Today the best and quickest way to get an answer to your Tridion question is at the Tridion StackExchange site. StackOverflow was created in 2008 and shortly after in 2009 they opened up the platform for other topics to have their own Q&A site.

In 2009 the only place for having Tridion questions answered was the password-protected Tridion forum. Created in 2001 the forum was a great place for asking and answering questions in the small but active Tridion community. However, over time it got a little slow and more difficult to find answers to questions. It was also only open to those who had a login from Tridion Customer Support.

Realizing the potential of StackExchange to help power the active Tridion community, Dave Houlker proposed the Tridion StackExchange forum in 2011 and info about it can be found here.  As of March, 2014 it boasts the following statistics:

  • 643 visits a day
  • 4.6 questions a day
  • 98% answered
  • 834 total users, 153 avid users

It’s possible to configure StackOverflow to send us an email when a new question arrives.  Some people keep the Tridion StackExchange site open in a tab (and the # of new questions shows immediately), however, I prefer to use the email method.  Over the Christmas holidays I disabled all my auto-emailing scripts and until now have not had it enabled.  I noticed I visited the site a lot less, and also answered a lot less questions.  Enabling the email trigger is not so straight forward and here I want to describe how to set it.

  1. Select edit, Advanced from the Favorite Tag menu
  2. Configure the tag subscription

I have the website send me an email 15 minutes with the new questions and this helps me to answer faster and also keep up to speed on topics related to Tridion.

I am a big fan of automation and the email filter was the best way to stay on top of the forum and also answer more questions (= more points).  However, recently it got disabled and as a result I stopped visiting so frequently and also my points started to lag.

I hope you enjoy this tip.  I also like to automate the opening of my timesheet (and other routine tasks) and previously wrote an article about automating Firefox to open at the same time every day to my timesheet site.

Good luck with automating these tasks to make them painless.

Read later list 2013

December 28th, 2013 | Posted by Robert Curlette in Lifehacking - (0 Comments)

Sometimes our best advice comes from within – things we know but aren’t aware of.  I have a list of ‘interesting articles’ I emailed to myself in 2013, to finish the year with a look back and also gather inspiration for 2014.  I hope you find them as interesting as I did this year.  Do you have interesting articles?  Please share in the comments.  Thanks and enjoy!

SDL Tridion

SDL Tridion ADF:  Managing Scope and Context

SDL Tridion Context Engine: What’s the context?

Future, present and history of CMSs as told by CMS expert Deane Barker

Tridion PowerShell scripts

Tridion Experience Manager Infrastructure Video



I love the ServiceStack framework – it is a super efficient way to build Web Services, parse JSON, and interact with a database.  Most of my GUI Extensions use the ServiceStack library and I would suggest you to have a look in 2014 if you haven’t yet.

ServiceStack talk from creator Demis Bellot  (and by the way, ServiceStack v4 is now offering a paid license with official support and includes 1,192 changed files with 18,325 additions and 29,505 deletions – adding support for the latest .Net frameworks and improving the OrmLite library.  The free ServiceStack V3 is still available as open source here)

ServiceStack:  Under the covers with profiling (free video on YouTube)

ServiceStack with DotNetRocks

ServiceStack:   Recommended API Structure

SignalR and ServiceStack



SignalR allows us to glue disparate systems and let them talk to each other through broadcasted events.  This allowed me to show messages in the Tridion MessageCenter GUI (JS) from distant C# code in the Tridion Event System or a Custom Resolver.  It’s now officially part of ASP.NET and is a very interesting technology.

Official site

SignalR 1.0 Rc2 (now on V2)

SignalR:  Handling Lifetime events

Using SignalR with Tridion (shameless plug)


Bret Victor


Bret Victor:  Genius of our time

Bret Victor:  Inventing on Principle (Video – excellent)

Bret Victor – Global Game Jam 2013 Keynote

Bret Victor:  Stop drawing dead fish (Video)


Software Quality

Great perspectives from software veterans on the quality of software today.

Software Development As a Cooperative Game

Are we there yet?  Rich Hickey on OOP, massive parallelism and concurrency of the future

 Simple Made Easy:  Talk from Rich Hickey (creator of Clojure)

 Clojure Web Framework



Simultaneous Editing for Visual Studio with the free MultiEdit extension

.NET MVC 4:  Asynchronous Controller

.NET MVC 4:  Content topics overview

.NET:  Elmah and MiniProfiler

.NET:  Async Channel 9 Video

.NET:  MVC Solution Best Practices Video on Channel 9

Fix File Encoding issues in Visual Studio

Loading .Net User Controls with Ajax

Six Essential Language Agnostic Programming Books

.NET, HTML5 and Mobile Web:  Talk by Scott Hanselman

Azure:  Moving Images to Azure CDN

.NET MVC 5:  Getting started


Crocodoc with .Net

Nested Queries in .NET EF



Alternative solutions for the .Net platform.  I have a good feeling that F# is the future and our OO code today will look like Cobol in the future.

Stop Writing REST APIs

Redis on Windows

Rethink DB

Rethink DB .NET Driver

Thinking Functionally with F#


MonkeySquare Conference Videos on Vimeo



15 places to find great screencasts

Screencasting Tips and Best Practices


Git and Package Management

Git Internals PDF

Git support in VS 2012

Chocolately Packages


NoSql and NodeJs

Introduction to NoSQL by Martin Fowler

Art of NodeJS

 The MEAN Stack



This is how I work:  Zach Frechette

Hanselman’s Newsletter of Wonderful Things

Startup video talk with 37 Signals DHH and Jason 

Course:  Learning Creative Learning



Angular JS:  Design decisions

AngularJS and Grunt (Video)

AngularJS:  Where to start

AngularJS Sublime Package

Sublime Editor Web Inspector:  Debug JavaScript in Editor

Thinking in AngularJS from a jQuery background

 Chrome Dev Tools Tips

Foundation 4 HTML Template

Simple Collaborative Web Pages


Corona SDK

Game programming framework that uses LUA to write code and compiles to Android and iPhone.  Also, Free!

Corona SDK:  10 Tips

Corona SDK and Physics Engine

RSS and JSON with Corona SDK



 Google Reader Alternative:  Yoleo

 Thoughts on Go after writing 3 websites

Free icons for games

100 things

For Kids:  How to train your robot

Linx Straw Toy

Seafile:  Dropbox alternative

Evernote Skitch

Learning foreign language with Language Hunters approach

Raspberry Pi Projects – Best of 2012

Raspberry Pi add-ons


Productivity and improvement

99u is amazing.  Every week I read something from them that inspires me to improve the quality of my work or my life.  Follow them on twitter @99u.

Holman:  Positive Feedback

How Stress Can Change the Size of Our Brains and What We Can Do to Lower it 

 99u: Every day get a small win that matters

Increasing long term happiness

Zach Holman:  Product is the by-product

37Signals DHH Podcast Interview:  How to make a dent in the universe

Why Perfection Kills Creativity

 Starting your first podcast

Inbox zero for Life

Remote Work and Quality of Life

Tips and Tricks to look better in Photos

Done is better than perfect

Offset Design Conference Videos

 99u:  Secret to feeling energized at work – Autonomy!

Office design for the future (Herman Miller)

99u Book:  Maximize your potential

10 Tricks to make yourself a gmail master 

Hanselman’s 2014 Developer tool list

4 Questions for preventing information overload

MVP Award, 2013 and Learning

January 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Robert Curlette in Lifehacking - (1 Comments)

The best part of sharing is learning. When we share, we invite others to participate in the solution. We need to learn to share, and by sharing we learn from others, with their valuable comments and feedback. It is this feedback loop that we benefit from as a community.

The SDL Tridion MVP award was created to recognize those who share their experiences and knowledge through public blogs, StackOverflow, and other media. I feel honored to be awarded the MVP award for sharing in 2012.

But, this is a new year and the clock resets on the MVP award. We are all now equal and although I shared a lot in 2012 I need to continue sharing in 2013 if I want to have a chance of winning the MVP award again.

With 2013 I welcome all the new bloggers that will contribute more to our community, challenge our ways of thinking, and introduce new ways of solving old problems. The Tridion 2013 product is around the corner. Ask your manager to install it on the Dev machine. Write about the installation, or one of the many new features.

The secret of writing is finding something exciting to write about. If you are excited and curious about a topic, it is much easier to write and also the quality is much better. So, find something interesting, technically, to write about! It could be Tridion, .Net, Java or Web Services. Processes, management or functional designs. But, write a small article and see where it goes! And, if you make mistakes, you can always edit the article and fix them. I know I have!

Speaking of learning, Pluralsight has a great course on ServiceStack (web service framework) and with this link you can get a 1 day free trial.

I wish you all a successful year of learning!

Habits and Goals

July 16th, 2012 | Posted by Robert Curlette in Lifehacking - (0 Comments)

This is a non-technical and non-Tridion blog post.   This post is about habits – and how habits control more of what we do – or don’t do – than any other force.

Earlier this year I made a commitment to myself to post 1 time per week about Tridion.  This was my goal – and from it created some new habits.  However, recently I have not kept up the pace – falling behind on my weekly posting – and letting it slip.  I felt it slipping, making excuses to myself that it doesn’t matter a few more days – but the real crisis was I let go of my good habits – and without them I can’t get back to my weekly posting.

Recently I started reading a book on habits, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, – creating new habits as a necessity to reach an amazing, almost impossible goal.  And I realized this was the reason for my blog posts slipping – I lost my habits.  I related to the first story in the book where a woman imagines achieveing an almost impossible goal – and re-arranges her life to achieve it.  The example in the book tells of a woman wishing to travel through the Egyptian desert.  She imagines all the necessary training and conditioning she’ll need to do it – and then sets her mind on it.  It is impossible for her to do it at that time and she gives herself one year to get ready.  In the process she decides that she cannot smoke and also takes up running.  For me, posting on my blog every week on a Tridion topic also felt like an impossible goal, but exciting, with a potential trip to Portugal if I kept it up (Tridion MVP), and this was my ‘Egypt’ to work hard for.

When posting regularly, I noticed these good blog habits:

– Must have blog post idea before Saturday

– On weekend, spend 2-3 hours before lunchtime on the idea – try to write the blog post and get the code sample working

– Block time to continue on code sample and detailing the blog post on Mon / Tues.

– Post blog before Friday

These habits crowded-out other non-productive habits such as excessive time reading other blog posts / twitter, procrastinating, focusing on other non-Tridion technical topics, etc.  My goal and focus each week is the magical 2-3 hours on the weekend – and to have a gelled concept ready before then.  I know if this happens – the rest will follow through and work.  Losing track of this goal and these habits created a less productive and more boring week for me – the excitement of learning and sharing was gone, replaced with consuming content from other people’s twitter list and alternative programming languages and techniques.  But, I enjoy reading about other ways to do things and believe it increases my reach of solutions – but within a certain limit, and in a certain timeframe.

I recently followed Hacker News on twitter and the amount of interesting and non-relevant (non-Tridion related) articles is amazing.  I was reading these articles first thing in the morning – I loved it – learning new things (I thought) and then starting the day.  The problem was I was not learning new things – I was not practicing the techniques and they also didn’t help me with my Tridion-related projects or blog posts.  These articles were essentially noise and distracting my mind from my weekly focus.  Worse of all, I was doing this first thing in the morning – my most productive creative time of the day!  If I track back to when I slowed down blog posting and started following hacker news it correlates strongly.

A few years ago I put my TV in storage – I didn’t want to create the habit of sitting down every day afterwork and scrolling through the TV channels.  Of course, it helped 90% was in Dutch and I couldn’t understand it – but still, I wanted to explicitly chose what I watched rather than browsing through the channels.  I still love a good move and often go to the cinema or download a nice movie or series.

Little did I know that my twitter obsession with Hacker News was the same.  Twitter was my new TV and scrolling the posts was the same as browsing the TV channels – adding extra noise to my life.  I am not suggesting that we live in a cave and don’t get input from outside – but I am suggesting we control when we receive the input (after lunch or in a non-creative time) and we also control the source of the input.

Finally, knowing when we are most productive and limiting or removing other distractions is critical if we want to be successful at creating new things and contributing our ideas to our communities.  I hope to re-find my blog rhythm and start posting more frequently.  My first steps are to limit my content consuming activities to the afternoon, come up with a new blog post concept before Saturday, set aside first hour of the day for creative work (programming, writing) and finally using my born-again goal of weekly posting to crowd out the less productive bad habits I produced over the last few months.

I wish you many more successful habits and staying in the flow of your day.

Automate your tasks

January 12th, 2012 | Posted by Robert Curlette in Lifehacking - (1 Comments)

Automate it

My timesheet is one of the most important things to do every day but the last thing I think of. Last year I discovered the Windows Scheduler program and my timesheet has never been so up to date. I only noticed how effective it was when my password changed and the programs stopped opening automagically every day at the same time.

Scheduler opens the Excel sheet and puts it in front of my face at 4:55 pm every day. It takes me 5 seconds to put the hours in and save. Done.

How to do schedule Excel to open automatically on Windows XP:

1. Open Control Panel, Scheduled Tasks
2. Add Scheduled Task
3. In the Application list select Microsoft Excel. If it is not listed there, you can copy the shortcut from the Start/Programs menu
4. Select when to perform the task
5. Enter password. Note: if your password changes the tasks stop running and do not show you any errors or reminders. It usually takes me a few days before I realize it is not opening. Forgetting about it is specific to my timesheet, for some strange reason.
6. Checkbox for advanced properties. This is where we put the file we want to open.
7. In the run textbox, go to the end of the line, put a space, then add the path to your Excel file like this “C:\RC\Docs\Timesheet_Curlette_2012.xls”
8. Finish, put your password in again, and forget about it. Your computer is now going to do the most difficult part – starting the task!

Scheduling the browser:

I live in Amsterdam and there is a last minute ticket website that sells tickets at 50% off starting at 12:00 noon every day. The ticket office is around the corner from where I work, so if I see something, I can walk over and buy them right away.

1. Follow the steps above, in step 3 choose Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.
2. In step 7, after the link to the app in the run box, type the website address in quotes. My link to firefox looks like this: “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe”

Good luck with improving your daily tasks!