Why we don’t use SDL Tridion Workflow

The SDL Tridion MVPs were chatting on Skype last week, and the subject of workflow came up. One MVP told us he was working on a particularly interesting workflow challenge, and another shared the fantastic one-liner “Rule #1 for SDL Tridion Workflow: Don’t do it”.

Now based on my last post “Welcome back SDL Tridion Workflow” I thought it would be interesting to take a look at why so few clients implement SDL Tridion’s workflow solution for managing their content. After all, I bet 9 out of 10 clients list workflow as a feature in RFIs when making their WCM selection shortlists. Continue reading

“The” Navigation Debate

Please see below slides for the discussion we hope to have initiated in the Community Webinar held on the 14th March 2012.

Essentially, as a wise man once noted, there are as many ways of rendering navigation as there are Tridion Consultants… The purpose of this discussion is for us, as a community, to share and discuss our experiences.

Please feel free to post links to blogs with specific examples but ideally here we would have more of a discussion of why we would choose one method over another (implementation timescales, environment, editor requirements etc.) and whether, on reflection, previous decisions would be the same…

Let’s talk….


What the REL?! – A simple and very practical use of REL

SDL Tridion introduced a new target language in the 2011 release – rather mysteriously named REL. Discussions on what exactly this is for tend to very quickly get rather technical and revolve around Dynamic Rendering, developing custom tags in Java, the new Content Delivery web service and such.

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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

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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Impress your IT Operations Peers. SDL Tridion + A Simple APM Client

Application Performance Monitoring or Management (APM) means nearly completely different things depending if you’re on the development (R&D) or operations (database/server administration) side of information technology (IT). It’s a different scale, different focus, and different vendors. To get a flavor of this, ask around for APM licensing models.

As a Web application with external APIs, extension points, OS-level events, and plenty of logs, SDL Tridion can be monitored however you see fit, with your vendor of choice. If you’re an avid Tridion World or documentation reader, you already know how to monitor publishing as far back as Tridion 5.3 per Julian Wraith’s article (I’m teasing, I missed this one until I recently searched for Tridion’s monitoring capabilities). 

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See you on Stack Exchange!

Stack Exchange, a spin-off of the popular Stack Overflow programming Q&A site has an “Area 51″ staging site, where Dave Houlker recently proposed a new site Q&A for SDL Tridion.

You can move the potential site into a beta phase by committing. Just follow this image link.
Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Tridion
Full disclosure: I get credit if you click the nice image. Join via a non-referring link if you prefer.

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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