It’s spring break and I wasn’t going to make any blog posts this week, but I just ran across this post ( ) from Mark van Aalst concerning using jQuery in Sitecore’s content editor and I just had to comment on it...

I have tried to do this a few times in the past with little to no success. The problem is that, as Mark’s post points out - you need to call $.noConflict() first thing before any other script libraries get loaded. The key that he found in Alexey Rusakov’s FiedTypes module source code (available at by the way) was exactly how to do that... You can insert a custom processor into the renderContentEditor pipeline to output the jQuery script first thing. And the truly brilliant part - Alexey is ensuring it is the very first processor in the pipeline by using the new auto-include config file feature in Sitecore 6! (if you haven’t seen that feature before either, check out on SDN and be amazed)

Mark’s post didn’t 100% put the pieces together for me, so I’ll spell it out here:

Step 1) Create a pipeline processor class to add jQuery to the page’s <head>. Mark’s post has a great example, so I won’t repeat it here.

Step 2) Create a new .config file in /App_Config/Include. The contents just need to look something like this:

<configuration xmlns:x=““>
        <processor x:before=“*[1]” type=“Your.Type,Your.Assembly” />

The magic bit is the before=“*[1]”. This is explained in the SDN link above, but in case you can’t get to that - you can specify any XPath query (relative to the attribute’s node’s parent). *[1] represents the first child, so in this instance we are asking Sitecore to insert our new processor before the existing first child of the <renderContentEditor> element. This ensures it runs first before any other processor has a chance to inject a script into the content editor page.

In the past when trying to get fancy with a custom field type, I’ve had to fall back on using prototype and give up fancy stuff like scriptaculous or jquery while working in the content editor. No more! With this technique, you can always apply jQuery’s $.noConflict() early on and not worry about some other library calling the wrong $() implementation and causing weird errors. Thank you, Mark! And thank you Alexey for sharing your source!

For the last few weeks, I have been working on a project to customize Able Commerce 7.0.4. When I started on this project, I had never seen Able before and certainly had no idea about the right way to go about doing some of these customizations. Over the course of the project, I’ve figured out a few “best practices” and I figured I’d share them with my blog readers. If you’re reading this and have worked with Able before, feel free to share any other thoughts you may have or correct me if there’s an even better way. :)

The first step in customization is to create a new site theme to contain your work. Note - this is important even if you don’t plan to customize the colors, graphics, and layout of the site. To create a new theme, log in as an admin and navigate to the “Themes File Manager” page on the “Website” menu.


(click for larger image)

In the lower-left corner of this screen is a box to create a new theme by copying an existing one. For this discussion, I have copied the YellowJacket theme and created a new one called “MyTheme”.


This theme will act as a sort of “container” for your customizations and allow you or your end users to easily activate and deactivate them through the Able UI.

Next, you’ll need to copy a clean Scriptlets folder into your theme (I don’t know why copying an existing theme doesn’t just do this for you... *shrug*). In a standard Able Commerce 7.0.4 install, the Scriptlets folder is located in the App_Data folder under the root of the site. Copy it into the root of your theme’s folder (in my case, I copied /App_Data/Scriptlets to /App_Themes/MyTheme/Scriptlets). If you look inside this folder, you’ll see a Default folder (containing all of the default scriptlets that come with Able) and a Custom folder (containing a structure of empty folders). If we copy a scriptlet inside of the Custom folder, Able will automatically use it in place of the default one. In fact, this is done automatically for you when you customize a scriptlet in Able’s admin interface. But I’ll get to that in a bit.

Now - to actually customize something... Here’s something simple - by default, the Contact Us page just displays some contact information. I’ll add a form to allow the user to submit feedback through the website.

First, I created a new ASP.NET user control - ContactForm.ascx and put it in the /ConLib/Custom folder. This spot seems to exist specifically for custom controls like this. Previously, I have copied controls that come with Able (from the parent ConLib folder) here to make minor changes to them as well.

My ContactForm.ascx is very simple - a few text boxes, a few labels, and a submit button plus code to send an e-mail to an address that is specified via a property. You would probably want to fancy it up a bit with some validation controls, error handling, etc. If you want to see the code I’ve created though, you can download it here: The Able Commerce magic comes from this comment at the top of the .ascx:




Displays a simple “contact us” or feedback form on the site that allows the user to type a message

and have it submitted to the site’s owner via e-mail.


<param name=“EmailTo” default=“”>

Specifies the e-mail address you want the contents of the form submitted to.




This is the help text that will be displayed inside Able Commerce for this control. To see it, log in to the Able admin and choose the “ConLib Reference” option from the “Help” menu. In the “Select Control” drop-down, scroll to the bottom and select Custom\ContactForm and the help for the control will be displayed. Note, this also includes a “Usage” that looks like this:

[[ConLib:Custom\ContactForm EmailTo=“”]]

This is how the new control is placed onto a scriptlet - which happens to be the last step I need to do to make the contact form appear on the site. In the Able admin, choose the “Content and Layout” option from the “Website” menu. In the “Show Scriptlets From Theme” drop-down, choose the theme being customized (in my case, “MyTheme”). Able will present a list of all scriptlets for that theme. Scrolling down a bit, I see the “Contact Us” scriptlet. To the right of each scriptlet there is an “Edit” button (the icon looks like a notebook with a pencil). Clicking this brings up the screen used to customize a scriptlet:


(click to enlarge)

If you look at this screenshot, I have basically just copy/pasted the example usage from the help to the bottom of the existing scriptlet content. Clicking the “Save” button takes me back to the list of scriptlets. But when I scroll down to “Contact Us”, I can now see an X in the “Custom” column - indicating that I have customized this scriptlet.

Anyhow - that’s it! When I log out of the admin interface and go to the Contact Us page on the site, I can see and use my new contact form.

The practices I’ve mentioned here (place your customizations inside a custom theme, use the Able interface to customize scriptlets, add the XML comments to your custom user controls, and placing your user controls in the ConLib\Custom folder) should make it easier to upgrade your site to new releases of Able Commerce, make it easier for you to share your customizations with other Able users, make your work easier to maintain, and make it easy to enable or disable your customizations through the Able admin interface. Have fun!

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Mark van Aalst’s EviBlog shared source module takes advantage of the new RSS feed features added to Sitecore in version 6.2, but if you haven’t set that up yet (I hadn’t!) then you may be wondering how to make it work. It’s actually quite simple!

In Content Editor, navigate in the tree to where you want your RSS feed URL to live. Add a content item using the /System/Feeds/RSS Feed data template and name it as you want it to appear in the URL. In my case, I wanted all of my site’s RSS feeds to have URLs such as so I created a folder named RSS and created an RSS Feed matching my blog name (in this example, I used “TestBlog”). Heres a screenshot:


When setting up a Sitecore 6.2 RSS feed, the “Items” field defines what items will be included in the feed. You can either use a Sitecore query ( like query:/sitecore/content/Home/TestBlog/*[@@templatekey=‘blogentry’] ) or simply provide the path to an item whose children should be included in the feed like I did above. Enter a title and description for your blog, and that’s it! EviBlog is already configured with the proper Feed device settings for Sitecore 6.2, so this should be all you have to do. Publish changes and hit your URL to see the RSS feed for your blog! My test one is at

Something that doesn’t come with EviBlog, but I wanted to add to my site was a “Subscribe via RSS” link on my blog page. To do this, I created a new XSLT Rendering called “RSS Link” and gave it a parameter to control the text that appears like this:

<xsl:param name="Link_Text">Subscribe via RSS</xsl:param>

Then I made the body of the template look like this:

<xsl:template match="*" mode="main">
<sc:link type="application/rss+xml">
<img src="/sitecore/shell/Themes/Standard/Custom/16x16/rss.png" alt="RSS Icon" border="0"/>
<xsl:value-of select="$Link_Text"/>


I want this link to appear in my blog’s sidebar, but the renderings allowed there are restricted. To allow my rendering, I opened the content editor to /sitecore/Layout/Placeholder Settings/phBlogSidebar and added the “RSS Link” rendering to the Allowed Controls.

Lastly, I opened the main blog content item in the page designer, selected the “phBlogSidebar” placeholder, and added my RSS Link rendering. I opened the properties for the rendering and set the Data Source to the RSS feed I created earlier, clicked OK, and clicked Save in the designer. The “Subscribe via RSS” link now appears in my blog’s sidebar!

The only thing left to do would be add support for auto-discovery of my RSS feed (for aggregators like Google Reader). It’s rather simple ( there is an article about it here: ), but requires inserting some HTML into your page’s <head> tag. One idea for doing this would be to re-implement the above RSS Link rendering as a sublayout instead and then add the HTML to Page.Header.Controls in the ASCX file’s Page_Load() or something. I’ll leave that as an exercise to the reader. :)

EviBlog makes good use of Sitecore 6.2’s new RSS feeds feature and therefore it is very easy to add RSS to your blog. If you’d like more information about the new RSS feed functionality in Sitecore, take a look at the Presentation Component Cookbook on SDN or feel free to contact me if you need any help!

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Most of my posts here are directed towards developers writing code or building solutions with tools like Visual Studio, Sitecore, or Silverlight. This particular post talks to more of a System Administrator person... I’ve found that sometimes you have to know how to configure the server yourself (or at least be willing to figure it out), and that was the case for me this time. But while I had to figure it out myself, I’m going to save the next person the trouble by documenting my work here. :)

Windows Media Services 2008 is actually an optional component for Windows Server 2008, but I did my install using the MSU (Microsoft Stand-alone Update) files from here I downloaded the three 32-bit files (my Win2k8 Server is 32-bit) and installed them in the order Core, then Admin, and then Server. I don’t know if installation order matters - that’s just what I used. :)

Installing these updates just makes the roles available to your server, but it doesn’t make them active. To do that, you will need to open Server Manager, go to Roles, and click Add Roles. Find the Streaming Media Services role and select it for installation. When prompted for the role services, I selected the Windows Media Server and Web-based Administration options. When prompted for the transfer protocols, RTSP was pre-selected and HTTP was grayed out. After some investigation, I learned that HTTP will be grayed out if you already have IIS running on port 80 on this server (which I do) - but it’s possible to enable HTTP on an alternate port after everything else is set up, so I allowed installation of the role to finish.

At this point, I discovered a new Windows Media Services icon in my Administrative Tools control panel. If you open this, an MMC console will open with Windows Media Services at the root of the tree, but there are no servers under it! You can simply right-click on this, select “Add Server”, and type the name or IP address of your server.


After adding the server, you can expand it and you’ll see a node labelled “Publishing Points”. After the initial install, there will be two publishing points defined - one “on demand” and one “broadcast”. These do exactly what they sound like - the on-demand publishing point serves up videos as they are requested and the broadcast publishing point broadcasts videos that users can tune into (like tuning into a television broadcast). For the purposes of my project, an on-demand publishing point will do the trick. I want to serve individual videos on the website as users request them - on demand.

On-demand publishing points serve video from a specific source... This source can be many things including a playlist or even another media server. But for my needs, a directory on the filesystem serves nicely. The default on-demand publishing point created when you install Media Services is a directory - C:\WMPub\WMRoot. You can see this by clicking on the <Default> publishing point and then selecting the Source tab on the right (as pictured below).


Note that by default, this on-demand publishing point is not enabled. Clicking on the icon in the lower left of the right pane will turn it on. At this point, you can actually try streaming one of the sample files. I opened Windows Media Player on one of my other computers, and hit CTRL+U (for “Open URL”). In the dialog that popped up, I entered the path to one of the sample files listed in the screenshot above (I chose pinball.wmv).


This is an RTSP URL (remember I said earlier RTSP was enabled, but HTTP was not). “server1” is my server and pinball.wmv is the file I chose to stream. Clicking OK on the dialog caused Media Player to immediately start playing the video - IT WORKS! I can now throw any WMV videos I want to make available for streaming into the C:\WMPub\WMRoot and my server will stream them on a URL like that one.

Let me quickly go through the process of setting up HTTP. This is important because Silverlight (well, Minoplayer at the very least) does not seem to support RTSP. If you go back to Server Manager and drill down into Roles, Streaming Media Services, Windows Media Service, and click on your server. Then on the right, click on the Properties tab, select the “Control Protocol” category, and find the HTTP Protocol Plug-in (see screenshot below).


Right-click on the HTTP Server Control Protocol and select Properties to bring up this screen:


I had to “Use other port” and choose something other than port 80 since IIS is already using it (note - I didn’t use 81 either because in my configuration, IIS is also using that port). Click OK, and then right-click on HTTP again and select “Enabled” to enable it.

Now you can go back to Windows Media Player, hit CTRL+U again, and this time enter an HTTP URL (such as http://server1:82/pinball.wmv - note the port number), and it should play just like the RTSP stream did before.

One last thing I’d like to mention before I wrap up this post. Although my server was streaming to local clients just fine, when I opened the HTTP port on my firewall and forwarded it to my server - I couldn’t get any clients to work! A lot of digging uncovered this hotfix to Windows Media Services: After installing that hotfix and rebooting my server, everything worked perfectly!

I can’t claim to be an expert on setting up Windows Media Services, but following the steps above I was able to get a server set up to stream WMV videos to Windows Media Player and to Minoplayer over the Internet. The next steps were wrapping up MinoPlayer in an ASP.NET custom control, building a Sitecore sublayout to wrap that, and building some infrastructure in Sitecore to allow definition of publishing points, describing videos hosted on those publishing points, and possibly even a custom field type in Sitecore to allow uploading of new videos to the directory from the CMS. I’ll follow up this post in the next few days, but if you have questions in the meantime - feel free to contact me!

For quite a while now, I’ve been wanting a simple video streaming solution that I could recommend to clients for whom progressive video downloads won’t cut it and who don’t want to pay to use a CDN like Edgecast or UVault or Limelight. Clients who don’t need to serve a ton of video on their site, and would be able to host it themselves if it were easy and integrated with their WebCMS.

I’ve started working on just such a solution. Right now, I’m using Windows Media Services 2008 (an optional component of Windows 2008 Server - Standard and Enterprise editions) to host and stream the videos, Sitecore to manage uploading and publishing of new videos and related content, and a Silverlight video player I found called Minoplayer. This requires that videos be encoded to WMV format, but I’m already thinking about ways to support Flash video for people who don’t want to use Silverlight (lighttpd’s mod_flv_streaming module looks promising). And of course, HTML5’s <video> element looks interesting too (although codec support problems may make it more difficult to implement).

You can see an early example of the end result of my work here -

(be kind to my server - I’m asking a lot from it running Sitecore, SQL Server, Media Services, and a bunch of other stuff on crappy old hardware)

I will post details of my Media Services installation and configuration experience, some information about the Sitecore solution, etc in the next few days.

So I've been investigating .NET mocking frameworks to use for unit testing on one of my current projects... A couple of my needs in particular present a special challenge, and I'm looking for any input from experienced mockers out there on what libraries or tools might be available to address my needs.

Specifically, I am working with a third-party API that doesn't use interfaces. In a lot of cases I am deriving from their classes to add additional functionality, but then calling base-class methods in my new implementation. I need to be able to mock the base class for unit testing. The other big thing is that a lot of their API is static methods, so I can't pass a mock object into my implementation. I need something to intercept the static method call and send it to a mock object instead.

I've been reading about Moq, Rhino Mocks, and Typemock. Typemock seems most likely to handle everything I need, but it's rather expensive and I can't seem to find a trial version or anything that will let me prove it will do what I need. So I'm asking the Internet for suggestions! Anyone?

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So I keep hearing about this EviBlog module for Sitecore and how it blows away the old blogs module and how I just have to check it out. So, I finally found some time over the weekend to do a fresh Sitecore 6.2 install, downloaded and installed EviBlog (you can get it here by the way), and spent a few minutes playing with it.

Here's the site I created (dunno how long this will be up - if you're really interested in EviBlog, feel free to contact me):

As you can see, I haven't done much with it yet, but I can say that Inline page editing works as advertised and the basic structure seems to be there to handle most blog needs. If the Live Writer integration and RSS feeds work as well, I can see myself using this on future projects for sure.

I linked these in the test blog post above, but if you are interested in EviBlog - I definitely think they're worth watching, so I'll link them again here:

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Today was like the third time I had to scour Google, SDN, and the Sitecore forums looking for a solution to this problem. So I'm going to post the solution here and hopefully next time I will search my own blog first... Let's say you need to do a Sitecore query such as this:

/sitecore/content/Home/News Section/*

Note the space in "News Section". This causes an error, but there is a solution! Surround the bit that has spaces with pound symbols. Like this:

/sitecore/content/Home/#News Section#/*

This poses the question - how do you escape the # symbol itself if you need to use it? I haven't been able to find that answer, but if you see it - let me know!
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I've just started working with the new Sitecore 6 Page Editor. Yesterday, I noticed something that really bothered me - a content editor user (one who I had placed in the Sitecore Client Authoring role) seemed to have access to the full "Insert From Template" functionality. As I had been very careful to only assign templates where it made sense for certain templates to exist, I was a bit upset that this loophole was available to my content editor. See screenshot below.

In previous versions of Sitecore, I believe the "Insert From Template" functionality was limited to Admin users? Anyway, I needed to remove this option so my content editor wouldn't accidentally add a nonsensical content item in the wrong place. A few searches of the SDN forums later, I found this post with a great response from Ivan Sharamok. The first suggestion was to change the roles the user is in. In this case, I really need this user to be in the Sitecore Client Authoring role. That leaves me with the second option - editing the security for that particular link in the ribbon.

Here's a screenshot of where that is done:

Note, this is done in the Core database, not in Master.

I'm still learning a lot about Sitecore 6, and I'm particularly curious why the checkboxes appear strangely stacked in the security editor for that item. But regardless, this did what I needed - it removed the Insert From Template option from the Page Editor for this user. He is now properly limited to adding only those templates which I have allowed.

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Alright, it's out.  I've downloaded it, but not installed yet.  I've only just begun reading about the changes and whoah! - way more than I expected!

No more masters?  Three kinds of templates?  Field types renamed?  My head is spinning.  I can't wait to play with this stuff and I'll be sure to share my experiences here on the blog.

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We have a piece of content on this site we're working on that comes from an outside system instead of Sitecore.  The client has requested that when they are previewing the site, this particular piece of content also be shown as a preview.  Luckily, the outside system allows us to request the content by date.  But I was unsure of how to find out if the site was in preview mode or if it was, what date was being previewed.

Unsure no more!  Jens on the SDN foum came through with this extremely simple solution...  Sitecore.Configuration.State.Previewing (boolean) and Sitecore.Configuration.State.PreviewDate (DateTime).  They do exactly what you'd expect.

No idea how I would have ever found those if it weren't for the SDN forum, though.  Thanks, Jens!

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Now, I want to do something a bit more dynamic.  How about we call a web service, get some dynamic data back, and render something based on that data?  In this post, I will build a simple example in order to clearly illustrate the concepts.  But at the end, I will post an example of something a bit more useful to show what can be done!

First off, let's define a simple web service.  I used VS2008's New Item wizard and selected "Web Service" from the dialog.  Then, I replaced HelloWorld() with my own GetData() method.  Here's what the code behind for MyService.asmx looks like:

[WebService(Namespace = "")]

[WebServiceBinding(ConformsTo = WsiProfiles.BasicProfile1_1)]


// To allow this Web Service to be called from script, using ASP.NET AJAX, uncomment the following line.


public class MyService : System.Web.Services.WebService




    public string[] GetData()


        string[] data = new[] { "first data", "second data", "third data" };

        return data;



Note I also have uncommented the ScriptService attribute on my class and added a ScriptMethod attribute to my method.  Calling web services from Javascript is a whole lot easier using ASP.NET AJAX.  You'll need to have the ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 Extensions installed for this to work, but it's worth it.  Oh, I'm also using the new array initialization syntax from C# 3.0 in case you've never seen it before.  A real world application would probably query a database or something.

In order to call the web service from Javascript, ASP.NET AJAX requires us to place a ScriptManager on the page with a ServiceReference pointing to the .asmx.  Here's what mine looks like:

<asp:ScriptManager ID="ScriptManager1" runat="server">


        <asp:ServiceReference Path="~/MyService.asmx" />



Thankfully, VS2008's web application project template already set up my web.config to use ASP.NET AJAX.  If you are not using VS2008, you may need to follow the directions at to ensure your web.config is set up properly.

At this point, I can call my web service from Javascript and react to whatever data comes back.  The question is - what should it do?  For this post, I think I'll just put up a Silverlight TextBlock and rotate through the web service data when the user clicks on the text.  Here's the XAML:

<Canvas xmlns="" xmlns:x="">


    <TextBlock x:Name="MyTextBlock" FontSize="10" FontFamily="Arial" Canvas.Top="10" Canvas.Left="10" Loaded="MyTextBlockLoaded" MouseLeftButtonDown="MyTextBlockClick" />



First, I will retrieve the data from the web service once the text block has loaded by using the Loaded event.  Let me show you the Javascript and then I will explain it...

var index;

var data;


function MyTextBlockLoaded( sender, args )


    MyService.GetData( GetDataSuccess, GetDataFailed );



function GetDataSuccess( result )


    data = result;

    index = 0;




function GetDataFailed()


    alert( 'Call to MyService.GetData() failed!' );



function UpdateTextBlock()


    var textblock = document.getElementById( '<%= Silverlight1.ControlId %>' ).content.findName( 'MyTextBlock' );

    textblock.Text = data[index];


First I declare a variable to hold the current index into the data array and a variable to hold the data itself.  The implementation of the MyTextBlockLoaded() event handler is calling the web service using the proxy built by ASP.NET AJAX.  Note that because this is an asynchronous call, you have to pass in event handlers for both success and failure - that is where my GetDataSuccess() and GetDataFailed() functions come from.  On success, I store the data, set the initial index to 0, and call the function to set the text in the TextBlock.  Note I'm using document.getElementById() to find the Silverlight viewer.  I'm using some inline server-side script to get the Id of the Silverlight viewer from my control (covered in a previous post) to pass to getElementById().  The viewer object has a content property upon which I can call findName() (also covered in a previous blog post) to get a reference to the TextBlock.

The last thing to do is handle the MouseLeftButtonDown event on the TextBlock so that the text changes when the user clicks on it.  Here's that Javascript function:

function MyTextBlockClick( sender, args )


    if ( index >= data.length-1 )


        index = 0;




        index = index + 1;





Here, I increment the index and when the index reaches the end of the list, I reset it to 0 to go back to the beginning.  Then I call UpdateTextBlock() to display the new text.

You can see this example in action at

At the beginning of this post, I promised to show a more useful example.  How about a Silverlight app that displays headlines from an RSS feed and lets you click through to the articles?  If you've been reading my Silverlight posts, there shouldn't be anything too new going on here.  I have just combined several of the concepts I've been learning and blogging about into a single Silverlight app.  You can see it running here: and the code for both the simple example and the RSS headline viewer are attached to this post.  If you're a .NET head, you might want to look at the source for the web service where I used LINQ to XML to make parsing the RSS feed easy as cake.  Oh, and I want to point out the clipping I had to add to the TextBlock.  Support for MaxHeight and MaxWidth may be coming in Silverlight 2.0, but clipping is how it's done for now...

Putting a Silverlight viewer on a web page is a lot of work.  You have to import the Silverlight.js file (and make sure it's deployed to the web server), create a div to contain the viewer, and write some Javascript code to call Silverlight.createObject().  To me, this is just begging for an ASP.NET control - so I whipped up one of my own.

So what do I want my control to do for me?  Let's start at the top with the Silverlight.js file.  I want this to be an embedded resource so that I don't always have to remember to copy it in to a new project.  If you're not familiar with this technique, it's been around since .NET 2.0 - keep up! :)  You just throw the Silverlight.js file into your project and set it's build action to "Embedded Resource".  Here's a screenshot:


Add it to your project's AssemblyInfo.cs like this:

// Embeded Resources

[assembly: System.Web.UI.WebResource("knw.Silverlight.Silverlight.js", "application/x-javascript")]

Then my control's code tells the page where to find it like this:

Page.ClientScript.RegisterClientScriptInclude("Silverlight.js", Page.ClientScript.GetWebResourceUrl(this.GetType(), "knw.Silverlight.Silverlight.js"));

Here is a link to an article on Code Project that explains the technique in a bit more detail.

Next, I want my control to render the container div for the Silverlight viewer.  This is pretty straightforward - I just override Render() and use the HtmlTextWriter that's passed in.  Here's what it looks like:

protected override void Render(HtmlTextWriter writer)




    writer.AddAttribute("id", ID + "Div");




Note I'm just concatenating "Div" onto the existing ID of my control when building the div's id, but that should make it unique.

The only thing that's left is the call to Silverlight.createObject().  There are a few variables in this call that I thought could be exposed as properties of my control.  Specifically, the path to the Xaml document, the height and width of the viewer, and the background color.  I'm using C# 3.0, so I took advantage of another language feature - automatic properties.  Here's what that code looks like:

public string Xaml { get; set; }

public int Height { get; set; }

public int Width { get; set; }

public Color BackgroundColor { get; set; }

Lastly, I need to build the actual javascript to create the Silverlight viewer and register it with the page to run as a startup script.  Like this:

string createObjectScript = string.Format("<script>Silverlight.createObject( \"{0}\", document.getElementById( \"{1}Div\" ), \"{2}Ctrl\", {{ width:'{3}', height:'{4}', inplaceInstallPrompt:false,background:'{5}', isWindowless:'false', framerate:'24', version:'1.0' }},{{ onError:null,onLoad:null }},null );</script>", Xaml, ID, ID, Width, Height, ColorTranslator.ToHtml(BackgroundColor) );


Page.ClientScript.RegisterStartupScript( this.GetType(), ID + "Create", createObjectScript );

At first glance, that code looks pretty confusing.  All it's actually doing is using string.Format() to build the call to Silverlight.createObject().  {0} is the path to the Xaml, {1} is the ID of the control + "Div" (the id of container div), {2} is the ID of the control + "Ctrl" (a unique id for the viewer itself), {3} is the width, {4} is the height, and {5} is the background color (converted from a System.Drawing.Color using the System.Drawing.ColorTranslator class).  Oh yeah, and you have to escape curly braces when using string.Format() by doubling them.

Ok, that was a lot of work - what has it bought me?  Well, now when I want to use Silverlight on an .aspx page, all I have to do is add a reference to my DLL, register it at the top of the .aspx page, and put the control on the .aspx page somewhere.  Which looks like this:

<knw:Silverlight id="Silverlight1" runat="server" Xaml="MySilverlight.xaml" BackgroundColor="Gray" Height="200" Width="200" />

I will attach the code for both the control and an example of using it to this post.  I'll be using this control in future Silverlight posts here - plus, I do intend to extend it to do more in the future (as I learn more about Silverlight).  So, I'll try to post updates here from time to time.  I hope it's useful to someone! :)

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Seems I've fallen way behind on my Silverlight blogging as of late.  A few weeks ago, I managed to get some simple animation working.  So, I guess I should blog about it.

Animation is done by transforming your object.  Each graphic element has a RenderTransform property to which you can assign a Transform object to modify your element in some way.  The different types of Transform objects include RotateTransform, SkewTransform, ScaleTransform, and TranslateTransform.  Let's look at an example.

<Ellipse MouseLeftButtonDown="EllipseClick" Height="50" Width="100" Canvas.Top="50" Canvas.Left="50" Fill="Black">


        <RotateTransform x:Name="EllipseXForm" Angle="90" />



This example is pretty boring - it just renders a 50 pixel high and 100 pixel wide ellipse, rotated 90 degrees (so that it instead appears 100 pixels high and 50 pixels wide).  However, it illustrates the effect that a RotateTransform will have on an object.  Also note that I have named the transform (the x:Name attribute).  The purpose of that will soon become apparent.

Animations are defined within objects called Storyboards.  Basically, a Storyboard defines a timeline of changes that should occur to properties of objects.  For my example, I want to change the Angle property of the RotateTransform object over time (so that the Ellipse rotates slowly as we watch).  Here is the Storyboard I have defined:


    <Storyboard x:Name="EllipseStoryboard">

        <DoubleAnimation Storyboard.TargetName="EllipseXForm" Storyboard.TargetProperty="Angle" To="0" Duration="00:00:05" />



For this example, I have used a DoubleAnimation.  This is because the property I want to change ("Angle") is of type double.  There are many other animation objects available such as DecimalAnimation, Int32Animation, and ColorAnimation.  The Storyboard.Targetname attribute tells the animation which object it is changing (here's where I use the name I gave my transform earlier) and Storyboard.TargetProperty indicates what property will be changed.  The To attribute is the value the animation should end with and the Duration should be self-explanatory.  Note again, I have named my Storyboard so that I can reference it later.  Oh yeah, and the Storyboard is a resource, so it's defined inside the <Canvas.Resources /> element.

I'm going to need something to trigger the animation to begin.  I've chosen to do it using a mouse click on the ellipse.  So, I will need to add a MouseLeftButtonDown handler to the Ellipse.  Now it looks like this:

<Ellipse MouseLeftButtonDown="EllipseClick" Height="50" Width="100" Canvas.Top="50" Canvas.Left="50" Fill="Black">...

And I need an EllipseClick() function defined in Javascript, so here's what I came up with:

<script type="text/javascript">

    function EllipseClick( sender, args )





I placed this directly in my .aspx file for this example.  I don't think I've blogged about findName() before, but Silverlight elements define this method and it allows you to get a reference to any other Silverlight element by name.  Here, I am using it to get the "EllipseStoryboard" Storyboard and executing it's Begin() method.

You can see this example in action at

It's not quite what I wanted, though.  The rotation is happening around the top left corner of the ellipse instead of the center.  Luckily, this was easy to fix - the RotateTransform has CenterX and CenterY properties that allow you to define the point around which the object rotates.  Knowing that the ellipse is 100 wide and 50 tall, this is what I changed the transform to look like:

<RotateTransform x:Name="EllipseXForm" Angle="90" CenterX="50" CenterY="25" />

You can see the finished example at

I've also attached a ZIP with the files needed for these examples in case you want to play with them yourself.

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It seems several people still haven't heard about Crestone, so thought I'd make a quick mention of it here...  The new Sitecore release (due out mid-year, hopefully) is code-named Crestone.  The beta program is just spinning up, but a few details have leaked out already.  64-bit support is one of the big features.  Also, in-line editing in web preview mode (I've seen this in other CMS's before and it's a huge selling point with customers), a new page layout tool, and a whole new security engine.

Yes, I'm going to apply for the beta program.  If I'm accepted, I won't be able to blog about it for awhile though, unfortunately.  As soon as I have more information to share though, I will!

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