Saturday, January 24, 2009


I have been engaging in a fun and enlightening conversation in the comments of a blog though the author took down the particular blog post for the conversation. I would have just closed the comments as taking down a post feels like lying and denying the conversation ever happened to me, but it is not my blog.


Eric Mattson

if you are reading this, I think your last comment really cleared things up for me. No, I don't mind measuring things or using numbers to continue to do the work of ministry better. I just always want to be aware of the temptation to measure our success based on the ABC's (Attendance, Buildings, and Cash) rather than the growth of God's Kingdom on earth, both within and outside of the traditional church.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The church should be about the business of changing the future

Cool thought from Matt Cleaver,

"The church is the place where imagining a new future should be a perpetual practice, not just every four years. The church should be about the business of changing the future, not just preparing people for it. We participate in bringing about God’s kingdom on earth, changing old to new, and seeing life where there once was death."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Third-party modifications

Bruce Chapman commented on my post about looking at the source and pointed out a free product from his site that is a good mid-point between the base DNN Friendly Url provider and his full featured Url Master Module. This mid-point module called the iFinity Friendly Url Provider was something I had looked at but was unsure what it provided beyond the basic DNN functionality before he provided more clarification in his comment.

Essentially to quote Bruce "It adds features such as preserving the human friendly urls when using additional modules. The standard DNN provider stops producing Human Friendly Urls with add-on modules like the core blogs and forums. The iFinity Friendly Url Provider provides built-in 301 redirects to maintain a single, canonical Url for your DNN pages."

All of this looks cool but is it worth the trouble of modifying my DNN configuration? After all, to quote Nyls Jessan from Starpilot's Grave "Third-party modifications screw up everything." Of course he was trying to do voyage repairs on the hyperspace engines of a ship that had been moded beyond recognition while floating outside the ship in a pressure-suit. He can be forgiven for his feeling that "You should be able to do voyage repairs withou having to suit up and go out in vacuume." However he does still bring up a good point, since I am do all of my work on the newly released DNN 5 core and even the Url Master Module is not completly compatible with DNN 5 as of my last check, I will paraphrase and say "You should be able to do upgrades without having to go back in to the code to fix a problem." BTW Bruce should be updating this forum thread when he has a new version of the URL Master out that is DNN 5 compatible, but that still does not guraruntee that the iFinity Friendly Url Provider is.

As a side note the Mageworlds series by Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald is one of my favorite sci-fi / space opera book series, I higly recomend is with only some slight reservations due to some of the fantasy elements. Book one is available from here.

My Blog in a picture

Visual representation of my blog.

Wordle: Keith Rowley Blog

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sometimes you just need to look at the source code

I have been playing around with Dot Net Nuke recently, trying to figure out if I want to move to this as the main core backend for future websites and web applications I build.

One thing I have never liked about DNN is the way it creates urls. This is a link to the Blogs section of the DotNetNuke website and a typical example of what a DNN url looks like. - with all pages having default.aspx at the end and actually being identified by the tabid number. This is just not a very friendly url and this is one of the main reasons I have avoided using DNN in the past.

With the latest round of research I have been looking for a way to get DNN to use a more friendly url structure such as etc...

I was looking at external addon modules to do this such as the cool looking Url Master Module from iFinity a company owned and run by Bruce Chapman from Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia However, hesitate to commit myself to buying a $95 dollar add-on for every site I build. This kind of expense can really cut into your profit margin.

So today I took a good look at the source for the Friendly Url provider that comes with DNN and came across this setting: urlformat="HumanFriendly" which does exactly what I wanted.

To use this, just open your web.config and locate this tag:

<friendlyurl defaultprovider="DNNFriendlyUrl">
<add name="DNNFriendlyUrl" type="DotNetNuke.Services.Url.FriendlyUrl.DNNFriendlyUrlProvider, DotNetNuke.HttpModules" includepagename="true" regexmatch="[^a-zA-Z0-9 _-]">

Change it to :

<friendlyurl defaultprovider="DNNFriendlyUrl">
<add name="DNNFriendlyUrl" type="DotNetNuke.Services.Url.FriendlyUrl.DNNFriendlyUrlProvider, DotNetNuke.HttpModules" includepagename="true" regexmatch="[^a-zA-Z0-9 _-]" urlformat="HumanFriendly">

Save it and refresh your DNN application. Then you will see no tabid is in your urls.
Thanks to this post for helping me figure out the details of how to do this:

What I wanted was right there all along. However, I would not have realized this was built in if I hadn't taken a good look at the source code for the application and seen a switch that was turned off by default to use
Human Friendly urls.

The moral here is that
sometimes you just need to look at the source code.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Avoid Shelby v5.08000 etc

Don't update your Shelby systems software from the v5.07000 version to the .08000 version using the current end of the year update. There is a bug in the update and you will have to uninstall Shelby and re-install after getting the older version from support.

That is what I did today, uninstall and re-install the Shelby Systems Church management system after doing a end of the year update last night.

As all my loyal readers will already know (that's a joke as I think there are probably 2 of you) I am not at all a fan of Shelby Church management system. This just makes it worse. I am a programmer and have created programs and updates that had errors in them, we all do no matter how much we test. However, I don't continue to encourage people to install my software KNOWING there is an issue and it may completely fry their install. That is just bad business practice. Granted most people will be doing an update from an 8000 version to a later 08000 version which should work fine, but for those of us like me who were still using an earlier 07000 version at least warn us not to install the 08000 version. Come on.