4 extensions every Sitecore build needs

Sitecore is a very powerful platform. Like any platform, there are certain use cases that are expected to be dealt with at the project implementation level. Over our 100+ Sitecore sites, we’ve found that there are at least 4 Sitecore extensions needed for almost every implementation.

1. 301 Redirects

The native aliases feature of Sitecore provides a means to create short promotional URLs however, this functionality does not allow the same short code in multiple sites and by default it results in multiple 302 redirects. This is something that may penalize your site in search engine rankings, which can send your web analytics plummeting. Already have this problem? Check out our tips for identifying and resolving SEO problem areas.

We suggest you implement a site specific redirect pattern and give content authors the option to choose between 301 and 302 redirects. By setting up a redirects folder with a simple redirect template you can create a new pipeline to intercept page requests and redirect accordingly.

2. Enhanced workflow actions

The workflow actions native to Sitecore provide limited ability to target emails. Creating new email actions that can target a Sitecore role and also target the originator of the workflow are valuable extensions. The structure of an email action would look something like the following. When dealing with groups, just be sure to account for indirect membership.

If using the Active Directory module, be aware that indirect membership lookup can be a heavy operation.

3. Publishable configuration

As a developer, it can be tempting to put application settings in the web.config file. While this may be the easiest development path, it will often require IT to manage simple settings. Instead, consider setting up a configuration store in the content tree and leverage that data for configuration. A simple example shown below demonstrates the storage of all labels as content items (instead of RESX or web.config).

4. Dynamic and nested placeholders

Sitecore pages are constructed using components, which are then added to placecholders. To get the most flexibility out of Sitecore you will need the ability to nest placeholders. We’ll not document the solution here, but you will want to check out this post http://www.techphoria414.com/Blog/2011/August/Dynamic_Placeholder_Keys_Prototype.

We have incorporated all of these features and more, in our Keystone Accelerator for Sitecore.

If you want to see Keystone in action check out our demo videos.