Download Small Business Starter Kit

If you are in need of the Small Business Starter Kit while Microsoft relocates their starterkits on the web you are welcome to download them here.  Just click for the VB or the C# versions.

Starter Kit Friendly Web Host

[ad#square-post-ad]Since my favorite web host has moved upstream and no longer will offer starter (e.g. less than $59/ month) hosting plans to users I have a new starterkit friendly hosting company – http://aspkit.net – You get MS SQL 2005 with all plans, auto install of many startkits, full trust environment, free 7 day trial and much more all startering at $9.95/ month.  If you have been banging your head against 1and1 or godaddy service and tech support or if you just need a full trust environment this is the place for you.  Aspkit.net is .NET only and focuses on starter kit hosting with a support staff that knows your issues. If you want to see how easy it can be to get your starterkit online check out http://aspkit.net. Give it a try.

Google Map API – Adding address markers and geocoding

I had a need to add a set of markers to a Google map using the Google Maps API that could be easily modified over time.  It is fairly easy to add markers with the Google Maps API but I wanted to put something together that will do the geocoding at the same time so I don’t have to manually add the lat / lng coordinates when I just want to add an address.  As a result I put together the following bit of script.  The addresses are loaded from an xml file named data.xml, geocoded and then added to the map.  If you are going to use this example for yourself, just add your Google Maps API key and enter the addresses you want to add. You can visit a LIVE SAMPLE or download the full html page and associated data.xml file from HERE.  [Read more...]

Examples of live Starter Kit Sites

Since I talk about using various starter kits, I thought I would share the acutal live sites that I have put up over time.  In no particular order, here they are:

http://www.rvresort.com – using “My Web Pages”

http://www.redhotchilimommas.com – using “Club Starter Kit 2.0″

http://www.skyriverapartments.com – using “Personal Starter Kit”

If you any questions or comments about any of those sites, just let me know.

Adventures in CSK 2.01

My recent adventures in starter kits is CSK 2.01 and I am here to share what I have learned to make your implementation a little easier.  First, get yourself a good web host CSK because of its PayPal integration needs a Full Trust host – GoDaddy and 1and1 will not cut it.  Second, replicate the DB onto your server and upload the web files as is outlined elsewhere on this site.  Now for the fun stuff.  CSK is all about ecommerce and has an amazing amount of functionality for a full fledged ecommerce site with integrated shopping cart, shipping providers and really everything you need for your ecommerce business to be up an running.  While CSK is great overall it is a little lacking in the documentation department for the beginner.  I will try to identify the issues that I found troubling and will hopefully save you some hours of work in the process. 

  1. If you are not using SSL be sure to go to checkout.aspx.cs and comment out line 36 Utility.TestForSSL(); Otherwise you will get “page not found” error when you try to checkout
  2. PayPal Pro Integration – If you are gonig to use PayPal Pro (which is nice because you can accept credit card payments directly on your site but it costs $20/ month) you need to follow a few steps. First sign up for PayPal Pro on the PayPal website and you will be given API Account Name and Password that you can enter into the admin section of CSK.  You will also be given the option to download a certificate from PayPal but you will notice that it will have a .txt extension versus the .pfx extension specified in CSK.  To remedy this you will need to use OpenSSl to convert the PayPal certificate from PEM to the correct .pfx type.  OpenSSL is a command line utility which can be downloaded from here with instructions http://forums.commercestarterkit.org/files/folders/pp1000/entry6647.aspx Once you have your .pfx file upload it to your App_Data folder and then enter the file name and password into the CSK Admin section and you are good to go.
  3. When using the integrated USPS shipping provider, request your account from USPS and then immediately request the production server from USPS.  The functionality is already integrated and you can only send predetermined shipping info with the test server which won’t do you much good.  Just email or call USPS and they will set you up right away. You will notice in CSK that it asks for a password but you never choose one from USPS – you just need to enter something into that the password field.  It does not matter what it is but it cannot be left blank or you will get an error

Hopefully with these tips you should be up and running in no time.

Other online resources

Not finding what you are looking for at askstarterkit.com?

Try these other online resources that I have found very useful:
ASP.NET Tutiorials - A number for tutorials on how to accomplish typical tasks including code samples

List of Available Starter Kits

The are two broad types of starter kits available. The original starter kits released by the ASP.NET team and community supported starter kits.

The ASP.NET team starter kits are:

  1. Small Business Site Starter Kit - The Small Business Starter Kit provides a sample of a business promotion website suitable for small and medium-sized businesses.
  2. Personal Web Site Starter Kit – A typical personal site that includes a photo album system.
  3. Club Web Site Starter Kit – A starting point for creating a web site for your club or organization.
  4. Time Tracker Starter Kit – A business web application for keeping track of hours spent on a project with the ability to handle multiple resources as well as multiple projects.
  5. Classifieds Web Site Starter Kit – The Classifieds Site Starter Kit provides a complete, ready to run, fully customizable, Web site for listing and managing classified advertisements.

All of these can be found at http://www.asp.net/downloads/starterkits/default.aspx
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Recommended Web Hosts for Starter Kits

I am only going to speak from personal experience here but the two best hosts for asp.net that I have used are discountasp.net and ultimahosts.net.  I currently have all of my sites over at ultimahosts.net because they were a better value for me.  As an additional bonus ultimahosts.net will instantly set you up with a free trial account so you can make sure they work for you before you commit to a hosting plan. While quite inexpensive, I had nothing but problems with 1and1.com and godaddy.com and the price discount was not worth the headache.  That being said if anyone has had good success with either one of those hosts or any other host for that matter please chime in with your thoughts.�