December 4, 2012
@ 07:52 PM

I have a new (additional) blog. It's not a "write" blog, it's a "speak" blog. Over on Microsoft's Channel 9 I started the "Subscribe!" blog last Friday night.

The goal for it is to be a way to talk about middleware and specifically about my team's product Service Bus on Channel 9. Service Bus and the other middleware products and features tend to require quite a bit of guidance and explanation because they help solving complex problems. I'm trying to help providing a forum for that, not only in the form of monologues, but also having our customers and my coworkers speak.

Here's the link

Categories: Blog

Here's a short video explaining where I’m at now (here’s a map) and what I’m up to. Meanwhile I’ve also figured out how to put sound on both channels with the setup that I have, but here it’s still just on the left channel and also doesn’t sound as good as it should as I don’t have all the white-noise correcting Jedi motions mastered.  

Spoiler: I’ll start doing a video show on a regular basis and need input for content planning, so if you have any ideas, don’t hesitate to send me email or Tweet me at @clemensv.

Categories: Architecture | Blog | Talks

I’ve been starting to use Cinchcast to post little audio clips that I record while driving from and to work about things that come up with regards to Service Bus on the forums or on Twitter or elsewhere. The RSS feed is at

Categories: Blog

September 9, 2010
@ 01:20 AM

For the (blog-) record - if you'd ever be looking for me on Twitter (where I'm sadly writing tons more than here), I'm @clemensv over there :-)

Categories: Blog

2007 I've posted some 30 entries on my blog. That's what some of the "Whoa, listen to me, I am so awesome!" blogging crowd of today typically does in a day or two. 2008 promises to be so interesting that it would be a shame not to be blogging, and hence I do. There'll be lots of things going on in tech and in the world. 

Over the past year I've been very deeply involved in the still rather stealthy project 'Oslo' about which we'll talk about in MUCH more detail throughout this year than we have at the recent conferences. When you are in a project with tight disclosure constraints there's really nothing of any substance to talk or blog about. Hence I didn't.

However, since Wednesday I have a new job. I'm now getting my hands dirty by writing code for our Internet Service Bus infrastructure that's currently code-named 'BizTalk Services'. Here, the rules of the game are very different. We're actually building most of the stuff out in the open and are inviting people to play with it. That's really more in the spirit of how I've been working with the community in the past and therefore I'm looking forward to the fun that's to be had in this new team.

Beware; since I gather that I've lost about 95% of my readership of my main at blog due to my inactivity I will use the opportunity to adjust the agenda and make it a "everything that I find interesting" place. Expect political opinion. My MSDN blog at will get mirrored copies of the tech topics as I've done that since I work here at MSFT. If you just care about the tech stuff read the MSDN mirror. 

Categories: Blog | ISB

June 4, 2007
@ 07:32 PM

As Scott says, work on DasBlog is still happening and the project is getting ready for the very last ASP.NET 1.1 release before moving on to the ASP.NET 2.0 model and being fully compatible with the 2.0 runtime. You can run it on 2.0 today without any problems, but since the project has been committed to 1.1 compatibility so far, there were quite a bit of things that weren't possible to change.

Once the project switches over to be "native" on the CLR/BCL 2.0 (we're discussing the actual target framework version), I'll rejoin the effort and I already have several truckloads of new features or changes in the wait loop. You'll be surprised what that little engine will learn to do over the next several months.... ;)

Categories: Blog

May 23, 2007
@ 02:39 AM

As announced, if you are subscribed to my blog at or or have the site address in your favorites, now is the time to update those links. The old addresses permanently redirect to the new site and the associated webserver might in fact go away within a few weeks. is the new place. Thanks, Richard.

Categories: Blog

May 16, 2007
@ 05:46 AM

Windows Live Alerts  I must have lived under a rock for the past several months so that I didn't see this service. Anyways, if this works as advertised, subscribing to Live Alerts using the button in this post (and the one under the blog calendar) will have Live alert you whenever my feed gets updated.

Categories: Blog

May 16, 2007
@ 03:48 AM

Changes come little by little. My blog is moving. It's still sitting on the same server in Germany, but in order to take all of you with me to the new home I've flipped the switch on the domain name already. So if you are subscribed to or, this is a good time to edit that entry. Either point to or directly subscribe to the Feedburner mirror at where the first URL redirects to.

Categories: Blog

May 9, 2007
@ 10:26 PM

Mary Jo,

I don't really want to disagree with you in public, but in this instance I really think I have to. In your latest blog post you equate "community" to "everything open-source" and I don't think that makes sense. Is there a "Microsoft Community?". Sure, there is. There are active user groups with tens of thousands of members across the world focusing on all kind of aspects around Microsoft products that exist in independence or under the umbrella of INETA, Culminis or Mindshare. There are fantastic developer community sites out there like CodeProject, DotNetJunkies or ASPAlliance, we have a whole network of Microsoft-driven community sites with a lot of community engagement in forums and community samples (ASP.NET, IIS.NET, etc.) and CodePlex is actually quite impressive for hosting open source projects. The code for this blog engine is on SourceForge along with hundreds and hundreds of Win32 and .NET based other projects. 

It goes further. How about JorDev in Jordan? How about in Ireland? in Germany? NNUG in Norway? SDN in The Netherlands? GotDotNet.RU in Russia? I could continue this list for several pages. And a lot of these groups speak and publish in their local language so their activities don't pop-up on the New York, Redmond, or Silicon Valley radar screens. In the last 4 years before joining the firm I've spoken at some 250 events in over 40 countries and I can tell you, the community you say is missing is there and very much alive. We even seem to have rabid fanboys like Apple, if someone were to believe this unbiased complaint ;-)

But to the heart of your story. You write "When the vendor whose technology you are using doesn't require your participation to create/advance its products, you tend to feel less personally vested in that vendor." The reality looks different. We require that participation and that participation happens. In fact, customer-defined requirements and quality gates are part of our release criteria these days. We broadly engage in technical discussions in blogs, we invite and solicit opinion from industry luminaries, we listen very closely to what people have to say in the forums (and file bugs and design change requests as the result of it), we speak to customers on on-site visits, we run small and big Software Design Reviews previewing and discussing very early bits or just raw ideas (my division ran such an event right after MIX on the 1st floor of the Venetian Convention Center), and there's a a lot of email (and IM discussions) going back and forth with individuals on a daily basis that helps us doing the right thing. And we're not shy changing plans if we're being told that we're not doing the right thing.

The only thing that we don't do is allowing everyone coming along to check out files from our source code depot and start coding along. If people really want to do work on the internals of the .NET Framework, we'll figure out their skills (as even open source projects eventually end up doing as they succeed and grow), see what parts of the code they can best work on for design, code or test, and hire them if it's a fit.

Lastly, to your question "Could/should Microsoft try to make Visual Studio running on Windows more appealing to Linux developers and deployers? Port Microsoft Office or SQL Server to Linux?". Should we? Not mine to decide. This point isn't about "community", at all, I believe. There's a huge, world-wide community that focuses on Windows and the .NET Framework. A significant part of the open source community build software that runs on Windows - and in very many instances even exclusively on Windows. Isn't that the community we should care about in the first place?

As much as folks with vested interest want to play the story that way, the open source community isn't all about Linux (let alone Java). I don't think anyone at Microsoft needs to have "Slashdot envy" as Scoble once put it. Our community does fantastic work and does a lot of it. It'd be nice if you'd recognize them for it.

And you write "Even though Microsoft and its products have helped a number of resellers, software vendors, peripheral makers, consultants and programmers carve out a living for themselves, most of these folks seem to consider Microsoft a job, not an adventure."  The adventure made me move from Germany to Redmond and work for the firm. The adventure has made me lots of friends all across the world. I love this stuff. So do my friends. It'd be nice if you'd recognize that as well.

Have a great day!

PS: I'm not cross-posting this to the MSDN blog as I usually do these days. This is my personal opinion and one motivated by me feeling to be very much a member of the community that you say doesn't exist.

Categories: Blog

May 8, 2007
@ 03:45 AM

One of the neat features of dasBlog is that the statistics pages filter out search terms so that I get to see all the search terms that lead into my blog. Some are quite naughty, some are very funny (especially the dozen-or-so daily search terms for "alien" that land here), some have a surprising search rank, and some are like this: forgot password windows server 2003. I'm really sorry for that fellow ...

Categories: Blog | dasBlog

April 9, 2007
@ 03:06 PM

Tim O'Reilly's "code of conduct" is a "we need more laws" overreaction to the fact that real world making its way into blogland. Yes, as much as there may be a sense in some people that there's a "we" amongst bloggers and "we" need to stay together or some folks still think that bloggers are some kind of an elite: "Blogger" is a mainstream occupation and hobby now. That means: you'll find that some folks are assholes. Get over it. It's not that we hadn't had those along for the ride all the way from the beginning...

So, no, thank you very much.

Categories: Blog

I see an increasing number of research efforts going on to get people’s heads around the blogosphere and how to figure out what's relevant and what's not. 4-5 years back it was quite easy to do so, because there were so few of “us bloggers” and you could read pretty much all blogs that mattered in your area of interest withion an hour of your day, but now all of that has grown so much out of proportion that noise and signal blur into a “wodge of stuff” that’s hard to get through or judge. So now people start resorting to bots and lots of statistics to do analysis and my intuition tells me that while that may yield interesting data, a bot can’t really capture the signal amplitude. With that I mean relevance and authority.

I think I’m observing several types of blogs that deserve different attention and weight. Interestingly enough, that isn’t necessarily captured by discoverable metadata such as inbound links or trackbacks or pingbacks. The types I can come up with are the following and it’d be great if you could give me your opinion on whether that resonates with you and whether you have good examples for the individual types. I am giving some examples realizing that some blogs have N+1 of these characteristics. The crosscutting concern here are comments. I am not sure how to think about those yet. Also, this list is not at all scientific; it’s just a (my) perspective. 

“The Authority”
The blog has been around forever and the author has built up so much credibility and following that “everyone interested” is subscribed to the feed. Since that’s so, people are at most giving “Look at that” links and there is no widespread debate because the blog entries are undisputably good and accurate data; most people just consume the feed.

“The Troublemaker”
The blog has been around for a while and the author has build up enough credibility for people to care. The author intentionally takes extreme positions to spark debate and that works and people are linking and voicing opinion. Lots of people are lurking, lots of links if the position is particularly outrageous.

“The Collaborator”
The blog has been around for a while and the author has build up enough credibility for people to care. The author has a reputation to be interested in broad collaboration, raises interesting challenges and ask broad questions that spark constructive debate.

“The Linkblogger”
The blog has been around for a while and the author has built a reputation for being a good observer for what’s going on in blogland. Lots of people are relying on the editorial skill to cut through the noise and are mostly consuming. Inbound links becoming rare over time, because the blog eventually becomes a utility.

“The Magazine”
The blog has been around for a while and the author has built a reputation for being good at figuring out what’s going on in the industry and is essentially a news outlet. Lots of incoming links due to novelty factor.

“The Blip in the Noise”
The blog is sitting on one of the big blog properties (such as and shows up on people’s radar mostly through the consolidated feed. Inbound links may flare up on an interesting post, but otherwise the main blog is just a lonely place. If there are enough blips, people may end up subscribing to the actual blog feed.

“The Googleable Answer”
This is the blog who is #1 to #5 with the answer to something that thousands are having a problem with. Google for 0x800123123 or some HRESULT and you find this person. The author is proud of this post because (s)he "is the answer", not   (look for "dllhost.exe.config" ...)

 “The Shooting Star”
The blog is relatively new or has been ignored but the author has done an astonishing stunt that ended up on Slashdot or digg (etc). Tons of links. Server tanks. People subscribe and lurk for a while and if the author can follow through the blog will end up on somewhere in one of the categories above or otherwise on the category below.

“I want to blog”
The blog has no general relevance whatsoever. Nobody is particularly interested. Sadly, that's the majority.

Another observation that I have is that the blog volume doesn’t directly correlate to relevance. Someone can be silent for 3 months and have huge amplitude and some blogs on people who post every day may not matter at all in the big picture.

(Thanks to Scott Hanselman for the "Googleable Answer" contribution) 

Categories: Blog

December 20, 2006
@ 08:33 PM

Apparently there's a little blog tag game spreading that Gerald from Sun Microsystems desperately wants to pull me into. Ok. I'm game.

My 5 things:

1. The most CDs I have from a single artist or band are by Prince (& the Revolution, & the New Power Generation). I skipped most of the trash he put out while he was trying to get out of his Warner contract, but unfortunately not the horrid album Come for which I still want my money back. My favorite album is Sign of the Times, followed by 1999. The new 3121 isn't too shabby either.

2. The first game I ever programmed all by myself on my ZX81 (in 1KB!) and not by just typing in a listing from one of the difficult-to-acquire computer magazines (that's how things were back in the day) I wrote in 1984. It was a PacMan knockoff. I lost all work at least five times because the Sinclair's way of saving programs to the cassette tape was not very reliable, to put it nicely. Space Invaders was next.

3. The F. in Clemens F. Vasters stands for Friedrich. My grandmother (father's side) insisted me having that name in honor of my grandfather who fell in France in 1944. By what is known, he was a motor courier and got shot by the French Resistance. He's buried at the German War Cemetary outside of Andilly (near Nancy), France.

4. I currently have 180,000 hard-earned bonus miles with KLM/Air France and 110,000 with Lufthansa. I am qualified as Lufthansa Senator (Star Alliance Gold) through 2/2010, since Lufthansa stacks the 2 year award periods on top of each other when you qualify again in the first year of your award period. I am losing my Gold status with KLM/Air France this next April. No more lounge access in Schiphol and no more skipping the Economy check-in line. That sucks. In my job here at Microsoft I will unlikely requalify for either, because I'm not doing much of the crazy traveling anymore. I've been to 48 countries in the past 4 years.

5. I turned down an invitation to interview for a job with the Microsoft COM/OLE team in 1995. They had first approached me in 1994 and the PUM who was driving that at the time dropped the ball after the first contact. He came back with an apology for not being as thorough about the process as he should have been - some 8 months later. When that happened I was locked in a 2 year contract heading the NY office of the German company I worked for, so it ended up taking 11 years until I actually landed just at the division that can trace quite a few of its roots back to that team. I got the COM/OLE team's attention by fighting (and winning, if there is ever such a thing) a huge email flame-war on the Microsoft OLE CompuServe forum where the product manager of OpenDoc at Novell (who had just acquired WordPerfect at the time and got into OpenDoc that way) tried to convince everyone that he had the superior technology in hands. I wish someone had a backup of these forums. I am sure the conversation is horribly embarrasing from today's perspective.

So here are my 5 things. And the tag goes to ...  Udi, Daniel, Don, Nicholas, and Mr. Maine.

Categories: Blog

September 28, 2006
@ 07:38 PM

I just disabled Trackback and Pingback. We need security and a trust chain for these protocols. This is getting ridiculous.

Categories: Blog

I am sure that some want to fly under our radar, but I am also sure that a lot of people are very interested to have a bit fat green spot showing up on our radar screen when it comes to their blogs posts. Well, if you look here ... everyone who left a comment on that post is on my blogroll in RSS Bandit and I am making every interesting and original post/thought/article visible internally to make sure that your wishes/concerns/praise are heard and your contributions to the community are acknowledged.

PS: Did I mention that I am involved in the MVP approval process? ;-)
PS: Identity (InfoCard, Active Directory, MIIS), Workflow and BizTalk gurus are welcome too. I will get your feed addresses to the right folks.

Categories: Blog | Indigo

In the upcoming week I will be cleaning up the categories on my blog. So if you've subscribed to any of the category feeds directly, some of them may stop working.

As of tomorrow, the "official" blog address will be as I won't be part of the newtelligence "staff" any longer. However, all existing subscriptions to the main RSS and Atom feeds will continue to work, because this blog isn't really going anywhere. I will see what it takes to get a mirror blog on blogs.msdn.comand whether I can use the dasBlog cross-blogging feature to push select content there.

Eventually, and once I am done reshuffling, I will explain the new category structure and actually encourage you to subscribe to select categories, because my blogging habits will change quite a bit in my new role at Microsoft. For instance, you'll see a lot more German here (which you might want to tune out of if you are not interested), I'll start a link-blog category and I will introduce some other categories that are not at all about technology.

Categories: Blog

October 17, 2005
@ 02:39 PM

End of the hibernation mode. Here’s one of the reasons (besides a lot of “actual work”) why I’ve been hiding in the past few months. And it very much feels like the start of a project I started a while ago (7/17/03 was the day I switched) and which is now this:

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been throwing around some ideas to fix a personal “problem” that I have as a frequent business traveler: Access to “my” local cable television (football!) and the recorded content that I have on my home machine. As I blogged already, I bought a Windows Media Center PC along with SnapStream’s BeyondTV product as a personal video recorder and “live streaming” server and got myself a 3072/512 KBps DSL connection.

It turned out that my concrete use case of wanting to access my home machine and content primarily from hotels and elsewhere on the road (and not so much from within my apartment) isn’t well covered by either Windows Media Center Edition or BeyondTV. Both products have options to stream content across the local network in some way. In addition to that BeyondTV has a small built-in web server that lets you access live TV and streams via a HTML interface so that you can actually get at it from anywhere. In fact, there are extensions for Media Center that let you do something similar. But somehow, none of that was really the solution I envisioned. What I wanted is a smart client that works online and offline and can replicate recorded content down to my notebook’s disk. I want to have the TV guide data (electronic program guide) cached on my notebook so I can schedule recordings locally (and replicate them down to the PVR as I get connected) and/or get alerts whenever a show is coming up that is of interest to me. I want a smart client that has a “10 feet” user interface and support for a remote control and the smart client shall look graphically appealing. And lastly, and possibly most importantly, I want a good excuse to stuff as many feature showcases for Indigo and Avalon (yeah, yeah: WCF/WPF, yadda, yadda) into the combined solution.

When I started thinking about how to approach this, I was thinking that the smart client was the thing to focus on. So by now I have acquired what I think is a rather scarily broad set of Avalon development skills (for a server guy, at least). Heck, I even taught myself how to tilt and turn a 3D plane with video on it without having to copy someone else’s XAML! The first UI prototype was sitting right on top of BeyondTV’s API, which is exposed as a set of Web Services, but somewhat feels like a COM API on a longer leash. Since using that API directly is a bit cumbersome, I wrote a wrapper around it to make it a bit more accessible and “service like”. And while that was all cute and started working, it somehow it still didn’t feel like the right thing to do.

What would I do about other sources? NASA TV provides a live web stream that I sometimes look at, not to mention various video webcasts for developers and the like. And what about podcasts? What about internet radio? Couldn’t blogs be integrated into all of that? Wait…. couldn’t my live TV and recording sources be like blogs?

Well, I can program and hence they can. I wrote and I am still writing an Indigo-powered server that wraps BeyondTV (and other sources) to become a “video blog” server. My Avalon-powered smart client for which I have some bits and pieces in place of course won’t be dependent on my video server, but will understand blogs, podcasts, video blogs and whatever else I can find and will integrate it all into a remote control navigable text/radio/video UI.

I’ll drill into and write about the things that I am doing to make it all work in the next few weeks and months and as I proceed. For now, I’ll just tease you a bit and show you a selection of three (incomplete in terms of content and features) XML snippets that the server generates. If you hit the server application root directory, you get an OPML with all the live TV channels that are available (the list below is shortened considerably):

< opml >
head >
title > TV </ title >
dateCreated > Mon, 17 Oct 2005 14:27:04 GMT </ dateCreated >
head >
body >
outline title = " MTV " xmlUrl = " http://tattoine:8100/TV/MTV " />
outline title = " TELE5 " xmlUrl = " http://tattoine:8100/TV/TELE5 " />
outline title = " BAYERN " xmlUrl = " http://tattoine:8100/TV/BAYERN " />
outline title = " NDR " xmlUrl = " http://tattoine:8100/TV/NDR " />
outline title = " TV nrw " xmlUrl = " http://tattoine:8100/TV/TV-nrw " />
outline title = " RTL " xmlUrl = " http://tattoine:8100/TV/RTL " />
outline title = " SAT.1 " xmlUrl = " http://tattoine:8100/TV/SAT.1 " />
body >
opml >

If you were follow the MTV link in the OPML you’d get the MTV RSS, with the guide data much like what I am showing below. [I just left three shows in it here for demo purposes – typically every channel has about 7-10 days worth of guide data].  Note that the <pubDate> for every item is the date/time when that show is going to air. Future dates are perfectly legal in RSS. Each item has, of course, a <link> on its own, which get you to more details on the show, like a list of actors, the status of whether you want to record the show or want an alert when it starts, or some rich media preview (there something there now, but nothing I am willing to show, yet).  

< rss xmlns:wsa = " " xmlns:ctv = " " version = " 2.0 " >
channel ctv:mediaChannel = " true " >
title > MTV </ title >
link > http://tattoine:8100/TV/MTV/media </ link >
description > MTV </ description >
image >
url > </ url >
title > MTV </ title >
link > </ link >
image >
copyright > (c)2005 MTV </ copyright >
lastBuildDate > Mon, 17 Oct 2005 15:26:09 GMT </ lastBuildDate >
generator > ClemensTV </ generator >
ttl > 60 </ ttl >
item >
title > Viva La Bam </ title >
guid > EP:0001000000055045:127744056000000000 </ guid >
link > http://tattoine:8100/TV/MTV/item/EP:0001000000055045:127744056000000000 </ link >
pubDate > Sat, 22 Oct 2005 00:00:00 GMT </ pubDate >
description > Show mit Bam Margera, USA </ description >
ctv:Duration > PT30M </ ctv:Duration >
item >
item >
title > Masters </ title >
guid > EP:0001000000055045:127744020000000000 </ guid >
link > http://tattoine:8100/TV/MTV/item/EP:0001000000055045:127744020000000000 </ link >
pubDate > Fri, 21 Oct 2005 23:00:00 GMT </ pubDate >
description > Depeche Mode </ description >
ctv:Duration > PT1H </ ctv:Duration >
item >
item >
title > Pimp My Whatever </ title >
guid > EP:0001000000055045:127744002000000000 </ guid >
link > http://tattoine:8100/TV/MTV/item/EP:0001000000055045:127744002000000000 </ link >
pubDate > Fri, 21 Oct 2005 22:30:00 GMT </ pubDate >
description > Day * Neue Reihe </ description >
category > Reihe </ category >
ctv:Duration > PT30M </ ctv:Duration >
item >
channel >
rss >

Now up to here that’s pretty logical; if you follow the <link> for the <channel> (here: http://tattoine:8100/TV/MTV/media), you will get something like the following XML bit with the content type ‘video/x-ms-asf’:

< ASX Version = " 3.0 " >
entry >
ref href = " http://tattoine:8080 " />
entry >

Since that’s apparently a Windows Media Player ASX file my server generates, Media Player will open if you navigate to the URL using IE or Firefox (on Windows). Who said that the <link> in RSS must resolve to HTML? Guess what Media Player will play? MTV Germany of course. Live. As I generate the ASX stream, I instruct the backend video server to switch to that respective tuner channel. Also, since I am creating an indirection point here, I could also scale this over multiple stream servers and tuners.

One of the technically noteworthy aspects of this application is that I am using Indigo for all communication aspects, but this application spits out pure XML, even with varying content-types. In fact, the entire server will likely not put a single plain-text, XML 1.0 encoded SOAP envelope onto the wire, but will be rather REST’ish and POX’ish. The only exception from that is the chunking download protocol, which I am implementing with a TCP-duplex channel (which uses binary encoding and is strictly a Indigo-to-Indigo communication path for my smart client).

Stay tuned.

Categories: Blog

February 15, 2005
@ 08:44 PM

The scariest search for which my blog is on Google rank #1 is power=work/time. I knew that Google loves me, but this starts to become pretty ridiculous ;-)

Categories: Blog

Within the next 48 hours, you will find auctions on eBay. You can buy an hour of consulting time of the wonderful individuals listed below for a minimum bid of US$100. All money will go to IDEP (see below) to aid the Tsunami victims in the Aceh area. I think this is a sensational effort and I am honored that I was asked to participate. Julie Lerman and Stephen Forte have been pulling this off. Once the auctions are up, I'll post links and i assume the other folks will do the same. Go and bid.


Michelle Leroux Bustamante, Jonathan Goodyear, Andrew Brust, Richard Campbell, Adam Cogan, Malek Kemmou, Jackie Goldstein, Ted Neward, Kathleen Dollard, Hector M Obregon, Patrick Hynds, Fernando Guerrero, Kate Gregory, Joel Semeniuk, Scott Hanselman, Barry Gervin, Clemens Vasters, Jorge Oblitas, Stephen Forte, Jeffery Richter, John Robbins, Jeff Prosise


Since my time will be auctioned, too, I can already promise that I will employ a rather liberal interpretation of "hour" if we get enough money in.



Who this auction is to benefit?


In the long run, the auction is to benefit the people of Aceh Province, Sumatra, who have had their island destroyed and lost nearly 100,000 of their people. The waves may be gone, but the devastation continues and the fear of many more dying from disease continues.


We are trying to help, by assisting Aceh Aid at IDEP, an organization that is local and doing amazing work.


There is an area on their website devoted to this work: ( will take you right to this page). I recommend that if you are interested in knowing who you are doing this for, you go peruse that website, read the updates, read about the volunteer search, etc.



IDEP is a small, Indonesian NGO, based in Ubud, Bali. Completed projects over the years have included community based development, sustainable living initiatives, permaculture training, waste management, organic gardens, recycling, etc. The focus is on helping people to help themselves. IDEP's founding director, Petra Schneider is a US-born, Indonesian citizen. The demonstrated and reproducible success of IDEP's small projects in local communities has earned the team an excellent reputation.



At the time of the Bali bomb, about two years ago, IDEP was an important element of the network of local NGOs and other supporters that quickly responded to the tragedy, in various ways, not only immediately after the bomb, but during the recovery process for the various communities involved. Following shortly thereafter, IDEP received funding from USAid to create a comprehensive set of disaster management materials for Indonesian communities, aimed at children, families, and local leaders (official and unofficial). The materials are in the Indonesian language and suitable for use in rural and urban settings. These materials, including a booklet for children about Tsunami preparedness, were finished just weeks ago, but had not yet been disseminated to communities. Then the tsunami struck.



Only hours after the news of the tsunami reached Bali, the same network of NGOs and individuals in Bali who had been involved in the relief efforts for the Bali bomb, reanimated and went into action. We started something called the "Aceh Aid Bucket Brigade" (see website), creating and deploying one-family-one-bucket multi-material aid packages from the hands of donors in Bali to the field in Sumatra. We began sending highly skilled volunteers, well-matched to the task within two days of the tsunami (Sam Schultz, Lee Downey, Oded Carmi and others). Our relief, and later, recovery programs in response to the Tsunami are now focused on two fronts. One is direct aid from Medan by road to areas around Banda Aceh. The other is this remarkable joint effort (nothing short of heroic), to the islands off the west coast of Sumatra, which as of yet, have not been receiving aid from any other channels that we know of.

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

Omar is announcing (like Scott) the new newtelligence dasBlog "Community Edition" 1.7. It's so fresh that I am not even running it myself, yet.

What's important is that this is not an XCOPY upgrade and that you must follow the instructions in the dasBlog Upgrader download if you want to upgrade from 1.6 or earlier. Scott and Omar had to change the structure of the content store XML files to improve performance and add new features.

Here is the SourceForge home for the new version, make sure you get the download for the Upgrader if you want to upgrade and -- as always -- make a backup of your old version in case stuff doesn't work.

Categories: Blog | dasBlog

December 11, 2004
@ 10:26 AM

I haven't really looked around what other people's ideas (or implementations) are on referrer spam, but I think these idiots who want to use our blogs as a way to boost their Google rank are setting themselves up for trouble, because we are not really stupid. For the time being, I am simply letting it all run to collect evidence. There are wonderful things we can do with all these spam URLs. Distributed denial of service attacks come to mind ;-)  Or just redirect them to themselves.

Seriously, I am thinking of having word filtering and a manual negative list in the blog engine and to expose that list as a separate RSS as well as to allow import of such RSS lists into my blog engine. My exported list might also reference all my trusted negative lists that I import, so that this forms a mesh where folks can report those idiots and the engines will pick it up and throw out the crap. 

Categories: Blog | dasBlog

I feel like I have been "out of business" for a really long time and like I really got nothing done in the past 3 months, even though that's objectively not true. I guess that's "conference & travel withdrawal", because I had tone and tons of bigger events in the first half of the year and 3 smaller events since TechEd Amsterdam in July. On the upside, I am pretty relaxed and have certainly reduced my stress-related health risks ;-)

So with winter and its short days coming up, the other half of my life living a 1/3 around the planet until next spring, I can and am going to spend some serious time on a bunch of things:

On the new programming stuff front:
     Catch up on what has been going on in Indigo in recent months, dig deeper into "everything Whidbey", figure out the CLR aspects of SQL 2005 and familiarize myself with VS Team System.

On the existing programming stuff front:
      Consolidate my "e:\development\*"  directory on my harddrive and pull together all my samples and utilities for Enterprise Services, ASP.NET Web Services and other enterprise-development technologies and create a production-quality library from of them for us and our customers to use. Also, because the Indigo team is doing quite a bit of COM/COM+ replumbing recently in order to have that prohgraming model ride on Indigo, I have some hope that I can now file bugs/wishes against COM+ that might have a chance of being addressed. If that happens and a particular showstopper is getting out of the way, I will reopen this project here and will, at the very least, release it as a toy.

On the architectural stuff front:
         Refine our SOA Workshop material, do quite a bit of additional work on the FABRIQ, evolve the Proseware architecture model, and get some pending projects done. In addition to our own SOA workshops (the next English-language workshop is held December 1-3, 2004 in Düsseldorf), there will be a series of invite-only Microsoft events on Service Orientation throughout Europe this fall/winter, and I am very happy that I will be speaking -- mostly on architecture topics -- at the Microsoft Eastern Mediterranean Developer Conference in Amman/Jordan in November and several other locations in the Middle East early next year. 

And even though I hate the effort around writing books, I am seriously considering to write a book about "Services" in the next months. There's a lot of stuff here on the blog that should really be consolidated into a coherent story and there are lots and lots of considerations and motiviations for decisons I made for FABRIQ and Proseware and other services-related work that I should probably write down in one place. One goal of the book would be to write a pragmatic guide on how to design and build services using currently shipping (!) technologies that does focus on how to get stuff done and not on how to craft new, exotic SOAP headers, how to do WSDL trickery, or do other "cool" but not necessarily practical things. So don't expect a 1200 page monster. 

In addition to the "how to" part, I would also like to incorporate and consolidate other architect's good (and bad) practical design and implementation experiences, and write about adoption accelerators and barriers, and some other aspects that are important to get the service idea past the CFO. That's a great pain point for many people thinking about services today. If you would be interested in contributing experiences (named or unnamed), I certainly would like to know about it.

And I also think about a German-to-English translation and a significant (English) update to my German-language Enterprise Services book.....

[And to preempt the question: No, I don't have a publisher for either project, yet.]

Categories: Architecture | SOA | Blog | IT Strategy | newtelligence | Other Stuff | Talks

Microsoft created a new category in their MVP program for “Solution Architects” and coming back from my vacation I was happy to find out that they awarded me with the 2004 “Most Valuable Professional” title in that new category. Thank you, Microsoft! (…and thanks for the MP3 player gift, too)

Categories: Blog

July 19, 2004
@ 02:42 PM

News is what is made news.

Point in case: This sentence on my blog here: "There's apparently a related project Boa (another serpent name along the family line of Viper that was the original codename for MTS), including the business markup language BML (pronounced "Bimmel") that he's involved in and he talked a bit about that, but of course I'd be killed if I gave out more details." now prompts, directly or indirectly, this here on Microsoft Watch and this on eWeek.

Nobody said that the project was software in product development. Nobody said it was about stuff that would eventually ship. Nobody really said anything that would be in any way relevant to technical or business decision makers today. What this shows is that there's a bit too much appetite for the next big thing while we're all still working on making the current big thing happen. Do you seriously think I am someone who'd casually leak Microsoft trade secrets on his blog?

And.... seriously.... go back and read the first six sentences on that entry with your brain switched into "active mode".

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

Adieu, Userland.

Ladies, if you haven’t switched your feeds to this address yet (it’s a year now), now’s the time.

UPDATE: I've mirrored a few old stories from over there. The rest of the content is here anyways.

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 12:10 AM
To: Clemens F. Vasters
Subject: Radio UserLand Renewal Reminder

Greetings from the community server for Radio UserLand 8. This is a reminder that your Radio UserLand serial number will expire soon.

This is the third renewal-reminder email. You will receive two subsequent reminders, one the day before your serial number expires, and one when your serial number has actually expired.

At any time you can visit the UserLand store [1] to renew your license for $39.95, so that you can continue to receive software updates and store content on UserLand's community server.

You have 2 days remaining in your Radio UserLand license for the XXXX-XXXX-XXXX serial number.

If you have any questions or concerns, please review the Radio UserLand website [2], or post questions on the mail list [3], or discussion group [4]; or simply respond to this email.

And thanks from all of us at UserLand for using Radio UserLand. We sincerely hope you like it and use it well.


Categories: Blog

July 5, 2004
@ 07:43 PM

Arvindra Sehmi, Architect Lead at Microsoft EMEA, father and mother of the Microsoft Architects JOURNAL, the inspiration and project lead for the FABRIQ, the man who's dragged me twice through Europe on the EMEA Architect Tour (2003, 2004 video archives) and the owner of the Architect Track at TechEd Europe is now finally blogging.

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

June 8, 2004
@ 08:05 PM

You read it here first. Kimberly Tripp blogs (rss). If you do anything with SQL Server: Subscribe!

Categories: Blog | Technology

May 27, 2004
@ 03:43 PM

Only this week here at TechEd it became really apparent to me how many people read the things I write here. I've had dozens of "strangers" walking up to me saying "Clemens, I read your blog. Thank you for the things you write.". It's great to meet the real people behind the numbers  (I get an insane amount of hits each day for what is effectively a personal opinion outlet)  and it's absolutely fantastic to hear when people tell me that I am helping them to do their job better. So what I wanted to say is ... "Thank you for stopping by every once in a while and for helping me to do my job well"

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

Omar Shahine, who took the role of the "Program Manager" for dasBlog 1.6 added a new macro feature (I am actually not really sure who added it; someone correct me if I am wrong; at least Omar OK'd the feature) that totally rocks and put us on par with MovableType in terms of easy access to older entries:


The macro creates a list of links for all months that have blog entries and if you look at my site (not at the RSS feed), you'll see it on the left-hand side of the page just under the "What's News" section. Thanks! Now I can find my old stuff again. ;-)

if you haven't see it already; Omar's comments about the 1.6 drop and links to release notes and binaries/source are on his blog.

Categories: Blog | dasBlog

It's interesting that I get far more than 10000 unique daily unique page views on the site along with a similar number of aggregator views daily without even posting much. At least that was true for the last couple of months. Today is my "get back to blogging day". At the same time, the number of tracked direct referrals that I get when someone navigates to an entry via a link on another site is relatively low and accounts for less than 3% of the daily traffic.

I am sure I am the last to realize this phenomenon, but: I conclude that I must have a "root blog". That means that the overwhelming majority of readers don't find me via links; instead, I am on their daily reading list or in their RSS aggregator. I don't really get many on-topic inbound links, but I give links. Other great examples for "higher order" root blogs are those of Robert Scoble and Don Box, because once they link to me, the number of direct referrals rises significantly.

When I started blogging (when blogosphere was much smaller), I had a "leaf blog" that wouldn't get many reads except through other people's links. It's interesting to observe how those things change.

Categories: Blog

January 24, 2004
@ 08:08 PM

I admit: I haven't read anybody's blog in over 1 1/2 months. I haven't posted much. I actually got tired of blogging and reading blogs for a while. Multiple projects under pressure don't go well with blogging for me. I don't even have an RSS reader on this new machine yet (I am going to change that within the hour). There's a lot of stuff to write about and I plan to write lots about the FABRIQ (which is coming along nicely), Transactions and Indigo while on the road. I've got my blogging mojo back: Yeah, baby.    

Categories: Blog | Other Stuff

Yesterday and today I have added another new feature to dasBlog called "Crossposting". This feature, which will be available in the v1.4 build that I still plan to publish before the Microsoft PDC next week, is simplifying having multiple blogs on several sites by allowing a entries to be posted to a master weblog running dasBlog and having the engine crosspost across multiple weblogs using the Blogger API or the (more powerful) MetaWeblog API. If the entry is updates locally, the crossposts are updated and if the entry is deleted, the crossposts get wiped, too.

My concrete problem was that I wanted to contribute to, but didn't want to maintain a separate blog. Now I can post a local post here, check a checkbox and it'll appear in both places. To still get the referrals, I am "bugging" the crossposted articles with a transparent GIF that phones home into the referrer stats of the main blog.

I'll post a "how to" along with the release, which I hope will happen by Friday. Until then, you can check that it works by looking at the three synchronized weblogs.

Categories: Blog | newtelligence | dasBlog

October 20, 2003
@ 10:51 AM

OT? What are you guys thinking? There's nothing off-topic on a blog since the topic of a blog is you. ;)

Categories: Blog

October 6, 2003
@ 07:16 PM

Call me ignorant, but I think that the much hyped BloggerCon was an experiment that tanked completely. I wasn't there, but I see the results in "blogspace" and it is severely disappointing to say the least.

I just went through about 40 of the blogs on the blogroll and what I found was lots of name dropping like "Wow, I met NNN and he/she is so cool/interesting/witty/bright/blonde", lots of "NNN just started his session on [something that you'll find on the agenda]" and other stuff that may have been well in context if you were there, but lacks any point if you weren't.

The summary here seems to bit quite comprehensive. Before you continue reading here, click the link an go read it. .... I said go read it .... Go!

What I see is people that say "blogs save the world" and people that say "people who say that blogs save the world have lost their connection with reality". There was so much hype coming out of that room that it easily beats anything I've ever seen or heard about the potential of the Internet at the height of the bubble. Now we're not only going to get everybody connected to sell them something! No! We're going to revolutionize and revitalize democracy, we'll make the world a world of total information transparency, traditional journalism has ended!

So... if it does? What's the "Blogosphere" benefit of this conference? How did that new space that you all talked about really benefit from all that? I think it didn't, because you didn't give them any context folks, just loose hyperlinked meshes of nothingness. Microsoft TechEd and Microsoft PDC aren't about blogging, but the and portals create a hundred times more informative and better organized "blogspace" than this blogger centric event's main "blog", which hasn't seen an update during or since the conference. Where are the presentations? Where is the archive of the web stream, where the IRC logs?

Not there? Bummer. If there is a real need for a conference about blogging, there should be tangible, organized results that the much-hyped blogspace community can benefit from. Maybe it's too early given it's only Monday, but I am almost ready to bet that we won't see that, because the idea was that these results would manifest themselves in the blogs during the conference. Instead, we find incoherent crumbs of information.

If you think that Weblogs are revolutionizing communication, why have a face-to-face conference? Why not just blog?

Here's my proposed agenda for a blogger conference that (a) stays true to the medium, (b) is productive with tangible results and (c) has all the wonderful advantages of meeting face to face.

Go to a sunny and fun place with a beach, lots of entertainment and a cool scene - in summer.

Day 0:
07:00pm Dinner
09:00pm Go out for drinks and have lots of fun
10:00pm Go to next bar (repeat until 2pm, depending on how much you can handle)

Day 1:
09:00am Breakfast in your hotel room (headache and you don't want to get out of that bath robe)
09:30am Kick out the other blogger(ess) you brought up into the room when you were both drunk and silly
10:00am Dial Up, put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door knob, lock the door
10:01am First prepped essays are posted by a few folks; start chatting, IM'ing, commenting, thinking, linking. Produce logs.
11:30am Second round
01:00pm Hook up with the crowd in the hotel restaurant for lunch. Discuss whether vegetarian meals are really healthier.
02:30am Third round
04:30am Fourth round
05:30pm Meet for a chat & early dinner
07:00pm Go out for drinks and have lots of fun
08:00pm Go to next bar (repeat until 2pm, depending on how much you can handle)

Day 2: (see above)


Categories: Blog

October 4, 2003
@ 04:46 PM

So today was apparently the start of Dave Winer's BloggerCon. What a great idea. Put people who share an addicition to personal, chronological, hyperlinked content management and publishing into a room and let them chat about it. They even have a QuickTime live webcast. I watched that a little. BloggerCon redfines "relevant". Wow, I am so glad that I didn't go.

Categories: Blog

I am sitting here right outside the conference venue of the JAOO Conference in Aarhus in Denmark, which kicks of the Fall/Winter 2003 conference season for me. I am speaking about Service Oriented Architectures and Web Services in my first talk and will drill down on Layers, Tiers, and Services in my second talk. Unfortunately the time slots are just 45 minutes and I just can't get myself to cut too much of the content .... as usual. Later in the week, I'll go to the BASTA! conference in Frankfurt where I won't speak, but want to check out how Jörg, Achim and Michael are doing and talk to a couple of folks there.

Anyways, after my vacation and a week of orientation on what to do next, I am back in business. And after "the summer of the blog engine", I'll go back to focus more on architectural topics -- including here.

Categories: Blog | Talks

August 11, 2003
@ 05:16 AM

Those who are using dasBlog for their own blog and everyone reading my blog on the website or ever looked at my RSS feed may have noticed that all times in version 1.1 now show up as GMT (it's actually UTC, but for all practical purposes, the difference between UTC and GMT matters little here; GMT is the more common designation). 

I am in the GMT+2 time-zone and so is my server, but for a site with apparently global reach in a global medium this doesn't really matter, I think. Most people know their time zone offset from GMT, but do they know their time zone offset from Germany?

Bad examples for using time are the sites of the two most popular "recent blog changes" services., for instance, uses some undeclared random time zone and, does at least say that the timezone is "Pacific" (but that's of course PDT now and not PST, or isn't it?). There's a standardized, daylight-savings-time unaffected global time and that's GMT (actually, it's UTC). I know that's a little incovenient for folks in GMT-8 or GMT+12, but it's a standard.

Categories: Blog

August 11, 2003
@ 03:40 AM

My old blog is still on #1 for "Clemens" and my new blog is, surprisingly, already on #4 on Google. For "Vasters", my blogs take #1 and #2 with the Radio blog still on top. I guess that'll turn around within the next few weeks.

Categories: Blog

August 10, 2003
@ 09:51 AM

Jon Udell found  (and Stefan Tilkov did too) that my new design doesn’t (didn’t) work in Mozilla Firebird.

The issues were inconsistencies in the behavior of the "float" and "clear" CSS properties between Opera, IE and Mozilla and, on top of it all, the rustiness of my CSS skills. All the "side-bar" elements on the left side of the page (calendar, navigator links, category list and blogroll) were "width:220px", "float:left" and "clear:both", saying "show this thing on the left hand side of any content that is rendered with regular layout and put the box under all other left floating boxes". So that causes all of these boxes to come out vertically aligned.

Now, the content section was also "float:left" but with "clear:right" and "width:70%". Opera and IE were showing the content as I intended it, to the right of the side-bar. As per the words of the spec, that indeed seems to be proper behavior for "clear:right", because it says that "The top margin of the generated box is increased enough that the top border edge is below the bottom outer edge of any right-floating boxes that resulted from elements earlier in the source document."  In other words, since all other elements rendered before this element were "float:left" and there isn't any "float:right" up to this point, the top margin for the new float is should be at relative/top:0px. Opera and IE are right, Mozilla is wrong.

Now... I fixed this for all by simply removing the float/clear properties from the content box and not making the content floating anymore. ... and tripped over another problem: widths.

I set the content box's size to 78%. In IE, that turned out to be 78% of the available horizontal <body> space excluding the width of the already rendered side-bar boxes (now all set to 18% width). In Mozilla and Opera, that's simply 78% of the available horizontal <body> space (in effect, the available page width). So, 78% of 82% of the page width are roughly 64% (63.96%). Measuring pixels of what IE renders and taking the margins of the item boxes into account, I indeed got 64.3% for the content boxes. In Opera, measuring pixels yielded 78.6% of the page width and Mozilla came in at 78.1%.

Since I couldn’t find anything supporting IE's behavior reading the spec section on the width property and the definition of the containing block, I concluded Mozilla and Opera are doing this right and IE is doing it wrong. This was a bit surprising to me, because (a) I don't do web design for a living and would know otherwise and (b) because IE actually needs to perform extra work to get to these numbers, so that behavior is surely no accident.

Switching IE into “standards-compliant mode” by injecting <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0//EN"> ultimately fixed the width calculation problem, but who would know that intuitively?

This left the problem that Mozilla doesn’t get the clear property right. So, I settled on an absolute horizontal positioning for the content box using “position:absolute;left:22%;width:73%” . Now with that, the footer (yet another <div> at the <body> level) was getting confused, because now I had only floating and absolutely positioned elements and therefore I wouldn’t know where the bottom is. Moving the footer into the content box below the content placeholder fixed that, too. Now it looks good for Mozilla and Opera and IE6.0. If you use an earlier version of IE, upgrade.

Categories: Blog

August 9, 2003
@ 05:00 PM

Today was another day of brutal heat. Nearly impossible to go outside during the afternoon. So I had a very lazy start into the day and then watched football (real football!) and observed the players getting grilled ;)

My team, Borussia Mönchengladbach ended up with a 1:1 tie against Werder Bremen, scoring in the 81st minute to equalize a Bremen penalty goal earlier in that half. Two games, 4 points and rank 5 in the league with ranks 1-4 having the same point score. Not bad at all for this year's start. I rarely ever have time to go to the stadium, but I have been a huge fan ever since I could kick a ball. It's my home city club, so we're talking love here, not just sympathy.

Anyways ... between breakfast and football I played around with CSS and created a new template for my own blog, trying to stop myself from jumping into the code-base and making adjustments. Then I dropped the 5 files onto the server some 15 minutes ago and .. voilá ... works. The theme uses IE filters for the shadows, but otherwise it looks the same in Opera. Haven't checked out other browsers, but, in all reality and honesty, and looking at our server logs .... 'nuff said.

Categories: Blog | dasBlog | Other Stuff

August 8, 2003
@ 02:52 AM

James Avery suggests creating something new for topic-based aggregation. His idea is to allow aggregation of blogs by topic and not by person and wants new things invented for this.

I think they exist.

The item-level <category> element of RSS allows for setting a taxonomy on category items and that's sufficient to make James' idea work, if  (a) aggregators were looking for the domain attribute and allowed grouping by it and (b) blog engines would allow you to attribute your categories like that. Then, we "only" need to agree on common categories (or someone just writes some up) and were set. No need to register anywhere or with a central system. Here's an example of how the elements could look for .NET bloggers:

<category domain="urn:msdn-microsoft-com:netframework">ASP.NET</category>
<category domain="urn:msdn-microsoft-com:netframework">Enterprise Services</category>
<category domain="urn:msdn-microsoft-com:netframework">C#</category>
<category domain="urn:msdn-microsoft-com:netframework">VB.NET</category>
<category domain="urn:msdn-microsoft-com:serversystem">SQL Server</category>
<category domain="urn:msdn-microsoft-com:serversystem">BizTalk Server</category>

Categories: Blog | Weblogs | RSS

So, (t)here it is. And even a day early. I uploaded newtelligence dasBlog 1.0.3210.0

There’s a GotDotNet workspace where you can get the installers (one for a Website and one for the source) or get all source code using the GDN source control “applet” or the VS.NET plug-in.

The files are also available at in the Download section, but GotDotNet is a better choice for bandwidth (for you and for us). If you want to build the source code, you need Visual Studio .NET 2003.

Make sure you read the instructions of the web-install and read the docs that are already there and specifically the docs on the installation steps.

BlogX users should have it very easy to upgrade. Use the web-installer to create a new site on your local machine and drop your existing siteConfig and content directories into the new installation. The siteConfig only needs one new entry in that case: You need to add a <BinariesDir>content/binary/</BinariesDir> tag. The installer should create the necessary subdirectory already. Once the site runs (the setup steps are exactly identical, otherwise and therefore it should) and you’re happy with the templates and all, you can copy the whole stuff over to your existing site and you’re set.

Radio Users will have to fiddle around a bit and poke around in the web.config (see the UrlMapper config section) and look at a previous post to help their hyperlinks to follow them to a new site. Between then and now I made an update that will not only redirect the hyperlinks but also the referrers and I’ll post something about that on the site these days. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure it out looking at the UrlMapper config if you are Regex savvy.

However, starting with the content and setting up a replacement for Radio is very easy if you told Radio to make “XML backups” of you data. The command line tool (DasBlogRadioImport.exe) that is included with the source setup and about the only set of files that made it over alive from BlogX, allows you take all the content with you:

dasblogradioimport /from:"c:\program files\radio userland\backups\weblogArchive\posts" /to:c:\temp\radionew

The target directory, which must exist before you run this, will contain a complete content directory that you can simply drop into your new site.

I am not sure about switching from other tools, but since you have a MovebleType/Blogger/MetaWeblog API endpoint sitting at /yoursite/blogger.aspx, some tool may be able to make sense out of that for import/export. I have successfully tested w.bloggar, Zempt and blogBuddy with dasBlog. However, nothing beats Outlook for blogging.


Categories: Blog | dasBlog

I am not done packing the code yet. (That's really a lie, because I have the installers sitting here, but I am considering some last-minute changes for some file names and don't want to create too much confusion once the stuff is out).

However, I have already put a good deal of the user documentation on the "dogfood" site where dasBlog is used to document dasBlog. I plan to put the downloadable files (one MSI for setting up a web and one to set up a code tree) over there by Wednesday and then I also will start filling in the "Code" section with some guidance on where to find what. The feature I love most is "Mail To Weblog".

Categories: Blog

There's an option in Word to reduce the amount of odd markup Word injects into e-mail when used from Outlook ...
Categories: Other Stuff | Blog

Dave Winer suggests an experiment:

Shall we run an experiment is to see if aggregators can work with RSS feeds that have a xmlns attribute at the top level, on the <rss> element?

... and continues with an example:

<rss version="2.0" xmlns="">

Now, the RSS spec doesn't say that this is okay, but neither does it say it's not okay.

Yes, the RSS spec may not but that doesn't matter, because it's just a vocabulary on top of existing specs that take matters a bit more seriously. The XML namespaces spec says: "If the URI reference in a default namespace declaration is empty, then unprefixed elements in the scope of the declaration are not considered to be in any namespace", which is true for all RSS elements as per RSS specification, because it ignores namespaces and is therefore subject to this default case. Therefore, setting a default document namespace like that may be permissible as per RSS spec, but recognizing such a document as valid RSS is just wrong. I would suggest to revise the spec and not to experiment.

Categories: Blog | Weblogs | RSS

Our buddy René Pierre Coburger understood the obvious name reference and made this little logo for the blog engine.

Categories: Blog

This was a fun week, really. Last week I was mostly at home and spent quite a bit of time (on the balcony, in the sun) refactoring BlogX and adding new features "offline". This week I tested and stabilized things using the online version, upgrading to a new build at least twice a day here at the office. I am quite happy with it. It's really cool playing with the stuff now. I think I am going to set up an additional, different blog just to play around with the features. But until now I needed your referrals and pingbacks and so on.

During this week I also thought about the naming issue, because -- as I pointed out before -- there's not much left of the original BlogX code base now and to limit confusion the thing had to get a different name (ChrisAn still gets proper credit in every single source file, of course). I had about two dozen ideas and it turned out that all of them were already taken either by some software or someone's personal blog and I also didn't want to hijack any of these names. So, I went for a very simple (sort-of) German variant: "Das Blog". So, it's "newtelligence DasBlog 1.0" now.

Some time this weekend, my buddy Stephen Forte is going to get a copy (he's the guinea-pig) and if he's happy with it, I'll check the stuff into a new GotDotNet workspace and then additionally post a web installer (that sets up a basic site) and an installer for the source tree by next week.

The feature-delta to BlogX as of now: Rendering using original templates from Radio, Pingback client/server, Trackback client/server, File-uploads, Picture uploads, web-based DTHML editor, Mail-To-Weblog with attachment and embedded pictures support, pick-up of referrals from redirects (from old blogs), mail notifications for pingbacks, trackbacks, and referrals on the permalink, refactored and streamlined access to the backend, safer file handling, subtitles, experimental Atom syndication support, per-item comment RSS files and "some other changes". I think I need force myself to work on documentation now and stop adding features.

Categories: Blog

July 25, 2003
@ 12:56 PM
Just testing the HTML fix. This should now be it. 
Categories: Blog

Testing, testing ... MailToWeblog thread

Three minutes ago I was thinking "Theoretically, this entry should show up on my blog, in the 'Blog' category, in three minutes" and if you can see this, it did actually work.

I just deployed the first iteration of the last bigger chunk of work that I planned to do on the blogging software (for which we found a new name, meanwhile and you can find it at the bottom of the page). I can now send mail to a POP3-account, which the blogging engine watches. It will not only pick up the text, but will also extract and store any embedded pictures and attachments and link them to the entry. If this here works properly on the actual site, the only little thing I still need to do is to clean up the content for "text/html" so that only the stuff between the <body> tags is emitted into the entry.

This is a little document icon, which I added "as picture" in Outlook:

And here's the footer if it's attached as file:

Download: document.gif

Categories: Blog

July 21, 2003
@ 10:10 PM
A quick overview about my changes to BlogX and why it just isn't BlogX anymore. And, yes, you'll get it.
Categories: Blog | Technology | ASP.NET

BloggerAPI, MT API, MetaWeblog API, Comment API, Pingback API, Trackback  ...  are you nuts?

I must admit that until last week I didn't really pay much close attention to all the blogging related APIs and specs beyond "keeping myself informed". Today I copied my weekend's work over to this server and now I have all of them implemented as client and server versions. Sam's and Mark's validator is happy with my RSS 2.0 feed and the experimental Atom (Pie/Echo) feed.

I have to say ... the state of affairs in this space is absolutely scary. Most of the specs, especially for the APIs are lacking proper information detail, are often too informal with too much room for ambiguities and you need to be lucky to find a reasonably recent one. Sam laments that people don't read specs carefully and I agree, but I would argue that the specs need to be written carefully, too. It also seems that because the documentation on expected behavior is so thin, everybody implements their own flavor and extensions and not only do the APIs have huge overlap, but it seems like any random selection of offline blogging tools will use its own arbitrary selection of these APIs in any random order. Since my implementation didn't "grow" over time, but I implemented it all in one shot essentially only since last Thursday and had to look at this all at once and what I found was just saddening. All of this has to be consolidated and it will be.

I am all for the Atom project and creating a consolidated, SOAP-based API for all blogging functions that the aforementioned APIs offer. XML-RPC was a good thing to start with but its time is up.  I am also for replacing RSS x.x with a spec that's open and under the umbrella of a recognized standards body and not of a law school, that's XML as of ca. 2003 and not as of ca. 1998, and that's formally documented (with a proper schema). What's there right now smells all like "let's hack something up" and not very much like serious software engineering. Ok, it's proven that it all works, but how about dumping the prototypes now?


Categories: Blog | Technology | ASP.NET | Weblogs | Atom

July 19, 2003
@ 08:39 AM

This morning I got up early (I going to be picked to play Paintball in an hour or so) and implemented image and attachment uploads for the blogging site. This is the test for the live site.

[Here's a copy of the SoapExtension Wizard for Visual Studio.NET: (53.82 KB)]


Categories: Technology | ASP.NET | Blog

A little IHttpModule implementation for ASP.NET that maps between URLs using regular expressions. In use here.
Categories: Technology | ASP.NET | Blog

On-the-fly template-based blog rendering

If you want to get a feeling for what the rendering engine here can do (which may not be so impressive looking at other tools, but a lot better than than rev20 of BlogX which I started from), check out the "Pick a theme" bar down at the bottom of the page.

The default theme for this page is currently "newtelligence Blue". You can always go back to the default by clicking "Reset". When you select any of the other themes, you'll get a cookie set and the rendering engine will use the template whenever you come and look at the site.

[As of this moment there are two little bugs in the logic which will (1) have that cookie span the whole site and (2) will render the page inaccessible for you if the cookie goes bad. Both should be fixed today.]

Categories: Blog

July 17, 2003
@ 11:39 AM

This here is not Radio.

Categories: Blog