Daniel Hoelbling-Inzko talks about programming

imagineClub.at is now finally online

logo After almost 4 months of work I am pleased to announce that the new imagineClub Website is finally online at


You can read what this is all about here.

Besides the obvious design refresh the new website has numerous administrative improvements that allow us to more easily share information with members and also allow new members to join the fun since we are now able to unlock their accounts without having to hack SQL together.

As you may already know, the new website is also licensed as open-source software and the code is freely available from my GitHub Repository. Since we allow our users to use MSDN-AA the site internally uses my other open-source project elms-connector (source on GitHub) to connect up to the Microsoft servers.

And to take dogfooding to a new level, I already have a unpublished changeset that will make imagineClub.at use the dotlesscss project to improve the project's CSS.

You may have guessed by now that the whole site is completely built ontop of open-source frameworks. It is based on Castle MonoRail, running ontop of Castle ActiveRecord with some (but not deep) Castle Windsor integration.
In fact, I would have used Windsor more, but using the ActiveRecord pattern with all it's static goodness somehow limited the use of inversion of control.

I primarily chose Castle MonoRail due to the fact that I had come off a ASP.NET MVC project and wanted to learn another MVC framework besides the blue one. I can't say I'm sorry for that decision. MonoRail has proven itself to be a very mature and very extensible framework that supported me all the way to releasing the site. 
I do regret however chosing NVelocity as my viewengine, Spark seems to be the better choice at the moment and NVelocity is really awful when it comes to debugging problems.

Anyway: Thanks to all these great open-source projects that made this possible, and also a big thanks to Kristof who sponsored the new design!

Windows 7 RTM available through imagineClub MSDN-AA


The Academic Alliance program lags a little bit behind the normal MSDN program, but last week Windows 7 finally hit the virtual shelves of our MSDN-AA subscription.

If you are a student at Klagenfurt University and a imagineClub member you can log in and download Windows 7 for free today.

Filed under imagineclub, windows-vista

ImagineClub Website: File upload/download works

Oh it’s been quiet for a very very long time around here imagineClub-wise. And I’m afraid to say that progress has been rather slow.

Well, today I finally around to implement file downloads/uploads and the file listing in the sidebar section. In all it’s glory it was nothing more than 10 lines of C# code and tons and tons of XHTML and CSS that I’d rather not go into.

Here are some screenshots of the current version:

 image image

It’s really rough around the edges and I will probably need to bring in a markdown editor to allow formatting when posting. I plan on stealing Ken Egozi’s Windows Live Writer integration for the news section, but when users upload files to the site they need to have some way of formatting their text.

Also I’ll look into Less.NET to manage my CSS because it is becoming very very verbose at the moment and restructuring it is just painful. This is mainly due to the fact that I want to keep the markup was ignorant to presentation as possible and as expressive as possible. All forms are built with accessibility in mind and are passing the webaim tests.

Next up on my list is a search/list option for uploaded files. Maybe improve the file organization a bit more and then start to write the ELMS integration to allows logged in users access to the MSDN-AA. Once we are done with the ELMS thing I’d dare to launch the site.

Dropping IE6

This one’s going to be quick. While doing the xhtml/css for the new iC-Website I decided that there will be no IE6 support. The site will be standards compliant and should pass W3C XHTML 1.0 strict validation.

The current markup already works quite well with absolutely no hacks/js-tricks to look like this:


Since IE8 renders this flawlessly (except for the rounded corners within the date), I see no real value in trying to make this check out in IE6. I’ve spent too much time on this already so in case you haven’t upgraded yet: Get IE8!

On a side note: I’m amazed how well IE8 renders the site. Everything I did so far worked perfectly on all 3 rendering engines without any problem. Thank god the dark days are over!

As always, you can follow the development on BitBucket. The site’s source code is available there. Feel free to comment on the markup :).

imagineClub Website feedback results

I hate web development, I learned to hate it when I was translating Photoshop designs into XHTML years ago and I was really hoping to never do it again.

Unfortunately, most people who took the iC Website design survey really liked the new design, so I decided to start working to get this thing done sometime soon. Here is the poll result:


Thanks again to all who participated!

So, where are we? First: I am developing the iC website in the open. The source code is available at the project’s BitBucket site, so if you want to see what progress has been made just follow the project’s commit history RSS.

Sadly, Currently the repository is more or less a blank MonoRail template while I am trying to get the XHTML to look like Kristof’s design. I am really trying hard to maintain a clean markup to enable accessibility to all users.

Unfortunately, my CSS skills are somewhat lacking, so I had to learn the hard way that background-position won’t work with background-repeat, and that there is no chance in hell we’ll ever support IE6.

I’m also not sure yet on what license the project should use. I slashed a APL2 license on it just to have one, but I guess we’ll drop that in favor of a CC license.

New imagineClub website design poll

I just got email from Kristof  with a raw draft of a new design for the imagineClub website I’m currently building. I’d really like to hear your feedback on this:


Update: Sorry I didn’t include any more background on the topic. imagineClub is a club that focuses on helping students at Klagenfurt University with their studies and enable them to easily access new Microsoft technology. I wrote a more complete article about the imagineClub some time ago.

Please take a few seconds to answer this little survey. It will help us reach a decision and improve the design:

imagineClub – Students for Students

In Austria every university has a institution called ÖH that is there to support students throughout their studies. They provide legal advice, course material and many other things.
The downside of this great service is that it’s directly associated with the university and therefore subject to some regulations regarding what they can do and what not.

Amongst the things that the regular ÖH isn’t able to do is provide course material other than the official things the professors provide. Student generated content could be wrong and that would look bad for the organization.
imagineClub was founded to solve this problem in 2007 and had a lot of success by requiring members to pay for their membership through term-paper submissions to contribute to the overall knowledgebase.

imagineClub also managed to partner with Microsoft and therefore was allowed to offer the MSDN-Academic Alliance service to all of their members. Allowing members to freely download and use Microsoft development software like Visual Studio, Windows etc..

Why am I telling you all of this?

Well, half a year ago I agreed to become the assistant chairman of imagineClub! The old team is still there, but jobs and other things have taken over, so I was brought in to try to get iC back on track and to again provide real value to our members.

Right now, one of the major roadblocks for imagineClub is it’s website. In it’s current state none of the board members are able to add news or change anything about the site since the input forms are broken. Paper submissions have to go through email and get added to the database through raw SQL, making the MSDN-AA subsection of the site the only “working” part that doesn’t require direct SQL manipulation. Naturally, all of this has led to a terribly outdated website, no new papers since 2008 and besides MSDN-AA no real service for our members.

I’m planning to change this through writing a completely new website that does what it’s supposed to do, but also is completely open source!
I decided to go with the Castle MonoRail framework on this one since I already did enough ASP.NET MVC Projects in the past. A positive side-effect of this should also be to work on the MonoRail documentation to get it updated once again.

The whole project is once again up on Bitbucket, currently more of a project skeleton than a real application. But I do plan to finish the site sometime in July. I’m also very happy to announce that Kristof, a young designer/artist I’ve had the pleasure working with during my last projects, has agreed to contribute a brand new site design. He promised me to finish it this week, so work on the site should start pretty soon.

Filed under imagineclub, personal

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