SDL Web Design Pattern: “Slicing”

As a Tridion an SDL Web developer, you’ve very likely converted a single block of HTML design into appropriate Tridion Building Blocks. The idea of breaking a page into types of content, represented in Tridion as Component Presentations, is not new to you. But have you “sliced” a Component by sets of fields?

A few months back, Damian Jewett, explored the idea of multiple Template Layout Building blocks. I’m following up with a potential use case for this approach along with a parallel idea with Component Templates instead. We can call this slicing, where we have a consistently used subset of fields out of a collection of Component fields.*

*I first heard the term “slice,” in a slightly different context, from a French design agency after they learned how Tridion worked.

First read Damian’s post. Continue reading

Using a GUI extension for RTF fields with regular Text fields

This is a follow up post on my previous post about a tree-view item picker. Right now, this Tridion GUI extension works well for rich text fields : when you click a button in the ribbon toolbar, you get a popup with a number of keywords, and when the user selects a keyword, some property of that keyword is inserted in the rich text field.

Now, the same functionality had to be achieved for regular text fields. Tridion has a lot functionality available for dealing with RTF fields, but extending this to regular text fields requires some extra custom coding

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Use a treeview item picker in your GUI extensions

Recently, I was asked to build a Tridion GUI extension that would let users insert a key of a Keyword in a rich text field. Users would have to click a button in the ribbon toolbar, get a list of keywords, pick one, and the GUI extension would work it’s magic.

There are some nice examples of this to be found here, so i managed to wrap up a solution pretty quick, and life was good.

After some testing, it turned out that the amount of items in the dropdown would grow to large – if you have only 10 or 20 items to pick from, that’s fine, but what if there are hundreds…

So, a new requirement was added : “can we not have a dropdown of keywords, but a tree view, so users would be able to drill-down to find the keyword they want”. 

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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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Having fun with Experience Manager, Page Regions and Widgets

I have been working on a demo image for a workshop I had to give about 2013 and Experience Manager. To make it a true educational example, I didn’t just reuse bits of existing implementations, but basically redesigned most from scratch. Keeping an eye on simplicity to make it all easy to explain and thus simple to understand, while still following the best practices. For most this was still quite straight forward, but when crossing the topic of Experience Manager I actually came to a few new insights which I thought where worth sharing.

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Some thoughts on CMS/CDN Integration

Creating a architecture presentation the other day helped to crystallise some thoughts in my head on integrating a CMS like Tridion, and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).

I have been involved with such matters before (see my SDL Tridion World Article on how to technically integrate a CDN through Storage Extensions) but I thought it was worth sharing my ideas on the considerations when working with a CMS and CDN.

SDL Tridion’s Enterprise Content Management features are a good match for companies with a truly global digital presence and audience. Such companies are also those most likely to benefit from the scaling features offered by a global Content Delivery Network, so Tridion + CDN is a hot topic.

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So you committed the SDL Tridion proposal on Area 51. Now what?

A lot of people have been jumping on the commitment band wagon for the recently proposed Q & A site for Tridion on Stack Exchange’s Area 51 site. This is a great step toward the proposal making it to the beta phase. Thanks to all of you who have got involved so far.

For those who don’t know, Stack Exchange is the creator of some generic technical Q & A sites such as Stack Overflow, Super User and Server Fault. They also make their platform available to more focused communities for products like Drupal and Word Press, as well as completely non-technical sites on various topics as far reaching as gardening, literature and poker. These sites are built by the online communities that want them. Before Stack Exchange sanctions the use of their platform, they want to be sure the sites will get used, and are filled with good content backed by an active community of knowledgeable contributors. They do this by allowing anyone to propose a site on their staging area called Area 51, and measuring its progress as it moves through various phases from initial definition, through commitment and beta until the site becomes live. Continue reading