What’s that Schema? A Basic Alchemy Plugin

Ever looked at a component in Tridion and wondered, “what schema does that use?” I have. All the time. Opening up the component to find out what schema it uses is just too many clicks. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I want to select an item, right-click on it, click on something in the context menu, and be told what schema that component uses. Since Alchemy 4 Tridion is what all the cool kids are using, I’ll use it to make a GUI extension that does exactly that.

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Alchemy for Tridion… for Visual Studio 2012

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.

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TAPS at the SDL Web MVP Retreat (Tridion, Alchemy, Performance, Seafood)

In January of this year, I learned that for the second time I had been honored with an award by SDL. In 2014, I’d been given the SDL Tridion MVP award. This year, I earned the SDL Web MVP award. And it was pretty rad.

If you’re unfamiliar with the SDL Web MVP awards, then you may be unfamiliar with the perks:

  • A really cool badge
  • Access to a super secret Skype chat room
  • Access to a super secreter Slack chat
  • Beach-appropriate bling
  • An uncomfortable dependence on Portuguese-speakers for your survival

Now, because of non-disclosure agreements and sternly-phrased email signatures, I can’t discuss the details of the first three bullet points. However, because I never learned the Dutch/Danish/Dom translation of “What happens in Portugal stays in Portugal”, I feel confident that I can fill you in on those last two bullet points without fear of reprisal. So, I’m going to summarize them in TAPS: Tridion, Alchemy, Performance, Seafood

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Hacking Media Manager at an SDL Hackathon

This year, SDL decided to host a hackathon that launched at SDL Innovate. And I, having a full time job, school, and a side project, needed something to keep me busy. So I decided to participate. I had some ideas for Media Manager, so I figured this was a good excuse to start experimenting with them.

Then I found out that there was money involved in the Hackathon. So I had an excuse to actually submit something.
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SDL Media Manager is Now Responsive

SDL has this spiffy little product called Media Manager. Media Manager is a tool for uploading and managing multimedia assets, and it does a really good job at working with video, in particular. With videos, you could upload a video in just about any format imaginable, and Media Manager would do some magic behind the scenes to convert that video to the right format for the right web browser. This makes it incredibly helpful, especially now that web browsers can play videos natively. But Media Manager was lacking on one thing: responsive videos.

But, quite happily, that’s not true any more.

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Lessons from Carpentry in Web Development

I come from a family of builders. My father’s father was a master carpenter. And though my father was a business man by career, he was an excellent carpenter by trade. My grandfather built a dresser for my father that I still use today. I have boxes that my father built, a pump organ that he restored, as well as desks and benches. My mother has a hutch that her grandfather build and my father restored. We have furniture, and the tools used to build it, that go back five generations.

Unfortunately, my grandfather died before I was born, and my father died when I was twelve. I missed out on the chance to acquire much of the wisdom that’s accumulated over the years. Now, as a man in my 30’s, I’m learning how to build things with trial and a lot more error than I’d like. And I’ve learned a lot of lessons in carpentry that have parallels in web development. Read More

Copy and Paste Components Across Publications in Tridion

So, there’s a thing in Tridion that you can’t do: Copy and Paste components across publications.

And it’s kind of annoying. Especially if, say, you accidentally created 50 components in the wrong publication. Now what do you do?

Well, what I do is come up with a bookmarklet, to make it like it never happened. I also definitely don’t log the incident on my timesheet.

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Some Guiding Principles For Front-End Development

I’ve recently had a bout of philosophy that I can’t quite shake. I like philosophy a lot, and I think we’re all philosophers. I think I picked up that idea in my Ayn Rand phase, where she said,

As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define a philosophy by a subconsious… thought

What I’ve realized is that I have had some subconscious thoughts about Front-end Development. And once I really bring them to the foreground, I realize that there are some core principles that guide why I do what I do, and how I choose to do it. So, I’d like to share some of my philosophies of front-end development. Read More

Front-end Best Practices for Tridion’s Experience Manager

Tridion’s Experience Manager (XPM) has been a hot topic at Tahzoo recently. Piti Itharat, Shawn Webber, and I have all been talking about some of the “gotchas” we’ve experienced in the front-end of XPM implementations. Especially after a few front-end folks started asking for tips on how to be XPM-minded when writing HTML and CSS, the three of us put together a short list of best-practices and pitfalls for doing the front-end in XPM.

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