Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Multiple Templates for a PageType

It looks like a Dev / Partner summit is the perfect birthplace for ideas to grow. Here is yet another idea that grew out of discussions with partners, eMVPs and other Guru's at the summit: It could be cool to have multiple renderings (templates) for a page type. Today several PageType's can share the same template, but it's not possible to specify more than one template to use for a given PageType - a feature which would be very handy when for instance you wanted to make a special set of templates to show your site to mobile users. Or perhaps just special templates for IE or Firefox. Or maybe just a "Printable" set of templates. In any case I think this can be an important building block in making flexible websites.

So, naturally the day after the summit (a bit hungover I must admit) I sat down and began coding. There's several ways to achieve this goal - VPP's being one of them, but to keep it simple I decided to just hook into the UrlRewriting and change the internal url for the pages before they were executed. I ended up with this simple prototype that can change the executing template for a page depending on the User Agent of the client. I'll supply both the source and the compiled versions below - but keep in mind that it's just a prototype and it IS PROVIDED AS IS.

In order to use it, place the assembly in your bin, and add the following to the section-registration of your web.config:

<section name="multiRenderings" type="EPiServer.Research.MultiRenderingSection, MultiRenderingPlugin" allowLocation="true"/>

Then, After the "episerver" section you can add a list of the renderings:

    <rendering name="IE" userAgent=".*MSIE.*"/>

This rendering above will try to execute the IE template for userAgents matching the regular expression: ".*MSIE.*" - meaning that all IE browsers will be sent to templates located in the "IE" subfolder (if such templates exist).

On my test site I have the following folder structure:



When looking at a page that uses "MyPage.aspx" IE will be using the "MyPage.aspx" located in the "IE" folder, but since MyPage2.aspx doesn't exist there, MyPage2.aspx will fall back to the one in "Templates".

This will probably become a lot more elegant as the plugin evolves - but I think it already now might proof useful to some of you, which is why I post it here.

Download from labs.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Busy Times

A lot of people has been asking me what I'm up to lately - and complaining that my posts aren't as frequent as they used to...
I know it's been way too long since I blogged on this blog. It's not because I have nothing to blog about - in fact every day a new interesting blog-topic springs to mind and I begin writing it...But before I finish it, work or family-life or another idea interferes and break away my concentration.

I just got back last friday from Sweden where I had spend more than a week. First I went to a terrific(!) partner summit and after that I stayed to work at the office with the rest of the Research team. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that I should stay away from local food when traveling to exotic places like Stockholm, so that took a couple of workdays out of my calendar.

At the summit I presented a Wiki built on EPiServer - one of the projects that's been taking a bit of my time lately. Soon I'll do a dedicated post about it - and put it public somehow.
Meanwhile I'm also working on a ton of other stuff - like a new version of EPiDiff, Defining design patterns for EPiServer, LINQ, and a couple of gadgets that I'll reveale in the coming weeks.

Sunday I'm leaving DK again and once again heading for Ukraine, where I'll get to meet our new team in Kiev as well as some developers from a Partner in Kharkov.