Monthly Archives: February 2006

More on Community Server 2.0RTM

Having upgraded to RTM, installed the licences for standard server and windows authentication (the expiry date was an error by Telligent, they sent me one without an expiry date). I still struggled to get the install working, mainly because I wanted to give System Admin rights to a Windows Group on the server. The documentation says you can, and by default it uses the built in Administrators account. However, it would appear it uses the built in Administrators account even if you tell it not too, so I’ve posted this as a bug on the CS forum.

We’re running in a multi domain environment, so I set the authentication to not strip the domain, and it’s working well. I got a colleague in the US to visit the site, and he went straight in with blog set up automactially. Brilliant. I still love the platform, despite the niggles. I look forward to the first point release.

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Web design

I stumbled upon this great looking site. It has loads of information in one place and is well laid out. I’ll be trying to use it as a reference over the next few days and weeks as I tweak the front page of community server in preference to the ones I usually refer to.
Web Design from Scratch

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Community Server 2

Today I upgraded my RC1 to final release 2.0. The process was simple and error free, so I upgraded both my sandbox and production sites. I’ve actually taken the step of purchasing the standard server and AD integration modules. So I installed these today as well. This wasn’t so smooth, and it’s still not quite right. The licence page doesn’t show all the applications, just those licences installed. There is an error message related to that.

The security licence (AD Integration) was showing expiry tomorrow?? which I hope was just a caching thing. However, single-sign on worked well and blogs are being created for the AD users as they enter the site. There is no sign out capability.

Lastly, I expected my user account to have admin rights to community server, but it didn’t. So I found the only way to get in to an admin account was to turn off the AD integration and revert to the admin account that I set up during install. Switching back and forth like this is tedious and breaks the site for everyone else (well, there are only 3 users at the moment).

So a good and bad day.

Still needing HTML

I’ve been trying out ways to make the Community Server home page the centre of my internal blogosphere. Documentation is a bit thin on the ground, but the Community Server wiki and forum have some information. Mostly I’ve been using HTML explorer tools (like the brilliant Web Developer Firefox extension) to reverse engineer the CSS.

Community Server RC1

I notice Community Server has gone RC1. I upgraded from beta3 today in about 10 mins – most of the time taken by trying to find out how to run the database SQL script using the SQL Server Management Studio. In the end this amounted to double-clicking on the script and the crucially choosing the database on which it is to run in the tool bar. It was so smooth in my sandbox, that I upgraded the main site as well.

Customising Bandit

I finished packaging RSS Bandit for deployment internally. This is just the application with no embedded feeds. I blogged here about how I would handle merging required feeds for various groups into Bandit. I configured Bandit on a machine so that it was exactly as I wanted it, including the size of the application window, updates set to manual etc.

There are two files, held in the Application Data\RSSBandit folder of the users profile, that control these settings and preferences. They called .settings.xml and .preferences.xml – the latter contains settings chosen in the Tools | Options dialog box, whilst the former is things about the application. Taking these two files, and an empty subscriptions.xml file, I cleaned them up a bit, taking out anything that didn’t look necessary, but didn’t break the appliation, and put them in a transform.

I then removed the desktop shortcut and put on in the users Startup folder so that Bandit would launch on start. Lastly I added a couple of registry keys that register Bandit as the default feed reader so the user doesn’t get prompted.

It was in these last two item that I found some odd behaviour. Fistly, Bandit won’t just start into the System tray – there is a -t switch to make it do this – but the window appears briefly on screen before minimizing into the tray. To ‘hide’ this annoying flashing window I set the startup shortcut to start Bandit minimized and with -t, so Bandit flashes on the task bar, which is acceptable.

The second annoyance was presetting Bandit as the default feed reader. It was easy to find the reg keys for this and pop them in the transform. However, the tool I use (Wise Package Studio) substitutes part of the path with a property. This is good, because if Bandit were installed to a non-default path the registry entries would be correct. However, when Bandit compares the registry setting with what it should be to determine if it is the default (before prompting) it does a case sensitive comparison. The MSI property has a lower case drive letter, Bandit expects an upper case one! So I wrote a small bit of VBScript embedded in the MSI to read the registry value, change the first character to upper case and write it back. Then everything worked fine.

So, I have my standard reader installer, although it’s not an official standard. I have my server built, just need to migrate content. And I need to get people to come and use it. Lots achieved, Lots to do.

Migrating to server

The past few days I’ve been setting everything up on a server as I begin the process of moving the use of blogs more into mainstream – well, ok, only a little bit more – use within my organisation.

I made a couple of changes that are worth noting from what I did on my XP desktop. The server is 2003, so it’s IIS 6. I wasn’t sure if that was going to make much of a difference. I installed MSDE and the Web Data Administrator, and the WDA failed to connect. After much fiddling I figured it was probably IIS 6, so I removed it and MSDE and went for SQL Server 2005 Express plus the SQL Server Management Studio.

I was worried that Community Server wouldn’t like SQL Server 2005, but it didn’t seem to mind. Installation of Community Server was a snap. The only thing that tripped me up was giving the NETWORK SERVICE user access to the data. To do this, use the Management Studio and go to \Security\Users in the left pane, create a user called NETWORK SERVICE with the login name of NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE.

Another change I made here is putting the community server at the root of the web, rather than a cs sub-web. This enables me to use the front page of the community server as a sort of portal onto the blogosphere and wikis.

PHP was a bit of a bother, mostly because I’d forgotten several of the more fiddly things. Also IIS 6 setup differs a bit. I found an excellent resource here and following these instructions got PHP working a treat. I hadn’t realised before, that the extention required for MySQL 5 (php_mysqli.dll) is not added instead of, but in addition to, the php_mysql.dll extention – so you need both lines in the php.ini file.

MediaWiki setup was painless. I had changed the default port for MySQL so in the setup for MediaWiki add the port to the server name – i.e. localhost:1025, or whatever port you use.

So that makes a server, with PHP5, MediaWiki, CommunityServer, IIS6, MySQL5, and SQL Server 2005 and all working nicely.

Next challenge – get people to use it.