Twitter and Bitly Plugin for Windows Live Writer 2012

Twitter-IconI’ve been playing around with the new WordPress blog, mostly getting it setup with my favorite blog editor Windows Live Writer.  I’ve used this tool in the past with great success. 

One of the nice things about WLW is that is has a nice plugin model.  One of the plugins that I used to use constantly is the Twitter plugin.  That plugin would post a tweet containing the blog title and a link right after you published the blog post to your site.  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find that plugin anywhere on the Internet so I decided to cobble together my own. 

This is version 0.6.0, meaning that it is Beta software and hasn’t been tested extensively.  It works on my machine but I don’t guarantee that it will work on yours.  My development philosophy is “Make it work”, “Make it work right”, “Make it work well”.  This is definitely in the “Make it work” phase.  I need to add more error handling on the various web calls.pufferfishIconWriter

If you want to take a copy and use it/test it out for me I’d be grateful.  I’ve created a static page on my blog for the plugin so feel free to go there, download the plugin, and leave any feedback in the comments for that post (or here).

Here’s the page address: http://howstevegotburnedtoday.com/wlwtwitterplugin/

Moved to WordPess on Azure PaaS and Azure SQL

tl;dr

I’ve moved my blog to a new blogging engine. I’ve migrated all of the old posts. I won’t be setting up any handlers for the old URLs, so the old permalinks will probably 404 on you.

The long form

As you may have noticed, this blog looks and feel different.  I’ve moved the blog through a series of blog engines to get to this point. The blog started out on Blogger and was there for years.

After moving to Microsoft I decided it was time to use the tools and platforms that we make.  I also decided that it was time to get back into writing code at least part of each day.  To that end I decided to grab Mads Kristensen’s  MiniBlog blogging engine source code and deploy it into an Azure Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) web site.  This worked out well for a while but I found that I was spending more time tweaking the code and the site than thinking about and writing blog posts.  As you can see from my blog history, I posted zero times while on MiniBlog.  This should not be taken as a negative against MiniBlog.  It is a great blogging engine.  Rather I just found writing code more fun than writing the blog.

Since I really want to get back to blogging, I decided to give up MiniBlog for WordPress since I don’t know a damn thing about PHP and MYSQL.  I started out by launching the Azure Portal and creating a new Web App and selected WordPress from the Azure Gallery.

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Unfortunately, MySQL in Azure is managed by ClearDB and billed separately.  I was hoping that I would be able to select Azure SQL as the backend for WordPress but that was never an option.  So what’s a guy to do.  I could either continue using MySQL as the database or I could ask my colleagues in the Premier Support for Developers team what they us and if any of them have experience with WordPress.  It just so happens that one of my colleagues uses WordPress on Azure SQL through Project Nami.

Project Nami is a fork of WordPress that is built for self-hosting in Azure or on-premises using a SQL Server or SQL Azure database.

In their own words

And that moment, when we realized that SQL Azure now had proper replacements for all required functions, is when we decided to fork WordPress.  In a matter of weeks, Project Nami (Not Another MySQL Interpreter) was born.

Project Nami has a single initial goal — to teach WordPress to natively speak MSSQL while maintaining full compatibility with properly written plugins and themes.  This is an important item to note.  Any plugin, theme, or function written to access the database via the WordPress API will operate normally.
– Project Nami Team

Installation is EXTREMELY easy if you already have an Azure subscription.  Just go to the Project Nami download page and click the blue button that says “Deploy to Azure”.

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About five minutes later I was up and running. That’s all it took.

If you are looking for a blogging engine running on Azure Paas with a SQL Azure database there are a couple of options, but this WordPress / Project Nami site was easy to deploy and configure. I have to give it high marks so far.