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Plugins / Extensions

Management Server and Visual Studio Integration


A short while ago a post was made to the Google group regarding Visual Studio Integration – you can read it here – to which I responded as follows:

The only way to manage your templates and elements is using the
designer in CMS.  This is also true for version 10.  I am told there
may be proper Visual Studio IDE support for v11, which is the long-
awaited full .Net rewrite of the application, we shall have to wait
and see as it is at least 12 months away (*cough* actually I’ve heard
that a few times so forgive my slightly cynical tone).

What many people do is develop their template code in normal VS
projects, then slice it up and port it into CMS, which has its own
version control by the way.

A few general interest questions for the group – whoever is listening
out there:

1) Is this something people are interested in? i.e. being able to
develop and manage templates in Visual Studio with plumbing back into
the CMS
2) How many developers on your site would use it?
3) How much would you pay, if anything?
4) What kind of licensing model would suit you? e.g. per developer,
per project, site-wide, per concurrent-user, per language/project
variant, etc.
5) What awesome features would you want, aside from the obvious
functionality of editing templates and managing elements?

There were no responses.  I am interested as to whether this indicates 0 support for a Visual Studio IDE or whether, like me, people don’t really read the questions once there has been more than one response.

I guess I’m looking for comments regarding my original 5 questions either way…

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About the author:

Richard Hauer Richard is a Solution Architect with 5 Limes in Sydney, Australia. Richard has delivered CRM, .Net and RedDot solutions to many household name companies including Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Rothmans, Nestle, Tourism Australia, Network TEN, Australian Wool, Panasonic, the Royal Agricultural Society, Perpetual, and Challenger.

Discussion

14 comments for “Management Server and Visual Studio Integration”

  1. The CMS template “version control” is a joke – you can’t even comment each revision! Scratch that, the CMS development environment is a joke. Then again, when was the last update made to it?

    1) I don’t use Visual Studio – but if you substituted “any IDE or decent text editor or even the file system” which you could integrate with the source control software of your choice – then the answer is YES!

    2) ALL

    3) FREE (but organisations might pay more – try selling/licensing it to Open Text)

    4) Assuming not free, per developer or sitewide – really, what is the value of the other options? (to the customer that is)

    5) See 1 above. I started on a template/element diff tool way back when, including synchronising templates/elements between development and production servers. Also, reports – for example for used/unused templates and elements – anything to let you easily cut down the complexity of your templates without worrying about destroying you project content.

    Posted by Adrian Mateljan | June 30, 2009, 5:45 pm
  2. 1) Yes, that would be great. Everything that makes Ctrl + Z possible in a text editor is appreciated!
    2) Probably everybody
    3) Nothing of course… This is the RedDot Universe and if people would pay for knowledge or tools this page would actually bring us money and not only costs.. But the idea of selling it to OpenText is a good one.
    4) As only template editors would use this I would bind it to the number of con-current users with these rights.
    5) Beside copy/paste? (by the way: I see a coincidence between OpenText and the iPhone here) Autocomplete and creation of elements based on prefix (stf,anc,img,…), Proper template sharing between projects which themselves have shared templates? (Basically replace the current template sharing to allow proper DEV, UAT and Live environments)

    Posted by Markus Giesen | July 1, 2009, 11:52 am
  3. Oh for proper version control that let me push out one template’s worth of changes at a time rather than a folder’s worth :)

    It’d be nice to be able to define default settings for certain elements, such as text editor configuration, that would be saved whenever you put a text element into a template.

    Also, as Markus mentioned, Undo/redo that actually works properly would be nice.

    Posted by Paul | July 2, 2009, 11:57 am
  4. 1) Yes, absolutely. Anything that can replace RedDot temlpate edior is great
    2) Everyone in the team = 5 developers
    3) RedDot used to charge extra 5K-10K for each add on (i.e. Translation Manager, Web Compliance Manager), so 5K would be fair
    4) Per server (per IP address)
    5) Any kind of debugging functionality: placeholders value watch, breakpoints, proper debugging for render tags and pre-executed code…

    Posted by Irina Krasteleva | July 3, 2009, 8:02 pm
  5. I completely concur with Irina’s response (above). I would strongly emphasize the usefulness of debugging render tags and pre-executed code.

    Posted by Amanda Shiga | July 3, 2009, 10:45 pm
  6. 1) Yes Please! I would love to have access to a better editor than the web based one. I would also love some version control (ClearCase/SVN)
    2) Anyone working in VS and supporting the CMS would want to use it
    3) You want more money!? I would like to see this included with the base price
    4) If you pay for the CMS you get this feature, regardless of how many projects you have running
    5) Not Sure

    Posted by Chris Ronnie | July 5, 2009, 5:40 am
  7. Hey Chris, regarding 3)
    => Don’t forget, this website is NOT RedDot or Open Text, we are independent developers which are running this page for free :)
    This plugin/feature is just an idea from a developer for developers.

    Posted by Markus Giesen | July 5, 2009, 1:52 pm
  8. May be it does not fit here but can give you an option or workaround.
    Jope it makes sense :)

    [REDDOT Says]:
    We donot have any official document regarding this but here is some information which might help you. Key requirement is that you have to have the SOAP installed on the CMS server. CMS installer does install this if you have selected this option on the installation. If not then you will need to install this in order to get this RQL working. Also please note that this document was written on CMS version 5 so please change the locaction or file name accordingly.

    RedDot CMS / Sending RQL Messages Using C#

    Overview
    RedDot CMS can be customized through custom programming using the RedDot Query Language, or RQL. RQL is a protocol that is similar to HTTP in several ways. First, both are stateless. Second, both are message-based: requests messages are sent from a client to a server, and a response message is sent from the server back to the client. But RQL is different from HTTP in that RQL messages are XML.

    RQL messages are usually sent using the RedDot5ASP.RdPageData COM-object. .NET provides COM interoperability functionality, so this COM-object can be used from the .NET environment. Another option exists for programmatically communicating with a RedDot CMS server. A web service can be used to send and receive RQL messages. Writing applications that consume web services is easy using the .NET Framework.

    RedDot CMS Web Service
    Installing the RedDot CMS web service is an optional part of the regular software installation process. The CMS installer displays the dialog below. The web service is installed and configured automatically if install is selected.

    If the web service is installed, you should see a WebService directory in the ASP folder. Inside this directory is a file named RD5XMLServer.WSDL. The WSDL file describes the web service. It provides all of the information needed for a client application to be able to connect to and use a web service. This file is also accessible via a browser, at http://SERVER-NAME/RedDot5/WebService/RD5XMLServer.WSDL. Connect to this page using your browser to make sure the web service is, in fact, installed.

    If you are unable to locate this WSDL file, it is likely the SOAP Toolkit was not installed along with the rest of RedDot CMS. You will need to run the installation process in order for to install the SOAP Toolkit.

    Generating .NET Classes from a WSDL File
    The .NET Framework SDK includes a utility that takes a WSDL file and generates .NET classes from the WSDL file. WSDL.exe generates all of the complicated code needed to actually connect to the web service. Once those classes are generated, you are free to concentrate on writing your business logic rather than infrastructure code.

    WSDL.exe is a command-line application located in the bin subdirectory in the folder into which the .NET Framework SDK was installed. The WSDL.exe program supports many switches that allow you to control the files it generates. The .NET Framework SDK documentation describes these options in detail. To execute the WSDL.exe program, run the following command. Be sure to substitute the url of your RedDot CMS web service’s WSDL file:

    wsdl http://wsdl-file-url

    The tool will generate source code for a class that represents the web service. Compile this source code.
    The generated class can be used to get a reference to the web service. In addition, the generated class will contain all of the code needed to connect to the web service. The methods available from the web service are included as methods on the generated class.

    Writing a C# Application to Send and Receive RQL Messages
    Writing a client application using the generated class is relatively easy. A reference to the web service is created. That reference is used to call methods available from the web service.

    The web service method you will call is Execute. This method allows you to send an RQL message to the RedDot CMS server. Execute accepts three parameters. The first parameter is a string containing the RQL request message. The second parameter is an object that is passed by reference. It is used as a buffer to store any error text CMS wants to communicate back to your client application. The third parameter is similar to the second parameter. It is passed by reference. It is also a buffer used to store information CMS wants to communicate back. This parameter, however, stores informational text rather than error text.

    The method will return a string containing the RQL response from the server. You need to parse the RQL response to get to the information you are seeking. Loading an XML DOM with the RQL response string is probably the easiest way to parse the response.

    The following code sends a logon message and displays the resulting login GUID:
    RD5XMLServer cms = new RD5XMLServer();
    string rqlRequest = “”;
    object errors = “”;
    object resultInfo = “”;
    string rqlResponse = cms.Execute(rqlRequest, ref errors, ref resultInfo);
    System.Xml.XmlDocument dom = new System.Xml.XmlDocument();
    dom.LoadXml(rqlResponse);
    System.Xml.XmlNodeList nodes = dom.GetElementsByTagName(”LOGIN”);
    for (int currentNode=0; currentNode < nodes.Count; currentNode ++)
    {
    for (int currentAttribute=0; currentAttribute<nodes[currentNode].Attributes.Count; currentAttribute++) {
    if (nodes[currentNode].Attributes[currentAttribute].Name == “guid”) {
    System.Console.WriteLine(nodes[currentNode].Attributes[currentAttribute].Value);
    }
    }
    }

    Handling Errors
    The object passed to the Execute method to hold errors (the second parameter) will contain the text of any error the CMS server wants to communicate back to the client. While the parameter type is object, the value will be a string. Should no error have occurred, the length of the string will be zero.

    Also note that we do not support any RQL. We can only provide you with the documents.

    Posted by Sudhanshu | July 6, 2009, 10:23 am
  9. Developing templates with Visual Studio or Eclipse would be perfect!

    Think of the fact that you never do just templating alone. As soon as your projects grow, there is always a backend behind the scenes, and most changes affect both the template and the backend code. If you are using version control, e.g. SVN, you would want to have all changes of the code in one revision. Right now this is not possible (well, you can export your template manually and check that in, but let’s forget this, ok?)

    So to give a short answer to your questions:

    1) as I said before, YES
    2) all of us
    3) zero k to six k
    4) per RedDot server, as all components are licensed this way
    5)
    - check in to / check out from RedDot
    - automatic (draft) publishing of all pages of a template

    Posted by Stefan Buchali | July 15, 2009, 4:03 pm
  10. Hey Richard, I hereby sign up for a beta tester account. Please let me know if and when this will become available :)

    Posted by Markus Giesen | September 15, 2009, 3:42 pm
  11. 1) Anything is better then the OT-Editor.
    2) all Tepmlate-Developers (2 at this Time)
    3) its all about the features. ;) free?
    4) per Sever or concurrent-user
    5) VersionControll, Debug, some Preview of the new Template this some dummy Content – or an existing Page would be great.

    Posted by Bastian | September 17, 2009, 1:53 pm
  12. We will take some Beta-Account too :-)
    and using Version 10 of OTMS.

    Posted by Bastian | September 17, 2009, 1:55 pm
  13. Hi, I develop a RQL-API for a deploymenttool which is developed in the company where I work. Our goal is to develop content classes/logic parts for cms und live server in one development system or eclipse. When we are finish, we can deploy all parts for a web project at the sam time in many systems. Therefore we can use version control systems for all parts in a web project.

    If anyone wants more information, please contact me.

    Posted by Mark Hoja | October 11, 2009, 10:22 pm
  14. Hey Mark, sounds pretty much like something that Oshyn from the US has done in past. Feel free to create an article with some _technical_ details of this tool and I would be happy to publish it here.

    Posted by Markus Giesen | October 12, 2009, 8:44 am

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