchanged from the initial launch in return for me standing up her own SubText blog.
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    Blog: Cleaning up your SubText database

    I use the open source project SubText to power my blog and have been for years. For me, it works great. However there’s one little dirty secret about it: it logs every single inbound URL request for trackbacks & pingbacks… just like most blog software does. All of this gets logged to two tables: subtext_Referrals & subtext_URLs. After a while, these guys can fill up to be quite big… specifically the URLs table.
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    Blog: OK, so I do like Twitter... (I guess this is a mea culpa post)

    So a while ago I poked my head into the twitterverse and decided it just wasn’t for me… but after hearing so much about it… I decided to give it another fair shake about 4 months ago. I can say that now I’m actually enjoying this. Don’t get me wrong… it’s still a lot a noise. Twitter is very much like walking into a bar at happy hour and hearing EVERYONE’s conversation at once.
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    Blog: Join My Blog Network on Facebook

    Want to be part of the conversation on this blog and general SharePoint development or WCM topics? Maybe just join a network on my blog… at any rate, you can join my network by clicking on this link: Join AC’s Blog Network on Facebook.
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    Blog: PSA: Trackbacks and Pingbacks are now disabled on my blog

    I find them to be more trouble than they are worth. While the comment spam filtering technique absolutely rocks in SubText (my blog engine), it isn’t very effective against trackbacks and pingbacks. They are all moderated so my site isn’t soiled by them, but it is a PITA to approve/reject them. Commonly I find a vast number more trackbacks/pingbacks that are spam than are valid, so I am tossing in the towel.
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    Blog: Getting a pulse on the SharePoint blogosphere

    A while ago Dustin Miller offered to mirror your blog as long as it was SharePoint related through “the” place for a SharePoint blog: SharePointBlogs.com naturally. After seeing how it was implemented I jumped on board. Wow… now that was one smart move. So here’s how it works. You’ve got all those blogs that are already on SharePointBlogs.com… and they’ve had their main feed for a while now. When your blog is added as a mirror, you’re added to an External Feeds list.
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    Blog: Four years later...

    It all started four years ago today. On September 23, 2003, I setup this blog and posted my first entry. Now four years, 1193 posts, 2098 comments, and 2500+ unique daily subscribers later, here we are. Thanks to all of you who subscribe and participate in the comments on posts on this blog. Got some great stuff planned between now and the end of the year… not just content, but major updates to my blog to make it a better resource for SharePoint and Publishing site developers!
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    Blog: Cleaning up unmoderated comments / trackbacks in SubText quickly

    Get a lot of crap through your comments, trackbacks and pingbacks on your SubText blog? The support added for Akismet rocks and has cut down on the number of amount crap that makes it through, but no system is foolproof. I’ve noticed after ignoring the unmoderated stuff for a while and as the quantity slowly grows, the loading of the feedback page in the admin section gets slower and slower. Not only that, but I don’t care to have all that crap in my blog DB.
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    Blog: Stuff I wouldn't wanna live without

    Generally I’m not much of a fan of these tag-you’re-it-blogs because they seem so corny, but I did like this one. Sahil tagged me to come up with a list of things I just can’t do without… so here we go. Here’s my list of things I simply wouldn’t want to live without (in no particular order): Laptop: I seriously couldn’t imaging life without a laptop. Today that’s a Dell D820 widescreen with a 4GB RAM and a 2nd modular HDD for VM’s.
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    Blog: Westward bound: heading to the MVP Global Summit 2007!

    Tomorrow I head out for the MVP Global Summit in Seattle/Redmond Washington… the event where all MVPs flock together to do some serious geeking out. This will be my second Summit, and if this one is anything like the last, I’m going to be thrilled. What’s so great is seeing all your fellow MVPs in your product group (SharePoint for me obviously), and talking with folk on the product team. Taking my still & video camera, so expect some shots uploaded throughout the week (possibly) and certainly at the end of the week.
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    Blog: Few changes to this blog...

    I’ve recently made a few changes to my blog over the last two months or so… Name change to Andrew Connell [MVP MOSS] - yup, we got word today that MOSS was officially added as a competency and those of us Content Management Server MVP’s (and those SharePoint Portal server 2003 MVPs) have been transitioned to the new competency. Next step go update those biz cards, email signatures, upcoming presentations… Upgraded to SubText 1.
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    Blog: Congrats to two new MVPs from Jacksonville!

    And now for some local Florida developer community pimping. Jacksonville, Florida just got two new Microsoft MVP’s in the most recent award cycle: Vinay Ahuja (C#) and John Holliday (SharePoint Portal Server… soon to be MOSS). If they are new folks to you, let me have the pleasure of briefly introducing both of them. Vinay is very active in the local Florida developer community, both in a leadership role of the JAXDUG, the man behind the curtain for all the SIG’s under JAXDUG, and frequent speaker on the regional code camp circuit.
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    Blog: I've been tagged, so here are "5 things you don't know about me"

    You seen this whole I’ve been tagged thing? Man, a search for that phrase on Technorati has over 34k hits (all within the last few days)! After not checking my feeds for a few days (ya know, New Years Eve, college football, duh!), I see that I’ve been tagged by Shane Perran, Sahil Malik, and the new Mindsharp employee Keith Richie. Geez guys, all this tagging and I feel like the grafiti’d wall under an overpass, loaded with local gang symbols!
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    Blog: Three years, 1005 posts, and 980 comments later...

    Wow, today marks three years since I started blogging… my blog-o-versary I guess. It still feels like only yesterday I decided to jump on the bandwagon, create a blog and post my first entry: My first blog…. My intention was for this to simply be a personal online journal. Little did I know what I had to say actually interested people. I’d like to extend a big “thank you” to all those who subscribe and read my blog… I never expected to see Feedburner report that I’d have 600-800 unique daily readers of my blog (during weekdays… 400-600 on the weekends).
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    Blog: A blogging milestone: 1,000 posts

    Its been almost three years since I started blogging and with the recent flood of posts thanks to today’s release of MOSS 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh, I hit the mark of my 1,000th post (this is 1,001). I never really had a goal of reaching any number of posts, it just happened. The number of posts doesn’t mean as much to me as another milestone around the corner…
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    Blog: Eat your own dogfood, don't just speak about eating it

    One of my tips on being a better blogger in my Creating, Establishing, and Maintaining a Successful Blog presentation at the Jacksonville Code Camp last weekend was to subscribe to your own feed. It isn’t some ego stroking exercise, it is so you can see how your feeds come across to your readers & subscribers. So I do that, but I’d become lax… I have a category in FeedDemon (my favorite news aggregator) called “A-List Feeds”.
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    Blog: Jacksonville Code Camp 2006 - This Saturday!

    The second annual Jacksonville Code Camp is now less than a week away! It’s being held this Saturday, August 26th at the Florida Community College Advanced Technology Center in downtown Jacksonville, FL. While it is a free event, registration is required so make sure you register today! Come see some top notch speakers from the local community including seven MVP’s, several softies, and many other regional speakers. This is a great op for you to get *free* information on .
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    Blog: Jacksonville Code Camp 2006: Registration, speakers, sessions and my sessions

    The guys rounding up the Jacksonville Code Camp have been hard at work! In the last week, the official site has been the recipient of a much needed face lift as well as the addition of a TON of content! Check out the site for the following additions: Registration information (yes, you MUST register, even though it’s a free event) List of speakers List of sessions Keep in mind, you MUST register even though this is a free event… space is limited so make sure you register!
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    Blog: Blog comments, WCM link-fest update, and Angus wants your WSSv3/MOSS designs!

    Blog Comments & Contact Form SubmissionsWell, I joined the ranks of others who blew it with their blog comments. Somehow Outlook stopped checking the mailbox that receives all notifications of comments and contact forms filled out on my blog. I just now realized this and see nothing has flowed since July 18th. So, if you left a comment on my blog or contacted me via the contact form on my blog, I’ll start addressing everything later tonight… sorry for the delay… MY BAD!
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    Blog: Two big acquisitions: Feedburner buys

    Two acquisitions came across my aggregator in the last two days that I didn’t notice until this afternoon… both are quite substantial! FeedBurner acquires BlogbeatFeedBurner, the company who’s service I use to syndicate my RSS feed, purchased Blogbeat, a service that analyzes syndicated content feeds (RSS/ATOM), an effort to add additional statistics for publishers to view how their content is being consumed. Why did they do it? Put quite simply on the acquisition FAQ:
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    Blog: RECAP: JAXDUG July 12 Talk on Virtualization and Developer Tools

    First, thank you to everyone who attended my talk at the JAXDUG meeting last night. I was quite surprised at the turnout with a last minute change in venue (what’s up with that Merrill Lynch security? Damn.. that’s some tight stuff!). Second, I’d like to apologize for not getting to spend as much time on the development tools like I had planned. I noticed the virtualization part of the talk was longer than expected, but I decided to wrap up the virtualization best practices piece and then we’d just run late and those not interested in dev tools could leave.
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    Blog: JAXDUG talk reminder, blog subscription cleaning, and musings

    JAXDUG Talk - July 12, 2006 @ 6p Tomorrow night I’m giving a talk at the Jacksonville Developer User Group (JAXDUG) on virtualization & developer tools at 6p at the Bank of America campus off Southside Blvd… get more info on it here (including the talk abstract & detailed location information). Blog subscription cleaning After a very untimely database corruption of my RSS aggregator (Omea Reader) last week which resulted in numerous subscriptions being delivered to the wrong feed (very annoying to get CLR debugging posts in a SharePoint UI blog), I finally reverted back to an old backup from before TechEd.
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    Blog: Showing some delayed JAXDUG love & my talk at the July meeting

    I’m way late on posting this… frankly trying to slam out a bunch of work before TechEd, TechEd itself, and now trying to catch up on a bunch of work before I head for a relaxing vacation on a mountain in western North Carolina just kept me so damn busy I couldn’t get this post crafted until now. On June 7th, Tom Fuller (recent MVP Solutions Architect awardee) came and spoke to the Jacksonville Developer User Group about Software Factories and Domain Specific Languages (DSLs).
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    Blog: TechEd 2006 Reflection

    Another TechEd week is behind us, and what a week it was. The big coming out party centered around Office with its pending 2007 release later this year/early next year. As usual, the best part is spending time with all the people you usually only communicate with over email and follow on the blogosphere. This year was quite different for me as I staffed the Office Technical Learning Center (TLC) as a subject matter expert for CMS and WCM.
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    Blog: Offline for the week...

    For those of you trying to ping me this week, I’m going offline with very limited connectivity this week as a few of us head off-site for a week of pure MOSS 200 Beta 2 exploration… I’ll be back online June 2nd or 3rd.
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    Blog: Random valuable finds...

    Over the last month or two, I’ve been under a rock with work or had problems with my blog that I’ve been unable to post. During this time there were things I wanted to post but never had the time or the ability to post them… this post will serve as my catchall of things worth noting… ok… they are things that were big news to me… Development Visual Studio 2005 Web Application Project v1 Released (via ScottGu): Basically this VS2005 add-on gives you the ability to have web projects that don’t use the VS2005 models but rather the VS2003 model where everything is compiled into a single DLL.
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