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Experience Sitecore! | All posts tagged 'Experience-Editor'

Experience Sitecore!

Martin Miles on Sitecore

SXA tip: use information scaffolding fields to get more visibility over your components in Experience Editor

When working in Experience Editor, by default you see empty fields of components, that allows you editing these fields, selecting hierarchy and thus modifying components. However not always that happens...

Scenario: creating a rendering variant that has VariantReference (for switching context of related item) while editing partial design in Experience Editor. 

Symptoms: what actually happens is that partial designs are edited in their own context, all presentation data you create is stored in Final Renderings for that particular Partial Design, and not the page item. It will pull data from page item only once applied that item or (more likely) associated with its page template. But when using VariantReference field, it won't be wired to any data, thus not proxying the context to anything, leading to all the fields underneath VariantReference field item not rendered in EE. If there are not any other visuals within given rendering variant - entire component becomes non-selectable in EE.

Suggestion: to create some information field to be shown in Experience Editor, so that you may select given component and adjust its settings, as you normally do. At the same time we don't want this field to present outside of Experience Editor since its only purpose is make editors aware about this component.

Solution: that's the case where we can use personalization with a custom "where the Experience Editor is in editing mode" condition I recently wrote about. Having it in scope trick goes very simple - simply create a text variant field and enter component and rendering variant info: 


And once done, create a personalization rule for that info field to be shown only in Experience Editor, using newly created condition:


Finally, instead of unclickable whitespace, you'll see the component:


Hope this basic trick helps improving your productivity while working with SXA!

Rule missing OOB in Sitecore, where the Experience Editor is in editing mode

I was playing with SXA and wanted to have a custom element within a rendering variant that identifies current control presents on a page, otherwise it is being invisible. Looking for such a rule I suddenly realised it is not there, so had to create my custom one. I am sharing it just in case it might be useful to someone looking for a similar solution.

So, as per Rules Engine Cookbook, you create a tag, custom condition and relevant element for it:


The code is simple.

public class IsExperienceEditorEditing<T> : StringOperatorCondition<T> where T : RuleContext
{
    public int Value { get; set; }
    protected override bool Execute(T ruleContext)
    {
        return Sitecore.Context.PageMode.IsExperienceEditorEditing;
    }
}

Also, working with SXA aligned with Helix principles, it would make sense to create a foundation module for custom rules, drop the above class inside as well as serialization for newly created tag and elements:

<configuration xmlns:patch="http://www.sitecore.net/xmlconfig/" xmlns:role="http://www.sitecore.net/xmlconfig/role/" xmlns:unicorn="http://www.sitecore.net/xmlconfig/unicorn/">
  <sitecore unicorn:require="On">
    <unicorn>
      <configurations>
        <configuration name="Foundation.Rules" description="Foundation Rules" extends="Helix.Foundation">
          <predicate type="Unicorn.Predicates.SerializationPresetPredicate, Unicorn" singleInstance="true">
            <include name="$(layer).$(module).Tags" database="master" path="/sitecore/system/Settings/Rules/Definitions/Tags/Experience Editor" />
            <include name="$(layer).$(module).Elements" database="master" path="/sitecore/system/Settings/Rules/Definitions/Elements/Experience Editor" />
          </predicate>
        </configuration>
      </configurations>
    </unicorn>
  </sitecore>
</configuration>
So now I can have an element withing rendering variant that is shown only when in editing mode:

Hope you find this helpful!

Got a handy new tool for "finding ends" of presentation items - Rendering Chrome for Components

I have recently started working on a new project with a non-transparent structure. By saying non-transparent I mean non trivial locations for the code and non-matching layout and rendering items to their filesystem counterparts. So I was looking for the convenient way to identify matched pairs.

Luckily I remembered JammyKam presenting something similar at London UserGroup in January 2017 and refereed to his blog in order to find Rendering Chrome for Components package (module - ?). So I will briefly go through his solution show how it helped me and what it does:


  1. Install package as normal
  2. Add a namespace into web.config from /Views folder:
    <add namespace="ForwardSlash.SC.RenderingChrome.HtmlHelpers"></add>
    
  3. Append this to a containers element so that it generates an attribute:
    @Html.Sitecore().ContainerChrome()
  4. Now, if you go to Experience Editor and open View tab, you'll see a new checkbox Highlight Renderings clicking which turns all magic on


Here's the result:


    It works not only in Chrome, as you see I run it in firebug.

    Hope it will help you as much as it already has helped me.

    References:

    - original post by Kamruz Jaman

    - sources on GitHub

    - presentation slides from Sitecore User Group London (January 2017) - 3.5MB

    Sitecore 8: Federated Experience Manager - what is all about?

    One of the greatest features of Sitecore 8 is Federated Experience Manager (FXM). What is FXM about and how can it help us?

    Previously we had Page Editor - the tool allowing content editors to author and save content inline, right on the page. It also offered other flexible options to operate with non-visible content of features that cannot be edited inline (ie. Edit Frames), also do customisation (A/B multivariate testing), personalisation on rule-based criteria and much more. So far, so good.

    In Sitecore 8, Page Editor was replaced with a new feature called Experience Editor (EE). EE is not just a rename for Page Editor, despite it does all the same old good features, it brings great new opportunities in chain with FXM.

    With FXM it is now possible to customise any other website page, not only those coming from Sitecore, but even any PHP or just static HTML. And further on, with EE it is now possible to do all good old Page Editor features, such as replace content on external website, create placeholders and append sitecore components there, apply personalisation, set goals etc.

    Sounds fantastic and impossible? Not as much - all that is working out box now, and moreover is very simple. Let's take a look on how that works and what is involved.


    FXM is an applications shipped out of box and is available from Launchpad - just a usual SPEAK application. As soon as it loads, you'll get a management screen to register external websites. Clicking Add External Website will load you the following screen:


    What is required on that step is to provide a hostname for external website and add one line of code into external website pages - a javascript reference for a beacon:

    
    

    So, it stands obvious that you need to have an access to modify the code of pages on that website. Normally you'd do that for all pages, so it makes sense to modify some master layout or any sort of global header.

    One important thing to note: external html should be properly formed, otherwise there will be an error. Saying properly formed I mean just opening and closing tags for html head and body, as minimal as:

    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html lang="en" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
        <head></head>
        <body></body>
    </html>
    After that done - it becomes possible to open that external website with Experience Editor. And here you can perform:
    • tracking of external website into xDB
    • create placeholders before, after or instead certain html elements on external website
    • having Sitecore-controlled placeholders it is now possible to append components from Sitecore there
    • components from Sitecore can be literary everything, even WFFM forms (however not yet in current version)
    • cleaning up, replacing or extending original content from external website
    • apply customisation and / or personalisation to external content, controllable from Sitecore
    • set goals


    It is essential to understand that those features work due cross site scripting called CORS, so certain limitations should be taken off, other wise it won't work

    After site has been created at /sitecore/system/Marketing Control Panel/FXM/External you need to open that node and create a rule in order to match the same domain. Without doing that it would work only in Experience Editor, but not on the live website.



    When opening external website it in Experience Editor, click on Add Placeholder button twice (to get it activated), then click first paragraph. You will see it identified as div with three options on how to insert a Sitecore-controllable placeholder: before, after or replace that div element. Let's choose after, in order to implement sitecore controllable rendering in between those two paragraphs on external website:

    After choosing where exactly to implement a placeholder, you'll be prompted to enter placeholder name and select parent website:


    Note: licensing is important to mention. FXM works only with new license issued with Sitecore 8, so if you have license file from one of previous versions, it would not have appropriate permission (Sitecore.Federated Experience) for running FXM. For some reasons Sitecore did not implement obvious message telling that you are not able to set a placeholder externally because of license. I spent decent time previously trying to understand why that did not work for me. Please find more details in my answer on StackOverflow for that question.

    Once done, there will be last screen, showing newly created placeholder exactly in between those two paragraphs and offering to append a rendering to it:


    To make things easier, I have just slightly modified Sample Rendering that comes with Sitecore, so that it now looks like that:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
      xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"
      xmlns:sc="http://www.sitecore.net/sc"
      xmlns:sql="http://www.sitecore.net/sql"
      exclude-result-prefixes="sc sql">
      <xsl:output method="html" indent="no" encoding="UTF-8"  />
    
      <xsl:template match="*">
        <div>
          <h3>FXM-powered placeholder</h3>
          <span>This content comes from Sitecore and is editable with Experience Editor. 
          Other cool features as personalization are also available with FXM.</span>
          <br/><br/>
        </div>
        
      </xsl:template>
    </xsl:stylesheet>
    
    That's mostly done! Do not forget to publish your site definition (under FXM node) with children (there will be placeholder item we've just created) to content delivery environment in order to work there. Let's now test it! I enter http://external into a browser and get exactly what expected - there is a sitecore controllable placeholder in between the paragraphs and it has a rendering being set into it:



    Opening that in any dev. tools like Firebug will show the following nice and clean code has been rendered: