eWorld.UI - Matt Hawley

Ramblings of Matt

Using Razor Pages with WebForms Master Pages

January 7, 2011 14:56 by matthaw

There's been some recent chatter about mixing ASP.NET MVC with WebForms, which is something I'm all too familiar with. This setup works just fine, but what if you wanted to use the new Razor view engine within ASP.NET MVC? A bit of backstory.

 

On a secondary project that I work on within Microsoft, we were given the ability to rewrite the entire UI of the application in ASP.NET MVC. At that time, the first beta of MVC3 was rolling out and we decided to take our first plunge and use the Razor view engine. Unfortunately, the common UI layout that is shared across multiple properties that we had to use was WebForms based. Our attempts to convince the developers of the common UI components to support more of a modularized infrastructure failed for any foreseeable future, so we were left with the conundrum of figuring out an intermediary solution.

 

After discussions with the ASP.NET team to see if using a Razor view where it's layout was a WebForms master page was or could be a supported scenario - the general consensus being "No". The primary reason is that WebForms and Razor pages have a completely different architecture and runtime execution model (renders from a control tree vs. mostly-single pass template, respectively). However, what ASP.NET MVC does allow is context switching between view engines based on partials that are rendered. With that in mind, I decided to see if a partial based implementation could be achieved.

 

The solution is fairly simple, and provides an easy upgrade path if and when you could ditch the WebForms master page. We'll start by creating a few extensions to the controller for rendering Razor based views. The reason we're doing this, is so that a WebForms based view can be rendered, while you think you're rendering a Razor based view.

 

   1:  public static ViewResult RazorView(this Controller controller)
   2:  {
   3:      return RazorView(controller, null, null);
   4:  }
   5:   
   6:  public static ViewResult RazorView(this Controller controller, object model)
   7:  {
   8:      return RazorView(controller, null, model);
   9:  }
  10:   
  11:  public static ViewResult RazorView(this Controller controller, string viewName)
  12:  {
  13:      return RazorView(controller, viewName, null);
  14:  }
  15:   
  16:  public static ViewResult RazorView(this Controller controller, string viewName, object model)
  17:  {
  18:      if (model != null)
  19:          controller.ViewData.Model = model;
  20:   
  21:      controller.ViewBag._ViewName = GetViewName(controller, viewName);
  22:   
  23:      return new ViewResult
  24:      {
  25:          ViewName = "RazorView",
  26:          ViewData = controller.ViewData,
  27:          TempData = controller.TempData
  28:      };
  29:  }
  30:   
  31:  static string GetViewName(Controller controller, string viewName)
  32:  {
  33:      return !string.IsNullOrEmpty(viewName)
  34:          ? viewName
  35:          : controller.RouteData.GetRequiredString("action");
  36:  }

 

The thing to note from above, is that we're actually rendering a view called "RazorView" specifying the actual view to be rendered on ViewBag._ViewName. This value will later be used to render the appropriate RazorView.

Side note: This is a naive implementation of GetViewName assuming that if you do not specify the view name, you're rendering a view with the same action name from the route data. This may not be correct in all places, but seems to work reasonably well.

You'll also need to create a "RazorView" WebForms view in the Shared directory which inherits from your master page. This view will ultimately render the Razor view as a partial defined by your action result. I've also created a Razor layout page that all Razor views will use to alleviate the issue of having to touch each view if and when a conversion to only the Razor view engine takes place. You'll find each of the view files below.

 

Shared/Site.Master:

   1:  <%@ Master Language="C#" Inherits="System.Web.Mvc.ViewMasterPage" %>
   2:  <!DOCTYPE html>
   3:  <html>
   4:  <head runat="server">
   5:      <title><asp:ContentPlaceHolder ID="TitleContent" runat="server" /></title>
   6:  </head>
   7:  <body>
   8:      <div>
   9:          <asp:ContentPlaceHolder ID="MainContent" runat="server" />
  10:      </div>
  11:  </body>
  12:  </html>

Shared/_SiteLayout.cshtml:

   1:  @RenderBody()

Shared/RazorView.aspx:

   1:  <%@ Page Title="" Language="C#" MasterPageFile="~/Views/Shared/Site.Master"
   2:      Inherits="System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage<dynamic>" %>
   3:   
   4:  <asp:Content ID="Content2" ContentPlaceHolderID="MainContent" runat="server">
   5:      <% Html.RenderPartial((string) ViewBag._ViewName); %>
   6:  </asp:Content>

Home/Index.cshtml:

   1:  @{
   2:      Layout = "~/Views/Shared/_SiteLayout.cshtml";
   3:  }
   4:   
   5:  <h2>This is the index page</h2>

 

What you'll notice, is that it's not possible to utilize Razor content sections to render different parts from the WebForms master page. However, you are able to use Razor content sections from the Razor layout file since you're in that model. If you do have to render multiple WebForm content sections, you may need to make things a bit more elaborate by specifying specific content areas manually. Ultimately, I wouldn't recommend that, and just try to limit your output to a main content panel.

 

Within your controller, your action result is simply:

   1:  public ActionResult Index()
   2:  {
   3:      return this.RazorView();
   4:  }

 

While this solution isn't optimal, it does allow you to utilize Razor views while still adhering to a common WebForms master page. If possible, I recommend not doing this, but sometimes (like in our solution) you have to do what is necessary. If your master pages are simple enough (and primarily just layout), I fully recommend having a WebForms master page and a Razor layout page. Regardless, the way this has been setup, migration to a Razor only architecture is fairly trivial - just simply change all this.RazorView() calls to View() calls and copy over your layout to _SiteLayout.cshtml.

 

Click here to download the source for this solution.



WikiPlex 2.0 Released

November 9, 2010 12:28 by matthaw
In addition to blogging, I'm also using Twitter. Follow me @matthawley

 

WikiPlex has hit another major milestone with this release. Since releasing version 1.4, I really started off by adding several new features preparing for what would be a 1.5 release. However, as I took a look at the implementation of WikiPlex, I realized that it needed a bit of love to make the API more consistent for both it's own consumption, but also for the end-user developer. So, with that - upgrading to version 2.0 from 1.x is not a simple xcopy deployment of the new DLL as the entry point has slightly changed, as well as a bit of namespace restructuring (more on both later). Because of these breaking changes, it was time for WikiPlex to turn 2.

  1. Breaking Changes from v1.x
    1. All renderers have been moved into the namespace WikiPlex.Formatting.Renderers from WikiPlex.Formatting. This also includes the IRenderer interface.
    2. The following interfaces have been removed: IMacroCompiler, IMacroParser, and IFormatter. Ultimately, there was no reason to have interfaces for these other than for unit testing purposes.
    3. The classes MacroParser and MacroFormatter have been renamed to Parser and Formatter, respectively.
  2. New Features
    1. There is a new base Renderer class that encapsulates and simplifies common implementations. See the updated documentation for more information about this new implementation. Additionally, you can browse the WikiPlex source for more concrete examples.
    2. Ordered and Unordered lists can now be interleaved.
      • For example: level one can be Ordered items while level two can be Unordered items, etc.
      • The macros OrderedListMacro and UnorderedListMacro have been merged into a single ListMacro.
      • Intermixing of different list types on the same level is unsupported.
    3. Images can now contain height and width parameters on the image resource.
      • Similarly to other macros, they're specified as "http://foo.com/image.gif,height=220,width=380".
      • You can use any unit type - ie Pixel, Percent, etc.
    4. A new multi-line indentation macro was added with the syntax of :{ . :} so that content that normally spanned multiple lines (tables, lists, etc) can be indented.
      • The :{ and :} need to be placed on separate lines encapsulating the content.
      • You can have N number of colons to indicate level of indentation.
      • The number of starting and ending colons must match in order for the macro to be valid.
    5. Headings can now be indented on a single line by simply specifying the indentation macro, ie ": ! Heading"
    6. Two new overloads were added to IWikiEngine that accept an IEnumerable<IRenderer>. This is an exclusive list the engine will use to format, similarly to overload that takes macros.
    7. The ScopeRendered event on Formatter now also includes RendredContent.
    8. The sample application now supports unicode characters as internal wiki page links.

You can find more information about this release by visiting the project homepage. Go and get it now either by NuGet or via CodePlex!



WikiPlex 1.4 Released

August 24, 2010 18:26 by matthaw
In addition to blogging, I'm also using Twitter. Follow me @matthawley

 

I’ve finally decided that it was time to do another WikiPlex release. It’s been awhile since the last release (March of this year), but a lot of things have changed over time that I finally officially package a new version up. The CodePlex website continues to use WikiPlex, and I’m very excited to see the success of this project over time.

Here’s what you’ll find in WikiPlex 1.4:

  1. Infrastructure Changes
    1. .NET 4 and .NET 3.5 support (separate downloads)
    2. Sample website updated to ASP.NET MVC 2
    3. Added support to install via Nu / RubyGems (nu install wikiplex)
    4. void IFormatter.Format(string, StringBuilder) is marked as obsolete. Should utilize string IFormatter.Format(string) instead
  2. New Features
    1. Added support for Silverlight 4, as the default version
    2. Added support for gpuAcceleration for Silverlight 3/4
    3. Added support for Vimeo videos
  3. Bug Fixes
    1. Runaway syntax highlighting will be killed after 5 seconds resulting in no syntax highlighting.
    2. Multi-line comments are properly syntax highlighted for Powershell code
    3. Fixed table rendering bug when a cell contains links with alternate text
    4. Encoded new line characters are now properly interpreted and replaced with line breaks.
    5. "Cleared" elements after aligned content are now properly rendering appropriate spacing.
    6. Fixed "++" not being rendered as plain-text (ie, C++)

You can find more information about this release by visiting the project homepage. Go and get it now either by Nu or via CodePlex!



Mercurial Conversion from Team Foundation Server

March 16, 2010 09:12 by matthaw
In addition to blogging, I'm also using Twitter. Follow me @matthawley

One of my many (almost) daily tasks when working on the CodePlex platform since releasing Mercurial as a supported version control system, is converting projects from Team Foundation Server (TFS) to Mercurial. I'm happy to say that of all the conversions I have done since mid-January, the success rate of migrating full source history is about 95%. To get to this success point, I have had to learn and refine several techniques utilizing a few different tools to get the job done. Before I jump into the meat of the post, there are several setup tasks that need to be done first.

 

Configuring Mercurial

Mercurial comes with a pre-packaged extension, convert, which supports nearly all major version control systems (Subversion, CVS, git, Darcs, Bazaar, Monotone, GNU Arch, and yes - even itself). Because this is an extension, you need to enable it in the Mercurial configuration. Open the Mercurial.ini file located at C:\Users\<UserName> and add the following lines

[extensions]
convert =

Once this is saved, you can test if this extension is working by typing the command hg help convert If things are configured correctly, it should display the help information regarding the convert extension.

 

Conversion Setup

Mercurial's convert extension allows you to have somewhat full control when performing the conversion. These options include mapping usernames, including/excluding certain paths, and renaming branches. These configuration options are to our advantage since TFS requires Active Directory and stores all commits in the format of DOMAIN\User (though this format is perfectly acceptable, it's not ideal). Utilizing the ability to map usernames, create a new text file named auths.txt and start adding your mappings:

CONTOSO\Joe = Joe
CONTOSO\Mark = Mark

It is only necessary to add username mappings that appear in the TFS source history. Later, you will see how this username mapping file is used.

 

Utilizing SvnBridge

The first approach I take for doing project conversion for CodePlex, which has a success rate of 85%, is using the hosted SvnBridge. From the command line type the following

hg convert --authors auth.txt https://xunitcontrib.svn.codeplex.com/svn xunitcontrib

If the conversion works, your project will be successfully converted to Mercurial. It is recommended that you view the log history to ensure everything is in order. Should anyone continue to check in sources, just re-run the conversion on the already-converted Mercurial repository, and it will convert anything new.

 

Utilizing A Suite of Tools

Should the hosted SvnBridge not work, or you have TFS hosted elsewhere, the process is not nearly as straight forward and requires the use of several tools. Download and install the following

  • tfs2svn - This converts TFS history into Subversion history
  • VisualSVN Server - Used as the intermediary Subversion repository store
  • TortoiseSVN - Used for storing the Subversion credentials as well as admin tasks

After you have installed all of these tools (and probably rebooted your machine), follow these steps.

 

Step 1: Create an empty repository in VisualSVN Server. This is where the history from TFS will be migrated to as an intermediary step. Make sure that you do not select Create default structure (trunk, branches, tags). If you accidently check this option your import via tfs2svn will fail because it is expecting an empty repository.

 

Step 2: On the newly created repository open the Manage Hooks dialog by Right Clicking Repository -> All Tasks -> Manage Hooks... Edit the Pre-revision property change hook by entering a single carriage return. This is necessary for enabling hook which allows tfs2svn to rewrite the history in Subversion. If the hook is enabled correctly, it will become bolded in the list of available hooks. Click OK to discard the dialog, and restart the VisualSVN server by Right Clicking VisualSVN Server -> Restart

 

Step 3: You now need to add a user account to VisualSVN server so that tfs2svn can authenticate and import the history. In VisualSVN, right click Users and select Create User. Type in a easy-to-remember username and password and click OK. How tfs2svn operates, is that it uses cached Subversion credentials for the import. The easiest way of caching your credentials, is checking out your new Subversion repository. When prompted for credentials, ensure the checkbox Save Authentication is checked.

 

Step 4: Launch tfs2svn and start filling in the connection information to your TFS and Subversion servers. Once the information is correctly filled out, click the Convert button and wait while it starts extracting the history from TFS and importing it into your Subversion repository.

 

image

Step 5: Once the tfs2svn process has been completed, you can view the history of the Subversion repository. One thing you'll notice, is that tfs2svn prefixes all commit messages with "[TFS Changeset #12345]". There are also some instances where tfs2svn will add "tfs2svn: " as a commit message as well. If you don't care if your Mercurial repository will have these messages, skip to step 6 - otherwise continue on.

 

image 

To remove the erroneous commit messages, you will need to rewrite the Subversion log using administrative tools. The process follows

  1. Get an XML log of the repository history
  2. For each logentry in the XML log get the msg content and remove the messages
  3. Create a temporary file writing the updated log message to it
  4. Call the setlog command on the executable svnadmin passing in the path to the temporary file in step 3.

As you can see, this is a tedious process - so I automated it with a Powershell script (downloadable here). The script assumes that your VisualSVN server can be accessed at https://localhost/svn/<RepositoryName> as well as the physical path of your VisualSVN repositories are located at C:\Repositories. Once you have updated the script, place it in %My Documents%\WindowsPowerShell, open a Powershell command prompt and type rewrite-log RepositoryName

Note: If you view the Subversion log again, you may notice that the message for each revision still contains the content we were trying to strip off. If this is the case, don't worry - the history has been rewritten, and you may be viewing a cached version of the repository.

 

Step 6: Now that you have your repository migrated to Subversion and you have rewritten the log , you can now convert it into a Mercurial repository. Using the same syntax as SvnBridge conversion earlier, type the following on you command line

hg convert --authors auth.txt https://localhost/svn/xunitcontrib xunitcontrib

image

 

Once completed, you will have a full history of your TFS repository converted to Mercurial! You can now start using your local repository immediately or push the history to a central repository for others to start using.

 

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WikiPlex v1.3 Released

March 11, 2010 17:53 by matthaw
In addition to blogging, I'm also using Twitter. Follow me @matthawley

 

It's been a many months since the last release of WikiPlex, but its only because there hasn't been a lot of churn recently.  I've very happy where WikiPlex is at, and it continues to be a very integral part of the CodePlex website!

 

Here's what you'll find in WikiPlex v1.3:

  1. Documentation - This new documentation includes
    1. Full Markup Guide with Examples
    2. Articles on Extending WikiPlex
    3. API Documentation
  2. Video Macro - This macro was updated to support Channel9 Videos.
  3. Syntax Highlight Support - One more language has been included:
    1. {code:powershell} ... Your Powershell Code ... {code:powershell

This time I did what I promised two releases ago, provided some good documentation. I even went so far as creating another open-source project called WikiMaml which will take wiki syntax and convert it to Sandcastle MAML output. The project isn't full proof, and not where I want it to end up, but it is working great within WikiPlex to generate all of the non-API documentation. As always, if you have any ideas for new macros or extensibility points, please post them in the issue tracker and I'll make sure to look at them!

Now, go and download WikiPlex v1.3!



Extending WikiPlex with Scope Augmenters

March 10, 2010 10:40 by matthaw
In addition to blogging, I'm also using Twitter. Follow me @matthawley

 

This post is long overdue, but as I'm preparing the v1.3 release of WikiPlex and working on documentation (yes, I did say documentation) I realized that another extension point with WikiPlex was not covered. This last, important (but rarely used) part is extending with Scope Augmenters. Scope Augmenters allow you to post process the collection of scopes to further augment, or insert/remove, new scopes prior to being rendered. WikiPlex comes with 3 out-of-the-box Scope Augmenters that it uses for indentation, tables, and lists. For reference, I'll be explaining how and why the IndentationScopeAugmenter was created.

 

Why Its Needed

The IndentationMacro allows for an arbitrary indentation level indicated by the number of colons that are placed a the beginning of the line. Let's take a look at the primary macro rule:

new MacroRule(@"(^:+\s)[^\r\n]+((?:\r\n)?)$",
              new Dictionary<int, string>
              {
                 {1, ScopeName.IndentationBegin},
                 {2, ScopeName.IndentationEnd}
              });

As you can see, we're capturing any number of colons at the beginning, but our ending scope knows nothing of the how many defined levels there are. If you can imagine, knowing nothing about your the beginning scope when rendering to correctly render the ending is not a trivial task without context. This is the exact reason a Scope Augmenter is used, it has that context.

 

Ultimately, we would like the input

:: I am content

to be rendered as

<blockquote><blockquote>I am content</blockquote></blockquote>

 

Create a Scope Augmenter

Scope Augmenters can be as easy as you need to make it, but can also be fairly difficult - point of example, the supplied ListScopeAugmenter requires a complex algorithm to correctly identify levels, nested levels, and determining when to start new lists. When creating a Scope Augmenter, it will take in the associated macro, the current list of scopes, and the current content returning a new list of scopes to be rendered. In your solution, create a class called IndentationScopeAugmenter and extend it from WikIPlex.Parsing.IScopeAugmenter. You'll then implement the Augment method.

   1:  public IList<Scope> Augment(IMacro macro, IList<Scope> capturedScopes, string content)
   2:  {
   3:      var augmentedScopes = new List<Scope>(capturedScopes.Count);
   4:   
   5:      int insertAt = 0;
   6:      for (int i = 0; i < capturedScopes.Count; i = i + 2)
   7:      {
   8:          Scope begin = capturedScopes[i];
   9:          Scope end = capturedScopes[i + 1];
  10:   
  11:          string beginContent = content.Substring(begin.Index, begin.Length);
  12:          int depth = Utility.CountChars(':', beginContent);
  13:   
  14:          for (int j = 0; j < depth; j++)
  15:          {
  16:              augmentedScopes.Insert(insertAt, begin);
  17:              augmentedScopes.Add(end);
  18:          }
  19:   
  20:          insertAt = augmentedScopes.Count;
  21:      }
  22:   
  23:      return augmentedScopes;
  24:  }

The Indentation begin / end scopes always come in a sequential pair, which is why I'm able to grab the begin and end scope in lines 8 and 9. Next, you'll see that we need to determine the depth to indent, so we grab the beginning content (which ultimately will be a string containing only colons). In line 12, we count the number of colons there are, which gives us our depth count. Lines 14 - 18 are adding the N-1 listing of IndentationBegin and IndentationEnd scopes. The method then returns this, newly augmented, list of scopes. Basically the augmentation goes from

 

ScopeName.IndentationBegin,
ScopeName.IndentationEnd

to

ScopeName.IndentationBegin,
ScopeName.IndentationBegin,
ScopeName.IndentationEnd,
ScopeName.IndentationEnd

 

Registering a Scope Augmenter

Just as registering macros and renderers, there is (only) a static endpoint. Since augmenters should not rely on runtime dependencies, there is no runtime equivalent of using scope augmenters. When you register a Scope Augmenter, it is always associated with a single macro type, and during parsing, the WikiPlex parser will query for the Scope Augmenter that is associated with the current macro being used. To register your Scope Augmenter, have the following code in your application startup method

ScopeAugmenters.Register<IndentationMacro, IndentationScopeMacro>();

When you call the WikiEngine.Render("content"), it will automatically pick up all registered Scope Augmenters and use them during parsing.

 

Summary

You now have a fully functioning macro / augmenter / renderer that will take an arbitrary depth and have it render correctly. As previously stated, WikiPlex also ships two other Scope Augmenters, ListScopeAugmenter and TableScopeAugmenter, which have a bit more logic associated with them. While Scope Augmenters allow you to manipulate the list of scopes prior to rendering, they should only be used in certain situations in which you cannot capture the correct set of conditions or are unable to contextually determine rendering based on separate scopes.

 

Download WikiPlex now!



WikiPlex v1.2 Released

October 8, 2009 13:46 by matthaw

It's been a few months since the last release of WikiPlex, but I honestly have good reasons - paternity leave! This updated version has taken in a lot of user feedback and put it into action - so thank you for contributing ideas. Since the last release, there's been a steady download of the binaries/source code on a day-to-day basis, and am very happy where it is in the ecosystem.

 

Here's what you'll find in WikiPlex v1.2:

  1. Indentation Macro - This new macro adds support for blockquote indentation. Utilize it similar to the ordered/unordered list macros with the colon character. See this documentation for an example on how to use it.
  2. Silverlight Macro - This macro was updated to support:
    1. Any type of height/width unit (px, pc, pt, em, %, etc).
    2. Require Silverlight 3 as the default. You can optionally revert back to Silverlight 2 with the version=2 parameter.
    3. Support for initialization parameters by supplying any additional key/value parameters in the macro
  3. Video Macro - This macro was updated to support:
    1. A height/width supporting any type (px, pc, pt, em %, etc)
    2. Videos will not auto-start by default.
    3. Soapbox support has been removed
  4. Syntax Highlight Support - Two more languages have been included:
    1. {code:c++} ...Your C++ Code... {code:c++}
    2. {code:java} ...Your Java Code... {code:java}
  5. Updated Sample Application - A WebForms variant was added to the sample application. It can be found under the /WebForms directory.

Unfortunately, I didn't get around to documenting the API, but I've not heard of anyone commenting they can't figure it out - so maybe it'll still happen sometime in the future. As always, if you have any ideas for new macros or extensibility points, please post them in the issue tracker and I'll make sure to look at them!

 

Now, go and download WikiPlex v1.2! Also, don't forget to follow me on Twitter @matthawley

 

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WikiPlex v1.1 Released

August 4, 2009 18:31 by matthaw

It's only been a few weeks since the v1.0 release, but a lot of work has gone into a new release of CodePlex's embeddable wiki engine, WikiPlex. The time in between has not been without a few highlights, including (detailed stats):

  • Over 500 combined downloads of the v1.0 engine and sample application
  • Roughly 175 downloads of the source code (not including SVN enlistments)
  • Over 8000 page views / 2200 visits of the project site
  • SoftPedia picking up WikiPlex (Download WikiPlex Free Open Source Wiki Engine from Microsoft)
  • WikiPlex being already integrated in several projects (SWiki / Umbraco)

I didn't have a long-term plan for revamping the wiki engine (I actually still don't!), but I did have several focuses for the short term that I wanted to achieve, including Mono compatibility, refactoring the macro parsing to enable more extensibility into the engine, and general "clean-up" tasks that I've been wanting to do. So, what's new in v1.1?

  1. Mono Compatibility - The WikiPlex source has been tested against the 2.4.2.1 release of Mono running on Linux. The source cleanly compiles and runs the sample application (note: you do still have to setup your own database for this). The only remaining issues running the sample application on Mono are ASP.NET MVC / Mono bugs.
  2. Scope Augmenters - Scope Augmenters allow changing the resulting scopes prior to rendering based on a macro mapping. Previously - the Table, Ordered List, and Unordered List scope augmentation were hard-coded into the MacroParser. With this release, you can now add your own augmenters to fully control the rendering of WikiPlex.
  3. Syndicated Feeds - The entire WCF syndication API was removed in lieu of utilizing a simpler, customized syndication framework. The main reasons for this change included: Mono currently not supporting this API and supporting the odd Google Atom specification. Aside from these internal changes, the macro was expanded so that it now supports {rss:url=...}, {feed:url=...}, and {atom:url=...} matching. No matter which format you use, the renderer will still choose the appropriate syndication reader (ie, you can specify rss for an atom feed, and vice versa).
  4. Sample Download - To be honest, I never opened the sample project from the .zip file, and so I never realized the state that it was in. Be it missing files, incorrect references, whatever - everything is fixed now! Along with that, several people have indicated that they didn't have SQL 2008 Express installed, so within the App_Data directory, there's a Wiki.sql file that you can execute on your local SQL server to create the sample tables/data (oh, and don't forget to change your connection string).
  5. Invalid Syntax Highlight Code Blocks - Previously, if someone supplied a {code:xxx} block that didn't match any of the supported languages, their source code would not be formatted as code. In v1.1 this has been changed, as it'll fall back to the non-syntax highlighted display of the code if it cannot find the language.
  6. Namespace Cleanup - This should only affect advanced users of the wiki engine. Below is a list of the changes:
    1. ScopeName was moved from WikiPlex.Common to WikiPlex
    2. IXmlDocumentReader and XmlDocumentReader were moved from WikiPlex.Common to WikiPlex.Syndication

One item that is still on my plate, is actually spending some time documenting the API and producing a help file. Hopefully, the API isn't too difficult to understand, but I realize that it's somewhat necessary when it comes to implementing the engine within your application. Regardless, I feel that the engine is pretty close to where it needs to be regarding usability and extensibility. If you have any ideas for new macros or extensibility points, please post them in the issue tracker and I'll make sure to look at them!

 

With that said, I give you WikiPlex v1.1 (go and download it now!) Also, follow me on Twitter @matthawley

 

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Extending WikiPlex with Custom Renderers

July 30, 2009 13:22 by matthaw

Following up from my prior post on Extending WikiPlex with Custom Macros it's now time to talk about creating custom renderers. When we left off, we had created our title link macro and registered it with WikiPlex. If you had attempted to utilize the new macro in wiki content, you'd get the message "Cannot resolve macro, as no renderers were found." instead of a hyperlink. This was the expected behavior, because while you had identified your new scope via parsing, you were missing that critical link of turning the scope into actual content. Let's take a look at our scenario again to refresh what we're trying to achieve:

 

We would like to integrate WikiPlex into an existing application. The idea is to allow a user contributed area specifically for wiki content. The user should be allowed to use all out-of-the-box macros provided, but also have the ability to have inter-wiki links with the format of [Title of Page]. As you probably realized, there is currently no macro/renderer that will take that content and turn it into a inter-wiki link, so we'll have to extend WikiPlex adding this functionality.

Create a Renderer

Creating a renderer is actually the easiest portion of defining new wiki syntaxes, as it's as complicated as you need to make it. Again, a renderer simply takes in a scope (which is a contextual identifier), processes the content, and returns new content. Let's get started - so in your solution, create a class called TitleLinkRenderer and extend it from WikiPlex.Formatting.IRenderer. You'll then implement the members it requires (Id, CanExpand and Expand). The Id value is simply a string that is used as a key for static renderer registration, so it should be unique (follow the same rule of thumb for naming as the macros).

 

Next, you'll implement the CanExpand method. This method simply takes in a scope name and returns a boolean value indicating if this renderer can expand (or render) the scope successfully. As the formatter is processing all scopes, it goes through the list of renderers in the formatter and finds the first match that can expand that particular scope. There is no guarantee of the order of checking renderers, so always unregister a renderer you're overriding its implementation for. As you'll see below, the CanExpand method is fairly trivial, however should your renderer support a number of scopes, you'll need to change this code to include all of them.

public bool CanExpand(string scopeName)
{
   return scopeName == WikiScopeName.WikiLink;
}

Next, you'll implement the Expand method. This method will take in a scope name, the related input from the wiki source, and html / attribute encoding functions. The reason we're passing in html / attribute encoding functions, is so that you can utilize a consistent encoding scheme across all of the renderers. Out of the box, WikiPlex uses HttpUtility.HtmlEncode and HttpUtility.HtmlAttributeEncode, but by creating & supplying your own formatter, you can change these to use another library (like AntiXss). As previously stated, rendering is as hard as you need it to be. In the sample application example, we're just rendering a link utilizing the ASP.NET MVC UrlHelper (which is supplied via the constructor).

private const string LinkFormat = "<a href=\"{0}\">{1}</a>";

public string Expand(string scopeName, string input,
                     Func<string, string> htmlEncode, 
                     Func<string, string> attributeEncode)
{
   string url = urlHelper.RouteUrl("Default", new { slug = SlugHelper.Generate(input) });
   return string.Format(LinkFormat, attributeEncode(url), htmlEncode(input));
}

And now you have created your renderer, however it will still not be picked up when rendering your wiki content as you need to register the renderer with WikiPlex.

 

Registering a Renderer

Just as registering a macro, you have a static and a dynamic way to register your renderers. If your renderer requires only static dependencies (or no external runtime dependencies), you should opt for statically registering your renderer. To do this, have the following code in your application startup method

Renderers.Register<TitleLinkRenderer>();

When you call the WikiEngine.Render("content"), it will automatically pick up all statically defined renderers and use them when formatting your scopes. As previously stated, if you have external runtime dependencies (like in our example), a little bit of extra work is required when calling WikiEngine.Render - as you'll need to pass in a MacroFormatter instead. However, if you utilize the overload to only take in a formatter, you'll need to union the statically defined renderers with yours.

private MacroFormatter GetFormatter()
{
   var siteRenderers = new IRenderer[] {new TitleLinkRenderer(Url)};
   IEnumerable<IRenderer> allRenderers = Renderers.All.Union(siteRenderers);
   return new MacroFormatter(allRenderers);
}

Now, when you call WikiEngine.Render, you'll utilize the overload that takes in an IFormatter as a parameter. After you've set all of this up, try re-loading your page and you should see your syntax of [Title Link] be converted into the html <a href="/title-link">Title Link</a>.

 

Summary

You now have a new fully functioning macro syntax. Obviously, this example is trivial - but I guarantee if you embed WikiPlex into your application and need any cross-page linking, you'll utilize this macro & renderer. Again, the possibilities are endless with what you can do, so long as you have a syntax, regex, and rendering code - you can allow your users to simply include expansive macros.

 

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Extending WikiPlex with Custom Macros

July 24, 2009 18:47 by matthaw

One of the very nice features of WikiPlex is the ability to extend it to your hearts desire. The API is completely open, and the entry points off of WikiEngine are merely wrappers. This means that, if you really wanted to, you could create your own parser and formatter - but the majority of extending WikiPlex will be done via macros and renderers. A summary of the extension points include:

  1. Macros encapsulate rules for matching segments of content.
  2. Macro rules are regular expressions that map matches to scopes.
  3. Scopes are contextual identifiers.
  4. Renderers take scopes and expand them into a HTML formatted representation of the macro.
Scenario

We would like to integrate WikiPlex into an existing application. The idea is to allow a user contributed area specifically for wiki content. The user should be allowed to use all out-of-the-box macros provided, but also have the ability to have inter-wiki links with the format of [Title of Page]. As you probably realized, there is currently no macro/renderer that will take that content and turn it into a inter-wiki link, so we'll have to extend WikiPlex adding this functionality.

 

Create a Macro

When creating a macro, you're going to have to dust off that copy of RegexBuddy you probably don't have installed anymore. Why? Well, as previously stated, macro rules are regular expressions - and unless you're a regex guru, you won't be able to do this ad-hoc without a great tool. Let's get started - so in your solution, create a class called TitleLinkMacro, and extend it from WikiPlex.Compilation.Macros.IMacro. You'll then implement the members it requires (Id and Rules). The Id value is simply a string that is used as a key for static macro registration and macro compilation, so it should be unique (rule of thumb, give it the name of your class but with spaces). Now, it's time to define your macro rules.

 

As you may have noticed, I kept "rule" plural. The reason, is that the majority of macros you will create need to have an initial "escaped" rule. This rule basically stops the regex from matching within code blocks, between curly braces, and possibly between square brackets. Since our macro utilizes square brackets, we'll use the escape rule of CurlyBraceEscape.

 

Next, you'll define your regex (with extreme caution!) utilizing capturing groups to identify scopes. If you take a look at the code, you may not think that the scope identification is zero based - don't be fooled, it really is! Identifying an index 0 scope indicates the full match for that rule. When creating your capturing groups, you can have any number, allowing for fine granularity when rendering. So, let's take a look at the sample project's macro's rules.

public IList<MacroRule> {
   get {
      return new List<MacroRule> {
         new MacroRule(EscapeRegexPatterns.CurlyBraceEscape),
         new MacroRule(@"(?i)(\[)(?!\#|[a-z]+:)((?>[^\]]+))(\])",
                 new Dictionary<int, string> {
                    { 1, ScopeName.Remove },
                    { 2, WikiScopeName.WikiLink },
                    { 3, ScopeName.Remove }
                 })
      };
   }
}

As you can see, the regular expression is indicating that I should match 3 scopes per overall match. The scope "Remove" does just that. It removes the captured content when rendering. The WikiLink scope name is one that was created specifically for the sample. For the non-regex savvy developer, the regex reads:

  1. Use case insensitive matching from this point on
  2. Match the character "["
  3. Match any character until "]" is found
    1. But do not match if the character is preceded
      1. by the "#" character
      2. or by any character between a-z, one or more times, followed by a ":" character
  4. Match the character "]"

Our scope to step matching then is

  1. Remove "["
  2. WikiLink any content
  3. Remove "]"

Defining macro rules is a fairly straight forward process, just keep in mind that the order of the macro rules is important! You should also realize that if you wish to allow nesting of rules (for example, italicize bolded text) the italics and bold macro rules cannot be apart of the same macro. This, again, is because the macro rules are combined to build a large regular expression - and each rule is treated as an "or" statement.

 

Registering a Macro

After you have created your macro, you need to register it with WikiPlex. You have two ways of doing this - statically and dynamically. When statically registering macros, you simply need to have the following code in your application startup method

Macros.Register<TitleLinkMacro>();

When you call the WikiEngine.Render("content"), it will automatically pick up your macro, compile it, and use it when parsing the wiki content. Dynamically loading your macros is useful when you require a different set of macros to be executed than what is normally registered. For example, in CodePlex - we have a different set of allowed macros between editing a project's wiki content and editing your personal statement. Dynamically loading is achieved by utilizing one of the WikiEngine.Render overloads:

WikiEngine.Render("content", new IMacro[] { new WikiTitleLinkMacro() });

The only caveat of this approach, is that it will only use that macro when parsing your wiki content.

 

Summary

This is just the tip of the extensibility for WikiPlex. Creating your own macro is a great. Simply be cautious of your regular expression as it could have negative side effects (catastrophic backtracking) that will bring your site to a screeching halt! In the next installment, we'll take this scenario to the next step by creating a renderer for your macro.

 

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