Enhanced Blogging with SharePoint

I use SharePoint as my blogging engine. It makes sense as almost every project my company delivers these days involve SharePoint or are completely based upon SharePoint. Create a blog in SharePoint is easy and it is the main reason my blog is a SharePoint-based blog. It works for me.

Still, if I could change only one thing about the SharePoint blog tools it would be the ease of customizing the blog design. I know, I can use SharePoint designer to modify the page and apply my own custom skin. After a long day of performing such tasks for my client, I have to admit I don’t want to do the same for myself. I want it to be easier. I would rather focus on writing a blog entry that you would find valuable than mess with my blog’s design.

The announcement that the Enhanced Blog Edition (EBE) has reached beta 2 and is now feature complete has me cautiously optimistic that my life will improve. Here are the features provided by this tool (with the those that interest me most in bold format):

  • Easily deployable solution file (.WSP) with Features that can be activivated or deactivated
  • Modular Theme Framework ("MTF") with optional "night time" autoswitch themelet
  • Protection for anonymous access to ‘System Pages’. This means anonymous users cannot access /lists/.aspx, /forms/.aspx, /_layouts/*.aspx
  • MetaBlogApi working a bit better…You will need to create a Picture/Document library called Media for it to upload images.
  • Support for Akismet comment spam detection
  • Multiple categories/tags can be mapped to each blog entry/post
  • Anonymous comments can be moderated
  • Name and URL fields in comments
  • Friendly URL ("FURL") for the blog’s posts
  • Friendly URL for the blog’s RSS feed
  • Support for CKS:TagCloud web part (being released separately)
  • Configurable settings
    • Enable content caching
    • Enable post triming (Vince, can you add a number field to set the # of characters?)
    • Lock down system pages
    • Akismet key
    • Set specific blog theme (as the default)
    • Custom RSS feed (e.g. from Feedburner)
    • Enable Theme Selector (so users can select their own theme)
    • Redirect the Post.aspx page (Vince, what’s this for?)

Hopefully I will find some time to mess with EBE and dramatically improve the image of officedeveloper.net. Nothing against the default SharePoint look…it’s just a bit stale for me.