DasBlog is the first of the two .NET platform blogs in our blog software reviews. Let’s see how it matches up to the LAMP packages.
Visiting the DasBlog homepage takes you to a wiki. I can understand from a content management point of view why the developers have gone this route but personally I find it off-putting. I dug around looking for an official newsfeed and couldn’t find one. The developers blog updates though so you can subscribe to their feeds in lieu of an official one.
DasBlog is in a similar market to bBlog, the single blog single author type of installation. The choice between them at first glance comes down to a platform choice but perhaps there might be a winner based on other factors?
You can either download just the files needed to run DasBlog or the full C# source (the source is provided under the BSD license). Download the zip package from SourceForge.net. You will need a Windows/IIS host with the .NET framework, no additional database is required as the data files are saved as XML.
Providing you are running Windows with IIS and .NET installed, installation couldn’t be easier. Simply extract the zip file and upload the dasblogce folder contents to your hosting space. If you are installing locally then you can run the CreateDasBlogVdir.vbs script to set up the web application.
My one real criticism of the installation is it really ought to get you to change your password on first login. Other than that it works just fine.
Ease of use
For posting I would say DasBlog has the easiest interface of them all. By default it uses one of those rich HTML editing widgets rather than a plain old text box (though you can switch to HTML source view) and you can even upload images and RSS enclosures as well.
Your post can be in multiple categories and you can have sub categories. Categories automatically get their own feeds as well as the default RSS and Atom feeds.
Comments are moderated but no registration is required. There is a captcha facility and blacklist support also.
There is a decent enough little search facility as you would expect and a nice touch is it highlights your keyword in the results in “highlighter yellow”.
Ping and Trackback
The software does the full range of trackbacks, pings etc both automatically and by specifying URLs.
If you set the option in the configuration screen you get permanent URLs and can use friendly URLs, otherwise it uses a pretty nasty ugly globally unique ID kind of format.
Overall Search Engine Friendliness
16 so-so template themes are included and the templates are pretty straightforward to work with. Apparently thier templates are based on those in the Radio Userland/Manila software. The syntax is simple enough that anyone who could work with the competitors templates ought to have no problem here.
The templates support macros but to really extend it you can either embed runtime asp.net code or hack away at the source.
While you can have multiple authors (by hacking the security configuration XML file) I don’t think this is the ideal tool. Multiple blogs wold require copying the folder to create a new blog.
I have found the developers very responsive and the product is well known in the .NET community. Having said that it is not going to be the best supported by third-parties out of the products reviewed. The documentation is rough around the edges but there is a forum.
Being a .NET application the developers have taken full advantage of .NETs web service support so DasBlog has full Blogger/MovableType/Comment API support and capability to blog by email.
There is no direct support for non-blog pages but there is a rather complicated hack.
Stats and reporting
You get some basic stats which is more than you get in the majority of these systems. In the “activity” page you can see search engine phrases, referrers, click throughs and aggregator hits.
DasBlog is a suprisingly fully-featured system. For simplicity and features it beats bBlog, it’s closest rival in terms of target market, and has some features that Movable Type even lacks. Bigger picture though I can’t see a general user choosing this over MT or WordPress.
It is definately a good choice for someone looking for a single .NET based blog though. Knowing that CommunityServer is not aimed at single bloggers, in the single .NET blog scenario I would say DasBlog is the top choice.
- CityDesk review
- Movable Type review
- WordPress review
- bBlog review
- DasBlog review
- CommunityServer review
- Drupal review