About Chris Summers

Chris has spent his career creating and developing technology for website operation and management. With a background in engineering and design, for the past 12 years, Chris has focused on implementing SDL Tridion products, working with companies and their technical staff to ensure an in-depth understanding of the software and complete successful, on-going implementations. Chris has worked with more than 60 of the largest and most expansive SDL Tridion implementations in the world, from launching custom integrations, offering technical training and mentoring consultants through to certification. When he’s not talking or thinking about websites, Chris is an avid chef, an amateur carpenter and a flying trapeze enthusiast. A fan of travel and adventure, he’s a citizen of the world who currently makes his home in Boston, USA.

Whitespace in SDL Tridion SP1 XML

Before reading this, and getting too alarmed, this blog of caution really only applies to those who use XSLT templates (either using the XSLT Mediator or traditional XSLT Component Templates). Although it may have a wider impact that I am not aware of.

I just upgraded a client implementation to 2011 SP1, and mysteriously some of my components were failing to publish. At first this seemed to be a template issue, but on further inspection it became apparent that components that had been made before the SP1 upgrade were fine, and those create or edited after the upgrade were failing.

In one of our XSLT Template Building Blocks, we essentially copy the XML of the Component in order to make all the data available to the presentation code. In addition to copying the nodes, we also add some additional attributes.

    <image xlink:type="simple" xlink:href="tcm:0-114344" xlink:title="ross" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"/>

Gets transformed by our template to

<image Orientation="portrait" Photographer="- Not applicable" Illustrator="">
    <caption>Some Caption</caption>
    <image type="pub148w" height="148" width="60" src="tcm:417-117248" uri="tcm:417-117248" /
    <image type="pubArticleFull" height="480" width="640" src="tcm:417-117248" uri="tcm:417-117248"/>

This was working perfectly from version 5.3 up until 2011 GA. However we discover that the XML of components saved using SDL Tridion 2011 had changed


<image><image xlink:type="simple" xlink:href="tcm:0-114344" xlink:title="ross" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" /></image>

<image>       <image xlink:type="simple" xlink:href="tcm:0-114344" xlink:title="ross" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" />       </image>

The additional whitespace was being added to the image node by my XSLT template, and it was preventing me from adding the Orientation, Photographer and Illustrator attributes to the element (you can not add attributes with XSLT to a node after adding text, whitespace or nodes)

To get around this I have added <xsl:strip-space elements=”*”/> to the top of my XSLT which fixes our problem, but it does mean we now need to validate the output of all our templates to make sure we are not stripping out any whitespace that we actually need.

Lesson of the day: Never write an XSLT thinking whitespace is irrelevant.

You decide whether you think this is a bug or not, but in the meantime, I hope this post might help you debug any XML related woes you stumble upon after upgrading to SP1.

Fixing GUI issues after upgrading to SDL Tridion 2011 SP1

I have just finished upgrading a client’s SDL Tridion 2011 GA instance to SP1, and on the whole the experience was fairly painless with the exception of my post on publishing permissions and some minor issues with the Content Manager Explorer (CME).

I believe my client was one of the earlier adopters of SDL Tridion 2011 GA, and we applied a number of early hotfixes to the GA instances. My guess is that we may have installed some “unapproved” hot fixes which we not versioned correctly or that in a debugging effort I accidentally saved some files whilst hunting for a problem.

This appears to be the root of the latest problems we have seen. In an effort to not mess up any customized code or configurations, the SP1 installer does not update any files with unknown versions. In our case this meant that several files were not updated, and the CME was not functioning correctly (several items were not loading or saving, and various JS errors were appearing) even though the installer appeared to have completed successfully.

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The story of SDL Tridion 2011 Custom Resolver and the allowWriteOperationsInTemplates attribute

Before I start with this blog, let me thank all those who have helped me find my way whilst stumbling around in the forest on this one, you know who you are. Had I read the release note properly over a year ago, I am sure I would never have made this journey, however I have learned a lot and figured I would share what I found.

A long, long time ago, in an office somewhere in the Netherlands I decided to make a VBScript Component Template for Tridion R5.0 which created the HTML for an article, and then published a summary DCP (Dynamic Component Presentation) for inclusion in a broker driven index page. I was a happy man.

Sometime later, I was at a client in Norway, and I only had rights to make templates and pages etc. My client needed me to create a new user in the CMS. The Tridion Administrator was on vacation, so I made a template that created a new user in the system. Again, I was a happy man. Continue reading