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Chain Together Sitecore Client Commands using a Composite Command

Sitecore Technology MVP 2016
Sitecore MVP 2015
Sitecore MVP 2014

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Today, I procrastinated on doing chores around the house by exploring whether one could chain together Sitecore client commands in order to reduce the number of clicks and/or keypresses required when invoking these commands separately — combining the click of the ‘Save’ button followed by one of the publishing buttons would be an example of this.

Immediately, the composite design pattern came to mind for a candidate solution — you can read more about this pattern in the the Gang of Four’s book on design patterns.

This high-level plan of attack lead to the following custom composite command.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Xml;

using Sitecore.Configuration;
using Sitecore.Diagnostics;
using Sitecore.Shell.Framework.Commands;
using Sitecore.Text;

namespace Sitecore.Sandbox.Commands
{
    public class CompositeCommand : Command
    {
        public override void Execute(CommandContext commandContext)
        {
            IEnumerable<Command> commands = GetCommands();

            foreach (Command command in commands)
            {
                command.Execute(commandContext);
            }
        }

        protected IEnumerable<Command> GetCommands()
        {
            ListString commandNames = GetCommandNames();
            IList<Command> commands = new List<Command>();

            foreach(string commandName in commandNames)
            {
                AddToListIfNotNull(commands, CommandManager.GetCommand(commandName));
            }

            return commands;
        }

        private ListString GetCommandNames()
        {
            return new ListString(GetCommandsFieldValue(), '|');
        }

        private string GetCommandsFieldValue()
        {
            XmlNode xmlNode = Factory.GetConfigNode(string.Format("commands/command[@name='{0}']", Name));
            bool canGetCommands = xmlNode != null && xmlNode.Attributes["commands"] != null;

            if (canGetCommands)
            {
                return xmlNode.Attributes["commands"].Value;
            }
            
            return string.Empty;
        }

        private static void AddToListIfNotNull<T>(IList<T> list, T objectToAdd) where T : class
        {
            Assert.ArgumentNotNull(list, "list");
            if (objectToAdd != null)
            {
                list.Add(objectToAdd);
            }
        }
    }
}

The above command — using the Sitecore.Configuration.Factory class — gets its XML configuration element; parses the list of commands it wraps from a new attribute I’ve added — I’ve named this attribute “commands”; gets instances of these commands via Sitecore.Shell.Framework.Commands.CommandManager (from Sitecore.Kernel.dll); and invokes all Command instances’ Execute() methods consecutively — ordered from left to right, separated by pipes, in the “commands” attribute on the command XML element in /App_Config/Commands.config.

To test this out, I thought I’d create a composite command combining the item save command with the publish command — the command that launches the Publish Item Wizard.

I first had to wire up my new command by adding a new command XML element to /App_Config/Commands.config:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<configuration>
	<!-- bunch of commands up here --> 
	<command name="composite:savethenpublish" commands="contenteditor:save|item:publish" type="Sitecore.Sandbox.Commands.CompositeCommand,Sitecore.Sandbox"/>
</configuration>

Next, in the core db, I had to create a reference under the home strip:

save-publish-reference

Followed by a chunk containing a button that holds the name of our new command:

save-publish-chunk-button

Let’s see this new composite command in action. I did the following:

save-and-publish-item

After the Sitecore save animation completed, the Publish Item Wizard popped up:

save-publish-item-2

Now, it’s time for some fun. Let’s combine commands that make little sense in chaining together.

Let’s chain together:

  1. the command I built in my post on expanding Standard Values tokens
  2. the command to move an item before all its siblings in the content tree
  3. the command to move an item down in the content tree

Here’s what the command’s configuration looks like in /App_Config/Commands.config:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<configuration>
	<!-- bunch of commands up here --> 
	<command name="composite:chainsomeunrelatedcommands" commands="item:expandtokens|item:movefirst|item:movedown" type="Sitecore.Sandbox.Commands.CompositeCommand,Sitecore.Sandbox"/>
</configuration>

I decided to add this to the item context menu — for more information on adding to the context menu for items, please check out my post that shows you how to do this — so I created new menu option in the context menu for items in the core database:

chain-command-context-menu-option

I switched back to the master database; added some Standard Values tokens to some fields in the Page 4 item I created for testing; right-clicked on on it; and clicked my new context menu option:

chain-context-menu-option-invoke

After a second or two, I saw that the tokens were expanded, and the item was moved:

chain-context-menu-option-finished

That’s all for now. It’s now time to go do some house chores. Otherwise, people might start thinking I’m truly addicted to building things in Sitecore. 🙂

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2 Comments

  1. […] IDTable Entries Across Multiple Sitecore Databases Using a Composite IDTableProvider and Chain Together Sitecore Client Commands using a Composite Command — I used the Composite design pattern to chain together functionality in two or more classes […]

  2. […] decided to revisit a post I wrote over two years ago on chaining together client commands — these are invoked via the […]

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