My Current Website Software

date_range  27 February 2016


So last time I went over the platform I’m using to host my site, and as promised, today, I’m going to run through the software.

So starting with the things you can’t see, the bottom of the stack is ASP.Net 5 and MVC 6. As you can see by the history of my blogs, I’ve been playing with the newest Microsoft Web stack for a little while, but didn’t have the confidence to actually run anything with it until recently. The API has massively matured and things are more or less where you would expect them namespace and package wise.

On top of that, I’ve written a blog as middleware that I intend to open source once I’ve cleaned it all up and made it compatible with .Net Core.

For the client-side code I started with Materialize which is fantastic open source CSS and Javascript framework taking cues from Google’s Material design language. I extended this with some of my own SCSS. For this project I started to use some of the tools in VS2015 that have been integrated. To get Materialize, I used its bower package which was easy enough to do by adding a bower.json file to the project which Visual Studio will then interrogate and pull down the dependencies. Visual Studio likes to override bower’s default behaviour and put the files directly into wwwroot. This can be overridden by editing the bowerec file it throws into the project.

The reason I didn’t want to directly place the bower packages there was because they usually come with a lot of unnecessary files like the raw SCSS, for example, as well as precompiled CSS which is all you usually need unless you feel like compiling the source yourself. I copy the files to wwwroot during the build using Gulp or Grunt, within Visual Studio or with build tasks in VSTS. I decided on Gulp because I prefer the syntax and didn’t need to do anything that complicated. Gulp has fewer integrations than Grunt and I’ve read a few posts that suggest using Node directly which seems like a good idea of you’re struggling to find a way of doing a tasks using an existing Gulp or Grunt task.

And that’s pretty much it. I used this experience to pick up a few new skills and how to use Visual Studio more effectively when dealing with mostly client side code. It’s certainly becoming a far less restrictive tool for web development and I really enjoyed trying out the new modular ASP.NET.

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