IIS 7.5 Logging with Sitecore 6.x in Integrated Pipeline Mode

by aboo bolaky 4. December 2010 21:48

When you run Sitecore 6.x in Integrated Pipeline Mode, You will notice that ALL IIS log entries contain the log entry for the resquest to the layout (aspx) page (instead of the actual sitecore item .e.g /ContactUs.aspx).

This problem is partly related to another issue outlined on Stack Overflow  [http://stackoverflow.com/questions/353541/iis7-rewritepath-and-iis-log-files]

If you run Sitecore in Classic Mode, the problem disappears. However, if you still wish to use Integrated Pipeline Mode, you will have to intercept the request  before the Sitecore HttpModule (Sitecore.Nexus.dll) gets involved.


Create a class that extends System.Web.IHttpModule  and  set the path back to the original value after the request has been processed but before the IIS logging module writes the log entry.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Web;

namespace Test
    public class RewritePath : IHttpModule
        public void Init(HttpApplication context)
            context.BeginRequest += OnBeginRequest;
            context.LogRequest += OnEndRequest;

        static void OnBeginRequest(object sender, EventArgs e)
            var app = (HttpApplication)sender;
            app.Context.Items["OriginalPath"] = app.Context.Request.Path;

        static void OnEndRequest(object sender, EventArgs e)
            var app = (HttpApplication)sender;
            var originalPath = app.Context.Items["OriginalPath"] as string;
            if (originalPath != null)

        public void Dispose()



Locate the Modules Section (under system.webServer ..remember we’re running in Integrated Pipeline Mode) and plug the module in BEFORE the Sitecore Nexus HttpModule


Here's what's captured when everything is compiled and deployed


Thanks Sitecore Support.

Tags: ,

.Net | Applications | Sitecore | Tips & Tricks

Missing Icons in Page Edit Mode in Sitecore 6.1

by aboo bolaky 25. November 2010 05:29

I remember, back in the days when I was using Sitecore 6 in Page Edit mode, an blue arrow would highlight the placeholders on the page when I would hover the placeholder name in the in Design Pane.

Now that I'm using Sitecore 6.3, I've realised that this was no longer the case. The only thing that happens is the description of the placeholder (new cool thing !) is displayed at the bottom of the page.

After spending several hours with IE Developer Toolbar (yes..IE Developer Toolbar !!!.. I couldn't use Firefox/Firebug because the Design Mode is not currently supported in Firefox), it finally came down to this :

To make life easier (allegedly) and boost the performance (again...allegedly), all icon files for Sitecore (initially in Directory (sitecore\shell\Themes\Standard) have been zipped up and automatically extracted on the fly when you select an icon from the Icon Choose Screen.. Well that's a good thing..BUT...

The webedit.css (which, I hear you say, is responsible for styling the injected spans that the Page Editor introduces) still references icons/files in the "Themes\Standard" folder.


Well, since those files are now zipped up, they will no longer be available and thus won't appear on Page Edit Mode.


There are about 10 url references (e.g background:url (/sitecore/shell/themes/standard/Applications/32x32/arrow_right_blue.png) in the webedit.css. Extract the required icons from their respective zipped archives, and change the background url references accordingly

Once this is done, everything was back to normal and we were all happy again.. What a day !! :)




Indexing PDF documents with Lucene and Sitecore

by aboo bolaky 14. January 2010 06:32

Getting Lucene to index pdf document is a doddle, thanks to the document published on SDN. if you follow the instructions to the letter, you will be able to make Lucene index pdf documents in no time

HOWEVER, please be aware that you have to properly dispose the objects (to name a few... PDDocument and Ikvm.io.InputStreamWrapper objects) after you parsed the document(s).

If you forget to do so, you will soon notice that your temp folder (c:\windows\temp) will be filled with pdfbox temp files (e.g pdfbox124bb19809ftmp). In the worst case scenario, the C drive runs out of disk space => no website.

Original Code Published on SDN

private string ParsePDF(MediaItem mediaItem)
        Stream stream = mediaItem.GetMediaStream();
        ikvm.io.InputStreamWrapper wrapper = new ikvm.io.InputStreamWrapper(stream);
        PDDocument doc = PDDocument.load(wrapper);
        PDFTextStripper stripper = new PDFTextStripper();
        return stripper.getText(doc);


Revised Code

private string ParsePDF(MediaItem mediaItem)
        PDDocument doc = null;
        ikvm.io.InputStreamWrapper wrapper = null;

            Stream stream = mediaItem.GetMediaStream();
            wrapper = new ikvm.io.InputStreamWrapper(stream);
            doc = PDDocument.load(wrapper);
            PDFTextStripper stripper = new PDFTextStripper();
            return stripper.getText(doc);
        catch (Exception Ex)
            //[some logging here] ..
            return String.Empty;
            if ((doc != null) && (wrapper != null))


Rebuild the index and have a good night sleep :)


Registering XSLT Extension Objects with the ASP XML control

by aboo bolaky 23. October 2009 07:01

I once inherited a sublayout that inlcuded an asp:xml control. The asp:xml control was there to handle and display an xml feed from another system, while the rest of the sublayout concentrated on rendering related feed content from Sitecore. The presentation of the xml feed was handled via an xlst rendering.

In this particular situation, I made use use of XSL extensions in the XSLT file. Registering the XSL Extension was fairly easy.

	<extension mode="on" type="Utils.XslHelper, Utils"
		   singleInstance="true" />

Registering the extension in the xsl file

<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"
 exclude-result-prefixes="MyExtension" >

<xsl:value-of select="MyExtension:HelloWorld()" />

Binding the XML control to the XML Data

protected override void OnInit(EventArgs e)
        if (!this.IsPostBack)
            string xmlContent = "xml data goes here";
            XsltArgumentList list = new XsltArgumentList();
            Utils.XslHelper ext = new Utils.XslHelper();
            list.AddExtensionObject("http://www.sitecore.net/Utils", ext);
            Xml1.TransformArgumentList = list;
            Xml1.DocumentContent = xmlContent;

It turns out that, even though I had previously registered the xsl extension in the xslt file, I also had to register it via code as well. Otherwise, the following exception occurs at runtime.

Cannot find the script or external object that implements prefix 'MyExtension'.


Tags: ,

.Net | Asp.Net | Sitecore | Tips & Tricks

Building extension-less Urls in Sitecore

by aboo bolaky 4. October 2009 08:55

Our goal here is to build a Sitecore solution having links without the .aspx extension.(although accessing a page with a .aspx extension should STILL work)

To start ,you need

  • Helicon ISAPI Rewrite Lite (the free one). Since I'm usingWindows 7 RC1 x64bit, I'll need to download the x64 bit flavour of Helicon Lite
  • A test Sitecore Application .. I will be using the Sitecore Starter Kit [Sitecore Starter Kit 6.0.0 rev.090203] as an my starting point.  (installed on IIS 7).

Before I start on implementing the solution, a little bit of background info would, I guess, be quite useful.

AddAspxExtension in LinkManager

A potential solution is to change the value of AddAspxExtension from true (by default) to false. If you do change it to false, you will have to create a wildcard script map to the ASP.NET runtime. This causes IIS to intercept every request made against the web server. This includes requests for images, asp.net pages and HTML pages. Therefore, enabling a wildcard script map to ASP.NET does have performance implications. If you wish to find another way to use pages without .aspx extensions in Sitecore, please read further....

Sitecore Aliases

Aliases, in a nutshell, allow you to shorten the url of an item. For example, if your item is currently accessible via http://hostname/MyParentItem/MyChildItem.aspx, you can specify an alias of myChildItem, which will be a placeholder for the actual item as it is in the Sitecore tree. Hence, the url of the alias is http://hostname/MyChildItem.aspx. For SEO purposes, this allows us to surface items from deep down in the hierarchy right up to the site root.


  • Aliases do not work if you remove the .aspx extension
  • No matter how far your items are in the sitecore tree, an alias allows you to refer to it from the site root.

Step 1: Install and Configure Helicon ISAPI Rewrite Lite

Start by installing Helicon ISAPI Rewrite. This process is fairly straightforward. Since we are using the lite version,  our Regex entries will be placed in the global http.conf (located in the Lite version installation folder). The entries in my httpd.conf are as follow:-

RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^(sitecore.*)$ $1 [L]
RewriteRule ^([^\.\?]+)/?(\?.*)?$ /$1.aspx$2 [L]


Url Rewriting Rationale

Before a request is forwarded to Sitecore, the ISAPI module intercepts it.

Line 1: You NEED that ! This turns on the Helicon ISAPI Module

Line 2: Errr...This is self-explanatory..

Line 3: We don't need to chop off the .aspx when we are in Sitecore CMS. For this reason, we're basically telling the module to not do anything when a request has "sitecore" in it.

Line 4: This is the most important bit. This appends .aspx (and querystrings,if any) to requests and consequently forwards the resulting request to Sitecore. Two scenarios arise as a result of this.

 3.1 : Sitecore maps the request to an item in the database. The page gets displayed in the end.

 3.2 : Sitecore cannot find the item based on the url. You will either end up with the  Sitecore's "Item Not Found" page.


Before we go any further, I need to confess that I did modify the Starter Kit a little prior to this operation. Basically, when you load the starter kit, you are greeted with a dummy home Site, that has a nice layout and there is a link to the Actual Starter Site. I was tired of this as my home page, So, I changed the value of "startItem" [in the Sites Definition of website (in web.config)] from "/home" to "/Sample". In that way, when i hit the website, I will eventually land on the real starter site!. Also, by doing so, all my urls within the website will no longer contain "/sitecore/content/.." since the Start Item has changed.

Quick Test on Urls

Request : http://sitecorestarterkit/References.aspx  [OK]

Request : http://sitecorestarterkit/References  [OK]

Request : http://sitecorestarterkit/Services/Architectual-Services.aspx [OK]

Request : http://sitecorestarterkit/Services/Architectual-Services [OK]

Request : http://sitecorestarterkit/Sitecore/  [OK..CMS access]

It looks like we have a half-baked solution. Aliases will now work without the .aspx extension as well. The other bits that need to be considered are

1 : How to make sitecore controls (.e.g. sc:link etc..) aware that they should drop the ".aspx" extensions

2 : How does it all tie up together with .NET (user controls etc..)

Step 2: XSL Extensions (revised)

To follow up on custom solution, you will need to tell Sitecore to remove the ".aspx" when it renders urls (either via sc:link [xsl extensions] or c# code). For XSL Extensions, we need to disable the default implementation that Sitecore provides us with and roll out our own. Fortunately, it's very easy to do so. [Credits : Chris Wojciech ]


2.1 : Turn off the default XslHelper

<!-- Changed from "On" to "Off" -->
<extension mode="off" type="Sitecore.Xml.Xsl.XslHelper, Sitecore.Kernel" 
	namespace="http://www.sitecore.net/sc" singleInstance="true" />



2.2 : Create your own XslHelper

 namespace Starterkit.Utils
	 public class XslHelper : Sitecore.Xml.Xsl.XslHelper
		public override string path(System.Xml.XPath.XPathNodeIterator iterator)
			string path = base.path(iterator);
			string newPath = Regex.Replace(path, ".aspx", String.Empty, RegexOptions.IgnoreCase | RegexOptions.Compiled);
			return newPath;
		public override string link(string fieldName, System.Xml.XPath.XPathNodeIterator iterator, string parameters)
			string path = base.link(fieldName, iterator, parameters);
			string newPath = Regex.Replace(path, ".aspx", String.Empty, RegexOptions.IgnoreCase | RegexOptions.Compiled);
			return newPath;
		public override string StartLink(System.Xml.XPath.XPathNodeIterator iterator, string parameters)
			string path = base.StartLink(iterator, parameters);
			string newPath = Regex.Replace(path, ".aspx", String.Empty, RegexOptions.IgnoreCase | RegexOptions.Compiled);
			return newPath;


For each of those three methods, we're only replacing the .aspx with an empty string. To enable <sc:link/> to use our custom Xsl Helper, we need to add another entry to the <xslextensions> section


	<!-- Changed from "On" to "Off" -->   
	<extension mode="off" type="Sitecore.Xml.Xsl.XslHelper, Sitecore.Kernel" 
	namespace="http://www.sitecore.net/sc" singleInstance="true" />  
	<extension mode="on" type="Starterkit.Utils.XslHelper, Starterkit.Utils"
	 namespace="http://www.sitecore.net/sc" singleInstance="true" />


NEARLY THERE!!!. All the links (that are rendering using sc:link) have now lost the .aspx extensions on the front end.

Step 3 : Sitecore and .NET interaction (with Url Rewriting)

If you have a Sitecore solution built using XSLT renderings only (highly unlikely though..), you're kinda safe here. However, if you have usercontrols (that host controls that can cause a postback) as well (for argument's sake, a contact us form), you end up with one issue.

Let's create a Contact Us form and add it to the presentation of the Contact Us item in Sitecore


User Control Designer

 <%@ Control Language="c#" AutoEventWireup="true"
 Codebehind="~/layouts/Starter Kit/Sublayouts/ContactUs.ascx.cs" %>
 <asp:Label Text="First Name : "  AssociatedControlID="txtFirstName" runat="server" />
 <asp:TextBox ID="txtFirstName" runat="server" />
 <asp:Label Text="First Name : "  AssociatedControlID="txtFirstName" runat="server" /> 
 <asp:TextBox ID="TextBox1" runat="server" />
 <asp:Button ID="btnSend" Text="Send" runat="server" />


Page Source

 <form name="mainform" method="post"
 action="/Contact.aspx" id="mainform">

To solve this, you will need to create a Control Adapter for the Forms in your application. Control Adapters allow you to inject custom code within the rendering of a control.


Form Control Adapter

namespace Starterkit.Utils
	public class FormActionRewriter : System.Web.UI.Adapters.ControlAdapter
		protected override void Render(System.Web.UI.HtmlTextWriter writer)
			base.Render(new RewriteFormHtmlTextWriter(writer));
	class RewriteFormHtmlTextWriter : HtmlTextWriter
		public RewriteFormHtmlTextWriter(HtmlTextWriter writer)
			: base(writer)
			this.InnerWriter = writer.InnerWriter;
 		public RewriteFormHtmlTextWriter(System.IO.TextWriter writer)
			: base(writer)
			base.InnerWriter = writer;
		public override void WriteAttribute(string name, string value, bool fEncode)
 			if ((name == "action"))
				HttpContext Context = null;
				Context = HttpContext.Current;
				if (Context.Items["ActionAlreadyWritten"] == null)
					if ((!Context.Request.RawUrl.Contains("sitecore")))
					{   //remove .aspx extension if we're on the front end
						value = Regex.Replace(Context.Request.RawUrl, ".aspx", String.Empty, RegexOptions.IgnoreCase | RegexOptions.Compiled);
						Context.Items["ActionAlreadyWritten"] = true;
			base.WriteAttribute(name, value, fEncode);

Add Form Control Adapter in Solution

Open the form.browser (located in ~/App_Browsers) and add the new entry

	<browser refID="Default">
			<adapter controlType="System.Web.UI.HtmlControls.HtmlForm" 
			adapterType="Sitecore.Web.FormAdapter, Sitecore.Kernel" />  
			<adapter controlType="System.Web.UI.HtmlControls.HtmlForm"
			adapterType="Starterkit.Utils.FormActionRewriter, Starterkit.Utils" />    


<form name="mainform" method="post"
 action="/Contact" id="mainform">


RESULT !!! .... Back to Sitecore :)

Tags: ,

.Net | Applications | Sitecore

SEO Friendly Urls in Sitecore -Remove spaces in Url (3)

by aboo bolaky 11. August 2009 06:33

It's the third time I'm writing on this particular topic (The EncodeNameReplacements element in the web.config). Articles 1 and 2  have had their importance in building SEO-friendly links in Sitecore.

Double Encoding in Urls

Whilst doing some routine administrative tasks in sitecore, I noticed that some links were no longer working. I was pretty sure that those links were working before I did a publish. :( Back to the drawing board.

As outlined in Articles 1 and 2, I was using

<replace mode="on" find=" " replaceWith="-" />

in my web.config. It was working fine when sitecore items were having names like "Camera one" (->url: camera-one.aspx), "Camera one two three" (->url: camera-one-two-three.aspx) etc...

However, if an item name has a character that has already been defined in my EncodeNamesReplacements section, Sitecore throws you back on the Item Not Found page. In my situation, I had renamed the Sitecore Item :"John Doe" to "John-Doe" (lame administrative task...I KNOW) . The effect of this is that when the user clicks on the John-Doe.aspx, he/she is redirected to the default "Item Not Found" sitecore page. A careful look at the url has revealed that Sitecore was trying to request an item with a name of John--Doe and consequently failed.


or hack (for some people)

If you are using a specific character to get rid of spaces in url, you need to make sure that a cms user will not be able to create an item name having that character in. Easy way to factor this in is to include your character in the InvalidItemNameChars element in the web.config. In my implementation, I've changed that setting to :

<setting name="InvalidItemNameChars"


and that did the trick :)

Tags: ,

.Net | Applications | Sitecore

Implementing Sitecore Extranet login on a website

by aboo bolaky 30. July 2009 08:02

Here's the situation. You are about to implement a password protected area on your website. Let's assume that the general site structure looks like this

Pages below General and Products are accessible to everyone, whereas pages under Members should only be visible to authenticated/logged in members. I will first briefly outline the steps required to get this problem implemented using ASP.NET. Later on, I'll move onto it's equivalent Sitecore Solution.


  • Implement Forms Authentication and set login url in the web.config.
  • Implement Login control and decide where to retrieve and store login credentials (in web.config or database)
  • In the web.config, add a Location Path pointing to the Members folder (Deny anonymous , allow authenticated users )
  • This is all about it really...(as far as I remember..) ...

In Sitecore, it's a different ball game.

In addition to adding the loginURL to the form authentication section (important if you use the loginview control to show the login page), you will need to  add the  "loginPage" attribute to the site which is defined by your extranet domain (normally, it's called "website" )

	<site name="website" virtualFolder="/" physicalFolder="/" 


The LoginPage attribute is not something new here..It has always been there..(e.g. the shell website has already a loginPage set), but i did not know what was its purpose . Thanks to Chris Wojciech, I've discovered how to use this existing functionality in the web application.

The addition of Location path in the asp.net-only model is analogous to denying read access to the Members folder (+descendants) in Sitecore.


Once you perform a site publish, you can see the effects straight away.

If you've already signed in, you will be able to view /Members/View My Account.aspx.

If you're an anonymous user and access  /Members/View My Account.aspx, you will be presented with a default page that Sitecore serves in case access is denied due to security privileges.



Quick Fix :

The page served in this case is called noaccess.aspx. The good thing is that this can be altered by changing the value of the "NoAccessUrl" attribute in the web.config.

If we set  "NoAccessUrl" to "/General/Login.aspx", we end up in this situation



Recommended Solution

The nag in the above quick fix is that sitecore internally adds 3 QueryStrings to the url ( item, user and site). If we compare this to the normal ASP.NET solution, we would have ended up with only 1 querystring, which is the ReturnUrl.  Our goal is to follow the asp.net solution as close as possible. This is where Chris comes in..

Rolling out your own Security Resolver

Chris extended the HttpRequestProcessor class in order to intercept the request ,check if the user requesting the sitecore item has appropriate rights. If that is not the case, the user is redirected to the login page, with the appropriate ReturnUrl QueryString. Please go check the code out on his blog at http://blog.wojciech.org/?p=64 

The processor should then be plugged in the web.config, before the definition of the ExecuteRequest processor.


<processor type="Sitecore.Pipelines.HttpRequest.ItemResolver, Sitecore.Kernel"/>
<processor type="Sitecore.Pipelines.HttpRequest.LayoutResolver, Sitecore.Kernel"/>
<processor type="MyWebApp.Pipelines.MyOwnSecurityResolver, MyWebApp"/>
<processor type="Sitecore.Pipelines.HttpRequest.ExecuteRequest, Sitecore.Kernel"/>


If you now try to access a protected page as an anonymous user, you'll end up on the login page (but this time, the ReturnUrl parameter has replaced the 3 built-in sitecore url parameters)


Result :)

Tags: ,

.Net | Applications | Sitecore

LoginView control not working when logging out from Sitecore extranet domain

by aboo bolaky 29. July 2009 06:19

Let's not re-invent the wheel and make use of the ASP.NET 2.0 LoginView control to generate Login/Logout actions for the Sitecore extranet domain.

We have our LoginView control (very simplistic example given here) in a sublayout.

<asp:LoginView ID="loginView" runat="server">
	  Welcome Guest <asp:LoginStatus runat="server" LoginText="Login" />
	  Welcome <%= Sitecore.Context.User.Name %>.
	  <asp:LoginStatus runat="server" LogoutText="Logout"
	   LogoutPageUrl="/" LoginText="Login" LogoutAction="Redirect" />

LoginView Control Caveat

The LoginView control "magically" knows the login page url. This is specified by the LoginUrl attribute in the FormsAuthentication section of the web.config. This is not to be confused the LoginPage attribute (from the sites section). I had to modify my web.config to

 <authentication mode="Forms">
   <forms name=".ASPXAUTH" cookieless="UseCookies" 
		loginUrl="~/General/Login.aspx" />

Erractic Behaviour when logging out

I did not experience any problems when logging in .i.e. the control did what is was supposed to do (display sitecore username and Logout Link). HOWEVER, when I pressed the Logout link, I always got redirected the Sitecore Layout page instead. I did spot similar behaviour with ListViews in Sitecore (also documented by Paul George and Mark Cassidy, where its events were not being fired at all. I've made the following change to my web.config and that solved the problem :)



A similar problem that relates to the  typesThatShouldNotBeExpanded tag has also been documented on SDN

Tags: ,

.Net | Applications | Sitecore

Creating a Publishing Context Menu Item in Sitecore Content Editor

by Aboo Bolaky 26. July 2009 07:58

The more I think about this, the more I realise that this should be a built-in feature in Sitecore : To have a publish option whenever you right-click on any sitecore item.

Publishing Messages in Sitecore 

Fortunately, Sitecore is flexible enough. By doing a few customizations in the Core database, you can get a decent result. Before we tackle the WYSIWYG actions, we need to know the commands that Sitecore understands in order to launch the appropriate Publish window.


This is basically doing an Item publish. You have the option of publishing sub items as well. Once the publish is finished, you can see the publishing statistics.


This brings up the publish window. This is the default screen when you hit Publish -> Publish Site (from the Ribbon)



After having done this publish, you are not able to see the publishing stats..


Publish Operations and Messages

To summarize what's being said earlier, this picture shows how each menu item is related to the corresponding message.

Customizing the Context Menu

Switch to the Core Database and browse to the "/sitecore/content/Applications/Content Editor/Context Menues/Default" folder and create a new Menu item  ( Template Path : /sitecore/templates/System/Menus/Menu item). You can re-order existing menu items to your liking. For your new menu item, choose a display name (in my case , its "Publish Item"), an icon and finally the message (in my case, I've used item:publish(id=$Target)). All you now have to do is to switch back to the master base and view the result. Simple !!! :)




Automatic Publishing in Sitecore

by aboo bolaky 26. July 2009 07:02

Sitecore DOES support Automatic Publishing. However, there are not many instances where you would want Sitecore to automatically perform a publish.

The values to change reside in the web.config, right where you have definitions for the scheduling and agents

<agent type="Sitecore.Tasks.PublishAgent" method="Run" interval="00:00:00">
	<param desc="source database">master</param>
	<param desc="target database">web</param>
	<param desc="mode (full or incremental)">incremental</param>
	<param desc="languages">en, da</param>


I guess that a value of "00:00:00" for the interval attribute does disable automatic publishing. If you set the value to (say..10 minutes) "00:10:00", you will notice that after 10 minutes or so, changed items from the master database will be copied over to the web database.

Automatic publishing is useful where you have integrated external datasources in sitecore (using Data Providers) and where there needs to be a predefined process that synchs the external data to the web database. For the automatic publishing to work in this particular situation, you must have had created a new database entry (with a reference to your data provider) in the web.config.

Sitecore Data Providers....hmmmmm...that's upcoming.... :)

Tags: ,

.Net | Applications | Sitecore

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