Thursday, October 12, 2017

Five Basic Things you should know before developing a Alchemy Plugin

Alchemy for Tridion is getting popularity by every day passing. More and more plugins are being submitted to Alchemy Web Store. I have developed few and it's really a fun. So if you want to give it a try go ahead, all you need to do is:

1. Install the Alchemy on your DEV CMS Machine.

2. Get the Alchemy development framework to visual studio using Nuget Package or VS Pack.

Now when you are all set to develop a Alchemy Plugin from your idea. Ask the below questions to yourself and note the answers:
  1. What does it do?
  2. What do you want to extend?
  3. Where to show your extension?
  4. When to show your extension?
  5. What resources you need to have in your extension?

What does it do?

The answer to this question will help you with
1. You can copy and paste the answer to the description element value of the "a4t.xml" file in your visual studio solution.
2. This will help you identify the possible conflicts with existing OOB GUI/Functionality. Which is quite important consideration before developing a plugin.

What do you want to extend?

So Tridion provides some extension points/areas OOB. In Alchemy Framework you would have all those extension points as Base Classes as below: 

  • CommandExtension
  • ContextMenuExtension
  • ExtendedAreaExtension
  • ExtensionGroup
  • RibbonToolbarExtension
  • TabPageExtension

You have to answer which extension point(or points), you want to extend. And based on this answer, you would create your Extension class by extending one of the above listed classes.

Where to show your extension?
So other than command extension, you need to tell Alchemy where you want to show the extension. This is really a important question as you need to make sure your extension doesn't break the existing GUI and not in conflict with another Plugin/Extension.

When to show your extension?
So there could be conditions when to show (or execute in case of command extension) the Extension. For example, a particular Extension could be available for any particular User Group. So if you have any condition like it, you would have to take care of this during the development. There are different ways to control it for different type of Extensions.

What resources you need to have in your extension?
You could have additional resources to support your extension like JS, CSS, ASPX ans ASCX files. You need to identify the resources and the place to put those. Alchemy Framework has a very specific structured way to organize those files.

I will cover all above points in detail in my coming blogs. I hope this high level information helps.    

No comments:

Post a Comment