It's been a while since I've blogged so I've drafted out about 5 posts to put up over the next two weeks which cover everything I've been doing for the last month - it's a lot, trust me.

First - I picked up a new domain, benjaminhowarth.co.uk (which is just a redirect to here). Many thanks to the staff at Nominet for helping me to rightfully obtain my domain from an unscrupulous entity which shall remain nameless.

Second - once I obtained this domain name, I wanted to use my own control panel to manage the domain's DNS, and not the horrendous mix of CPs that I am forced to use as a result of picking a cheap hosting provider. Sometimes I do think Rackspace are worth the money for support (no, I'm not with them... but at this rate, I might be very soon!).

So I started using this CP and looking at how it manages the DNS, and I thought I could probably do a better job - I mean, how hard can it be to write a CP that will manage hosting and disk allocation, along with plugging directly into IIS to set up various websites and binding them to host headers which have DNS settings stored in Microsoft DNS?

How naive I can be sometimes.

But during this long and arduous thought process, I did discover this little gem over at MSDN, which covers all the basics of how to query and manipulate DNS via WMI (using the dnsapi.dll library on Windows servers from 2000 and onwards). So I'm currently building (along with a massive myriad of side projects) a control panel!

Next week, I'll post up my first PHP site - done in Wordpress as part of the firm I work for, for a reputable financial consultancy. The site was done in Wordpress due to external restrictions on hosting (of course, I would've done it in DNN... although I have started looking at Umbraco more, due to it's XSLT-based templating system), and is due to go live next week with any luck. It's reminded me of the good-ol'-days of classic ASP and interpreted languages... the joys...

I'll also talk about a few .NET class library problems I've had - we have a library with a hand-written data access layer and extending the functionality is... interesting... to say the least! (It took me two months to add new methods and add properties which were then successfully populated from the underling database, due to the fact that the class library has a bunch of interdependent interfaces for every object in the product framework.) I've since discovered SubSonic, what looks to be a great code-generation tool for building data access layers on-the-fly. I was reviewing IronSpeed Designer but because it deals with data-driven apps (think bespoke CRM/ERP systems) I figured I would just look for DAL-generation and roll-my-own interfaces, rather than roll-my-own DALs and pray to God that everything works!

Further updates on client work - I have 3 new DNN sites going live before the end of February which will all end up on my portfolio page.
I will also be re-skinning this site at some stage - I love the skin but I have better uses for it and need to make some aesthetic tweaks before I move it to a new site, which might just be my first delve into Umbraco.

Stay tuned,

CodeGecko