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Sitefinity SDK 4.1 delivers a brand new Samples Browser and much more

by Hristo Borisov

The Sitefinity team has been busy with preparing a new Software Development Kit that ease the process of running and deploying Sitefinity sample projects to your local environment. I am glad to announce that the new SDK release features a significant set of improvements and new developer tools that will help you make most of your custom Sitefinity solution. Below is quick summary of the features included in this release.

Separate download

We have separated the Sitefinity installation from the SDK which gives us flexibility to release more frequent versions of the SDK against the latest official releases of Sitefinity if needed. The new distribution has as a prerequisite the official installation of Sitefinity 4.1.

New Samples Browser

Samples Browser

The backbone of the SDK is a new Samples Browser that is a great learning resource, and will significantly decrease the learning curve of custom development with Sitefinity. With its first version you can easily run and deploy samples without the need to open them in Visual Studio, or manually modify their connection strings. This is especially handy when you would like to build on top of our Education and Non-Profit starter kits now delivered with the SDK itself. The new Samples Browser delivers the following functionality:

  • Automated extraction of code samples to a specific folder
  • Ability to select a database server that will host your sample database
  • Automated hosting of the samples in ASP.NET Development Server
  • Ability to reset your sample’s source code and database
  • RSS readers exposing Sitefinity latest release notes, featured videos and resources
  • Community tab exposing top Sitefinity blogs
  • Documentation tab allowing you to access our developers oriented documentation
  • Resources tab allowing you to access other important community resources such as our Forums, Support system and Telerik Issue Tracker
  • All samples are compatible with SQL Server 2005 or above

Non-profit and Education starter kits are now part of the SDK

Both Non-Profit and Education starter kits are included in the product and can be easily run similar to all other samples. You will no longer need to manually tune the connection string of your Starter Kit in order to make it run against your own instance of SQL Server or build the solutions in Visual Studio.

Includes OpenAccess ORM

With the recent upgrade of OpenAccess ORM in Sitefinity, Sitefinity 4.1 is in sync with the latest bits of OpenAccess ORM. The current release of the SDK features the latest developer installation of OpenAccess ORM Q1 2011 SP1. Similar to the other tools that are include in the product – RadControls for Silverlight Q1 2011 and RadControls for ASP.NET Ajax Q1 2011, OpenAccess can be used for extending and enhancing your custom Sitefinity solutions only.

Visual Studio Project Wizard for building a module

Visual Studio Project Wizard

Also debuting is a new Visual Studio Project Wizard that will guide you when creating a new Sitefinity content-based module. The first version allows you to choose between backend pages and/or front-end widgets. The wizard then generates the necessary code for you. The module is still in Beta and we look forward to enriching the flexibility of this module with our next major release.

Improved Developers Guide

The release also delivers the latest product documentation with significant enhancements of our how-to articles all based on your feedback.

  • How to create a custom content-based module
  • How to create a DatePicker control
  • How to create a customizable Silverlight-based control
  • Referencing Sitefinity SDK (in QuickStart)
  • Working with control designers

Transparent way of building a sample

Last but not least is a new transparent way of setting up the samples. Each sample is created on the fly and doesn’t ship with an existing database. The first time a sample is run, the Global.asax file takes care of creating a new Sitefinity user, registering the necessary modules in Sitefinity, registering the necessary widgets in the toolbox, creating a home page for your sample and registering a special theme applied to the home page. We have separated this logic in a special SampleUtilities.cs that you can play with. Note that the very first run of the sample might take around a minute as its initializing a new Sitefinity instance that will host your sample.

Known issues

Below are a few known issues that we look forward to resolving with our next release.

  • Sometimes the browser opens before the ASP.NET Development server starts in this case you will have to refresh the page in the browser to continue.
  • The first time run of the some samples might cause "Cannot find template ~/SF/..." error. Just close the ASP.NET Development Server and run the sample again.

Other great stuff for Sitefinity designers and developers

Don’t miss the chance to participate in our Sitefinity Designers Challenge and win 500$ as Amazon gifts or Sitefinity Standard Edition with one year full subscription worth 1999$. To learn more visit our Marketplace Challenge.

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Leave a comment
  1. Augus May 02, 2011
    my internet is behind proxy that need authentication. how can i set the proxy info so the SDK browser can connect to internet?

    and also i got error! message box when clicking Run Sample.It say "Value cannot be null. Parameter name: source". any hints why this is happen?

    Thank you.
  2. JH May 02, 2011
    It happened to me too on windows server 2008 when clicked on "Run Sample";  but it was fine if I did the same on my other XP machine.

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