Julian Wraith

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Five years of MVP events

Via Chris Summers (@UrbanCherry)

The 2012 MVP event (Via Chris Summers @UrbanCherry))

Since the SDL Tridion MVP program started five years ago, there are five people who have managed to be an MVP each year. I count myself in the lucky few who have managed, sometimes narrowly, to still be privileged to be able to attend the events. Each of the five events have been held in and around Lisbon, Portugal. Over time the group has grown from 10 to around 25 and the balance of members has steadily grown in favor of the external (to SDL) community members.

Each year, we descend around this time, on Lisbon and embark on a long weekend of work. From Thursday to Saturday the team works on various community related activities, both in terms of open source projects but also in terms of thought leadership.

This year the team is working heavily on the Tridion Reference Implementation which is SDL’s newly release delivery framework. Currently in a community edition and based on .NET, SDL plans to move this to being fully supported and delivered out of the box with the product. This move comes when there is an updated version which will come sometime in the not too distant future.

This year, the city of Evora in Portugal is our home; a tourist destination somewhere between Lisbon and Madrid. Its old, built by the Romans and probably not really ready for the MVPs. I hope they have a strong constitution…

MVP weekend 2013

I *think* I have recovered, although I am really not sure.

So what happened? Well, I would say a lot of fun and games at the latest edition of the MVP meet up. It started late for me after I arrived late on Thursday, driven up to the castle at night was awesome but the final walk was a killer  (and also twice the distance it should have been). After an evening of fun, Friday was a day of work and catch up for me. The project I fitted into was the Tridion Context Engine Wrapper (a punchy title, right?). The Wrapper – lets leave it at that, shall we – wraps the new 2013 SP1 context engine with  a set of libraries in .NET (following with Java and TCDL) that can be implemented with SDL Tridion 2013 SP1 and the SDL Tridion Content Engine on a delivery website.

Oh so what does that mean?

Well you can do things like this:

<context:Family Names=”smartphone,tablet” runat=”server”> <div>this content will only display on smartphone or tablets</div> </context>

Which is really good because you conditionally act server side for different types of devices; definitions which you create. Awesome huh?

After Friday building documentation we venture out on Saturday to do lots and lots and lots of things. Way too much to really describe but in short it was: Sour Cherry Schnaps tasting, off roading, visiting a lagoon, a guided tour of the city where we stayed (Obidos) and did I forget anything? Not sure… it was just awesome.

 

MVP Retreat: Day 3 (and 4)

View from the hotel

Day 3 was short as it was the fun, event day for the MVPs. In the morning we continued with our development activities and then wrapped up on the MVP sessions so far as well as the work on the projects.

After lunch we headed to the sea to take a ride on an old Dutch style sail boat. The traditional boats in this area of Portugal, are in fact shared with the Dutch traditional boats that the two used to trade salt in centuries past. The boat trip was a slow cruise, under sail, along the coast which ended in anchoring near the shore for three enthusiastic swimmers to have a dive. It was really nice and super relaxing. Tomorrow, we can relax and continue with the coding.

Via Chris Summers (@UrbanCherry)

MVP Retreat: Day 2

Team Content Bloom and random Spanish MVP

Day 2 has ended… at some point on Day 3. The majority of the MVPs worked a 12 hour shift of coding and creating new and fantastic pieces of code and some spent the same time trying to add a button. It was, I will be honest, not a place where a button normally should go but they were in the end, successful.

The group split into three teams and worked on three separate things; Gamification, Workflow Notification and Extending the dashboard (needed for the first two projects). Progress was good and work will continue into day 3 and 4.

The evening was the highlight, MVP drinks are often fun and this time we spent most of the time inventing SDL Tridion related cocktails. In no particular order I managed to write some of them down but it is not the complete list;

  • The MVP – Vodka (2 parts), a dash of Pims and a dash of Martini Bianco. Review: it’s strong (owing to the fact that it’s mostly vodka) but tasty
  • The Cache Channel Service – Cognac, Coca Cola and a splash of Bourbon (“slightly wild”, bourbon is the “S”) Review; really tasty and most definitely the most popular drink of the evening
  • The TCM – Tequila, Cachaça and Peach Juice. Review: sweet but very tasty
  • The Nude (named after Nuno) – Tia Maria, Baileys and Milk. Review; like a milkshake so one is enough for me
  • The TCDL – Tequila, Drambuie, Coke Cola served Long
  • The TDSE – Tia Maria, Tequila, Sour Domingo (I wrote this, not sure if it is correct) and something else I forgot to write down…

And needed to say there was much frivolity which from time to time turned into a jam session:

MVP Retreat: Day 1

View from the hotel

From yesterday, in a castle somewhere near Lisbon, the SDL Tridion MVPs have come together to discuss the year past and the year to come. The SDL Tridion MVPs are selected by a community panel and they come yearly, from across the global, to mostly Lisbon to attend the meeting. Everyone flew in on Thursday, with some coming a long way and others making a short hop from near by European destinations and I can say everyone was tired from their travels.

The day was started after lunch with a review of 2012 from Nuno Linhares which covered what the community has produced as well as the work done on Stack Overflow and the campaign to have a dedicated Stack Overflow site for Tridion. There was a brief touch on the community webinars and what, if any changes, are needed for 2012-2013.

From a technology perspective Bart Koopman gave us an overview of External Content Libraries (ECL) for SDL Tridion 2013, which is a way of connecting external content into SDL Tridion for use with your regular Tridion content. This is a further development for the Documentum connector that SDL released some time ago.

It does not sound like much but it took a long time for us to cover and was all interesting. From the sessions, I have many questions and changes that I need to think about. High on my mind is how to expand the reach of the community past the size we have right now, a strong community but it is those on the fringe of the community and how we can get them strong as individuals in SDL Tridion. Not an easy question to answer but something to work on in 2013.

 

SDL Tridion Community Webinar – November 2011

At the recent MVP meeting in Lisbon, where a collection of 11 community members get together to talk about components and schemas from dawn till dusk, I volunteered to run a series of online community webinars.

So in November we’ll see the first of these sessions which we hope to repeat over the course of 2011/2012.

So what is the idea? The idea is that anyone can join in and if desired present on a community organized and driven event. The sessions, covering 10-15 minutes, can cover any topic related to a SDL Tridion (e.g. a recently implemented project, bit a useful template). It can be in demonstration or slide format… or both.

Towards the end of October I will post here on the final format of the sessions but we are looking for community volunteers to present the sessions. Do you want to present something? If so, comment on this post and I will get back to towards the end of October.

SDL Tridion MVP Weekend

Code, surfing and why you shouldn’t fly with TAP!

On Thursday the 2011 MVP weekend started with 11 of the 15 MVPs, or Most Valued Professionals, flying in from across the globe to hotel by the sea near Lisbon (technically, some of the 11 are community builders which are a sort of MVP for SDL employees). If you are not familiar with what an SDL Tridion MVP is then, in short, it is a person who distinguishes themselves by sharing their knowledge over and above what their role demands. They can be anyone from any discipline but they must of course share SDL Tridion knowledge and promote the SDL Tridion community.

Sharing is not an easy thing to do and I, like many of the MVPs, have a busy job. But on the whole the MVPs are contributing to the community and our efforts grow steadily each year as we get more and more familiar of not only what it takes to be an MVP but also what it takes to show it. To quote Tom Jones by Henry Fielding  “Make sure Tom that your actions are not all good, take care that they appear good as well.”  Quoting is very fake elitist sort of thing to do, people do that to sound smart so before any one gets any ideas about me, I watched the BBC adaptation on DVD; the phrase just stuck with me.

Over the week and eventual weekend, the MVPs have been discussing, planning and coding their hearts out from dawn till dusk it what might be describe as a little calmer weekend compared to last year. The coding outcome is the beginning of the rebuilding of the SDL Tridion PowerTools; a hugely popular and useful set of tools to go with any SDL Tridion implementation. The current version does not run on 2011 since 2011 had a graphical interface overhaul allot of the dependencies have since vanished and thus a rebuild is required. More about this in another post but none the less I must mention that the project is looking for volunteers from any part of the community that would like to write a PowerTool or just help with testing.

What little time left of the weekend was spent relaxing on the beach or in Lisbon. The hotel where the MVPs stayed is on the Atlantic coast of Portugal near to Lisbon – or technically nearer to Cascais, a town which looks like a smaller version of Monaco. The hotel, an old fort is shouldered on either side by golden sand beaches with some of the biggest waves I have even seen (ok, I have not really seen _that_ many waves up this close). But something towards 3 meters is enough to knock myself and 10 other MVPs back onto the shore like slightly disgruntled penguins.

The flights we took down to Portugal were with the airline TAP. An airline, much like Alitalia, that has a troubled existence of bankruptcy, sale, cut back etc. Leaving Amsterdam proved to be our first challenge of the weekend with the check-in line taking nearly an hour to check-in a handful of customers. For many, online check-In had not worked. For one of us, it had not worked because the ticket he had did not actually exist. Making the plane via the originally, but ultimately incorrect gate, we boarded with a minute to spare and promptly sat waiting, as waiting turned into a delay of 30 minutes. Why did I run again? I can run, when I need to – and quicker than you would expect – but it is not something I do on a regular basis and needless to say, I took some time to recover. Having made it to Lisbon airport still disgruntled by the rushing in the morning, we were approached by Jose of the local baggage handling firm. The airline, he informed us, had left my bag in Amsterdam because the plane was too heavy. I know I do not pack light but I felt, for a moment, slightly offended until I found out nine other people were in the same boat. Directed off to lost property to fill in the appropriate forms, Jose, who magically reappeared in the lost property office, assure me that the bag would make it on the next flight at 2 PM and would probably, would be at my hotel by 8 PM. In the meantime, fellow MVP, Peter had discovered that his bag was also nowhere to be seen and that, after visiting lost property, it was nowhere to be found. Both bags turned up at around 10 PM that evening, much to our relief.

The flight back, Peter remarked, “would hopefully not be as bad as the way to Lisbon.” Never could words be further from the truth. On Sunday night I slept in a hotel in Costa da Caparica, Almada; an area on the other side of the river from Lisbon. Not many might know this, but Lisbon has alot in common with San Francisco; steep hills, funny little trams, a prison on an island and a Golden Gate Bridge (known as the 25th April Bridge) and it is on one end of this look alike bridge that Almada is situated and it is also where TAP has decided to put its refugee passengers from the evening’s antics.

Firecrews standing by...

Firstly the flight was delayed by 45 minutes and then no sooner as we were bussed out to the plane, we were bussed right back to the terminal where we were “debussed” back into the terminal, only for three minutes later to be “rebussed” and taken back to the plane; the pilot, having changed his mind about whether not we would be allowed to fly with him. After take-off I began to sense that things were not completely good. The sensation of the landing gear going in, then out, then in again did not seem to fit, but then was probably I misinterpreting the various groans, creeks and clunks of the aging Fokker 100 (Jose from lost property told me about these aging aircraft, it seemed he was a plane buff too as well as a bag finding bearer of bad tidings). The second thing that did not seem right was that the steward, when signalled he could get up, got up, but then came back again and sat down. Normally they run into a frenzy of getting coffee ready. As it turned out, the pilot had discovered that the landing gear would not go up correctly (do I fly too much?) and would have to return to the airport; the steward clarified for me that the problem was only that it did not go up, not that it would not go down so I was somewhat relieved.  Standard operating procedure for such a situation is that the stewards hand out a cups of water – something akin to men boiling water when a baby will be born, an act whilst moderately useful is more designed to keep people busy – and the pilot needs to lose fuel and that takes about an hour. After that hour we returned somewhat nervously to the airport. The landing was smooth and with a big sigh of relief the pilot got his customary round of applause from the passengers for saving them from a fiery death.

After we were bussed back to the terminal, we stood in the exit of the arrivals (I got the hint immediately). The staff of TAP then tried to organize the situation. This they did by starting a stock market style trading frenzy of boarding passes and negotiations about bags and changing the flights. With my name, they will rarely say it right and I was tuned into all 15 variations that people use (mostly variations that are other names e.g. Wright). With shock and awe I heard my name correctly pronounced and I squeezed my way through to the hand holding up the ticket. The Portuguese are not that tall on average and surrounded by 50 Dutch, who are average allot taller, the only thing I could see was that hand. After much handing around and waiting to get my own bag I followed a trio of feisty brunet, brown eyed Portuguese TAP ground crew who, on the whole, looked much like each other. One declared in a loud voice normally reserved for large groups of Japanese tourists, that “those going to Amsterdam should follow her”. We continued to follow the three as the “argued” and grumped at each other as to how the whole situation was developing. As I looked and glanced around I was shocked to witness the TAP ground crew equivalent of a “Thach Weave”, an aerobatic manoeuvre where those on the left split right and those on the right split left (leaving the picture of interlocking weave). Which one of these motor mouths was I to follow again? I stuck it out only heading in the same direction hoping that I had chosen correctly. I did and at least for the time being I was on a bus going to a hotel. The hotel was 30 minutes away and I did at points wonder if I was on the right bus going to a hotel or a bus taking up to Amsterdam. I had given up caring and was only looking forward to a hot shower and some sleep.

For the weekend, I would like to thank Nuno Linhares. His dedication and devotion to knowledge sharing over and above what his job already asks (which is over and above what is normal) is amazing. A great host and an awesome guy; just don’t let him borrow your car…

[Update] The flight “drama” made the news.

Chris Summers: The SDL Tridion MVP Fondue Kit

Fellow Tridion MVP, Chris Summers has posted a sneak preview of what we did on the MVP meetup. Read more about it here.

HelloWorld Extension for Tridion 2011

The HelloWorld extension is an example extension, from MVP Fondue, for the Tridion Content Manager Explorer (CME) which is designed to work on Tridion 2011. It does not do anything but give you a simple introduction into the how to hook an extension into the various points of the CME. This should give you the basis for exploring the use of extensions further.

Installing the HelloWorld example

Unpack the HelloWorld sample

Unzip the HelloWorld.zip and copy the files a directory where you will store your extensions. This does not have to be under the Tridion home directory.



Within this zip file you will find both the extension and a Microsoft Visual Solution for developing the extension further.

Create Virtual directory
In Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, create a virtual directory under your Tridion 2011 websites under CME\Editors.

Give your virtual directory the name “HelloWorld” and point the path to the directory where you unpacked the HelloWorld example:







Grant read permissions only



Configure Tridion to load the extension

1.    Go to the CME configuration folder C:\Program Files\Tridion\CME2010\WebRoot\Configuration
2.    Select the System.Config file and make a backup copy of this file
3.    Open the System.Config in a XML (or text) editor and add the following section as the last sub-element of the XML element “<editors default=”CME”>”:

<editor name="HelloWorld">
<installpath>C:\Extensions\HelloWorld</installpath>
<configuration>config\HelloWorld.config</configuration>
<vdir>HelloWorld</vdir>
</editor>

4.    Hard refresh (CTL+F5 on IE) your browser
5.    View the extension

You can now see the extension appearing in three places:
On the Home ribbon bar:


On the “Greetings “ ribbon bar:


As a context menu:


About the extension

Implementation
The extension does not do anything productive, but instead shows you a popup box when it is clicked and as such the javascript code for this is very simple and not worth going into.  However, it does use the same concepts that any other extension would need. The HelloWorld.js (under the commands directory) implements the functions we need to enable both the popup box to show (execute) but also whether or not the button is enabled (isEnabled) and lastly if the button option is available in this context (isAvailable). IsEnabled’s task is to enable the button for the given context, for example, we don’t have the option to create a Component when in a Structure Group so the New Component button is disabled when in a Structure Group. Whether or not the button is available will depend upon actions of the user; for example maybe I only want to use my button when I have a single item selected and not when I select 2 or more items.
The javascript needed to do all these things in the HelloWorld example is quite simple and is as follows:

Type.registerNamespace("Common.Tridion.MVP.HelloWorld");
Common.Tridion.MVP.HelloWorld = function Commands$HelloWorld() {
Type.enableInterface(this, "Common.Tridion.MVP.HelloWorld");
this.addInterface("Tridion.Cme.Command", [name]);
};
Common.Tridion.MVP.HelloWorld.prototype.isAvailable = function HelloWorld$isAvailable(selection) {
return true;
};

Common.Tridion.MVP.HelloWorld.prototype.isEnabled = function HelloWorld$isEnabled(selection) {
return true;
};
Common.Tridion.MVP.HelloWorld.prototype._execute = function HelloWorld$_execute(selection) {
alert("Hello World!");
};

Configuration
In our configuration (HelloWorld.config) we define two things 1) what menus our extension is to show on and 2) what needs to be run when the extension is used (enabled, available or executed).
The run our extension we need to configure a command which in itself defines the javascript that will be run:

<commands>
<cfg:commandset id="UniqueName3">
<cfg:fileset>
<cfg:file id="HelloWorld">/Commands/HelloWorld.js</cfg:file>
</cfg:fileset>
<cfg:command name="HelloWorld" implementation="Common.Tridion.MVP.HelloWorld" fileid="HelloWorld"/>
</cfg:commandset>
</commands>

The command name “HelloWorld” is our unique reference to the command and the file is the javascript that will run all the commands.
Next, for each menu we want to run our extension from we will need to define these in the same configuration file.
Insert before the preview button on the context menu under the Greetings menu:

<ext:contextmenus>
<ext:add>
<ext:extension name="Hello World" assignid="" insertbefore="cm_preview">
<ext:menudeclaration externaldefinition="">
<cmenu:ContextMenuItem id="Greetings" name="Greetings">
<cmenu:ContextMenuItem id="HelloWorld" name="Hello World" command="HelloWorld"/>
</cmenu:ContextMenuItem>
Add to the HomePage ribbon bar:
<ext:ribbontoolbars>
<ext:add>
<ext:extension pageid="HomePage" groupid="EditGroup" name="HelloWorld" assignid="HelloWorld" insertbefore="PreviewBtn">
<ext:command>HelloWorld</ext:command>
<ext:title>Hello World</ext:title>

Create a new ribbon bar called “Greetings” and add my button to it:

<ext:extension pageid="pageid" name="Greetings" assignid="Greetings">
<ext:control />
<ext:pagetype />
<ext:clientextensions />
<ext:apply>
<ext:view name="DashboardView">
<ext:control id="DashboardToolbar" />
</ext:view>
</ext:apply>
</ext:extension>
.....

<ext:extension pageid="Greetings" groupid="EditGroup" name="HelloWorld" assignid="HelloWorld">
<ext:command>HelloWorld</ext:command>
<ext:title>Hello World</ext:title>

Enabling in the CME
As we saw when we installed the example above, the very last part of the configuration is the addition to the System.Config in the “editors” section:

<editor name="HelloWorld">
<installpath>C:\Extensions\HelloWorld</installpath>
<configuration>config\HelloWorld.config</configuration>
<vdir>HelloWorld</vdir>
</editor>

This element defines how to load the configuration of our extension, the virtual directory that is used and the path to our extension.

Download
You can download the HelloWorld example extension here. This extension is part of the MVP Fondue.

Contribute
You too can contribute to the community of Tridion professionals, feel free to comment on this post with your suggestions or changes or even use the HelloWorld example to make your own extension. Don’t forget to share it with the community!

SDL Tridion MVP award

It has been a while since this really happened but I have been so busy that I have not had time to post anything about it. Since I last wrote, I was awarded an SDL Tridion MVP award for my work for SDL Tridion in and around the community. Next to me there 9 other individuals who also received the award. These 9 together with me were selected by a panel formed from SDL employees, partners and freelancers.

I extend my congratulations to my fellow MVPs and hope for good things in the future…

You can learn more about the MVP awards for SDL Tridion and see the full list of recipients on SDL Tridion World.

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