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Using your own Master Page and providing blog-like calendar navigation

by Ivan Osmak

This blog post will explain the basic procedure of creating your own Master Page for Sitefinity and, just to make it a bit less dull, we’ll make navigation in a blog-like calendar fashion. Personally, I don’t think this is a perfect way for providing navigation (heck, I don’t think it’s even good, let alone perfect), but every blog has it… so we’ll make one too :).

Let’s first take a look at the final result :

Blog-like calendar navigation

Step 1 : Creating a Master Page

First thing we need to do is to create a Master page. I won’t get into too many details here, because there are tons of resources on using Master Pages, but I’ll point out some pecularities that you need to take into account when creating a Master Page for Sitefinity. Note : Make sure you put the code in separate file when creating a Master Page. So, let’s take a look at the Master Page file source code first :

OPEN CODE IN NEW WINDOW

The first important thing is that you need to replace the standard form tag with the CmsForm tag. You’ll also need to register the Telerik.Cms.Web namespace. Second thing, that you need to pay attention to, is mandatory div element that wraps everything you plan to put on your master page. This div needs to have it’s class attribute set to “cmsWrapper”.

Everything else is pretty straightforward.

Step 2 : Creating the calendar navigation controls

We’ll put our calendar navigation inside of the left sidebar div. As you can see, all you need to do is create a rad Calendar control and asp:panel control that will hold the links dynamically created based on which date user selected. Few more notes regarding the rad Calendar : make sure you disable multi select property, provide the name of the method that will handle selection changed and turn on autopostback property.

Step 3 : Creating code file for the master page

In this step we need to provide our navigation system with two functionalities. First we need to find all the dates on our current calendar view on which one or more posts have been created and replace the template for this cell with our custom template. Our template will look like a blue colored panel with the day and number of posts that were made on that day. See the image below.

Calendar custom templates

Second thing we need to take care of is the list of posts’ links. This list is dynamically created based on which date user selected. Take a look at the screenshot below to get a better idea.

Links list

Now that we know what we want to do, take a look at the code file that will take care of it.

OPEN CODE IN NEW WINDOW

Ahh.. where to start from? From the beginning, I guess.

First class in this file is the partial class for the Master Page. In the Page_Load method first thing we do is to determine the first and last date displayed currently on the calendar. Then we loop through those days and see if any of the pages have been created on any of these dates. In case we find a post that has been created on one of these days we add it to the numberOfPosts variable and keep going.

Then you can see that in case there are actually some posts written on that particular date we create a new instance of the PostsCell class, which is going to replace the standard calendar day cell. The PostsCell class inherits from a Control class and all we do there is add a panel and a label with modified display for the particular date (now it’s not just a date, but date with number of posts).

Back to our Page_Load method. The very last thing we do in this method is to create a new instance of a CalendarCellContentTemplate class and pass it the calendar instance, the date for which we want to create special day and instance of our PostsCell control. If you are unsure about this, you can find out more about it on telerik calendar reference (www.telerik.com) .

So we are only left with the calNavigation_SelectionChanged method. This method, oddly enough, handles the selection changed event of rad Calendar. As you can see from the code, we are doing something similar as in the Page_Load method. We loop through the pages and for all the pages that were created on the currently selected date we add a link to the pnlLinks control.

Pheww… I think that covers it pretty much.

Step 4 : Uploading the Master Page

This is simple. All you need to do is to go to Sitefinity and upload the newly created Master Page. In addition to this you could create new theme to go along with your Master Page, as I had, but that topic is beyond of the scope of this post. We’ll cover themes in one of the upcoming posts in this category.

Now apply the template created from the uploaded Master Page to any pages you wish and your done.

This was quite simple and straightforward, though I doubt that you will ever use it :). Nevertheless I think it was a nice excercise.

2 comments

Leave a comment
  1. Amit Kumar Jul 21, 2009
    How to use Post Method masterpage.master in Asp.net
  2. Rabi Oct 23, 2009
    How do I use the same scenario with calendar events?

    Leave a comment