We're proud to make available a release candidate (RC) for BlogEngine.NET 2.5. There's some very exciting new features and changes in this release. The final release is not far behind -- most likely at the end of June. The BlogEngine.NET 2.5 Release Candidate can be downloaded here. If you will be testing the RC as an upgrade to existing BlogEngine.NET blog, here are upgrade instructions.
BlogEngine.NET has been upgraded to ASP.NET 4.0. This has allowed us to take advantage of new .NET 4.0 features such as Razor templating, NuGet package integration and other features included in .NET 4.0. To install or ugprade to BE.NET 2.5, you'll want to make sure your website is at a webhost or on a web server that has ASP.NET 4.0 available.
Multiple Blogs in a Single Installation
It is here at last! Multiple blogs in a single installation is supported for both XML and DB storage. It's very flexible in that you can setup new "blog instances" based on a 1 or more pre-created templates, and you can configure each blog instance with a flexible URL system where a blog instance can be identified by the virtual sub-folder it is installed in, or by a unique hostname. If you will be using the new multiple blog feature, and you have existing custom themes, extensions or widgets, it's possible those items may need to be slightly adjusted to be fully multiple-blog compatible. Screenshots and details can be found here.
Razor Themes and Razor Pages
One of the perks of moving up to ASP.NET 4.0 is that we take advantage of Razor templating technology. In particular, Razor themes are supported in BlogEngine.NET 2.5, and a number of the admin pages in the control panel have been converted to be Razor pages -- including the Extension related pages, a new Theme settings page and the Dashboard.
BlogEngine.NET 2.5 includes a Razor theme named Garland-Revisited which can be seen running live here. If you are interested in creating your own Razor theme for BlogEngine.NET, I recommend you take a look at the Garland-Revisited theme to see how that works. You can use any Razor syntax and any Razor helpers, etc with your Razor theme.
Integration with the BlogEngine.NET Gallery
If you haven't yet seen the BlogEngine.NET Gallery, check it out. At the gallery, themes, extensions and widgets can be downloaded (or uploaded) and installed into your blog. The packages there you download are NuGet packages which work well because you can download a package and manually install it into your blog, or you can use Visual Studio to automate the install for you.
What we've done in BlogEngine.NET 2.5 is allow you to view, search and install Themes from the BlogEngine.NET Gallery directly into your blog, and you can do all of this while in your blog's control panel. Under Settings in the control panel, there's a new Themes sub-tab where you can view all of your installed themes, and click a "Gallery" link (upper right corner) to switch to the available themes at the BlogEngine.NET Gallery.
In the next version of BlogEngine.NET we plan on having the same type of BlogEngine.NET Gallery integration with Extensions and Widgets so those too can be installed directly from within the control panel.
The upgrade script for SQLite and updated S3DB file are not in the RC, but will be included in the final release.
The same set of databases supported in BlogEngine.NET 2.0 will be supported in BlogEngine.NET 2.5. Those databases are SQL Server, MySQL, SQL CE and SQLite.
The source code for BlogEngine.NET 2.5 RC can be downloaded at the same location. The Mercurial code repository at CodePlex is currently not operating correctly, so downloading or cloning any code from there is not recommended until that is fixed. We hope to have that fixed in the next couple of days. UPDATE: The Mercurial source code repository at CodePlex is functioning again and has the latest code.
Many other small improvements and important fixes have made their way into BlogEngine.NET 2.5. A complete list of features can be found here.
Download & Feedback
The release candidate will probably only be out for about 1 week before we release the final version at the end of June. If you find any issues with the RC, please report them in the Issue Tracker at CodePlex. Or if you have questions or comments, the best place to pass those onto us is in the CodePlex Discussions. Again, BlogEngine.NET 2.5 RC can be downloaded here, and upgrade instructions are here.