Starting an Alchemy plugin project is super easy. In this post I just want to mention a quick tip that will help you use the latest version of the framework for your Alchemy potions.

1. Download the Alchemy4Tridion Developer Pack (VSIX Visual Studio Project template). This gives us some really cool filetypes in the File, New dialog:

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 17.36.35

 

2. After creating a new project, go to the Nuget Package manager and search for ‘A4T’ and install the framework. This makes sure your Alchemy DLL is the latest, and also gives you the goodness of the Visual Studio templates.
Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 17.37.30

 

3. Get a good clean example to follow. As of September, 2015 this is the CopyInfo example from Alex Klock for me. The Big Box of Samples is intended to be the ‘Unit Testing’ plugin for the Alchemy devs, so lots of goodies to be found there too!

 

Have you built an Alchemy plugin that is a good starting point? Leave a comment below with a link to the source code. Thanks!

Update: The Alchemy Dev team has been at it again – they’ve added a checkbox to the popup GUI so we don’t need to anymore change the config file! The below tips were for an older version of Alchemy but today in version 1.03 they set it to ‘None’, so the correct fix to the config file would be:

<AlchemyUploadDialog>None</AlchemyUploadDialog>

Happy Plugin Making!

Getting started with the Alchemy Framework for Tridion GUI Extensions is made easy with the great documentation provided on the online A4T API documentation site.

When first getting started you might use the HelloWorld sample project or the Big Box of Samples project.  Both are great places to start exploring the structure of an Alchemy plugin.

After the exploration you’ll want to make a small change, possibly some new text in the popup in the BBS project.  The popup text is in the View files at /Static/Views.

Then you’ll build the project and get an upload to alchemy webstore popup.   While this is great and we want to use this when our plugin is ready, we probably don’t intend to put our personal Hello World project in the Alchemy webstore.

My Current Flow for Developing Plugins

(September, 2015)
1. Make a change in the VS project
2. Build
3. Open the Alchemy GUI
4. Uninstall existing plugin
5. Open windows explorer – drag and drop the .a4t file
6. Open gui and see change

Improved Flow

To help us all and also “celebrate the Anti-RSI gods”, Mark Williams has written a great blog post of how to automate the above steps, leaning on the PowerShell script from Jan Horsman. Get it setup to speed up your Alchemy Plugin hacking.

Summary

Writing Alchemy Plugins is fun and easy thanks to all the hard work Alex Klock and the team at Content Bloom have put into the Framework.  It’s quite addictive and has been described as a ‘lifestyle’ by Tanner Brine at this year’s Tridion Developer Summit Alchemy Presentation.  Good luck with your own alchemy concoctions!