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Experience Sitecore! | All posts tagged 'Habitat'

Experience Sitecore!

Martin Miles on Sitecore

Field level deny permissions in Helix based on Habitat and how that affects your workflows?

If you decide to use Habitat as a bootstrap platform for your Helix solution, while setting up workflows for your solution, you may come across a situation described below. By this blog post I will try to explain what happens, why is it so, and how to make things work.

Symptoms: you are about to set up workflows for the solution and have created a role for the content editors. Then you give read / write permissions for that role to the site content (likely to be /Home and /Global nodes under your site definition item, recursively). When logging as a user having Content Editor role mention above, you are able to Lock and Edit and later to Check-In an item, but the fields for that item are disabled. Weird. But doing the same on other items outside your website works well (for instance - Home item coming with Sitecore initial installation). Why is it so?

There are few of StackOverflow questions trying to sort this out: one and two. I have left few comments there helping other to solve the situation.

Explanation: Habitat uses an "intersection" of feature-or-foundation-level permissions (also knows as Functional roles) with project-level permissions (also knows as organisational rights). Most of the Habitat modules have such a functional role coming as a part of the module, is in the following format: modules\Feature XXX Admin or modules\Foundation XXX Admin.

What habitat does - it denies write access for the inheritance for all the fields by default and then explicitly allows writing permission for that particular Functional Role within a module. That is briefly explained in the official Helix documentation but two images below would be more descriptive:

Solution: two potential ways of sorting this out. The first option is when you decide to keep Functional roles as a part of your solution. In that case, you need to make sure your Content Editor roles also inherits from these Functional roles (or from an umbrella role inheriting a combination of Functional roles).

Another way will be if you decide to drop these Functional roles. In that case, you'll need to remove them from serialization config and source control, and also perform the following for each field affected:

1. Navigate to that field in Sitecore, for example: /sitecore/templates/Feature/Navigation/_Navigable/Navigation/ShowInNavigation

2. Click Security tab, then Assign. You'll see at least two roles available - Everyone and a Functional role for that module.

3. Selecting Everyone, remove Inheritance denial for both Item and Descendants by clicking both red crosses, then save (OK).

4. Repeat that for each field of each template for each of the Feature / Foundation layers.

Then users from Content Editors role will be able to edit all the fields.

Hope this helps!

How Apply-Xml-Transform works in Helix / Habitat

I was recently investigating gulp file of Habitat for interesting goodies and came across taskApply-Xml-Transform, so decided to dig deeper into the one.

What it does?

It looks within all Foundation, Feature and Project layers for config transformations (*.xdt files) in order to run each of them and transform into target Sitecore web.config from the web root folder.

What is XDT?

In very simple, XDT is just an XML file with a set of rules of what and how to transform within web.comfig. We may use them in cases when we need to somehow transform web.config outside of <sitecore> node of configuration so that we can't rely on config paths that only apply within the <sitecore> node. XDT structure corresponds to the structure of target web.config file with additional commands coming from XML-Document-Transform XML namespace. Below is an example of such XDT file, that adds Microsoft.Codedom compiler references into web.config in case they don't exist:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<configuration  xmlns:xdt="">
  <system.codedom xdt:Transform="InsertIfMissing">
    <compilers xdt:Transform="InsertIfMissing">
      <compiler xdt:Transform="InsertIfMissing" xdt:Locator="Match(language)" language="c#;cs;csharp" extension=".cs" type="Microsoft.CodeDom.Providers.DotNetCompilerPlatform.CSharpCodeProvider, Microsoft.CodeDom.Providers.DotNetCompilerPlatform, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" warningLevel="4" compilerOptions="/langversion:6 /nowarn:1659;1699;1701" />
      <compiler xdt:Transform="InsertIfMissing" xdt:Locator="Match(language)" language="vb;vbs;visualbasic;vbscript" extension=".vb" type="Microsoft.CodeDom.Providers.DotNetCompilerPlatform.VBCodeProvider, Microsoft.CodeDom.Providers.DotNetCompilerPlatform, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" warningLevel="4" compilerOptions="/langversion:14 /nowarn:41008 /define:_MYTYPE=\&quot;Web\&quot; /optionInfer+" />

I wanted to see how exactly it's being triggered, so running script in a verbose mode, brought me to the following conclusion:

How does it run?

So, configuration transform relies on msbuild to do this job. But instead of Debug, Release or Clean targets, it uses a target calledApplyTransform It accepts numerous parameters, among those we have XDT file to transform, target folder, target configuration file to be transformed and few other parameters. Entire call extracted from a batch looks like below:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Enterprise\MSBuild\15.0\Bin\amd64\MSBuild.exe 
/nologo /maxcpucount /nodeReuse:False 
/property:Platform="Any CPU" 

You may modify the code above and run it on your own casual day-to-day activities outside of gulp, Habitat and other tools.

Hope this helps!

Know your tools: The easiest way to install Habitat - Habitat Solution Installer

Working with Helix often encourages you to perform quick look-ups into the live-standard-implementation - Habitat project. That's why you have to have it installed. I remember the first time I installed Sitecore Habitat in October 2015 and how complicated that seemed at glance.

Luckily we now got a nice tool, that does exactly what it is named for - Habitat Solution Installer written by Neil Shack. So, let's go ahead and install Habitat into a new non-traditional destination using that tool.

Firs of all, let's grab Habitat Solution Installer itself from Sitecore Marketplace. Once downloaded, run HabitatInstaller.exe.

First screen takes three most important Habitat setting that we usually need to change as well as asks for the solution root folder where it will install the code. Once Install is clicked - it will download an archive of master branch from Habitat GitHub repository.

Then it will extract downloaded archive into temporal folder. By the way, you may alternate both path to master archive and your temporal files folder by clicking Settings button on the first (main) screen.

After extracting files, it will run npm install so you need to have node installed as a prerequisite.

Once finished, Habitat Solution Installer will display confirmation box.

So, what it has done - it installed and configured project code folder. But what hasn't it done?

1. It does not install Sitecore. You need to have it installed as another prerequisite, so that you provide Sitecore web folder and hostname to installer as shown on first screenshot. The best way would be to install using SIM (marketplace link). While installing Sitecore, make sure you're installing the right version corresponding to to codebase at Habitat master branch, you may look it up at Habitat Wiki page.

2. Not just to say you need to install Sitecore itself, you also need to install Web Forms for Marketers of the version corresponding to you Sitecore instance. And to ensure WFFM installation not failing, you need to install MongoDB prior to. Luckily that can be done in one click using SIM:

Finally, when all above is done, you may run gulp tasks from Task (View => Other Windows => Task Runner Explorer in Visual Studio 2015). Since npm install was already done for you - tasks are loaded as normal:

That's it! After Sitecore items are deserialised into your Sitecore instance, you'll be able to run Habitat website (however do not forget to publish from master to web unless you run it in live mode). The final result comes in you browser:

Why am I getting "Item is not a template" error on data items in Content Editor?

Very simple and even stupid error I have met few times, just want to describe it here to make it google-searchable so that it might help someone.

Image you're going across you content items , and when clicking by one of your data items, you see similar screen, saying: Item "/sitecore/content/Home/Data/Simple item" is not a template.

First of all, why does I got yellow screen? Well, the error is quite descriptive, saying that my Simple item is not a template.

Sure, it isn't, we know that and can prove that by clicking Content tab, that will show us exactly the item's data:

But why on earth do I see other two tabs, that shouldn't be there for data item?

The answer can be either of two cases:

1. Simple silly case - the template of you item is either directly inherited from default Template item (located at /sitecore/templates/System/Templates/Template) rather than Standard template (/sitecore/templates/System/Templates/Standard template).

In that case simply replace one with Standard template to fix.

2. More complex case - when you're likely to have a complicated inheritance chain, especially if you are working with Helix or playing around Habitat. It that case your data item is based on a composite template, that is likely to inherit multiple other templates, at least one of which inherits from Template rather than Standard template, exactly as described in a case above. Solution is the same as above - identify the culprit and change inheritance to Standard template.

Finally your data will be based on correct set of templates and you won't evidence unwanted tabs anymore.

Hope this post helps someone!

Sitecore Habitat

Few times I have been already demonstrated a new modular (I'd say revolutionary) architecture approach to Sitecore - Habitat. So my curiosity won, and I started investigating it. Meanwhile, I decided to share in one place all the useful links about Habitat I've managed to find.

What is Sitecore Habitat

As authors say, Habitat is a Sitecore solution example built on a modular architecture. The architecture and methodology focuses on simplicity, flexibility and extensibility. It will empower you with a consistent and discoverable architecture with ability of adding changes quickly and without worry, extensible with new features without steep learning curve.

Habitat is developed and managed by a team in Sitecore Product Marketing with members all over the world (Australia, UK and Ukraine).There are no plans to incorporate Habitat into the Sitecore product, but it will rather serve as a reference implementation showcasing aspect of Sitecore developing. Sitecore is and will continue to be committed to being an open development platform catering for many architectural and DevOps.

Sitecore encourages technical specialists to take part in Habitat. I was shown it for the first time on Sitecore 8 training in London and was amazed by architecture, how things looked differently to what used to have and logical and well-thought at the same time! So, here are some resources I managed to find and share about this project

References to Sitecore Habitat

Anything missed? Please let me know so that I will update the post.