2016 has been a crazy year – let’s just agree on this and not get into the details!  But, 2016 also did have some positive moments, especially in the Tridion community. Here I hope to highlight some of the positive contributions the community has made this year and hope that next year we will see continued support for these amazing initiatives!

DXA

This year has been the year the DXA framework (formerly known as the SDL Tridion Reference Implementation) has made made some traction and we’ve seen increased usage in projects.   The DXA team recently released version 1.7 and if you’re curious to find out what has been added, fixed and improved in this version then please see the release notes here.

We can see that DXA has been very active from a number of areas, such as their github repository with 1465 commits (https://github.com/sdl/dxa-web-application-dotnet/commits/master) and 360 questions on the Tridion StackExchange forum (http://tridion.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/dxa?sort=newest&pageSize=50)

One of the nice things about using DXA is the modules that play nicely with other SDL products, such as Experience Manager, Audience Manager, Media Manager and Context Expressions. If you’d like to download them for free, then the latest versions can be found here, https://github.com/sdl/dxa-modules/releases

The official documentation has some good content and can be used as a reference, https://docs.sdl.com/LiveContent/content/en-US/SDL%20DXA-v7/GUID-8173623D-D605-4962-AFBD-25D5F6DC6D93

And if you prefer online or classroom training, it’s now available from SDL for DXA too, http://training.sdl.com/services/education-certification/training-product/web-content-management/index-tab4.html

If you would like to build a small microsite with your team in a workshop setting, then you may be interested in the DXA Microsite workshop that I teach. It is a 4 day course where we go over all the basics and walk the team through building a microsite based on your requirements. It is taught both online and remote. If you’re interested, please contact me at robert.curlette@gmail.com and mention the DXA microsite workshop.

Alchemy

Alchemy is the framework that makes your editors and authors happy, and saves time for everyone using the Tridion CMS Editor interface. A full plugin GUI framework created by Alex Klock and supported by Content Bloom, this is the framework you’ll install in 2017 to impress your content authoring team. The only requirement is that you use Tridion 2013 or SDL Web 8.

Installing the framework takes minutes, thanks to the nice MSI install, and it’s a 1 time install on the CMS server. The installer can be downloaded from here, just need to register first,  https://www.alchemywebstore.com/ See how easy it is with this video from John Winter, http://www.tridiondeveloper.com/how-to-install-and-uninstall-alchemy-for-tridion-web

Alex Klock and Tanner Brine  presented Alchemy at the Tridion Developer Summit 2015 and the video can be seen here, http://2015.tridiondevelopersummit.com/2015/home/transmute-tridion-into-the-lean-green-content-management-machine-of-your-dreams-with-alchemy4tridion/

This year the Alchemy Webstore  saw a lot of nice improvements and is a really easy to use one-stop-shop for finding all your Alchemy community plugins. As of now, all plugins are free, and can be used in your project without worries. Several new plugins arrived this year, including ‘CommonKeyboardShortcuts’ (https://www.alchemywebstore.com/plugins/CommonKeyboardShortcuts), Save Close Publish Page, (https://www.alchemywebstore.com/plugins/Save-Close-Publish-Page), and Peek (https://www.alchemywebstore.com/plugins/Peek).

Another reason to use Alchemy is the excellent packaging model, with .A4T files, and easy drag-n-drop deployment of the plugins you write. So, if you haven’t given it a spin, please do so now.

And, if you’d like to watch some video tutorials to help get you started, check out the amazing Alchemy Code Dojo presented by John Winter here, where he builds an Alchemy plugin from scratch in front of a live audience, https://vimeo.com/170368377

In case you can’t get enough of John or videos, check out the excellent series below on creating an Alchemy plugin:

Creating an Alchemy Plugin: Step 1 – The tools, http://www.tridiondeveloper.com/creating-an-alchemy-plugin-step-1-the-tools

Creating an Alchemy Plugin 2: Sample project overview and refactoring, http://www.tridiondeveloper.com/creating-an-alchemy-video-2-sample-project-overview-and-refactoring

Creating an Alchemy Plugin 3: Ribbon Toolbar and Context Menu, http://www.tridiondeveloper.com/creating-an-alchemy-plugin-2-ribbon-toolbar-and-context-menu

Alchemy Training Video 4: Creating a Popup Window, http://www.tridiondeveloper.com/alchemy-training-video-4-creating-a-popup-window

Alchemy Training Video 5: Adding CSS and JavaScript to our Tridion Popup Window, http://www.tridiondeveloper.com/alchemy-training-video-5-adding-css-and-javascript-to-our-tridion-popup-window

If you would like a hands-on workshop or course on Alchemy, I am teaching a 2 day course online or onsite, and if interested please contact me at robert.curlette@gmail.com

Conferences

Finally, this year we saw 3 technical Tridion conference events, recognizing the appreciation of sharing knowledge in the Tridion (SDL Web) community and that meeting and discussing technical solutions in person is priceless.

The Tridion Developer Summit saw more than 140 Tridion developers and consultants get together in Amsterdam for another 2 days and over 20 great sessions and sharing. If you missed it, or would like to see a talk again, all videos are available online here, http://2016a.tridiondevelopersummit.com/2016/videos-tds/

The next TDS is taking place on 11-12 May 2017 in Amsterdam and promises to be filled with technical Tridion content and lots of sharing opportunities.  Registration will open in early January.  If you would like to attend or present, please contact me at robert.curlette@gmail.com

This year we saw the first India Tridion Developer Summit, and I was honored to present about the Alchemy Framework. It was very well organized and had more than 60 enthusiastic Tridion developers from across India attending. I really enjoyed meeting so many active Tridion implementors and discussing implementations with them over delicious Indian food. I wrote about my experience here, http://www.curlette.com/?p=1492 Great job for the organizers and a nice writeup by Pankaj Gaur here, https://pankajgaur83.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/highlights-sdl-web-8-dev-summit-at-india/

Just last month we had the SDL Connect event in San Francisco and it was filled with an amazing energy and spirit. Days 1 and Day 2 were mostly for the business and marketing professionals.   It was great connecting with former colleagues and meeting new people.  Highlights from day 1 are here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeRe95Q8nAM.  The best was saved for last, and on day 3 we had a day of technical Tridion sessions in the same flavor as TDS, including a great Product Roadmap presentation by Alvin Reyes, DXA session by Bart Koopman, Cache invalidation talk by Mihai, Alchemy talk by Tanner Brine, and I presented a talk about upgrading to Web 8. Overall the event was a lot of fun and I look forward to the next one.

DD4T

This year the DD4T framework continued to mature and we saw a 2.1 version released.  But, most importantly, a decision was made to merge DD4T and DXA into 1 version, and to be named ‘DXA 2.0′.  We expect to see a release of the love child of DXA and DD4T sometime in 2017.   You can read more about it from Nuno and Quirijn here, and from Pankaj about why it’s merging here.

Summary

2016 was a year that we saw the DXA and Alchemy frameworks mature and gain wider acceptance. This should be a bright spot for anyone working with Tridion and investing in improving their implementations. I hope next year will bring more opportunities for sharing, more conferences, more events, and most of all, more fun!

What’s a Tridion Circular Reference and why worry about it? As it’s name suggests, it’s a link that results in a circle of endless self-referencing. This normally isn’t a problem…unless you have a template that does a loop through all the fields, and all the fields it contains, and the ones that the linked one contains, etc. You get the point…it’s possible to have a never-ending loop of links to ourselves. This happened recently on a project where we had a Multimedia Schema, with a Metadata field allowing the same Mutlimedia Schema (relatively sane, right?) for a mobile variant of the image. Then someone linked to itself (I guess they didn’t have a special Mobile version, and felt they must put something in the field) and then our looping template did its best to find all the linked items, and well, it died every time we published a page with this special scenario.

The error message we got was:
Faulting application name: TcmPublisher.exe, version: 7.1.0.1290, time stamp: 0x527d103f
Faulting module name: System.Xml.ni.dll, version: 4.0.30319.18033, time stamp: 0x50b5aabe
Exception code: 0xc00000fd
Fault offset: 0x0000000000178ab2
Faulting process id: 0x8d4
Faulting application start time: 0x01cfc009cc4fea09
Faulting application path: D:\Tridion\bin\TcmPublisher.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Windows\assembly\NativeImages_v4.0.30319_64\System.Xml\4334f45efbe62a6415f2cb7393c59f74\System.Xml.ni.dll
Report Id: d1521031-2c31-11e4-9507-0a7ec577d18d
Faulting package full name: 
Faulting package-relative application ID:

The fix I am using involves creating an Event System solution to detect OnComponentSave, in the initiated phase, if the Multimedia Component’s MobileImage field links to itself.

And if so, throws an exception, not allowing the content to be saved. And in the process, we save the Publishing Renderer from exhausting itself with endless links.

Code:

Upgrading Tridion 2013 to 2013 sp1 is a fairly simple process.  However, an issue exists in the installer and if you don’t take the following step, the upgrade installer will fail with a mysterious message.

This tip is thanks to Pankaj Guar

Rename the C:\Program Files (x86)\Tridion\config\Tridion.ContentManager.config to  \Tridion.ContentManager.config2013GA

Run the upgrade script Tridion 2013 SP1\Content Manager\SDLTridion2013SP1CM.exe

And…it works!

Then after the upgrade merge any custom settings in the file, such as Event System config, GUI Extensions, or Razor Meditator.

This is much faster and better than uninstalling 2013 GA and installing 2013 sp1.

 

Tridion 2011 nicely displays the Item’s URI in the address bar.  This is one of many favorite features in the new version.

For example, http://Tridion2011Dev/WebUI/Editors/CME/Views/Dashboard/Dashboard.aspx#locationId=tcm:22-2902-2

I can change 22 to 131 and then hop down to the Web Publication where I publish from – or to 6 and hop up to the Blueprint parent.

Tip:  Refresh 1 more time after updating the URL – and your browser will take you there.  Not sure why it does not work on the first attempt.

Edit:  Puf added a great tip for not needing the refresh!  Thanks!

From Frank van Puffelen:

The behavior of what happens when you change just the so-called document fragment identifier (the part after the # sign) of a URL depends on your browser.

If you want it to work first try (and get the back/forward buttons of your browser picking up such changes), paste this JavaScript fragment into your JavaScript console:

window.onhashchange=function(){$display.getView().navigateTo(location.hash.match(/[&#]locationId=([^&]*)/)[1], true);}

Happy navigating!