SDL Tridion-related Online Information. A 30 Second Snapshot.

There's a lot of Tridion info online now, follow Weekly Community Review on TridionWorld to keep up or just Google what you're looking for.

I'm researching for a speech on blogging for Tridion consultants. I'm aware of the new Area 51 Stack Exchange proposal, old and new blogs, and open source projects. But the number of pages, posts, and "Google-able" Tridion-related information was a surprise.

SDL Tridion Resource Dynamics

The SDL Tridion technical community is small (but growing). What happens when you bring Tridion resources together? Let's start with one or two Tridion techies and then poke fun of the MVPs.


A technical resource outside of work might surprise you. Several of my current and past peers are chefs, musicians, dancers, or martial artists. On his or her own, a so-called geek might be more creative than you would have thought. But bring two geeks together...


Two things happen when you bring technical resources together. Let me explain the first thing with some Calculus humor. Where number of techies is "x" and "f of x" is the probability of Happy Hour:

The limit of f of x, as x approaches 3, is 100%. I won't translate to avoid scrutiny.

The second thing is talk eventually turns to life, philosophy, and software (mainly Tridion), in no particular order. At some point, one of us will walk away saying, "_guys_, I'm hungry. If you care to eat, see you at ..."


One of the "benefits" of winning an SDL Tridion MVP or CB (for SDL internals) award is access to other (all current and past MVP) Tridion resources. Here's a synopsis. These aren't actual quotes, but more of a flavor of what a typical online Tridion chat (currently Skype) looks like.
Jeremy: I released that extension I was working on. Time for a vacation!
Jaime: You get breaks?
Puf: More code. Less talk.
Dom: Talk is cheap. Let me tell you about my Tridion 5.2 project.
John: Help! I broke Tridion.
Jeff: Did you perform maintenance? What's the error?
Vin: @John did you get my PDF called, "So you broke Tridion?"
Alvin: I blogged, tweeted, and made a wiki update today!
Chris: You guys talk a lot. Anyone going to see my Gartner-Forrester symposium presentation?
Peter: I checked in a new PowerTools base class, an installer, and automated troubleshooting tool.
Albert: I just extended it.
Jules: It's not the length that matters. Hey are we doing that new thing online?
Nick: @Albert that was cool. I just blogged about it.
John: @Jules, should we get permission?
Bart: Sure, let me ask myself... "Self, can we?" Yes, we can.
Nuno: I posted on the new thing. _Yes_ to more sharing.

[100 messages later on a random Tridion-related topic, X]

Nuno: Guys, why don't you _do something_ about X?
I tease the group, but despite the sometime unending stream-of-consciousness-type sharing, the same people have done the following:
  • Members of the group answer sincere newbie questions. Sometimes they don't have a choice, I keep asking questions.
  • It helps to bring a stack trace if you have a technical issue (it's community building, not support, though the group can't help but "talk shop").
  • The same people asking questions will turn around and help on your problem, question, or scenario (e.g. Content Bloom owner, John Winters took some time to explain some JavaScript + CSS class magic to me recently). Yes, I contradict the last bullet. It's a complex group dynamic. 
  • When possible, to help each other we'll open virtual machines, confirm a solution, and get the answer back to a customer, support, or the community (via the Forum, Twitter, a blog, Google Code).
The best part IMHO is validation that no one can know everything. The group will debate and joke but still share their perspective and offer practical help. They're paradoxically modest, freely and humbly admitting they're not even the best resources (most of the time).
The MVPs are however, by definition, the most vocal.

SDL Tridion Community on the Horizon

Thoughts on the past and future of the Tridion community in terms of...
  • Content Delivery Installation
  • Questions & Answers
  • Blogging 

Content Delivery Round-Up

If you haven't set up content delivery lately, check out the simplified "roles" description on SDL Live Content. If you're a customer or partner looking for access to TridionWorld be sure to visit the site and contact support for access. After you log on, see the documentation page for SDL Tridion 2011.

RTM is all you really need (plus time and experience), but for more installation background, see:

More SiteEdit Insight

I had a chance to fly the 11 plus hours to the SDL Web Content Management mothership (Tridion for the veterans) for a sneak peak at SDL Tridion's next version of inline editing. You may have read Nuno's debriefing on the upcoming sweet features, here's my functional take on the next version.

R&D has done an impressive job at simplifying "SiteEdit" for multiple roles.
  • Infrastructure consultants (IC) can focus on the install and content delivery setup
  • Technicals and functionals have access to settings within the CME for content types, page types, and even color settings
  • Authors will get a smoother experience, with terms and a process that fits their model of the content management system (CMS)

SDL Tridion Content Delivery Tips, Tools, and Troubleshooting

SDL Tridion is separated roughly into two parts:
  • Content Manager (CM)
  • Content Delivery (CD)
Over-simplified explanation: CM is Tridion. CD is your website.

Nothing tests your Tridion expertise liking setting up CD and here are some setup tips, tools, and troubleshooting info to prepare you for your next workshop, Tridion Boot Camp, or other training.

Experienced infrastructure consultants can move along, there's nothing new here.

Places to Check

Some Tridion consultants can name the content delivery files, well... by name. But even experienced Tridion resources will get one of the following wrong on the first try. Keep these organized, be methodical, and see the next sections for tools and troubleshooting tips when it doesn't work.
  • CD folder location across settings and in IIS, especially if you like setting them all-at-once
  • IIS settings
  • Dlls in Bin folder
  • Jars in Lib folder
  • Correct JDBC driver for your environment and Java version (e.g. sqljdbc4.jar for .NET, MS SDL, Java 6 I think)
  • Other environment details: .NET vs Java, 64 vs 32 bit
  • Database settings and passwords
  • Valid XML, including case, and location-specific settings in config files
The latest SDL Tridion documentation offers easy-to-follow roles to help guide you. The only catch is you have to read two parts. Good thing we all RTFM. ;-)


Nothing beats a sharp mind and experience, but I like practicing creative laziness. Here as some tools to improve your next CD setup or troubleshooting session.

Log File Display
For personal development I use Baretail, a log display tool .NET developer Michael Adams (MadCookie) introduced me to ( It tracks the tail of your log files and highlights certain words (I like highlighting "license" and ":\"). Yes, it's awesome. No, I don't use it as much as a should. It doesn't matter if you use your eyes or a tool like Splunk, check the logs (hint: you're looking for a stack trace).

Dominic Cronin and Andrey Marchuk have been demonstrating the power of PowerShell. Let me go even more "old school" with a DOS batch file. Save the following in a "CD_Summary.bat" file in the root of your CD site and run it to get a list of file counts and a display of your possible license settings. (Adapted from examples on Stack Overflow)
@echo off
Title List Content Delivery Summary
REM recurse

Set I=1
Set T=Jar 
Set L=bin\lib

FOR /f "tokens=*" %%P IN ('dir /A-d /b %L%\*.%T%') DO (CALL :showfiles "%%P")
ECHO %I% %T% file(s) in %L%

Set I=1
Set L=bin
Set T=dll

FOR /f "tokens=*" %%P IN ('dir /A-d /b "%L%\*.%T%"') DO (CALL :showfiles "%%P")
ECHO %I% %T% file(s) in %L%

ECHO License Setting (bin\config\*.xml):
FIND "License" bin\config\*.xml
ECHO The above may show commented-out lines as well. Double check the config files.

REM ECHO %1 %2 %3
SET /a I+=1
GOTO :eof

Warning: above doesn't confirm file locations. Use CTRL+C to exit any bad DOS script.

File Listing
For a quick listing of files in a folder, navigate to it from a Windows CMD prompt and run the following DIR command. Optionally use "> files.txt" to output to a file. The /l is for lowercase and /b is for just the bare text.

dir /l/b > files.txt

Use the above with your favorite difference tool or send a text-based list to your colleague or support instead of a screenshot.

Last one: Need to stop and start services? Use DOS command net or sc. Knock yourself out and make a BAT file.

Tips and Troubleshooting

New Blog Page

I embrace the fact that whether I'm a little bit of functional or a little bit of a technical, I'm in for a whole lot of consulting travel.

Technically Functional?

See the top navigation for Featured Functionality or visit for a summary of my non-technical posts for content authors and content management teams.  I might replace this and just tag my content like a good blogger.

Functionally Technical?

On the other hand, I'm finally writing more code both for fun and for personal improvement. I'm looking to spend less time talking about Tridion community projects (you know which one!) and more time contributing and/or asking others (you) to contribute. Btw, did someone review that code for that project we were not talking about?

Either Way = Travel.

In November I mentioned I was new-ish to consulting. After three clients, four trips to the opposite coast, and 80 hours of delivering training (in 2 months) I'm nowhere near what my peers have logged. But I am slowly getting added to projects which means more travel, as expected. No promises if that means more or less blogging. Get your Tridion fix from the Tridion Community Review or on the forum. Or go blog about something I've missed, which is a lot.

SDL Tridion "Integration" in 30 Seconds

As a follow up to my video on SDL Tridion custom URLs (for custom selection or content author help pop-ups), here's another on the sometimes overlooked Custom Page feature.
Sometimes "integration" is something as simple as a hyperlink or "iframed" page within a tool. It might be tempting to discount something so simple.

30 Second Demo (with Music!)

Don't mind the not-so-subtle joke with the music selection as I demo how to add a SDL Tridion Custom Page in 3 clicks and a copy & paste. In this example I add an existing Google form, but this could be almost any web-available resource; Web pages and images will display, whereas documents will download based on the browser behavior.