Building a Non-SharePoint Site for a Change

It’s been a quiet week here in Lake Wobegon…Oh, wait, that’s not my tagline.  But I have been quiet lately, busy with a number of things.  One of those things has been building a Web site for my wife’s business.  It’s been fun to work outside of SharePoint for a while.  I’ve learned a few things in this process, and I thought I’d share some of them.

If you’d like to take a look, go to  It’s not public yet, so if you poke around, consider yourself an alpha tester.  Do let me know if you see anything out of whack.  We’ve tested with IE7/8, Firefox, and Safari, but it’s hard to hit all the variations.  A lot of the images are just placeholders, quite a bit of the text isn’t finalized, etc.

HostingDiscountASP.NET - ASP.NET, SQL, ASP hosting for less

I decided to go with  Hosting is absolutely a commodity these days, but each time I look to host something, I look around to see what’s new out there.  I was impressed with DiscountASP’s support of the latest and greatest from Microsoft’s 2008 platforms, IIS 7, etc.  So far, so good.  Setup was a breeze, and their customer service (a couple of questions about FTP access) has been extremely fast and accurate.  More importantly, I didn’t get the attitude that I’ve frequently seen from other providers.

Image Manipulation

GIMP Plugin Registry

A former colleague of mine, Alan Kelleher at Vitale, Caturano, had pointed me to Gimp last fall, and I hadn’t really had much occasion to use it.  I’ve found it to be extremely feature rich and as easy to use as any of the high-end graphics programs can be, given what they allow you to accomplish.   If you need to do some image work and can’t fork over the bucks for one of the name brands (or don’t do enough to justify it, like me), Gimp is the way to go.


I haven’t had to do much with forms outside SharePoint in a long time!  I found this MSDN article, Validating ASP.NET Server Controls by Bill Evjen (as old as it is) to be of great help for the validation piece.  I’m not doing anything fancy, just a couple of simple “contact us” type forms, but this article helped me to brush aside the cobwebs.  A little validation code, some VB Script, and away we go.


For the money (none!), you just can’t beat Google Analytics.  With a few minutes of setup, and by dropping some JavaScript into your pages (I’m using a Dynamic Web Template in SharePoint Designer, so one page), you’re wired up and in business.  I haven’t seen anything as complete and full featured except in the enterprise class (read: $$$) tools out there.

I think these are the big bits.  More in another post if I think of anything else…