Sitecore Extranet Module

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May 30, 2014

Antecedent

Friends, romans, countrymen... et al, the Setting Up a Sitecore Extranet article I wrote in 2011 is one of my most trafficked. It occurred that many of you could benefit from the additional changes that I've made since then, so that those who are setting up your own system by hand could now benefit from a module that manages most of the process for you. For visual reference, I've made a video for a quick intro to the module.

There already exists an extranet module on the Sitecore Marketplace but I'm not the developer of it. Sitecore is. The documentation says it was created in 2007 for Sitecore 5.3. I've never used it so I can't speak to its efficacy. I'm presenting my own solution and you're free to choose which will work best for you.  

The Gist

You can download the Extranet Module on the Sitecore Marketplace. You can also download the Sitecore install package from Github and the full source is available here.

There are two wizards in this tool that are used to setup and remove extranets from individual sites. This implies it's support for a multisite installation. Depending on whether you're using the Multiple Site Manager or not, it will create attributes for the site nodes in the content tree or in include config files following the pattern Sitecore.Extranet.sites.<SiteName>.config. These attributes will allow you to specify the security role for the extranet, the prefix that will be added to usernames (so the same user can have separate accounts on separate sites), the from address emails are sent from and the number of login attempts before being blocked. By default the setup wizard creates them individually for each site but you can change them in the config or content tree depending on where your sites are managed. I only recommend you do so only after you understand all of what's affected (during installation, the operation of it and removal process). 

When adding and removing sites, you may need to know which sites already have an extranet applied. To help you quickly determine this, there's a listing on the "Extranet Settings" tab of the system settings item under /sitecore/System/Modules/Extranet.

Pimp My Ride

There's a set of templates that represent the page types that manage logging in, registering and managing account information. The templates themselves do not have presentation or security setup on them, although the form sublayouts are provided. They are, however, setup on the "example" branch set of templates provided. I designed it this way because each site may require their own presentation and security settings. The security is only applied to the login page and has a generic role set on it which is replaced during creation by the wizard with the new role created for that site.

The intention is that you would create your own branch (you could duplicate the example) and configure your own presentation settings. The security settings should be copied since they are a token value that is replaced with the specific site role during creation. This will allow you have different configurations for different types of sites. When you use the setup wizard, you will select which branch you want to use for the site you're adding it to. One item to note is that there is an account navigation sublayout that you should apply it to every page on your site. Currently it was added to the login page presentation settings just so that you'd know it's there but the best way to display it is to add it to a global location on a page or master page file. The account navigation is where the logout and edit account buttons are located so it's needed for a fully cyclical system (login and logout). It will automatically hide itself when a user is logged out so it won't be obtrusive to the existing site.   

When working with the sublayouts, you have the ability to create your own front end. You can decide how best to handle this. You could just alter the files provided or create new sublayout items/files and attach them to a new branch template. The default files are stored under /sitecore modules/web/extranet/. 
Much of the functionality can be modified also. On the base classes for the sublayouts many methods are marked virtual so that, if needed, you can also override and customize that locally too.  

Throughout the sublayouts used by the extranet, there's all types of field labels, error messages and other text that can be translated. 

The settings section contains a dictionary of these text items. With this you're able to populate versions of the items into the language each site will be using. If this doesn't meet your needs or you already have a dictionary that you manage, you can override the form text provider in the include Sitecore.Extranet.config and manage the form text in your own way.

Wrap Up

Although this does work with Sitecore 7.1 it's still built using Sheer UI. I don't have a firm enough grip on SPEAK to have created a version using it so it'll be a while before that happens, although I'm sure I'll end up with a series about how to do it. 

Live long and prosper.

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