Extending the SDL Knowledge Center GUI

Many of us are familiar with GUI extensions in SDL Web, as well as Alchemy plugins, which integrate into the GUI via the Aguilla JavaScript framework. With SDL Knowledge Center, the story is a bit different. At first glance, Knowledge Center appears to have a GUI very similar to Web’s, in terms of look and feel. Under the hood, however, it’s implemented differently. There is no Anguilla. Anguilla is more of a Tridion thing. And from my experience, the concept of a GUI extension does not really exist in KC. There is documentation on plugins and extensions. But there is no clear, simple approach to extending the GUI, as far as I can tell. In this post, I outline a simple technique for extending the GUI functionality of your Knowledge Center implementation.

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All I want for Christmas is an SDL Web 8 Developer Course (DXA)

Earlier in December, I had the opportunity to travel to Boston for the two-day SDL Web 8 System Administration Course in Wakefield, MA. It’s an excellent course, especially for those transitioning from Tridion 2013 to Web 8 and for people like myself who are traditionally weak in the area of sysadmin. I would highly recommend it.

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Creating a Simple SDL Web 8 DXA Environment

I set out to create a basic SDL Web 8 DXA machine with default everything installed and configured, following SDL’s installation documentation as closely as possible. I wanted to find the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to get up and running from scratch. Although it didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, the end result was indeed a fully functional SDL Web 8 development environment with the sample DXA site up and running, Topology Manager, a working Experience Manager, the ability to create new schemas and map them to application-side View Models, etc. In this post, I specify the key portions of SDL documentation used, some common issues encountered and some advice for getting set up quickly and easily.

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What I learned from building my first Alchemy plugin

I finally found some time to start working on my own plugin built in this incredible new framework developed by Content Bloom called Alchemy. You can see my plugin on the Alchemy Webstore here. It’s called Not Used and it’s really just a basic cleanup tool that allows a Tridion user to search for and remove various items that are not in use. Perhaps more interesting than the plugin itself is the process of learning to work within the Alchemy framework, which requires a combination of knowledge in Tridion’s Anguilla framework, C# core service API and standard .NET web technologies. Some of these have documentation that is seemingly hidden or otherwise very difficult to track down and/or decipher. Here I discuss some of the trickier bits of my experiences developing an Alchemy plugin, in hopes that these details will help others encountering the same challenges. Continue reading