Custom Permissions Pt II – Using custom permissions with Conditional Renderings In Sitecore

Following on from my previous post on Creating Custom Permissions in Sitecore. I thought I would expand this to show a typical use case a little more. More than once I have had the requirement to show ‘non-logged-in’ users an alternative version of a page (think experts exchange where you have to sign in to see the answer to a question). This by default in Sitecore is not so tricky, but you cannot simply do it by preventing read permissions to an item.

I have chosen to base this functionality on Conditional Renderings as, in Sitecore’s out of the box functionality, it already allows us to hide / change the datasource of pieces of presentation.
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Rules Queries Pt III – What can we use rules queries for ?

Ok – so in Rules Queries Pt I we looked at the basic idea of Rules Based Queries for Sitecore. I followed this up with Rules Queries Pt II and we looked at how we can get results from a Rule we have defined. In both of these examples – I was mainly covering the idea behind the solution. Lets take that a little further and have a little think about WHERE we can actually use this functionality in our Sitecore sites.

For those who dont know, you can find Rules Queries for Sitecore here on Github
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Rules Queries Pt II – Using Sitecore Rules Queries in Code

Ok, so – Cardinal Rules Queries has recently had a beta release, you can find it here. It allows you to leverage the power of the rules engine in Sitecore to build queries based on Lucene.Net, and if you choose – other search tools. Please see my initial post Sitecore Rules Queries Pt I for a bit more information.

Following on from this, I thought I would write a quick article on how you actually use it in code. Please note this is subject to change, but is correct at the time of posting.
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Rules Engine Lucene Queries Pt I

During the course of the Sitecore installations (versions 6.2 – 7.2) I have been involved with, I have been asked to allow users to be able to select the results of their data for themselves. In later versions Sitecore have achieved this using the newer Search dialogs. I will come out and state that I haven’t really found the search dialogs too helpful as a user myself, and that I don’t see the content editors using them all that much either.

It has struck me since I first began using Sitecore that the rules engine could be an obvious potential solution to this issue. The basis being that you create a ‘query’ item, this item is then used as a datasource / basis item for your renderings (or sublayouts in older installations). I also considered the idea of combining the rules engine with Lucene / Solr in order to retrieve results based on the selection the user makes – after all, that’s what we are kinda doing as developers in any case.

I first started messing with the rules engine – shown in this post Searching with the rules engine in Sitecore. This was great and really started to show the potential. I also realised quickly that users would need to be able to test their queries from within the engine, so after a little work, I settled on a dialog that looked like this:

Rules Queries

Just for fun – the core engine that drives this is using a simple visitor pattern and could be utilised for other data – I am currently also experimenting with my mongo L2 cache with extended linking 😀

In the next post, I will describe how to use the results of your rules queries in renderings / sublayouts or other tasks.

EDIT: For those who dont know, you can find Rules Queries for Sitecore here on Github
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Driving Lucinq or Lucene.Net Search With The Sitecore Rules Engine

In this post I will be looking at how to drive a lucene search by using the Sitecore Rules engine.

Pretty much since I started using Sitecore, I have found that Lucene has been the get out of jail when it comes to performance. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I used Sitecore queries or the item axes. As a developer I have always been happy to write such methods as GetDescendants(ID itemId, ID templateId).

What about giving this power to the user though?

The rules engine in its default form is a great tool but executing a rule against a bunch of items becomes a iterative process and often can carry a performance penalty. This got me thinking – could I use the rules engine to drive the Sitecore Search Layer?
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