Is EpiServer a hard-shelled clam or what?

As much as I seem to be enjoying my trip with EpiServer there are some little things I don’t seem to appreciate all that much and I’m not quite sure how to work around some of them in an elegant way.

EpiServer has a fairly advanced way of dealing with properties but it also seems to be a bit tough on the developer whenever you try to do something more than just strictly using its API-s. One of the areas I don’t really enjoy is the dealing with the pages that are expired or generally unavailable for the user for various reasons.

In the project that we’ve been implementing recently we needed to store page ids for further reference in numerous places and although this generally works, accessing a page that’s been deleted, expired or not published yet, has proven to be a challenge and I can’t seem to be able to find an elegant solution around it.

For instance, we have a list of bloggers, that are stored in our faceted navigation with links to their pages, our system lists them and the links to their pages, should someone’s page be unpublished yet – we run into problems.

Another good sample of where this is needed is a list of pages (A multi-page property of sorts). There seems to be no implementation of a multi-page property in EpiServer and the only reasonable implementation that I’ve been able to find is available through EpiCode. The following is it deals with the pages going in or out of the system, which leads me to think that the only way of checking whether a page is available for me is to instantiate it with all the consequences of it:

// get the page with error handling for // access denied or deleted page try { PageData page = Global.EPDataFactory.GetPage(pageref); isExternalLink = (page.StaticLinkURL != multipageLinkItem.Url); if (page != null && isExternalLink == false) _selectedPages.Add(page); } catch (PageNotFoundException notFoundEx) { // We should not add the page if it // does not exist } catch (EPiServer.Core.AccessDeniedException accessDeniedEx) { // User is not allowed to see page, skip it } catch (Exception ex) { // The page could not be loaded, for some other // reason. System.Diagnostics.Debug.Write("Page could not be loaded: " + pageref.ToString(), "PropertyMultiPage"); }

What I do not like about this part (of an otherwise remarkable piece) of code is that exceptions are not supposed to be the driving force of the program flow. But in this case they seem to have been forced to do it. It’s like I had to open a file to check its size or whether it even exists.

I can see why the system will not let me visit the page if I’m not allowed to do it as a user, but the fact that the API frowns at me whenever I even try to instantiate it just to check its existence or my rights to it has proven to be quite problematic. After all a user is not supposed to see a login screen in the list of pages, but rather when he/she enters a page that he/she no no rights to. Better yet, give me a way to check whether I even can access it.

Is there one already? Has anyone heard? Did anyone see?