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Real-World Project Development with Sitefinity 4.0

by Gabe Sumner

Thanks to everyone who attended today’s webinar.  I had a lot of information I hoped to convey during this webinar.  As I now look over my planning notes, I realize there were several items I entirely skipped over.  In the future, I’ll try to focus my webinars more on specific topics instead of trying to tackle the entire project.

This being said, this felt like a good time to have a webinar like this.  We’re all Sitefinity 4.0 newbies and struggling to work through real-world challenges.  In this webinar, I tried to mix some reality with the 4.0 hype.  Hopefully this will help you structure and pursue your own projects.

Watch the video

For those who missed the original webinar (or for those who are ready for a second dose) you can watch the entire webinar on Telerik.TV.

Real-World Project Development with Sitefinity 4.0 Video

[ Watch the Video ] 


The webinar was abruptly ended due to a technical mishap as I was working my way through the questions.  However, the questions and answers are posted below (in no particular order):

Q: Can someone who is using the Community Edition use the kits?
A: Yes this is possible.

Q: Are you all going to create more modules?
A: Yes. A lot more. :)

Q: How can I get information from my own table through Sitefinity SDK?!
A: No, but you can use your code that used to read this information in a user/custom control, hosted in Sitefinity.

Q: What is the best way to create business application in Sitefinity?!   Must I create firstly the database or generate module that will create database with access?!
A: The module :) Sitefinity will create most of the things in the DB automatically.
Gabe: The answer above is correct (if using DynamicData or OpenAccess), but doesn’t tell the whole story.  Take the time to become familiar with the SDK sample modules.  From there, you’ll need to understand which approach best fits your scenario.

Q: Modules will create for me all connections between tables!
A: Yes, indeed.
Gabe:  Again, the answer is correct but it requires you to first express these connections (relations) through your data models.  Look at the SDK samples.

Q: Concerning connections between tables, where can I find an example ?!
A: In the SDK, we have several custom modules, showing different business needs (and logic). You will see how Sitefinity manages the DB automatically.

Q: When developing, my DB resides on a test server running full blown SQL.  When I want to go production, can I simply detach my DB from my test system and then re-attach on my production box?
A: Yes, then update connection strings and restart your website.

Q: What was the website that Gabe mentioned for HTML templates?
A: Styleshout.com

Q: What is best practices for identities connecting to SQL for production environment?  Windows Auth? SQL Auth? If I create a specific user for SQL access for Sitefinity websites, what Roles/Permissions are necessary?  I don't want the user to have any more permissions than necessary.
A: You can go with both Win Auth and SQL auth. For some operation though, we require db_owner role

Q: is there any other way to migrate from 3.7 to 4.0? the migration, one-click tool does not work.
A: Content importing through the publication system, and RSS.

Q: Is there anybody who was able to successfully move from 3.7 to 4.0. I'm reading the forums all the time and don't see any replies to this issue. It's nice to know what Sitefinity 4.0 can do, but at first would be great to just upgrade to this verson
A: You are right. I have moved a blog, but I am really interested in the same question.
Gabe:  I suspect there are few 3.x –> 4.0 migration success stories at this stage.  However, our development with the Migration Tool is largely driven by community feedback.  Post your challenges to the forums.

Q: Subdomain support - being able to manage siteA.company.com and siteB.company.com from the same Sitefinity instance
A: We’re tentatively targeting Q2 for this feature.  Watch the official roadmap for more details.

Q: Can the current release run at all in a medium trust environment? (With the WWF feature restrictions) Or will we need to wait for a future release?
A: Depends if the Medium trust is configured to support WWF. If it is configured, you can use Sitefinity in it. You may ask your hosting administrators for this.

Q: With the Open Access ORM of sitefinity and dynamic data. It works fine in a medium trust environment?
A: Yes, it works fine.

Q: Does Sitefinity require a full trust environment or can it run in a mediun trust environment?
A: We require Full trust, but are working on a solution for Medium trust as well. This requirement comes from WWF, which can run in Full trust only.

Q: How do you add a new master page so it is available in the backend?
A: Create it through Visual Studio, then go to Page Templates in Sitefinity and find the Upload functionality.

Q: Why aren’t the placeholders labeled anymore? Sometimes depending on the layout it can be confusing as to what information is to go in what content box when in edit mode. thx.
A: Agree. I think labeling is possible though. We'll try to come back to this later, or in a blog post after the webinar.

Q: Can Gabe comment on ways to get round the missing “Shared Content” functionality?
A: We are working on it and it'll be out in Q1. At the moment you can put a Content Block control in the template.
Gabe:  And I did eventually comment on it in the video.  Short answer; use nested templates.

Q: I have asked that many times and no answer, but here I go again... When will the WebEditors be out through the weekly builds?
A: Right now we have all kinds of Selectors. Please drop a line on the support, to let us know what else do you need and we will try to provide it as soon as possible.

Q: If i get one of the starter kits. can i use some of the images on the templates? Can I use them straight off or is that an example only and I should do my own?
A: No you cannot use these photos without purchasing the right to use them.  Telerik purchased the rights to these photos for our use.  But this does not give you the rights to use them on your own web site.

Q: Has Sitefinity 4.0 got a comprehensive User Manual yet? Preferably in PDF format?
A: Yes, and not only user manual, but guides for all kinds of users. Check them here - http://www.sitefinity.com/4.0/documentation/sitefinity-documentation.aspx

Q: Breaking out 4.0 from 3.7 videos on Telerik.tv would be a big help. Also, in general separation of any resource (marketplace, etc) from 3.7 would rock.
Gabe: Good idea.  I’ll investigate this.

Q: Any plans for supporting HTML5 markup?
A: Yes! We are currently thinking on HTML5 features. We have ideas for the upload, for example :) We’re interested in your ideas as well.

Q: Can we get the link where to find the starter kits? I've been looking and haven't found them.
A: http://www.sitefinity.com/starter-kits.aspx

Q: How can the starter kits be downloaded without downloading a trial?
A: Download the starter kit source from your client.net account

Q: Can you change the default view for the News page in the backend admin portal so that all news items aren't displayed by default?
A: Yes, but this should be done on User Interface level. It's a bit of an overkill otherwise. By the way, there are filters on right side of the screen.

Q: Are all the jobs modules available as standard or are these specific to the webinar?
A: The modules are available in the SDK.

Q: Answer to “What was the website that Gabe mentioned for HTML templates?”
A: CoolBlue at Styleshout.com

Q: I downloaded Sitefinity 4.0 trial, and the charity starter kit simultaneously but the charity kit won't open.  It says the version is not correct???!
A: The Charity Starter Kit is using is using the latest release of SQL Server Express 2008 R2.  The database is not backwards compatible with older versions of SQL Server.  Download & install the latest version of SQL Server and this error will go away.

Q: So....still on track to get that eCommerce module next week? ;)
A: Next week? :) No, not that early :) We will have position on this soon too.

Q: What I would LOVE to be able to do in my layout templates in the UI is set the height of the elements as well (to prevent overlap)
A: Makes sense. We had reason why we didn't have it though. I am not sure at the moment. FR logged anyway.
Gabe:  This is possible by 1) adding defining a wrapper class and 2) using your Themes (stylesheets) to define a height.

Q: I will throw in vote for 4 webinars on dynamic types
A: Me too :) Written down.
Gabe:  Me three.

Q: Woah Woah woah....documentation says we can't do control designers for usercontrols?  That works now? http://www.sitefinity.com/devnet/forums/sitefinity-4-x/sdk/custom-control-designer-for-usercontrol.aspx
A: the layout template (ascx file) used for the designer cannot be a user control, but control designers can be applied to user controls

Q: I'm concerned this webinar is taking up too much time on basic IT\Pro install issues...not so much development yet
A: It's coming in a minute :)
Gabe: Sorry if the content wasn’t what you were looking for.  I tried to tie the webinar closely to lots of real world issues I’ve seen developers struggle with.  Lots of those problems were IT related.  I’ll do more webinars that will definitely be much more developer focused though.

Q: Ok...so the axds when compressed can be quite large right?  (but still one request which is awesome).  However the RadControl styles intermingled in there are NOT minified at all.  Do you have plans to work with the aspnet ajax team to push them to start providing minified css?
A: I am not sure that we should minify them, but you are probably right.. we'll think about this.

Q: When do we get the ability to add in dynamic types and objects though the UI?
A: We call them Custom fields, and it is available in the official release.

Q: Where is a good place to find out how to create custom widgets for Sitefinity?
A: The SDK.

Q: Why do you create the Projects folder in the Program Files folder where users do usually not have write rights. Would be much more logical to create the projects in the “My Documents” or “App Data” folders.
A: We create the Projects directory in the directory of the project manager. This means that you can have the project manager anywhere you want.

Q: I have realized a custom membership provider for SF 3.x will it work in SF 4 too?
A: After the Q1 release. We are going to have the wrappers needed by then.

Q: If I have multiple installations from SF4 on the same domain, but different subdomain. Do I have the 5 concurrent user for all sites?
A: You will have 5 user per installation.

Q: Can you have codebehind with masterpages in sf if you reference it in in the App_Master?
A: Yes you can.

Q: Would love for Gabe to address the differences between custom fields and dynamic data a little bit more.
Gabe: I didn’t do a great job with this.  We need to spend a lot more time exploring these features.  For now, check out the SDK and our documentation.

Q: How would you do codebehind functionality with the layouts if we're not using masterpages?
A: you can use user controls which can include code-behind and be dropped on the page

Q: I already download the SDK, which custom modules implements connections between tables? jbbs module? Products catalog?
A: Jobs Intermediate module

Q: Regarding connections between tables, can you give us samples of custom modules in the SDK?
A: You can just download the SDK from our web site, the samples come with the source code.

Q: where is the coolblue templates?
A: It can be found here.

Q: Currently my company have version 3.x; where will I find the install file for me to get the project manager application installed on my local machine?
A: It's available in your Client.Net account. Just login on sitefinity.com

Q: Are the IIS configuration settings that were mentioned at the beginning of the presentation documented on a help page, or is my best bet to re-watch the presentation for some of those tips?
A: they are available in the documentation: http://www.sitefinity.com/4.0/documentation/sitefinity-documentation.aspx

Q: Hi guys - I am starting to really get on well with the SF4 - however we desperately need detailed documentation on the JS used (especially in control designers) when will this be available
A: Please check the latest blog posts, we have something on designers there. We'll make sure to cover the designers in the official documentation soon. By the way, there are a couple of examples in the SDK.

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