SDL Digital Experience Accelerator

DXA, what is it?

DXA is a reference implementation from SDL to use with SDL Web (formerly known as SDL Tridion) content management system. It uses DD4T and implements best practices on how to setup a site in SDL Web.

Great, but what is it for?

DXA stands for Digital eXperience Accelerator and is developed/supported by SDL. Its goal is to speed up CDS implementations by standardizing solutions and showing best-practices. DXA is an Open Source project which utilizes either .NET MVC or Spring MVC to provide dynamic content delivery on the CDS, depending of your technology stack.

DXA is open sourced on github and DXA documentation is available online.

Works best for new implementations.

The CMS installer adds a default blueprint structure to separate concerns. Each publication contains the necessary building blocks required for content assembly: structure groups, schemas, folders, components, and pages.
When you publish you get the sample site that showcases the DXA’s "out of the box" functionalities with dummy content and white label HTML design. This could be the starting point for further development.

What are the benefits?

Depends on how you look at it. There are benefits for business people (a.k.a. as the client) and benefits for developers. Also, there are some things to think about if DXA really supports your case. I explain more on this topic on my employer blog: http://blog.tahzoo.com/sdl-dxa-what-is-it-and-why-should-i-care/

Visual Studio 2017 extensions update: Image Tools

Hi,

Microsoft is reminding every VS extension developer to upgrade their extension to the upcoming version of Visual Studio: 2017. Currently, I have only one in the Gallery: Image Tools. Launched in 2013, but after today also working in VS 2017, yeah!

Microsoft has written a howto manual how to do that and it works pretty well. Below are my take aways:

  • After downloading the release candidate of VS 2017 you should open your extension project and will migrate the SLN and PROJ files for you.
  • Then you have to update the NuGet package
  • Modify the VSIX file with the new VS versions (15.0 / 16.0)
  • Rename compiled VSIX file to ZIP and check for the new JSON files.
  • If ok, test drive it in VS 17 Experimental Studio
  • If ok, upload the new version to the VS Gallery

Image Tools

Like stated in the intro, it now works in Visual Studio 2017. You can find the Image Tools here in the VS Gallery for converting and resizing images on-the-fly: https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=GuusBeltman.ImageTools

New is that I also released the sourcecode to my Github account here: https://github.com/Guzzter/ImageToolsVSExtension/

Powershell profile script for SDL Web 8

Today I created a revamped the profile script for administrating a SDL Web 8 Content Management Server. (SDL Web 8 is formally known as the SDL Tridion product). The script already existed for Tridion 2011/2013. Only with renaming the product to SDL Web 8, also the services were changed.

What it does:

When installed it adds several functions. Some of them:

  • SDLServices() - Display all SDL Web 8 Services
  • Start-TServices() - Start all SDL Web 8 Services
  • Stop-TServices() - Stop all SDL Web 8 Services
  • Restart-Tservices() - Restart all SDL Web 8 Services
  • ...

 

Installation procedure:

  • Open PowerShell and execute the following commands:
    • > Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Force
    • > new-item -path $profile -itemtype file -force
    • > notepad $profile
  • PASTE the contents of this file
  • Save and Close notepad
  • Restart PowerShell

 

The Script (sdlweb8powershellprofile-ps1):

 

Tridion Gui Extension: Go To Owning Publication

I was inspired when reading the blogpost from Jaime Santos Alcon about his first bookmarklet Go To Publication. When seeing a blueprinted item in a child publication, it would be great to browse with one click to the same location in the origin publication. Great idea, that can save a lot of clicking and browsing in Tridion.

When trying out, I found out that it doesn’t work in Tridion 2011. Probably due to missing some JavaScript API hooks, which work in Tridion 2013. Later I tested it in 2013, there it works fine.

From my point of view bookmarklets are useful, but have some drawbacks:

  • The are a bit nerdy and not very likely to be broadly understood by Content Managers and other users.
  • With large organizations everybody has to install them in their own browser.

 

Since this is also useful for non-developers, I think it was worth creating a GUI extension out of it. Then we lower the barrier for usage and it’s easily available for everybody.

GoToOwningPublication

I have shared the code of the GUI extension on github: https://github.com/Guzzter/GoToOwningPublication. You can download it there and install the GUI extension by hand or using Robert Curlette’s GUI installer script.

Hope it helps.

Get Tridion Component Xml trick

When developing you sometimes want to know the actual XML structure of a Tridion component. When having the Tridion Powertools installed on the CMS server, you’re lucky and can use that. When you don’t have it (or aren’t allowed to install it), there is another way.

Via the Tridion Javascript Framework (Anguilla), you can also get the XML. The trick here is to open the component, press F12 for the Console and enter:

$display.getItem().getXml();

Demo:

XmlItem2[1]

Btw, It is also possible to retrieve other component XML by specifing the TCM Uri:

$display.getItem('tcm:123-5997').getXml();