React to Sitecore events with PowerShell scripts

PsRocket Kieranties must be the biggest PowerShell nerd (together with yours truly) I’ve had a privilege to chat with (I guess this implies I talk to myself?). So it shouldn’t be a surprise when the two started talking PowerShell/Sitecore pixie dust started sparkling.

This time – events integration.

What does it take to integrate PowerShell with Sitecore events?

This is a fairly easy task that Sitecore pretty thoroughly describes in the “Using Events” SDN article. So there is little point for me to reiterate it here.

The integration requires to add some entries to the include files. I’ve added definitions for most of the item related events to the Cognifide.PowerShell.config file, but commented them out, because I don’t want you to have any performance penalty associated with the PowerShell Console installation and by default it has some scripts defined for you to try out.. All you need to do to enable it is to uncomment the <events> section of the config file and scripts will start firing up.

Implementation is pretty straightforward – the console has well defined place within its script libraries where your scripts should be placed:

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One thing I always wanted to add to the Cognifide PowerShell Console for Sitecore but never had the chance to investigate properly, was GUI and user interaction. For example in a regular PowerShell console when an irreversible action needs to be taken or one that user needs to be notified about – a question is asked:

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Unfortunately due to the stateless and non-persistent nature of HTTP connections this is not easily achievable in Sitecore Sheer environment especially since in our case a PowerShell session usually lives in a separate thread within a Sitecore Job.

I knew this had to be achievable as Sitecore allows for rich interaction with user e.g. during a package installation process but I could not find any documentation regarding this subject, and my Sitecore gurus’ posts were pretty discouraging in that regard:

But heck(!) Somehow the package Installer manages to show those pesky Overwrite/Merge/Skip dialogs, right?

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Not discouraged by the early discoveries, I’ve dusted my trusty copy of Reflector and dived inside the installer code. Following are the findings of my investigations and sample solutions for using them with your Jobs.

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Posted in .Net Framework, ASP.NET, Code Samples, PowerShell, Sitecore, Software Development, Solution, Web applications
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There are 2 more ways I’ve managed to find and implement that you can control data sources with PowerShell:

  • rendering data source roots
  • rendering data source itself

The motivation would be similar to what I’ve described in the “Part 1” blog post. So without further ado let’s cut to the meat…

Rendering Data Source Roots

You might want your roots to be dynamic and you can deliver those using a PowerShell script!

Sitecore allows you to specify a place in the content tree where content for your rendering or sublayout can be selected from. More over it allows you to specify more than one of those roots. What’s even greater – this is done through a pipeline defined in web.config, which means we can hook into it with… PowerShell!

A cool part of the experience is that you can have multiple roots, which means that your scripts can be more liberal in what roots they expose.

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