Thursday, 23 September 2010

Using Dynamic Content Controls for Composer Sort Of Functionality

During a recent project review I found myself looking at wireframes which looked much like the end of an intense Jenga session. There were lots of content blocks in different formations on what were meant to be single templates. Focusing on 1 template with 3 variations I queried how the layout of the page body could differ so dramatically and how each right hand column had a different selection of content elements.

“But surely Editors can just drag and drop content blocks onto a page? After all, we live in a world where you can buy 3D TVs and squeeze zits for points on the latest Smartphone App.” Came the perplexed and slightly paraphrased response.

Ah, you must be thinking of EPiServer Composer, I scoffed. Sadly, this was an EPiServer CMS 6 build and Composer was not in the project budget.

I now found myself in a wireframe prison where the only way out was to trick the guard by pretending to be Mr EPiServer ConPoser. (TeeHee)

So, what were my options?

Monday, 6 September 2010

EPiServer: Proximity Searching with EasySearch

A requirement which recently cropped up was for Property (as in house, flat, etc) searching through both attributes (e.g. number of bedrooms) and proximity (e.g. within 5 miles of some location). I’ll call ‘Properties’ ‘Assets from now on to avoid confusion.

For the attribute – or facet – search functionality we opted for a product called EasySearch. EasySearch - developed by NetworkedPlanet - is a great piece of software built on top of Lucene which ships natively with EPiServer. EasySearch provides tools to index EPiServer Content (Page Types and Files), web and user controls to search, view and narrow search results with selected facets, and administration tools to view and control the search index.

This was great for all aspects of our search requirements apart from proximity searching.