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Sitefinity 4 RC: Widget Template Editor

by Josh Morales

We continue our tour through the new features in Sitefinity 4 RC with a look at the Widget Template Editor.

If you haven't already done so, take a moment to download the RC and follow along.


Once again, Gabe Sumner has compiled a video on using the Widget Template Editor, so be sure to take a look for a visual walkthrough.


Widget Templates

In Sitefinity, each Content Module (such as blogs, news, etc.) has a corresponding widget control used to display both the item list (List View), as well as the individual item details (Details View).

These views are managed using Widget Templates which define the HTML markup for laying out the modules content. Having these templates allow you to define multiple layouts for module content.

For example, you can define a template to show only item Titles, linking to a separate details page. Alternatively you can configure a template to show the full content within the content list. These editable templates are yet another way that Sitefinity helps you to maintain complete control over your content.

Assigning Templates

Templates are assigned at the Widget Level in the Page Editor. This allows you to assign a different template for each widget instance, such as on the home page or sidebar.

Editing a widget properties (such as a News Widget) will bring up a dialog to modify properties. The two sections for "List Settings" and "Single Item Settings" allow you to choose an existing template for each view.

Sitefinity-4-RC-Widget-Template-Editor-List-Settings Sitefinity-4-RC-Widget-Template-Editor-Single-Item-Settings

Sitefinity comes with a collection of predefined widget templates, available in the Widget Templates section of the Sitefinity Administration under the Design section.


Modifying Templates

Templates can be modified from either the template list page or when assigning an individual template by clicking Edit. This will bring the Template Editor.


As an example, I've assigned a titles-only template to the News List View. I'm going to modify this to include the full news content in the list.


Within the Template Editor is a list of fields that can be inserted into the markup for the template. Clicking an item will bring up the markup for that field which you can either copy and paste into the template or click "Insert" to automatically add the content. In this case, I’m inserting the Content field so that the full news content is displayed in the list view.

Sitefinity-4-RC-Widget-Template-Editor-Edit-Template Sitefinity-4-RC-Widget-Template-Editor-Add-Field

The Content field is now added to the template, and saving changes now reveals the full content within the News list.

Sitefinity-4-RC-Widget-Template-Editor-Modified-Template Sitefinity-4-RC-Widget-Template-Editor-Modified-News-Template

Creating and Categorizing Templates

Templates can be created in the Sitefinity Administration. When creating (or editing) a template, you are given the opportunity to assign this template to a specific view. This enables it as a selectable template for that view.

For example, you can assign a new template to show up in the list of templates for the News List View.


External Templates

While the Widget Template Editor is certainly a helpful and powerful tool, there are many reasons why you might want to use external, file-based templates, which is how templates are currently mapped in Sitefinity 3.7.

For example, having file-based templates allows you to check these files into source control, so they can be versioned and archived. Sitefinity 4 maintains this compatibility by allowing you to map external templates in addition to using the built in editor.

The templates are installed in a Resources folder along with the full Sitefinity installation, usually at the location \Program Files\Telerik\Sitefinity 4.0\Resources. Inside is a zip file containing all of the basic widget templates for the Content modules.


Gabe Sumner produced a video for the Beta 2 release detailing how to map an external template in Sitefinity 4. The process is identical for the Sitefinity RC, so for a complete walkthrough, take a look at this video.

Watch the Full-sized Video at Telerik TV

Wrap Up

The Widget Template Editor is another example of Sitefinity bringing content management fully into the Administration Dashboard, giving you even more control over your layout. In addition, the previous method of file-based templates is preserved, ensuring that you always have the option to choose what works best for you.

Be sure to review the additional documentation on Sitefinity 4 Widgets including a breakdown of configuring the individual Content Module Widgets.

Be sure to download the Sitefinity 4 RC and as always, share your feedback in our Sitefinity forums..

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