Jeremy Davis
Jeremy Davis
Sitecore, C# and web development
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Posts from March 2014

A couple of thoughts on Visual Studio solutions for Sitecore

Recently I attended the developer upgrade training course for Sitecore 7, which was an interesting (and busy!) day learning about what's been changing in Sitecore in recent releases. But in amongst all that information, there was an interesting admission – Sitecore's training has moved away from the "stick your Visual Studio Solution in the Sitecore website folder" model that had jarred with me when I first did their training.

I didn't really like this model when it was taught at the original Sitecore training I attended a few years back. Before Sitecore I had done all my development work with my solution folders outside of the IIS sites. So the model I adopted for development when I started my first real project made use of MSBuild instead. (Rather than the Visual Studio Publishing wizard that the latest training discusses) So I thought I'd write down a few of the things I'd tried for setting up solutions, in case these of use to anyone else...

The power of relative URLs

Quick (and not Sitecore specific) one today, as I've got a very busy week in the office and it's eating into my time for blog posts. To make a break from a few weeks of writing about navigation patterns, here's an idea about something I've found a surprising number of developers don't know about: "Protocol agnostic" or "Schemeless" URLs.

HTML ~1 min. read

Multiple data source locations in the 'Select Associated Content' dialog box

Working on some components for a client's site recently, it struck me that there were circumstances where it would be helpful to editors to allow the "Select Associated Content" dialog to have multiple options without just showing the whole content tree. Scenarios like having both a global shared content folder and a sub-site specific shared content folder that editors could choose between, for example. Something that looked like this:

Bonus chatter: Getting the Web Forms for Marketers connection string

I hit an issue recently where it was necessary to get direct access to the Web Forms for Marketers database. The code needed to do some custom processing of previous form submissions in a Sitecore website, and it needed to process so much data that the public APIs for WFfM were too slow to use. Slightly annoyingly, the connection string for WFfM is not added to the the standard .Net config element, but is stored in the custom provider configuration in WFfM's forms.config file:

C# Sitecore WFfM ~3 min. read

Delete aliases along with their items

Last week I looked at how to visualise aliases in the Content Editor, based on a requirement from one of my clients. The second part of the work I was considering here was how you can automatically remove any aliases related to an item when you remove that item. What I wanted to achieve was having the system prompt you to ask if you want the aliases removed whenever you delete an item that has aliases attached. Something like:

C# Sitecore UI ~3 min. read

Visualising Aliases

Recently a client I work for came to me with an interesting question. Their Sitecore-based website makes heavy use of Aliases to set up shortened URLs for publicity purposes, but they were finding it difficult to manage the large number of aliases they were creating. Their key issues were remembering which pages had aliases defined, and remembering to delete aliases when they removed the pages they were related to.

C# Sitecore UI ~4 min. read

Bonus chatter: New ways to browse the .Net Framework source

For a while now it's been possible to configure Visual Studio to allow you to step into the publicly available source code for the .Net Framework, but a post on Channel 9 today provides information on some new ways to get at this fascinating information MS are releasing.

C# ~½ min. read

Bonus chatter: My favourite proposed feature for C# v6

Having been away on holiday recently, I've been doing a bit of catching up on the backlog of RSS-based reading that a week out of the office has generated. And one item stuck out at me as particularly interesting: some of the new features being discussed for the v6 release of the C# compiler. I came across a couple of articles discussing presentations given by Mads Torgersen (the C# Programme Manager) at the end of last year discussing some interesting feature proposals

C# ~1 min. read

Next step: Relative data sources...

Having spent a bit of time thinking about relative Data Source Locations last week, it struck me that the logical extension of this is to allow the data sources of components themselves to be relative to the context item. This is particularly useful when you need a branch template, that will include some child items of a page and you want to pre-configure the page's presentation to display these children via the data sources of UI components.

And happily this is a pretty trivial change for Sublayouts.