Monday, July 23, 2007

Bringing Wizards to the Desktop

It's been a while since my last post, which faithful readers will come to know means that I've been busy doing a lot of writing for my day job at Sitecore. I want to take a second to point out a couple of quiet releases we've made recently. In particular, the Extranet and the Wizard modules.

Now, those of you who have subscribed to the Downloads RSS Feed have probably already noticed these, but I want to point out a couple of special features about both of these.

  1. Desktop Wizards - with source code!

    Both these modules provide full featured wizard style interfaces that run automatically after the package installation and are available via the Sitecore "start" menu.

    What's so cool about that?

    Well, for one thing, the Extranet wizard allows you to add a login form to all the items based on a set of templates in a few clicks. Doing this manually is straight-forward, but after you've opened a template, then opened its corresponding standard values, then opened the Presentation tab, then opened the Layouts drop list, then selected the Edit button, then selected the Add button, located the login form sublayout, typed in the placeholder, and finally selected the OK button on all open dialogs a few times, you realize that this can get tedious if you have to do it for 20 templates.

    With the Extranet configuration wizard, the effort required for 1 template is just a few clicks, and for each additional templates just add a click or two more.

    This is great, of course, if you want to add a protected area on your website (and the Extranet module saves you days of work if you do, plus it's free!).

    Even more importantly, however, we provide the source code and detailed documentation explaining how its all done!

    And, you guessed it, that's not all!

    The wizard module provides you a nice, clean, easy to understand, minimal yet functional, sample wizard that you can use as the starting point for your own configuration wizard (or any other kind of wizard that you want to create). And once again, it's free, the source code is provided, and the documentation explains everything you need to know.

    If you've been thinking about extending the Sitecore Desktop but haven't known where to start, the Wizard module is just what you're looking for!

  2. Starter Kit Plug & Play

    Another great thing about both these modules is that they know when they are being installed in a site that has been developed using a Sitecore Starter Kit. That means that the installation program knows what placeholders exist and therefore can position the login form and other functionality automatically.

    This is a great advantage for those of you who are leveraging a starter kit to shorten development time so that you can increase value for your customers.

    Our vision is to continue this approach for all our modules eventually.

So if you want to get a glimpse of the future, and perhaps to start contributing to the future yourself, have a look at these two free modules!

As always, we look forward to your feedback and ideas for improvements. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have either.