WordPress.Net, uploaded by Daniele Muscetta on Flickr.

It has been quite a while that I wanted to experiment a bit more with ASP.Net but I don’t have a windows machine on the internet. Not one that performs enough anyway. My server runs linux. I have had mono running on it for a while, but its support was not complete with the old release of Debian, so part of my mono and mod_mono installation were a custom compile and they were breaking from time to time, each time some library got updated. So I did run a “Hello World” page with it, but nothing more, because it was a bit of a mess to mantain and, moreover, because I had not yet figured out how to have it connect with mysql instead than with MS SQL Server.
Also, I did not have any real project or idea to implement in my mind.

Now that I have upgraded to Debian Etch, mono support seems to be much more out-of-the-box and stable on this release. I also got an idea of what to do with it, so I finally gave it a try.

As a starter, I am trying to re-publish my blog, historically running at www.muscetta.com, on my other muscetta.NET domain (it makes sense to use a .NET domain, right?). But this is not a new site, it is a republish of the same content, but done using C# – just pointing at the same wordpress’ mysql database. Connection to MySQL is done with MySql.Data (the ADO.Net driver for MySQL).

I still need to implement a lot of things/features, such as comment posting (you can only read them now), some layout/styling/framing to make it look nicer, some sidebar/blogroll, feeds, and a many other things. I am not aiming at a complete rewrite (for example I won’t do an administrative interface or a webservice so far), but just a republish/frontend to the visitors.
I don’t know when I will have time to continue writing it, but all in all I am glad it works so far, and I had fun doing it.

Writing ASP.Net for mono on linux in the absence of Frontpage server extentions and WebDAV and the remote debugger is proving slightly more challenging than just dragging and dropping controls in Visual Studio and let it do a lot of work with you. You have to write the code, upload it, and see if it works. No debugging, no intellisense. Just the hard old way of trial and error, which makes development slower, but you learn a hell of a lot more that way. Of course you need to keep the MSDN library handly 🙂

[Edit of December 2009 – I killed the above experiment. I had fun doing it, but there is not time for all, it needs a lot of work to keep it running/update it with every wordpress update, and mod_mono is wasting too many resources on the server.]

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