I was on-site with a client the other day discussing an upgrade project. The site is a CMS 6 R2 site and the question came up: "Can I remove blocks view for editors as even after the upgrade we may not want to use blocks?".
I am not going to go into the reasons why this was requested or if it is a good idea (there are actually some good reasons for the request). I'm simply writing this post to show how it can be done.
EPiServer's UI has always been open to modification, however EPiServer 7 onward introduced a paradigm shift in the UI as the editing interface is now a single page application built with Dojo. If you don't already know Dojo then there is a little learning to get your head around it. So I put together a list of EPiServer Dojo links that may prove useful if you want to work with Dojo in EPiServer.
The new EPiServer UI introduced with EPiServer 7 gave users a sleek new interface that's easy to use and simple to navigate. All unnecessary UI elements are hidden away until you need them. When users need them frequently areas can be pinned out. However the top menu cannot be pinned out and always hides itself. Some power users find themselves moving between several top menu items at a time such as between edit mode and Visitor Groups. The pull down menu at the top of the page takes precious milliseconds to find and click. For power users every millisecond counts right ;)?
So I quickly put a "MenuPin" add-on together that allows users to pin the menu at the top of the EPiServer UI. This works for edit mode only at this point. The pin works the same as pinning the gadget areas in the editor UI:
This post is a quick write up of an issue I noticed when using Google Chrome on a touch screen Windows 8.1 machine when using EPiServer 7.5 and how to solve it.
I was using a Windows 8.1 touch screen laptop with Google Chrome installed to access an EPiServer 7.5 site. I noticed the UI didn't seem to fully work. Specifically the context menus didn't appear when I hovered over blocks with a mouse and also I couldn't drag blocks to rearrange or add a new block. Using a mouse to hover over a block I expected to see this:
Output caching can significantly improve the performance of an EPiServer site. However since EPiServer Visitor Groups were introduced it meant it was difficult to switch output caching on as each page could be unique for each user depending on the visitor groups matched. Also if a user returns to a page it may change depending on their actions on the rest of the site.
EPiServer Visitor Groups are a powerful feature and output caching can have real benefits in the right scenarios so I wanted the best of both worlds. So I've been thinking about a solution that would allow us to switch on output caching but still benefit from the use of visitor groups.
In a previous post I introduced Virtual Template System for EPiServer. This post is a quick introduction on how to use the UI.
When you first open Virtual Template System by clicking Virtual Templates, then Edit you will be presented with a list of templates that are in the repository. As this is the first time you've used it the list will be empty. Clicking the "Show all templates (including those on disk)" option will list out all templates that are on disk, plus those already in the repository. By default it looks for cshtml, CSS and js within the application.
Quite simply Virtual Template System for EPiServer allows users to view and modify templates from the EPiServer UI. Why would you do this? The internet is a fast moving world and our customers and clients are demanding. They may not want to wait for a full release to update a template and shouldn't really need to if it's only for a couple of lines of mark up or CSS to be changed. Virtual Template System tries to help this issue by allowing users to make templates visible and editable from the EPiServer UI.
One of the most exciting features in EPiServer Commerce 7.5 (for me) is MetaClass and MetaField mapping from code to the Catalog system in EPiServer Commerce. In short this allows you to create/edit/access MetaClass and MetaFields in EPiServer Commerce 7.5 through code in the same way you can for any other content type in EPiServer.