So, this week I finally decided to do a deep dive into Alchemy for Tridion, which is the latest hipster technology to have been created for Tridion. If you’re unfamiliar with Alchemy for Tridion, I had a little bit to say about it when I summarized the SDL Web MVP retreat. Alchemy is the way to make GUI extensions for Tridion now. But this week, I whipped out an old VM, tried to make a plugin, and had tons of heartache. Turns out there’s some ‘gotchas’ if you’re using Visual Studio 2012.
As a front-end guy who’s only recently gotten over his fear of Visual Studio, I’m sure that my experience was nothing like most Tridionauts’ experience.
Here’s how making a plugin went down for me:
- Look at the quick start guide in the documentation, and foolishly expect it to be quick
- Try the Nuget package. Build it. Look at a
bin/Debugfull of not .a4t files. Question Sanity.
- Try the Visual Studio Project Template. Build it. Look at a
bin/Debugfull of not .a4t files. Question sanity.
- Download the Hello World package. Build it. Look it. Look at a
bin/Debugwith the .a4t file. Question sanity more.
- Repeat process as necessary until sanity is no longer in question
So, I finally messaged Alex Klock, who had a little something to do with this whole Alchemy thing. We discovered some things:
- Alchemy for Tridion was actually built in Visual Studio 2013
- I was the first person Alex had spoken to that was using a 4 year old IDE for Alchemy plugins
- I was the first person who didn’t have MSBuild 12.0 installed
Turns out, you can totally make Alchemy for Tridion plugins in Tridion 2012. And the steps are easy:
- Install .NET 4.5.2
- Install MSBuild 12.0
- Optionally grab a snickers, because this may take a while
- Clear your Visual Studio Component Cache
- Re download the Visual Studio Template, the Nuget package, etc
Now, in my case, I had to throw away my previous projects. Even after all this, pre-fixed-Visual-Studio A4T projects didn’t want to build. Turns out, I hadn’t actually done anything in them yet, so this was fine. But, you’ve been warned.
Once I went through these steps, any new Alchemy plugins I tried worked just fine.