SDL Tridion MVP 2017 Retreat Projects

"The SDL Tridion MVP Award program is a program developed to thank and recognize all the great professionals that freely share their knowledge, real world experience and objective feedback to help others implement and enhance our technology. An MVP award is given to those who offer exceptional contributions to the SDL Tridion community. You can nominate candidates at any time during the entire year."

Source: SDL Tridion MVP Award Program 

Previously on My Blog...

I've posted about the MVP program and its winners. Important points about the program include the following.

  • The program isn't about the best Tridion consultants, developers, or partners. It's about sharing.
  • Winners can be nominated by anyone (and the nomination is required).
  • The selection panel consists of 3 externals and 2 internal SDL employees and evaluates contributions over a calendar year.
  • SDL staff can win an internal "Community Builder" award, but the public appreciation and recognition is mostly for externals.
  • The MVP retreat includes an all-expense paid trip to meet fellow MVPs and includes two days of hacking with the group

It's also notoriously hard to win the second year. Not all sharers win. And the biggest obstacle to sharing aside from time and interest is giving yourself permission.

I'm not currently in the selection panel, though you could still impress me by sharing more.

But now...

It's a few day after the 2017 SDL Tridion Web/Tridion MVP community retreat and there are already a few posts about the event, location, and projects.

SDL Community is a great way to follow these posts in one place; specifically see the the Tridion Developer feed.

2017 MVP Retreat Projects

I'm gathering this year's MVP retreat projects to offer background on the business needs or context on kinds of solutions. I'd like to show how ideas in the community evolve over time.

Though some posts and ideas may precede others, I recognize it's hard to tell exactly who influenced who. So though I'll mention a post might precede another, I'm not claiming one idea is based on another unless specifically recognized by the authors. Akin to convergent evolution, we often see similar designs to problems created in separate but similar circumstances.

I definitely encourage you to follow the Midas Rule and ask about, try, or join any of the following projects. 

The Client-Side DXA Prototype

Let me start at the front... end with this hypothetical user story:

"As a front-end Web developer working with several systems, I want to understand how Tridion might work with front-end rendering, regardless of a specific JavaScript framework."

In business terms, you might choose client-side rendering for a variety of reasons. For background on front-end or client-side rendering and why it's "won" the rich application wars, read Here’s Why Client-side Rendering Won.

Previously, on Client-Side Approaches...

In the community, we've known about client-side rendering (JavaScript approaches) for developing Tridion-powered Web applications for awhile now. Even Tridion's own Content Manager UI has been using a client-side selection engine (Sizzle) as far back as Tridion 2011. A previous MVP retreat looked at client-side templating with JSON, OData, and Angular. But before then,  and  demonstrated a Tridion proof-of-concept using MongoDB and Angular at SDL Innovate.

But now...

See Frank Taylor's first post about the 2017 retreat and follow his blog for more about the latest (framework-free) JavaScript set up. The beauty of the approach is an elegant back-to-basics focus on JavaScript with the DXA Model Service. By focusing on JavaScript directly, you're not tied to a specific framework.

Frank M Taylor in a frame.

Modern rendering approaches is one thing. What about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Translate Page URLs

Managing content from a shared Page in Tridion is easy. Change a parent page and all children pages are updated. But if you localize a page URL, by localizing the filename of a local page, you lose control over the shared content on the page (read more about minimizing localization).

Previously on Translating Page URLs...

As with any challenge, there are multiple solutions including an earlier approach suggested by  that uses the event system to change urls during publishing.

But now...

More recently  brought up a page translation extension earlier at the Benelux User Group meeting. He shared his page localization solution with the MVP retreat participants to also add a UI extension to present the translatable URL in the context of the Tridion page.

With SEO-friendly URLs managed in an easier manner, you may want to next explore Tridion's in-context user interface or Experience Manager.

Session Preview Setup Testing Scripts

The Experience Manager Session Preview feature shows content editors a preview of their current page based on their edits during their session in Experience Manager.

Previously on Setting up Session Preview...

Some of the MVPs mentioned challenges in setting up and understanding Session Preview (also referred to as Fast Track Publishing) as seen in questions on Tridion Stack Exchange.

But now...

One group worked to get into the details of XPM while creating scripts to automatically walk through a setup to confirm expected settings. This project should prove useful in both troubleshooting and understanding the steps involved in session preview. Look for an update from  and  on these scripts somewhere in the community (here on the new-and-improved SDL Community, please!).

Dominic Cronin contemplating.

Maybe you're all set with a DXA Model Service-powered client-side rendering setup, SEO-friendly page names (without extra localization), and a perfectly working Session Preview. Maybe you're ready and interested in Tridion-in-the-cloud?

Yet Another* Cloud Topic

MVP  has had recent opportunities to work with Amazon Web Services (AWS) which evolved into "yet another" MVP project about monitoring and reporting on activity in the CMS.


Previously on Cloud Topics...

Julian Wraith described scaling ideas in this post on CloudWatch via a Lambda function, citing a previous post by Brandon Mahoney. Even earlier, Chris Morgan described how Tridion can fly in the cloud. And of course there's SDL Web Cloud itself.

But now...

The MVP group set up monitoring approaches for AWS CloudWatch using an AWS Lambda function or a PowerShell script as an alternative. Expect more posts from

,  , or others on AWS.

Though systems and tools evolve, it's great seeing Tridion easily adapt to cloud developments and capabilities. 

*As a programming catch phrase, "Yet Another" suggests "confessedly unoriginal" solutions at least per Wikipedia. Though known for creating "Yet Another" Tridion Workflow Framework (which he's attributed to earlier projects by others in the community) and Yet Another Tridion Blog, I'd argue he's anything but unoriginal.

Mihai Cădariu. "Yet Another" Action Hero.

The idea of reporting and reacting on Content Manager behavior is of course not new. Ryan Durkin's post described a previous retreat and the Tridion Gamification Reporting project. I've previously asked what reports have you seen or created in Tridion implementations, which provided useful scenarios for this last, but not least, project.

PowerShell CoreService Module

I joined a few others for the PowerShell CoreService Module group.

Previously on PowerShell CoreService Modules...

Peter Kjaer created a nice set of PowerShell functionality in the form of CoreService and Alchemy PowerShell modules. This was followed by a post by Dominic Cronin or two as well as some tips from Jan Horsman.

But now...

We put a group together to learn more about the module and contribute more examples. I had the fun, and now familiar, role of providing use cases and trying the results. It was great revisiting PowerShell after a hiatus of sorts.

Not all the MVPs, including myself, have had a chance to use the PowerShell Core Service module.

The learning curve was fairly shallow (a few commands and you're set) and we even clarified some myths. For example you do not need server access to use the scripts. Think of PowerShell as any other client--you just need a proper configuration and authorization to a Content Manager.

Visual Studio Code has a nice PowerShell plugin. 

One reply to the demo was, "PowerShell? That's a Really-Cool-Shell."

See the updated wiki on the Tridion PowerShell modules.

Lessons Learned

I noticed a few things working with this year's group and writing this post, connecting familiar topics to new projects. We help everyone when we:

  1. Share more. One post on a topic isn't enough. We need context and different perspectives. It's okay to revisit familiar challenges as approaches, technology, and processes evolve.
  2. Connect. Publishing makes a topic public. But people may not have had a chance to try your solution. Taking a moment to connect to make a difference, to really help others or learn something for yourself.
  3. Find. Search Google using "Tridion PowerShell" to easily find Peter's PowerShell modules (first hit!)
  4. Ask. There's something powerfully disarming about asking for help. Do your best to work on something, but someone is bound to have knowledge or context you might be missing and they'd enjoy helping where they can.
  5. Push. It takes some earned trust and authenticity, but people can and will live up to expectations and beyond. For me, I suspect my influence comes from my particular blend of communication style, enthusiasm, and curiosity. Show me what you got!

Please leave a comment if you'd like me to add a favorite post on any of these topics or if you're interested in learning more or contributing to these projects.

2017 MVPs: do share links to your final or even draft projects to help the community and for consideration for the 2018 awards.

 In my next post I'll go over use cases to explore with PowerShell or reporting on Tridion in general.