Archive for February, 2010


The other week I had an idea on the Underground whilst crammed in during rush hour. I was face-to-face with a stinker of some fella’s armpit and my brain decided to change the subject.

I started thinking of Umbraco package ideas.

Just to be clear, my inner monologue doesn’t always go “Visual Studio! To the bat cave!” when faced with a mass of people – I have an excuse: I’m working on a Microsoft project at the moment, and the goal is to help the Umbraco community by working on some specific free packages. Every chance I’ve had, I’ve been thinking of exactly what I’d like to do to extend Umbraco with Microsoft products, especially with the focus of giving some useful tools to developers and end-users.

Not all of these ideas were any good, of course. And one was for Wordpress, so that was out. Awkward. Some of them were also a little out of scope too, focussing on Microsoft products that are already selling just fine for example. But it has definitely been refreshing to take a step back from 4.1 and start thinking around package development and “products”.

The thing is, some of those ideas that were out of scope still have legs even if there isn’t yet a budget. So in my spare time I thought I’d get stuck into my favourite.

I’ve started work on a Visual Studio 2008/2010 add-in which allows developers to configure Umbraco from within the IDE.

In particular, it will allow for the creation and editing of the document type structure, without switching into the browser. It’s coming on quicker than I thought and I should have something in March to release as a first beta.

With a bit of luck I’ll be able to get some MS help one way or the other, and I know Benjamin is keen on collaborating too as he’s been thinking along similar lines, so watch this space – Umbraco could be about to get even quicker from 0 to website.

I still reckon that Wordpress idea was cool though: “a plugin to replace all of Wordpress with basically something else”. Cracker.

Visual Studio early screenshotExpected Beta 1: End March 2010

Today Pete and I reached a milestone with a project we’ve been working on in our spare time for a while. Within the last week we’ve decided to go public and will be spreading the word far and wide over the next month.

We got the CodePlex project sorted, and first checkin batch done for our open-source digital asset management system called MimeCloud.

The link to it on CodePlex is at, the domains redirect there for now.

It’s not finishet yet; we’ve a fair few weeks to go until the first Beta, and we’re just starting to invite collaborators now that the core architecture is formed. But it’s going to be awesome, and I hope a lot of people will benefit from it. For a start, we’re going to a build a package so you can use it in Umbraco CMS :)

Here are a few snippets from the project homepage:

What is MimeCloud?
  • MimeCloud is an open-source media asset library built for lightning speed and scalability
  • You can use MimeCloud to:
    • Manage the images and video on your blog or website (Wordpress or Umbraco? No problem!)
    • Replace the image management module of your website’s CMS with something more powerful, extensible, and easier to use
    • Manage usage rights information on your digital media archive (publishers? Hello!)
    • Attach metadata in multiple languages to the same image, video or asset
    • Quickly upload 1 or 1000 assets in a batch, with resizing and thumbnail generation on the fly
  • The project was founded by Alex Norcliffe and Peter Miller
What platform does MimeCloud use?
  • MimeCloud builds against Microsoft .NET 3.5SP1, and consists of the following pillars:
    • Robust datalayer built on Microsoft SQL Server and
    • Extensible API in both WCF and RESTful forms exposed using IIS
    • Several clients including a full-featured Silverlight image manipulation and batch upload tool, and an ASP.NET MVC administration tool for basic upload and library searching
    • Storage of assets can be via FTP, HTTP upload, Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure – whatever you prefer
What’s a Media Library? Is this Digital Asset Management? I just want to upload images to my site
  • No worries – just because MimeCloud can cope with millions of images and videos doesn’t mean it’s difficult to use, or resource intensive.
  • You can have MimeCloud installed on a simple blog in minutes, and use it every now and then, and it will still have cost you nothing (unless you want to donate)
Does it only handle images?
  • Not at all! We called it MimeCloud for a reason – the entire system is pluggable and supports anything describable by a MIME type. Out of the box we have support for images, videos, PDFs, Microsoft Office, and if there is a filetype you need that isn’t yet supported you can write a provider to tell MimeCloud how to handle it.