This blog post provides some introductory information about Sitecore Rocks for experienced Sitecore developers working with the ASP.NET CMS. Sitecore Rocks is a Visual Studio plug-in with massive functionality designed to maximize developer productivity.
This report is based on Sitecore Rocks Community Technology Preview 0.7.5. For information about the major components of Sitecore Rocks, see my blog post Major Components of Sitecore Rocks. To download, for installation instructions and more information about Sitecore Rocks, see my blog post Sitecore Rocks Connections.
A few times during dreamcore both in the US and in Europe, I was surprised to see how few Sitecore developers use Sitecore Rocks. Developers claimed reservations about the beta nature of the software and a fear that Sitecore will eventually charge for a license. I expect the bigger issue is actually the learning curve.
Sitecore has a number of reasons to maintain Sitecore Rocks as a techology preview. Consider the following:
The learning curve really isn't that bad, nor is creating a new connection for a new installation. Hopefully this blog post will help, as could this Sitecore Rocks cheat sheet that I will try to maintain, which basically functions as a lightweight reference to various context menus. I already know that a future Sitecore Rocks release will drastically change the menus, including some changes that I have suggested. Additionally, the visibility of some menu entries depends on the type of item selected. As discussed in the Sitecore Rocks Cheat Sheet thread on the Sitecore Developer Network (SDN) forums, we're working on a solution to export the documentation as XSL, but we haven't found anyone to write the XSL and CSS for rendering by a browser (hint, hint).
I now try to avoid accessing Sitecore with a browser, using Sitecore Rocks for everything, and I will try to update this post if I learn anything significant. With no ribbon, it takes some time to find the appropriate menu entries at first, but I believe Sitecore Rocks has already increased my development speed. Remember to right-click on everything to see options: connections, databases, items, headers, sections, fields, managers, viewers and anything else that appears.
Some minor things I had to learn:
You can run Sitecore Rocks Windows to run Sitecore Rocks without Visual Studio. Because Sitecore Rocks Windows may not run with administrative rights, it might not be able to install the Web service components; use Visual Studio for that purpose instead.
You can communicate with #therocksguy on the Sitecore Rocks forum on the Sitecore Developer Network (SDN) forums.
There are numerous additional resources about Sitecore Rocks on the web, including videos.
I am very new to Sitecore with my new development position. I have been tasked with writing a "simple" standalone application or web service which can read the sitecore content tree and grab a few very select fields from a custom template. The template is called MenuItem. in the sitecore content tree the parent is: /sitecore/content/company/Site-Data/Menus/GlobalMainMenu under that there is a multi-level tree where each item is a MenuItem MenuItem has just three fields that I need: 1. Item Name 2. Text 3. URL These three fields are all simple text. The standalone application needs to query sitecore and get these three fields, and the tree structure from our sitecore environment. I am using VS.NET with VB.NET and C#. v2008. Can you point me in the right direction to begin researching this? Thanks, John Sauer
Sorry for the delayed response. Hopefully you already figured this out, I would think the Content API Cookbook would be the place to start. I think you need really simple APIs such as Sitecore.Data.Database (via Sitecore.Context.Database or Sitecore.Configuration.Factory.GetDatabase()), Sitecore.Data.Database.GetItem(), Sitecore.Data.Items.Item.Fields, Sitecore.Data.Fields.*, and Sitecore.Links.LinkManager.GetFriendlyUrl(). sdn.sitecore.net/.../Content API Cookbook.aspx If you need to step further back, maybe here: www.sitecore.net/.../Create-a-Visual-Studio-2010-Project-for-a-Sitecore-Solution.aspx or maybe even this far back: www.sitecore.net/.../How-to-Evaluate-Sitecore-as-a-Developer.aspx Exposing a web service that calls the Sitecore APIs is like writing any other web service, but unless all the data is public, you might have to consider authentication and authorization
Index of additional posts and resources about Sitecore! Rocks: www.sitecore.net/.../Sitecore-Differentiating-Factors-Blog-Series-Sitecore-Rocks.aspx