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.
Disable the Upload the Alchemy Webstore Popup
The Alchemy authors have thought of it all – including an easy way to configure this popup.
1. Open the .csproj file for your project
2. Update the following line. I prefer to leave it to Release. The HelloWorld plugin has it set to ‘true’. I’m guessing that was the original implementation, but I very much like the Release|Debug mode switch.
My Current Flow for Developing Plugins
1. Make a change in the VS project
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
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.
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!