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A content provider is a module that when registered with EPiServer CMS can serve the EPiServer CMS site with external data as IContent objects (for example, PageData instances). An EPiServer CMS site can have several different content provider instances registered with each having its  own set of configuration data, such as capabilities settings, and so on.

You can register a content provider with EPiServer CMS through configuration in the episerver section of the web.config, or programmatically through the EPiServer.Core.IContentProviderManager API interface, which is located through IOC container.

NOTE: A content provider cannot deliver the start page, root page, and waste basket (recycle bin, trash).

You configure content providers in web.config. You can add attributes for the content provider type, which are passed into the provider instance when the instace is initialized. To register the content provider in web.config, add an entry to the configuration element contentProvider as shown in the following example:

XML
<episerver>
  ...
  <contentProvider>
    <providers>
      <add name="custom"
              type="CustomServer.PageStore, Custom"
              entryPoint="52"
              capabilities="Create,Edit,Delete,Search,Wastebasket"/>
    </providers>
  </contentProvider>
  ...
</episerver>

Some attributes are mandatory (nametype) while others are optional  (entryPointcapabilitiesiconPathwastebasketName). 

  • entryPoint specifies which existing page in EPiServer CMS is the root for the content served by the content provider instance. The given entryPoint must not have any existing children in EPiServer CMS. If the content provider does not give an entry point, it does not appear in the PageTree in edit mode.
  • iconPath displays a custom icon in the page tree for each page served by the provider instance. The given path should be a relative path to the folder \Images\ExplorerTree\PageTree\ in the themes folder. For example, if you place an image named custom.gif in App_Themes\Default\Images\ExplorerTree\PageTree, the value of the iconPath attribute is custom.gif.
  • wastebasketName is the name of the content provider's Recyle Bin. If not given, the Recycle Bin has the same name as the registered provider.

You can specify the following capabilities, if the provider instance supports it. You can specify multiple capabilities with a comma-separated list. 

  • Create. Creates new content. This capability implies that the class should implement the Save method.
  • Edit. Edits existing content. This capability implies that the class should implement the Save method
  • Delete. Removes (deletes) existing content. This capability implies that the class should implement the Delete and DeleteChildren methods
  • Copy. Replicates content internally within the content served by the content provider. To support copy between providers, the capability to support is Create. The Copy capability implies that the class should implement the Copy method.
  • Move. Moves content internally within the content served by the content provider. To support move between providers, the capability to support is Create and Delete. The Move capability implies that the class should implement the Move method.

    NOTE: Moving content between content providers requires that the user has permission for the function: "Move between page providers".

  • MultiLanguage. Supports multiple language versions. This capability implies that the class should implement the DeleteLanguageBranch method and that the implementation of Save handles multiple languages. It also should take passed-in ILanguageSelector in consideration when serving content.
  • Search. Looks within the properties for the content served by the provider. This capability implies that the class should implement FindPagesWithCriteria if it implements IPageCriteriaQueryService and if it inherits ContentProvider.
  • Security. Checks access for content delivered by the provider (through calls to ISecurable interface on the IContent instance). For providers that have an entryPoint and is not supporting Security capability, the access check is performed on the page that was specified as the entryPoint for the provider. Pages served by the provider instance inherit the access control list (ACL) from the entryPoint page. If the content instance does not implement ISecurable and has no entryPoint, no access check is performed.
  • Wastebasket. Moves content served by the provider to wastebasket. This capability implies that the class should implement MoveToWastebasket. If the provider does not support Movebasket but supports Delete, then you can Delete content but not move it to a wastebasket.

Using ContentProvider for implementation

Each class registered as a content provider must inherit the EPiServer.Core.ContentProvider base class, which is based on System.Configuration.Provider.ProviderBase and resides in EPiServer.dll assembly. 

Use the EPiServer.Construction.ContentFactory class to create IContent instances.

Searching one or more content provider instances

If you want a content provider instance to be searchable, you must register it with the Search capability, and the registered class must implement FindPagesWithCriteria if it implements IPageCriteriaQueryService and if it inherits ContentProvider.

The folowing example shows how to call FindPagesWithCriteria, depending on which content providers are to be included in the search. To searching on one or more custom content  providers, add a PropertyCriteria for each custom content provider to PropertyCriteriaCollection. Then, name the property EPI:MultipleSearch and the value to the name of custom content provider.

C#
PropertyCriteriaCollection crits = new PropertyCriteriaCollection();
PropertyCriteria crit = new PropertyCriteria();
crit.Name = "EPI:MultipleSearch";
crit.Value = "CustomKey";
crits.Add(crit);
DataFactory.Instance.FindPagesWithCriteria(customPageRef, crits);

Search on all custom content providers

The following example shows how to search on all custom content providers, by defining only one PropertyCriteria and naming it EPI:MultipleSearch with the value "*".

C#
PropertyCriteriaCollection crits = new PropertyCriteriaCollection();
PropertyCriteria crit = new PropertyCriteria();
crit.Name = "EPI:MultipleSearch";
crit.Value = "*";
DataFactory.Instance.FindPagesWithCriteria(customPageRef, crits);

Search on deafult content providers

If you do not specify PropertyCriteria with the name EPI:MultipleSearch, search occurs on the default content provider, which is typically the one serving content from the EPiServer CMS database.

NOTE: Only the default content provider has a full text search implemented. EPiServer does not index (and therefore does not search) content served by custom content providers.

EPiServer uses a remote page provider to integrate the content between two installations of EPiServer CMS. Pages appear as any local page even when they are managed by a separate installation.

Comments

Missing crits.Add(crit); in second code sample....