Hello Alchemy4Tridion

About a year ago I made a move to join the folks at Content Bloom, and although change is something that usually terrifies me, I don’t think there could have been a better choice that I could have made. There is nothing that I can say that would do any justice at describing this past year. My colleagues are all legends and some of the most brilliant, enthusiastic, and encouraging people that I have worked with. I’ve gotten to participate on some exciting projects at various clients. I’ve gotten to hang out with my fellow Bloomers at Global Summits, MVP Retreats, Tridion User Groups, and other events. And for the first time, I got to witness the all too often loosely thrown around phrase of “we culture innovation and creativity in our employees” to be held true to the highest extent. So rather than continuing to hear me gush on about the company that I work for, let me introduce the latest project that we at Content Bloom are proud to present…

What is Alchemy4Tridion?

There’s been a lot of features and thought put into Alchemy4Tridion (aka A4T) and there’s even more on the roadmap that we have planned for it, which makes describing what A4T is and isn’t a little difficult as it continues to grow and evolve.

Plugin Framework

At its core, Alchemy4Tridion is a plugin and extension framework that allows developers to create plugins that extend Tridion through its various extension points, while removing a lot of the pain and frustration that most developers face while attempting to hack away at building one (see Frank’s description of how he feels this process works in the GUI Extensions are so… section of his article). The framework does away with a lot of the boiler plate code and configuration hell while trying to be as direct and to the point of “just the minimum amount” as to what items your plugin actually requires.

It also introduces new ways to install your extensions which in turn reduces the amount of time needed… one click installation of plugins from the Web Store (see Repository section) or drag and dropping plugin files right to the GUI.

Plugin Manager

Alchemy4Tridion manages all of the plugins that are installed, allowing you to easily view, configure, and uninstall plugins without leaving the comforts of the Tridion GUI.

Plugin Repository

The Alchemy Web Store introduces a repository collection of all plugins that are available for Alchemy4Tridion. Developers can upload their plugins, and organizations can then search and find the plugins that they wish to have in order to transmute Tridion into the Content Management System of their dreams. Depending on the network an organization is behind, users can also search the plugins via Alchemy4Tridion as well as click the “Install” button to install them!

Review System

To provide a level of trust to organizations, plugins uploaded to the Web Store must go through a review process before they are publicly listed and downloadable. This initial set of reviews is done by the Alchemy team itself. The Web Store also provides means so that users can both rate and provide comments on plugins that are available for your research, as well as metrics to see how popular certain plugins are and how many others are using it.

Community

More than just a framework and web store, Alchemy is a community of developers, partners, customers, and end users working together to ensure not only quality of plugins found at the Web Store but growth of the framework and tooling. More features are on the road map to make contributing and participating in the community both fun and rewarding.

Implementation & Development Tooling

Last but not least, Alchemy4Tridion can be considered a tool set to aid developers in Tridion implementations to streamline their efforts for more efficient results and best practices, whether it be from plugins that provide the features they need or via Visual Studio extensions (planned features) to provide tools and utilities to assist, validate, and automate their development efforts.

Join the Community

Stay tuned for more articles about Alchemy! And if any of this seems interesting so far, it would be a pleasure to have you join the community in our current testing phase to help Alchemy progress towards its 1.0 release.

To download, please register at www.alchemywebstore.com and then click the download link in the right hand column. Then just run the MSI installer on your CMS instance!

To read up more on Alchemy4Tridion usage, walk throughs, and APIs, check out our online documentation!

Or if you just want just want to see an example of a plugin project, check out our HelloWorld sample or explore the A4T project on GitHub.

Related Links

Announcing the Alchemy Web Store
Installing Alchemy4Tridion

Content Bloom Global Summit 2014

Content Bloom Sign

Our sign outside of our Halifax location

This past week has been such an extraordinary week with the rest of the Bloomers at the Content Bloom Global Summit, our annual company event. While last year they held the event in the charming Belgium spot, this year was hosted at the beautiful Halifax location in Nova Scotia. The events were a week long experience, arriving on Sunday and leaving the following Sunday, filled with socializing, team bonding, training, presentations, workshops, demos, and just great fun. Every person got to give a couple of presentations that they specialize in, and the group itself was very active in participating and asking questions. And with a group like Content Bloom, many great questions and conversations were had for each presentation!

Group photo at Peggy's Cove!

Group photo at Peggy’s Cove!

This year’s topics included Tridion Templating, DD4T, Media Manager, Advanced Tridion Architectures, TCDL, Event System, Core Service API Usage, Workflow, and other cool Tridion items. Other presentations included advanced .NET and Java development, Java for .NET guys, front end development, and overviews of the company and its processes in general.

Rob himself talking about Tridion's TCDL tags at the Halifax office.

Rob himself talking about Tridion’s TCDL tags at the Halifax office.

An outdoor presentation by Primmer on Tridion Workflow after a rocky coastline hike! He was threatened to be thrown in if the presentation sucked.

An outdoor presentation by Primmer on Tridion Workflow after a rocky coastline hike! He was threatened to be thrown in if the presentation sucked.

But of course the week wasn’t just about learning, it was getting to know one another and seeing each other face to face. Our evenings were spent going on runs through hilly forests, going on hikes, diving into lakes and freezing cold ocean waters, exploring the local sites and scenery, beach lounging, barbecuing at Nick’s house, and of course being the group that we are, much much pub crawling! There was also some climbing up something they call The Wave, a concrete sculpture that just beckons you to reach the top of it (even though there are signs saying not to climb). I’m sure it was a hilarious sight for any passerby, a large group in the middle of a slightly drizzly night running up a concrete slope and nearly breaking their necks as they slipped and came tumbling back down. I also attempted to skateboard (or long board?) for the first time ever, which resulted in me doing the splits and learning how not to stop yourself while speeding up down a hill.

Some much needed relaxation on a beach after an intense week of presentations and training!

Some much needed relaxation on a beach after an intense week of presentations and training!

Much thanks to John, Nick, Miles and Oksana for organizing and running the event! It was an incredible experience of a week and an honor to be among such a talented and fun group of peers!

Our last night of the summit at "Your Father's Moustache"

Our last night of the summit at “Your Father’s Moustache”