Introducing ‘SDL Web’

SDL Web - Part of the Customer Experience CloudToday SDL hosted an excellent webinar to introduce ‘SDL Web’, a sub-set of the Customer Experience Cloud (CXC) tool suite that was introduced earlier in the year.

With this blog post I aim to provide a high-level overview of the presentation as it showcased some amazing elements that I’m sure as Tridion developers we’ll all be using in our future projects.

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Simple Release Management with SDL Tridion 2013 and Bundles

I was fortunate to have a preview version the up and coming 2013 release of SDL Tridion to play with. One new feature is Bundles, which is basically a new type of organizational item, which allows you to group together related items, and do operations on them as a whole. Typically this would be putting it through workflow, or publishing them all together in a single transaction, but one nice thing about them is that you can use them however you want to, just add items into a bundle, and use it however you need to.

The new release of Content Porter will also be bundle-aware, which got me thinking that there should be an easy way to keep track of changed items during development using bundles to avoid the pain of keeping track manually. It turns out to be really easy using the Event System.

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Where am I? Skinning the SDL Tridion Content Manager Explorer.

To provide context between similarly-looking SDL Tridion environments, consider Skinning the Content Manager Explorer as described on SDL Live Content.

Simplified, slightly modified, and with some pics. This is a fairly quick and easy way to make your CMS environments stand out from each other. For the full power of CME Themes, head on over to YATB.
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Fixing a busted Tridion publisher

So I have to work this evening… want to know why? Because today my Tridion virtual machine magically stopped publishing after a reboot, I could smell Java libraries from the start!

Let me explain…

I went to bed feeling pretty satisfied after a long, hard day of coding. Same as any other day I simply closed the lid of my laptop to send my computer into hibernation, I foolishly (I admit) left my VM running.

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SiteEdit 2012 Overview

I have been very fortunate this week to have had the opportunity to attend the Site Edit 2012 bootcamp at SDL’s offices in NYC. It was a hands-on 2 day workshop where each of us was given an Amazon instance with Tridion and SiteEdit installed. Our goal was to get our hands dirty and solve a wide variety of challenges (including going through the install). Thank you Nuno for making it a great success!

Site Edit 2012, now officially renamed to “SDL Tridion User Interface 2012″, is a very impressive tool. It seems to load into editing mode much faster than its predecessor (at least on the Amazon instance I was playing with), and usability and options available from the toolbar are incredible.  The user experience that can be achieved is mind-blasting!

Here are some rough notes that I took on the new features.  I realize you, the reader, may not have the full context around some of the notes – nevertheless, I think these should  generate some excitement:

  • SiteEdit is now called Tridion UI 2012
  • Not yet ready to go, but if a customer is ready to use it, then they need to talk to SDL on a case-by-case basis.
  • Controlled release. Only a few customers going to implement.
  • The pages are now previewed in an iFrame within the CM interface
  • “Update Preview” 
    • Doesn’t publish in session. Renders the result in the CM and pushes it via web service call.
    • Avoids the publishing queue bottlenecks.
    • i.e. Re-rendering is done “on the fly” rather than the queue
  • “Finish Editing” button commits and publishes
  • In SiteEdit there are no more page templates. They are now called Page Types, which are like a pre-configured page with a template and other defaults. – hole notha level!
  • Functionality is provided to allow previewing the Page Type (just a url to a simple preview page)
  • A page template, associated to a page type can have a custom icon in the ribbon toolbar. This is a great feature to give content editors a better experience
  • Content Types are component templates linked to a page template
  • In Publication settings where you define the Content Types you can specify which folder components get created in via SiteEdit.
    • Can also specify how content is named: user defined or auto-generated (based on a pattern).
  • One ribbon in the toolbar shows all the page templates. Functionality exists allowing to change icons for each template.
  • Ambient Data Framework allows to virtually specify a different environment, e.g. Show how something would display in IE, even though you’re using Chrome; or chane the OS type, etc.
  • Can set blueprint context for pages (e.g. New pages are created and edited in Pub A while content is created/edited in Pub B).

There is another interesting feature called Session Footprint that is designed to help with previewing and testing your page as if the session was created under different environments and conditions.  You can select to show the page as if it ran in a different browser and a different OS, change the session timeout values, pull up specific dynamic component presentations based on search criteria and more.  The Footprint is engineered based on SDL’s Ambient Data Framework, and the whole thing is quite remarkable.

Another cool concept that is provided is called Regions.

  • Allow specifying limits on what kind of component presentations can be dropped in.  For example: only allow dropping components based on a given schema or a component template, or limit the number of components that can be added to a region.
  • This is done by addingsyntax in the design template, just like the regions for SmartTarget.

Last but not least, I’d like to share a very high-level technical architecture of this tool.

Site Edit Architecture

To conclude I’d like to say that the R&D folks have done an outstanding job with this tool and I can’t wait to start developing with this new product!

Installing SDL Tridion Hotfixes from a Network Location

This is not strictly an SDL Tridion issue, but I figured I would share it here in case others ran into the problem.

I just installed a hotfix on my development machine for a publish states issue in SDL Tridion 2011 SP1 which fixed a problem on marking items as published or not after installing the service pack. To apply the hotfix I needed to install an updated Tridion.ContentManager.Publishing.dll into the GAC. Continue reading

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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