How to Remember Tridion Dynamic Linking

When you first explain Tridion Dynamic Linking, you might get some head scratching and puzzled looks.

Dynamic linking allows content authors, who may be separate from editors (think of the classic publishing setup for, you know... newspapers), the ability to create links to other content without needing to understand where that content is used. Before you say, "but I want to link to a specific page," there are several ways to handle such linking, it really depends on your environment and business needs ("page proxy" method comes to mind, but we'll save that for later).

The linking algorithm is fairly simple if you think in terms of either finding lost items or familial relationships (I know it's hard to not just love everyone the same in your family), but here are the steps.

If you have access, read the official explanation for Component Link Resolving on SDL Live Content.

For a dynamic component link, rendering will create a regular hyperlink to a page that has a component presentation (component + template) for the template with the highest priority. If you paid attention during training or read the docs, you'll know to set your snippet component templates to lower priority (or never link) than your full articles. Your main full article details template would have high priority.

In the case of ties, here's the break down. Check...

1. my page
2. my web folder or structure group (SG)
3. child SG and pages
4. parent SG and pages
5. sibling SG and pages
6. grandparent SG and pages
7. sibling of my parent (aunt/tía/tante) SG

This might match your "who has my iPhone" search procedure (except around step 4, which might be "the wife" instead of "mom"). Check

1. my pockets
2. the room I'm in
3. the kid's room
4. call mom
5. text sister
6. go to grandpa's
7. ask other relatives that came over to last night's party

In the case that you don't want this behavior, create whatever linking logic you fancy. Nothing's stopping you from using XSLT, RegEx, or some transformation function in template logic or maybe presentation server code. Want to use a page with querystring parameter? Sure. Want to then hide the details for "SEO compliance?" Sure. You can even add template links that aren't in the schema (of course).

Happy linking.

Train and Untrained. Which are you?

There is no such thing as tough. There is trained and untrained. Now which are you?

Kelly Thompson, SDL Web Content Managaement (WCM) division's global trainer mentioned an upcoming training discount and asked if I could spread the word.

Tridion Training Summer special, bring a friend for half off. Or is that bring half a friend?

The best way I know how to spread the word is to tell a story about my experiences, missed opportunities, and excitement about the new training changes (if you need a practical way to calculate the business benefit and convince the boss, read more on Training Matters and ROI from Julian Wraith).

Revisiting Training Four Years Later

I once survived four days of Tridion training with  Chris (UrbanCherry) Summers. He threw candy. I later tried the same but the trainee screamed. She was very near sighted. I stopped throwing candy since.

Four years later, I had a chance to breeze through four days of training in two sets of four hours. I challenged and questioned everything much to my trainer's chagrin (sorry, Vishnu).

But I did learn some "a ha" things.
  • Validation! Though I learned some things through trial and error, my seemingly creative solutions were recognized Tridion patterns.
  • Authorization! I was doing Tridion groups in a hard-to-maintain way. Oops. It is okay to have publication-specific subgroups. I came up with a so-so scenario that required one "rights group" and one "permissions group" per author. I know better now.
  • And later with Kelly, I learned the importance of information architecture (IA). We implement forward, but design backwards. Define page types and then identify content types to reveal your schema. Magic.


I had one big question after I won a SDL Tridion MVP award and the group mentioned perks. "Training?"

Unfortunately the answer at the time was ("just") a mix of boot camp sessions, my very own Tridion license for research, and exposure to the community. It was more than I hoped for, but I would have still paid for training on my own.

I had one big question before I joined the new gig. "Training?"

Unfortunately the answer at the time was a mix of shadowing, self-study, and exposure to the technology. It worked for me, I joined. I can be a sponge and learn by varying degrees of osmosis.

Shortly after, my worrisome question was answered by having Kelly Thompson join the team. Since then, we've had more training than I hoped for. We've had training on how to train, opportunities to give training or to take training, presentations about the importance of training, and lots of actual training deliverables--templates, new slides, revised exercises, and subject matter experts if you want to count fellow consultants. I'm not quite sure what it was like before I joined, but at the center of all this training activity was our global education manager, Kelly Thompson.


Kelly Thompson has over a decade in IT and Tridion experience as well as a background in education. She delivers my kind of training by focusing on teachable, learnable skills. She's helped deliver:
  • Training material and website refresh across SDL Tridion 2011, UI 2012, and other modules
  • New training website (no sandwiches here, sorry)
  • eLearning!
  • An education-based teaching approach and method
  • Global collaboration. Kelly has a knack for connecting and bringing people together.
She helped me up my training participant feedback ratings for one client from averaging in the 7's (not bad for corporate training) on Monday, to nailing 9's by the end. She also shared the subtle setting to be able to publish from a parent into a child publication without creating a "faked" publication target--I think I hung my head in disbelief and lamented all the times I told people it wasn't possible when she explained it.
And though I blog to save my peers from constant Tridion-is-so-cool spam, Kelly graciously accepts and even acts on some of my crazier feedback. Maybe it's not a coincidence that her initials also stand for "Knowledge Transfer."  Seeing is believing, if you get the chance to try, buy, or demo a training initiative with WCM division or especially Kelly, go for it.
Check out the buy-one-get-one-half-off 2012 summer special while it lasts.