Sean Holmesby

.NET and Sitecore Developer

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CopySauce, a file Copying Utility for Sitecore Development

A while ago a good friend of mine, Dave Nicolson, created a utility that assists front-end developers with Sitecore development. The tool watches changes to front-end files in your Source directory, and copies them over to your Website directory….saving the need for a full Visual Studio build, and thus, no App Pool recycle.

Download CopySauce here.

Note: Basic documentation is included in the download.

CopySauce was branded by Igloo (now Authentic Entertainment), and my original post of the utility can be found here.

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Fixing Visual Studio IntelliSense in Sitecore MVC Views

IntelliSense in Visual Studio is a fantastic auto-complete feature that greatly improves your Sitecore development, however I’ve occasionally seen this not working in my MVC solutions.

01 - HTML Sitecore Helper not working

In particular, I was seeing the following error highlighted around any calls to the @Html.Sitecore() helper:-

‘System.Web.Mvc.HtmlHelper<Model>’ does not contain a definition for ‘Sitecore’ and no extension method ‘Sitecore’ accepting first argument of type ‘System.Web.Mvc.HtmlHelper<Model> could be found.’

This would mean that I could not get auto-complete on the @Html.Sitecore() helper, nor would I get auto-complete for my properties on my Glass Models.

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Multiple Datasource Locations using Queries are back in Sitecore 7.2 Update-2

Sitecore 7.2 Update-2 (rev.140526) was recently released, and one of the entries in the Release Notes was this:-

  • Layouts and renderings
    • The Select the Associated Content dialog did not handle multiple data sources correctly. It only used the first data source and ignored any additional data sources. This has been fixed. (389483)

A while back Thomas Stern wrote a post detailing a way to allow for queries in Datasource locations, so that the Associated Content dialog could be more flexible for multi-site solutions.

I tested out his solution back when the post was written, and it worked perfectly. However I found that it was broken in both Sitecore 7.0 and 7.1.

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A fix for the Sitecore 7.1 Upgrade Process

This is a fix for the Sitecore 7.1 upgrade process, where Rules fields may not have their Source (Rules Context) updated correctly during the upgrade. The fix was originally posted on my Github repo and should be used when upgrading from Sitecore 7.0 to Sitecore 7.1.
It has been assessed and approved by Sitecore Support.

How to Fix the normal process

Follow the initial steps (Steps 1 to 9) in the Sitecore update installation instructions here.
Before installing the Sitecore 7.1 update package in the Update Installation Wizard (Step 10,11):-

  • copy the Hedgehog.SC71Upgrade.DLL file from the __install files directory into your Website’s /bin directory.
  • make a change to the App_Config/FieldTypes.config file with the following change.
    • change
      <fieldType name="Rules" type="Sitecore.Data.Fields.TextField,Sitecore.Kernel" resizable="true" />
      to
      <fieldType name="Rules" type="Hedgehog.SC71Upgrade.Data.Fields.RulesField,Hedgehog.SC71Upgrade" resizable="true" />
    • Note: This change can be seen in the example file located here __install files/FieldTypes.config.
  • Now install the normal update package (Step 10,11 in the Sitecore update installation instructions) and complete the remaining steps for the upgrade.

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How to fix missing Conditions and Actions in Rules fields in Sitecore 7.1

Update: I found a bug in the Sitecore 7.1 Upgrade Process that causes the issue mentioned in this post. An explanation and a fix for the process can be found at my Github repository, https://github.com/SaintSkeeta/Hedgehog.SC71Upgrade.

I previously posted about the Sitecore Upgrade ‘Post Step’ code that gets executed on items when upgrading Sitecore to a newer version. The Post Step code in the Sitecore 7.1 upgrade processes the Conditions and Actions items for Rules fields…meaning your existing Rules fields may be affected during the upgrade process.

When Sitecore 7.1 was released Adam Conn wrote a blog post about the changes to how Rules work in the new update. With everything shifted around in the content tree, I knew there would be some sort of Post Step to update existing Rules items.

My LaunchSitecoreTDS repo (taken from the Launch Sitecore demo site) has a custom action that automates the enrollment of a user in an engagement plan, so with the package originally being built for Sitecore 7.0, something was going to happen with the items when upgrading to Sitecore 7.1.

The ‘Enroll in Automation State’ item had moved from:-

/sitecore/system/Settings/Rules/Common/Actions
to
/sitecore/system/Settings/Rules/Definitions/Elements/Custom

The action was originally setup to be executed on the Register Goal in the Marketing Center.
But now Rules fields respond to their ‘Rules Context’ (their Source on the field), allowing developers to limit what conditions and actions are available for a given rules field….
So now our custom action cannot be added to any other similar Page Events we setup, because it isn’t set as the Source for any field. Read More

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Sitecore Upgrade Post Step Scripts

Charlie Turano recently told me a lesser known fact about Sitecore’s upgrade process. There is a block of code that gets executed to update existing items in the database. This is what’s known as an installation ‘Post Step’, and it gets triggered after the new or changed items are added to the database.

For example, Sitecore 6.5 updated the ‘Placeholder Settings’ items to have a new ‘Placeholder Key’ field.
01 - Placeholder settings extra field Read More

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DataFolder config patch for Sitecore Instance Manager (SIM) installs

The Sitecore Instance Manager (SIM) tool is a fantastic tool for quickly setting up local Sitecore installations. I love using it for quick setup when sandbox testing features, or new shared source modules from the community.
It’s so simple that you just click on the ‘Install Instance’ button, fill out the information for the site you want, and off it goes, extracting the webroot, attaching databases, setting up IIS and everything. It’s great!

01 - SIM Install

One thing I found when setting up my sites was that the Data folder was saved within the actual Web.Config, as opposed to it being patched in with an App_Config/Include file.

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Sitecore Glass Mapper Data Handler for a Link List field

Here’s a way to map a custom Link List field in Sitecore to Glass.Mapper.Sc, for easy usage.
The following was used for Monoco’s Link List field but can also be used with the Field Suite’s General Links field by Velir, as it stores the same raw value.
(Note: for Monoco’s Link List field, it’s better to download the LinkList package from the Monoco site than the Sitecore Marketplace, as the Marketplace version is outdated at the time of writing this post).
LinkList

For more information on Data Handlers, check out the Data Handler tutorial on the Glass Mapper website here.
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The Launch Sitecore Site using TDS

The Launch Sitecore site is a great shared source site that allows Sitecore editors and developers to check out a complete Page Editor and DMS friendly Sitecore solution. The site comes complete with Engagement Plans, User Profiles and Lucene Indexing, and the code and content can be downloaded by registering on the site, then going to the /download page.
Launch Sitecore

While playing around with the site, I wanted to have a play with a couple of things from the development side of things. I wanted to teach myself things with:-

As a result, I have created a GitHub repository that has the code from the Sitecore package in a Web Application solution, and have converted all of the items in the package into serialised items in TDS.
You can grab the repo from here:-
https://github.com/SaintSkeeta/LaunchSitecoreTDS

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A little Razl Tip to help your efficiency

I’ve been using Razl a lot lately, and if you’re not also, you should definitely check it out.

I’m creating components with test data, which is being included in the TDS project, but being excluded from production builds. This means that I can create components and have test content available for debugging, and other developers can get the sites running locally with no visual issues.

Sometimes I may even have complete content on my local instance… where I’ve tested and confirmed it’s working, and the request will come in to push that to production. The request, of course, will come while you’re midway through programming another component…. so I want to save any time I can doing the push, and get back to my programming.

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