The History of BlogEngine.NET
BlogEngine.NET may not be quite as well known as WordPress or Movable Type when it comes to blogging platforms and Content Management Systems for websites and web platforms, but it is responsible for helping to shape and mold both the modern blogging world and the world of web development in general.
Built on the back of Microsoft’s incredibly powerful .NET, BlogEngine.NET is unique from the other CMS platforms out there in that it doesn’t use PHP to handle the “heavy lifting” of its capabilities but instead utilizes all of the functionality and all of the frameworks that have been established by .NET technology.
100% open source, anyone and everyone has the ability to extend and improve upon the code base that BlogEngine.NET is working from.
Originally, these files were passed around using popular filesharing platforms before everything became collected by Microsoft in the ASP.NET platform online. You can also find “forks” of BlogEngine.NET on GitHub and other repositories for the facilitation of open-source software and open source projects.
To learn a little bit more about everything that BlogEngine.NET has to offer it’s important to fully understand its history, and that’s something that we are going to dig a little bit into right now!
BlogEngine.NET has been around for more than 10 years
BlogEngine.NET can track its earliest days back to a single developer by the name of Mads Kristensen.
Looking to create a flexible, adaptable, and extensible blogging platform that didn’t have to rely on databases the way that traditional blogging solutions did, Kristensen set out to build the perfect platform all on his – utilizing the power of Microsoft development tools every step of the way.
Building the platform to utilize ASP.NET as well as Visual Studio, he was able to create a lean, mean, and lightweight blogging solution that was just as user-friendly and as easy to work with as any of the other content management platforms out there without having to be quite as resource intensive when it was deployed on a traditional web server.
Development on this project started in early 2005, but it wasn’t until about 2006/2007 that the first few open-source versions of BlogEngine.NET started to get released online. Since then, the community has grown up around BlogEngine.NET. Now there are literally hundreds of thousands of people out there working with and on the BlogEngine.NET platform thanks to its open-source nature.
In 2008, Kristensen was invited to do a technology talk at the Microsoft headquarters in Copenhagen, specifically to talk about the work that he did bringing BlogEngine.NET to the table. BlogEngine.NET has since left the project to focus on other new software solutions, but it remains incapable hands thanks to the stewardship of multiple individuals continuing to work on the project even still today.
Originally intended for .NET developers only
The most interesting thing about BlogEngine.NET was that it was originally conceived of as a bit of a pet project, something that would be utilized only by those that were familiar with everything the .NET protocols brought to the table.
Kristensen establish this platform to help these developers “bolt on” blog components and architecture to already existing sites that have been built with this protocol, all without having to force them to “reinvent the wheel”.
The system through which BlogEngine.NET works was always designed to be used as an add on first and foremost, making it effortless to deploy these kinds of new capabilities in an already existing site. Before 2005, the overwhelming majority of websites out there didn’t have blog capabilities – and Kristensen recognized that this was going to change and not every website owner was going to want to rebuild it from scratch.
By building the new BlogEngine.NET platform from the ground up to work with web host technology already in existence (BlogEngine.NET continues to be offered as part of the “administrative backend” of any web hosts out there that offers Windows-based servers, as well as many of those that offer Linux-based servers as well)
Some of the standout features that BlogEngine.NET brings to the table
BlogEngine.NET continues to prove to be a very popular and very capable platform for adding blog components to a new or previously existing website, and that’s thanks to the unique standout features it has that other competing blog platforms and CMS solutions do not.
Right out of the gate, the fact that you do not need any form of database to run a brand-new blog component on your website has to be the number one defining feature of BlogEngine.NET. This makes it easy to learn how to start your own blog in a just a few minutes.
Instead of using an SQL database as standard technology for your blog (the way that so many other CMS options do), BlogEngine.NET utilizes XML to do the exact same thing. This keeps your blog lightweight, speedy, and responsive.
It should be noted that SQL databases CAN be used with BlogEngine.NET (if that’s an important part of your overall web deployment), but it does not need to be an essential backbone technology for your blog to run with this open-source software.
Secondly, BlogEngine.NET can be effortlessly deployed on any web server with absolutely zero “startup time” whatsoever. The entire package comes in a self deploying system that can be installed on your server in an instant (usually right from your administrative backend on your web host), giving you the blog capabilities you are looking for with no delay whatsoever.
You also won’t have to worry about these files interfering with the existing web architecture you already have in place.
BlogEngine.NET happens to be design for the web 2.0 environment, too.
This platform fully supports the use of Gravatar, Ajax, Google site maps, Open Search support, social bookmarking tools and technology, tag clouds, and so much more. While BlogEngine.NET may be just over 10 years old already, it remains adaptable and flexible and is very much current as far as its feature set is concerned.
The ability to completely customize your BlogEngine.NET installation also cannot be understated. You’ll have the ability to add new widgets on the fly, can fully extend BlogEngine.NET with third-party add-ons and accessory code, and can even tinker with the “backbone” code of this blogging platform because of its open-source nature.
BlogEngine.NET doesn’t have all that many limitations, though it is certainly better suited for those that are looking for a relatively simple and straightforward online publishing platform.
Small to midsized companies may be able to better take advantage of SaaS platforms like self-hosted WordPress installations and the like, especially if they don’t want to have to deal with the troubleshooting and technical lucky that a BlogEngine.NET installation will inevitably involve.
At the end of the day, BlogEngine.NET will always be an important part of web development history.
While it isn’t as popular or as widely deployed as CMS solutions like WordPress and Movable Type, BlogEngine.NET certainly pushed both of those platforms – and many other blog software options that have gone under – to innovate and to improve their services by acting as a viable and exciting direct competitor.
Today, BlogEngine.NET is a bit more of a niche software solution, but it remains one of the most active open-source software options out there with a very dedicated development community that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The future remains quite bright for everything that this platform is able to bring to the table. While it’s impossible to know exactly what BlogEngine.NET will look like in 5, 10, or even 15 years the odds are good that it will exist in some shape or form as long as blogs are built on the internet!