Dynamic Content Just Got Easier
EPiServer CMS 6 R2 includes some improvements to Dynamic Content (DC from now on) both for developers and editors.
In previous versions of DC, you had to create a class that implemented the EPiServer.DynamicContent.IDynamicContent interface. You then needed to render the DC in some way. This could be done directly from the IDynamicContent.Render method or by returning a instance of a System.Web.UI.Control.
One of the developer improvements in CMS 6 R2 is to be able to take a web control and use it directly as the DC implementation. No need to worry about the IDynamicContent implementation any more!
The “fairy dust” that makes this possible is a new attribute called EPiServer.DynamicContent.DynamicContentPlugInAttribute. You decorate your DC web control with this and the framework will do the rest for you.
The attribute class has the following properties that can be set in your code:
public string ViewUrl
This should contain the Url of the control that implements the Dynamic Content (i.e. the control the attribute has been applied to).
As the DynamicContentPlugInAttribute derives from the existing EPiServer.PlugIn.GuiPlugInAttribute, the following properties are also available:
public string DisplayNamepublic string Descriptionpublic string Urlpublic string UrlFromUipublic string UrlFromUtil
One of the Url, UrlFromUi or UrlFromUtil properties may be set if you want to provide your own edit control for editors to create and update instances of your Dynamic Content. If none of these are set then the default EPiServer.UI.Edit.DynamicContentSettings control will be used.
The default edit control will provide a user interface for all properties on your DC control that meet the following criteria:
- Have a public getter and setter
- Is of type System.String, System.Boolean, System.Int32, EPiServer.Core.PageReference or derived from EPiServer.Core.PropertyData
- Is an instance member
- Is not inherited from a base class
Note that these editable properties will also be automatically serialized / de-serialized as the state of your DC instance. Since a DC is stored inline in a XHTML string, the state is encoded as a Base64 string which can make the state rather large. Keep this in mind and try to use as little state as possible for you DC.
The following example shows a version of Rating Dynamic Content Control first blogged about here.
4: Description="Provides a rating facility for pages",
7: public partial class RatingControl : UserControlBase
9: private Rating _currentRating;
10: private const string PageObjectName = "Rating";
12: /// <summary>
13: /// The text to display before the rating icons
14: /// </summary>
15: public string InstructionText
21: /// <summary>
22: /// The text to display after the rating icons.
23: /// If the string includes a format placeholder the average value will be inserted there
24: /// </summary>
25: public string PostRateText
31: protected void Page_PreRender(object sender, EventArgs e)
33: // Display the average rating
34: if (_currentRating == null)
36: PageObjectManager pom = new PageObjectManager(this.PageBase.CurrentPage);
37: _currentRating = pom.Load<Rating>(PageObjectName);
40: if (_currentRating != null)
42: this.AverageRatingLabel.Text = string.Format(PostRateText, _currentRating.Average.ToString());
46: // Not rated yet
47: this.AverageRatingLabel.Text = string.Format(PostRateText, "0");
51: protected void StarImage_Command(object sender, CommandEventArgs e)
53: // The command argument is the rating value
54: int value = int.Parse(e.CommandArgument.ToString());
56: PageObjectManager pom = new PageObjectManager(this.PageBase.CurrentPage);
58: // See if we already have a rating object for this page
59: _currentRating = pom.Load<Rating>(PageObjectName);
61: if (_currentRating == null)
63: _currentRating = new Rating();
68: // And save
69: pom.Save(PageObjectName, _currentRating);
No more web.config registration
Another nice feature in CMS 6 R2 is that Dynamic Content no longer needs to be registered in the web.config. Note that this only applies when the DynamicContentPlugInAttribute is used as an alternative.
The full source code for this example can be found here on EPiServer World Code.
The Beta version of EPiServer CMS 6 R2 can be found here.