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Do you want Community features on your CMS pages? PageEntity to the rescue

For a while now you have been able to rate articles and blog posts, as well as see most viewed, most popular and a Tag Cloud for each. These items are standard CMS pages but with a custom made EPiServer Community Module hooked up, aka PageEntity.

However, this blog post will not go into detail on how to create a community module cause it is better explained in detail in Joel Abrahamsson’s article series on the subject. Read it first and you will better understand this PageEntity module.

We started of simple and created the PageEntity class for all our objects, and then we could pass in what type of page it is (article, blog, standard, etc) to the constructor. Well we created PageEntityTypes enum to handle it (the observant one can see that not all of them are implemented live yet)

   1: public enum PageEntityTypes
   2: {
   3:         Undefined = 0,
   4:         ForumThread = 1,
   5:         ForumPost = 2,
   6:         Article = 3,
   7:         Documentation = 4,
   8:         VideoPage = 5,
   9:         DownloadPage = 6,
  10:         FAQ = 7,
  11:         StandardPage = 8,
  12:         BlogItem = 9,
  13:         CodeSample = 10
  14: }

 

Then for example to Tag an existing Article page looks like this:

   1: // check if pageentity exists for this page, if not, create it
   2: if (CurrenPageEntity == null)
   3: {
   4:     CurrenPageEntity = new PageEntity(CurrentPage.PageGuid, Enums.PageEntityTypes.Article);
   5:     CurrenPageEntity.EntityTags.Add(new EntityTag(new Tag(txtTagBox.Text), new UserAuthor(writerIUser)));
   6:     CurrenPageEntity = PageEntityHandler.AddPageEntity(CurrenPageEntity);
   7: }

The code above assumes you have a PageEntity property named CurrentPageEntity.

However this approach soon appeared to be not good enough. It worked for most situations except when you wanted a Tag Cloud of Article type.
Version 0.2 was to make PageEntity class abstract and create about 9 subclasses of it to get a specific type. Below example for a EPiServer famous standard page

   1: public class StandardPageEntity : PageEntity
   2: {
   3:    public StandardPageEntity(Guid pageGuid, EPiServer.Common.ISite site):base(pageGuid, site, PageEntityTypes.StandardPage){}
   4:    public StandardPageEntity(int id, int siteId, Guid pageGuid) : base(id, siteId, pageGuid, PageEntityTypes.StandardPage) { }
   5: }

 

The CurrentPageEntity moved to a base class to handle all pages entity types, it got a little large for a property…

   1: public PageEntity CurrentPageEntity
   2: {
   3:     get
   4:     {
   5:         if ((_currentPageEntity == null && ViewState["currentPageEntityGUID"] != null))
   6:         {
   7:             _currentPageEntity = PageEntityHandler.GetPageEntityByGUID((Guid)ViewState["currentPageEntityGUID"]);
   8:         }
   9:         
  10:         if (_currentPageEntity == null)
  11:         {
  12:             _currentPageEntity = PageEntityHandler.GetPageEntityByGUID(CurrentPage.PageGuid);
  13:         }
  14:  
  15:         // check that pageEntity is enabled on current page
  16:         if (!EnableVisit || !EnableTagging || !ShowRating)
  17:         {
  18:             return null;
  19:         }
  20:  
  21:         // check that current site has been inititalized and defined
  22:         if(SiteHandler.CurrentSite == null)
  23:         {
  24:             throw new EPiServerException("Current site is null - cannot create Page Entity");
  25:         }
  26:  
  27:         // if still null create it
  28:         if (_currentPageEntity == null)
  29:         {
  30:             _currentPageEntity = (PageEntity)Activator.CreateInstance(PageEntityUtils.GetPageEntityType(CurrentPage), CurrentPage.PageGuid,
  31:                                                           SiteHandler.CurrentSite);
  32:             
  33:             _currentPageEntity = PageEntityHandler.AddPageEntity(_currentPageEntity);
  35:         }
  36:         return  _currentPageEntity;
  37:     }
  38:     set
  39:     {
  40:         _currentPageEntity = value;
  41:         ViewState["currentPageEntityGUID"] = (value != null) ? (object)value.PageGUID : null;
  42:     }
  43: }

We wanted the website editors to enable/disable PageEntity function on parts of the site, hence the EnableVisit, EnableTagging and ShowRating dynamic properties above. On the World we also use several community sites, therefore check of SiteHandler.Currentsite. We also determined to reference all pages by PageGuid to be on the safe side.

 

The method PageEntityUtils.GetPageEntityType is very simple, it helps determine what type of page it is. Example for wiki page:

   1: public static Type GetPageEntityType(PageData CurrentPage)
   2: {
   3:  
   4:     if (CurrentPage.PageTypeName == "[Wiki] Article")
   5:     {
   6:         return typeof (WikiArticlePageEntity);
   7:     }
   8:  
   9:     return null;
  10: }

 

You have to handle deleted pages with a PageEntity reference. Our choice was to create a httpmodule (PageEntityEventHandler.cs) and remove it.

Integrate it is quite easily, I added it to a Relate+ /wikiX site in about 10 minutes.  Which you can see on the updated wikiX for Relate+ version on codeplex.
in the supplied

file you see how we added it to the WikiX article page.

  • Add the cs. files to your project,
  • Run the supplied sql script to create tblPageEntity and the stored procedures
  • Then modify your code to create PageEntity of your choice. (Update *enum, *subclasses, *utils)

 

Feedback and suggestions for improvement is welcome. Remember this module is not supported by EPiServer. It just demonstrates how to apply EPiServer Community features on CMS pages.
In a not so distant future release of the community you will also be able to comment your page entities. Sweet?!

Cudos to greger and erik who was involved in creating the PageEntity.

Jun 16, 2009

Simon Mercer
(By Simon Mercer, 9/21/2010 12:32:32 PM)

Are there some addtional lines that need to get added to Web.Config? To properly set up the new Entity type into Community?

I downloaded the SQL Updates here as they weren't included on the WikiX latest download...

Per Hemmingson
(By Per Hemmingson, 9/21/2010 12:32:33 PM)

Hi,
I forgot the web.config settings, (hm.. I need to fix a htmleditor for the comments) e.g;








Guest
(By Guest, 9/21/2010 12:32:33 PM)

I lost your phone number, but remembered that you blogged. Hurtigruten would like to implement som blog features on hurtigruten.com. Is there an easy and cost effective way to implement som simple blogging templates?

Karl Philip (+4795726655 )
/ Tjena Per

Magnus Flisberg
(By Magnus Flisberg, 9/21/2010 12:32:33 PM)

Hello Per,

First of all -great article!

We have implemented and tested this module with the rating part with success in our project. The reason we tried your module was to be able to add commenting on own entity types but it seems that this is not implemented? CurrentPageEntity has a getcomment, but not a set comment?

Downloaded the wiki from codeplex and noticed on the article that you can add comments, but the comment is added to the page itself.

Have we missed something with your module, or can we in some way extend the module with comments?

Best regards,

Magnus Flisberg

Per Hemmingson
(By Per Hemmingson, 9/21/2010 12:32:33 PM)

Hi, thanks.
Nice to see that it is useful.

When we wrote this PageEntity module, there was no support in EPiServer Community for adding comments. It was not part of the common framework as rating and visits are.

However, in the latest version of EPiServer community the comments have been implemented as part of common framework (as rating) and you should be able to use it. I haven't tested it myself yet.

The Wikix is based on EPiServer CMS. We just did a test to use it with community and wanted to share Tags across the site.

Regards Per

Per Hemmingson
(By Per Hemmingson, 9/21/2010 12:32:33 PM)

Philip, sorry for the late reply. didn't see it.

There are blog templates included in standard episerver templates (public or demo?) that you can use. And which we are using on this site (with some modifications).

I'm listed in the phonebook as well :-)

jens.pettersson
(By jens.pettersson, 9/21/2010 12:32:33 PM)

Is there anyway to search for attributes for a StandardPageEntity for example? It seems that when I use the search it says there is no attribute set for PageEntity. I use PageEntityQuery. Do I need to create a StandardPageEntityQuery class in order to get it to search StandardPageEntity attributes?

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