Oh no, my Flickr ECL just stopped working!

Just a quick blog note on the ‘recent’ update by Flickr. Essentially they’ve removed support for http:// and only support https:// requests to the Flickr API – see the note from Flickr Code.

We utilised the excellent ECL Flickr Provider posted by Bart Koopman on SDL Tridion World and after making a tiny tweak all was at peace in the ECL Flickr world!

Simply update the http:// reference to https:// in the api\flickr.cs class, rebuild, deploy and view until your heart is content!

Special thanks to Harald Hoffelinck for working through this!

Adding content to the Side Panel navigation

side-panel-content-bloomSDL Tridion 2013 SP1 comes with a lovely new interface (Carbon 2.0) which features a Side Panel navigation that allows users to jump through to other SDL products and remain within the same interface.  What’s also cool is that you can also add your own items and tools to the side panel, and with this simple example, I hope to show you how easy it is.

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ECL and BluePrinting

BluePrint structure
Many have asked me, “Does ECL support BluePrinting”? My reply is always a solid yes, but (yes there is a but), I should really reply with a question: “Does your external system support BluePrinting”?

Since it is nice that ECL supports BluePrinting, but ECL just exposes items from your external system in SDL Tridion. So for them to be BluePrinted, you should have your ECL Provider make the connection between an SDL Tridion Publication and the specific items you want to show in that context. An ECL item URI contains a Publication URI, so to implement BluePrinting correctly in your provider, you will need to give the child item, the same ECL Item ID as its parent item. The only thing that is tricky there is localization, an ECL item doesn’t really have a localized state, the ECL stub Component can have that state though.

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Using a custom MVC render engine to speed up DD4T development

Reverend Green in the Conservatory with the Lead Piping?

Reverend Green in the Conservatory with the Lead Piping?

Recently I’ve been performing some post-launch improvements to a DD4T site for a client.  A number of their requests have been along the lines of improving screen element <x> on page <y>.

The project is reasonably large with the website being comprised from a couple of hundred abstract MVC views.  A good amount of nested, view re-use, with nice generic css classes has actually been a detriment when it comes to tracking down exactly which view screen element <x> originates from.

Occasionally you find a view that includes some ‘start’ and ‘end’ comments in the output.

<!-- Start View: Example -->
  View contents go here...
<!-- End View: Example -->

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Context Engine Webinar Resources

teamwork Today I gave an overview of the SDL Tridion Context Engine and how it can be used to provide device detection functionality for SDL Tridion Websites, with a focus on how simple it is to install and use in a RESS / Responsive website.

In the event you missed this presentation, the slides are available after the jump.

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Forms without Java, XSLT or even XML

Forms Now you might have heard that I love WebForms and advocate it everywhere I can (which isn’t necessarily true, but let’s say it is for the sake of argument). So why, you may ask, is Bart writing a provider to an online forms solution?

The answer is really quite simple – well that’s what product management said about the idea; because we recognise that our users are using many different tools to enable and facilitate their diverse content management needs and one of these is the ability to create simple online forms. That is why we built the ECL framework and why we continue to look for ways to improve our customer’s content management experience. Actually, the answer is even simpler than that: just because I can, and because I just love ECL and by now I love it more than WebForms.

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TransportPackageHandler: Does this count as documentation?

I was recently working on an implementation which required a custom Deployer Module to publish and un-publish DCPs from a third party system. In order to store and retrieve data in/from the system, certain ‘non-display’ data is required by the Deployer (think configurable username, passwords, and primary keys for the databases etc.).

Publishing actions were very straight forward, as all of the ‘non-display’ data could be stored in the contents of the DCP and parsed out before storing it. There are even more elegant ways of adding Metadata to Publish Instructions. Unfortunately this is not the case for a un-publish action. The only information sent in the package when un-publishing a DCP is an instruction to remove the specific DCP (or DCPs).

Having never faced this challenge before, I posted the question on tridion.stackexchange.com  and received a suggestion from Eric Huiza regarding an un-documented extension point for the transport package called a TransportPackageHandler. I will leave it to you to decide if it is a great suggestion or not. Continue reading

TcmTemplateSync: Work with TBBs outside of Tridion:

Working with TBBs outside Tridion? Nothing new there you say – I already edit my DWTs in Dreamweaver and my .NET TBBs in Visual Studio. But what about those other commonly used TBB types; Razor and XSLT, what if you don’t like Dreamweaver (or don’t have a license)? Now there is a tool to help you sync local copies of TBBs with the CMS, and break free from editing them in the CMS GUI: TcmTemplateSync Continue reading

Decommission a Publication Target

Decommission a Publication TargetWith the release of SDL Tridion 2013 SP1, we get a lot of new functionality. One of the interesting features I found was the ability to decommission a Publication Target. This feature is added to the Core Service, and currently not directly available from the UI. Which sounded like a good exercise to make a UI extension, with which you can call this new method.

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