Quick Tip: Add a new custom section to Umbraco 7+

Hello all,
I have just come across a quick, simple & neat way to add a section to your Umbraco website/application be it for your own use or as a package developer.

So rather than talk about it for ages I will just jump straight into it.

    public class UmbracoStartup : ApplicationEventHandler
        protected override void ApplicationStarted(UmbracoApplicationBase umbracoApplication, ApplicationContext applicationContext)
            //Get SectionService
            var sectionService = applicationContext.Services.SectionService;

            //Try & find a section with the alias of "mySection"
            var mySection = sectionService.GetSections().SingleOrDefault(x => x.Alias == "mySection");

            //If we can't find the section - doesn't exist
            if (mySection == null)
                //So let's create it the section
                sectionService.MakeNew("My Section", "mySection ", "icon-users");

So what this is doing on an application startup of Umbraco using the new Section Service checking to see if there a section with the alias of mySection already created, if not then using the section service it goes and creates it.

That’s it, it really is that simple.
Enjoy 🙂


Using Umbraco Pipeline for Member Profile URLs

Hello all,
I wanted to share with you all a new approach I have learnt after reading up on the Umbraco Pipeline.

I originally asked the question over on our.umbraco.org on how best to achieve this and first came up with URL Rewriting to solve my solution, then the thread evolved and I was able to use a custom controller & route, but now I have found a much simpler & elegant way to deal with it, which is to use an iContentFinder class.

First lets start off with creating an custom iContentFinder which is used in the pipeline for trying to find an Umbraco node that matches the URL, if it doesn’t find it it gets passed onto the next iContentFinder and so on until it gets to the bottom which is the 404 iContentFinder.

using System;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using umbraco.cms.businesslogic.member;
using Umbraco.Core;
using Umbraco.Web.Routing;

namespace MySite.BusinessLogic
    public class MemberProfileContentFinder : IContentFinder
        public bool TryFindContent(PublishedContentRequest contentRequest)
            var urlParts = contentRequest.Uri.GetAbsolutePathDecoded().Split(new[] { '/' }, StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries);
            //Check if the Url Parts
            // Starts with /member/*
            if (urlParts.Length > 1 && urlParts[0].ToLower() == "member")
                //Lets try & find the member
                var memberName = urlParts[1];

                //Try and find a member where the property matches the memberName
                var tryFindMember = Member.GetAll.SingleOrDefault(x => x.getProperty("profileURL").Value.ToString() == memberName);

                //Need to set the member ID or pass member object to published content
                //Will pass a null to view if not found & can display not found member message
                HttpContext.Current.Items["memberProfile"] = tryFindMember;

                //Add in string to items - for profile name user was looking for
                HttpContext.Current.Items["memberName"] = memberName;

                //Set the Published Content Node to be the /Profile node - can get properties off it & my member profile in the view
                contentRequest.PublishedContent = contentRequest.RoutingContext.UmbracoContext.ContentCache.GetByRoute("/view-profile");

                //Return true to say found something & stop pipeline & other contentFinder's from running
                return true;

            //Not found any content node to display/match - so run next ContentFinder in Pipeline
            return false;

In this code you can see it is quite straight forward. It is getting the URL from the request and splitting the string on the URL parts such as http://mysite.co.uk/member/john into a string array so the variable urlParts will have two items in the array which are member and john.

We then next check that we have at least one URL part and that the first URL part in our array is equal to members, as we don’t want to run our logic if it does not match this URL fragment.

Next part is for us to get the second item in the array which is the member profile URL we want to look up. Using the Umbraco Member API we fetch all members and using a SingleOrDefault() Linq query we check to see if we can find a single member where the property memberProfileURL on the member matches that to our variable which contains the member URL to lookup.

Moving on we add the found member (even if it returns null, aka not found a member that has that profile URL) & the member profile URL to the HTTPContext Items so that we can retrieve them from our view.

The magic part of this is the following line:

//Set the Published Content Node to be the /Profile node - can get properties off it & my member profile in the view
contentRequest.PublishedContent = contentRequest.RoutingContext.UmbracoContext.ContentCache.GetByRoute("/view-profile");

By setting PublishedContent on the contentRequest object, we can choose what node in the Umbraco content tree we want to render. In our case I am using the routing context to help get me the node based from it’s URL, so in this case I am fetching the node that matches the URL, /view-profile

The final part is that we return true, so that we let the pipeline know that we have a found a node and to stop running any further iContentFinders from being processed. By doing so we will load the view profile node and it’s template.

The next part of this is to now register our content finder in the application starting event with this lovely code snippet so it can run in our site.

using Umbraco.Core;
using Umbraco.Core.Persistence;
using Umbraco.Web.Routing;

namespace MySite.BusinessLogic
    public class UmbracoStartup : ApplicationEventHandler
        protected override void ApplicationStarting(UmbracoApplicationBase umbracoApplication, ApplicationContext applicationContext)
            // Insert my MemberProfileContentFinder before ContentFinderByNiceUrl
            ContentFinderResolver.Current.InsertTypeBefore<ContentFinderByNiceUrl, MemberProfileContentFinder>();

Now that we have our custom iContentFinder registered by Umbraco, we just need to ensure our template/view for our view profile node uses the values in the HTTPContext.Items collection that we set inside the iContentFinder.

@using Member = umbraco.cms.businesslogic.member.Member
@inherits Umbraco.Web.Mvc.UmbracoTemplatePage
    Layout = "Master.cshtml";

    //Get the values out of the HTTPContext that we set in the iContentFinder
    var memberProfile   = (Member)HttpContext.Current.Items["memberProfile"];
    var memberName      = (string)HttpContext.Current.Items["memberName"];

    //Bit of string replacment on the noUserFound property on the View Profile node
    //Replace it with the member name the user was trying to look for
    var notFoundMessage = Model.Content.GetProperty("noUserFound").Value.ToString();
    notFoundMessage     = notFoundMessage.Replace("##user##", memberName);

<h2>View Profile</h2>

@if (memberProfile == null)
    //Display User Not Found Message
    //Do string replacement on copy ##user## with memberName
    //We found the member - so pass the member object to our partial
    //To display the member's details etc 🙂
    @Html.Partial("MemberProfile", memberProfile)

In this template/view you can see I am fetching the items out of the HTTPContext and casting it to a string for the profile URL name and the other as an Umbraco Member object so we can get intellisense.

The next part is that I am doing some string replacement on an field that I am fetching off the View Profile node for a user not found message.

I then simply display the not found message if the member is null, because the iContentFinder did not set a value for it. Otherwise we pass the member into our partial view where we can display specific information about our member, like member name, email, profile image & any other custom fields set on the member type.

So the final part of the puzzle is the Partial View

@inherits Umbraco.Web.Mvc.UmbracoViewPage <umbraco.cms.businesslogic.member.Member>
<h2>Member Profile Partial</h2>

<h3>Name: @Model.Text</h3>
<h3>Email: @Model.Email</h3>
<h3>Custom Field: @Model.getProperty("customField").Value</h3>

The only important thing to know here is that the first line is that I am setting the object type to be an Umbraco Member, which lets the model know its an Umbraco Member and gives us intellisense in Visual Studio when writing our partial view to display public information about our member.

That’s it, it’s really as simple as that.

Thanks to the Umbraco community & Stephane Gay for some help with the iContentFinder Pipeline stuff.

Diagnostics for Umbraco

Well after a short weeks holiday I have come back and released a new must have package for any Umbraco 6.1 site or newer. This handy little package is called Diagnostics and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It shows you diagnostical information about your Umbraco install.


This package was a bit of an experiment for me in order to learn how to write an AngularJS application. So later on this post I will cover some of the basics of what I wrote and show you some parts of the code.

  • Umbraco Version, assembly & release notes
  • Database type & connection string
  • Server information, ASP.NET version etc…
  • Assemblies along with MD5 & SHA1 Checksums
  • List the packages installed
  • List the Umbraco backoffice users
  • List the domains in use for the site
  • List all the folders and their current permissions applied to them
  • List all the Umbraco events and what is attached to those events
  • List the MVC Routes used in the site
  • List all the Trees used within the Umbraco backoffice

Let’s see it in action

Please note this video is ever so slightly out of date and the UI has been given a little bit love rather than messy UL list’s


Download it

You can download the Diagnostics package from the Our Umbraco project page and the source code is publicly available on GitHub where you can view the source and log any issues along with any feature requests.

Show me the code!

OK so this was my first experiment into the world of AngularJS and I wanted to build a small app using it, as the new Umbraco user interface is getting overhauled in version 7 aka Belle and will be using AngularJS as well. So any head start on this would be highly beneficial.

Firstly I looked at many videos and resources before diving in. But the video I highly recommend you watch is this one from Dan Wahlin

Now you have watched that I can go over some parts of the code.

First let’s start with the index.html page found in /App_Plugins/Diagnostics.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
    <title>Umbraco Diagnostics</title>

    <!-- Latest compiled and minified CSS -->
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="//netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.0.0-rc1/css/bootstrap.min.css">
<body ng-app="umbracoDiagnosticsApp">
    <!-- Nav -->
    <ul class="nav nav-tabs">
        <li ng-class="{active: locationUrl == '/'}">
            <a href="#/">General</a>
        <li ng-class="{active: locationUrl == '/packages'}">
            <a href="#/packages">Packages</a>
        <li ng-class="{active: locationUrl == '/users'}">
            <a href="#/users">Users</a>
        <li ng-class="{active: locationUrl == '/domains'}">
            <a href="#/domains">Domains</a>
        <li ng-class="{active: locationUrl == '/assemblies'}">
            <a href="#/assemblies">Assemblies</a>
        <li ng-class="{active: locationUrl == '/permissions'}">
            <a href="#/permissions">Permissions</a>
        <li ng-class="{active: locationUrl == '/events'}">
            <a href="#/events">Events</a>
        <li ng-class="{active: locationUrl == '/routes'}">
            <a href="#/routes">MVC Routes</a>
        <li ng-class="{active: locationUrl == '/trees'}">
            <a href="#/trees">Trees</a>

    <!-- Placeholder for views -->
    <div ng-view=""></div>
    <!-- JS -->
    <script type="text/javascript" src="scripts/angular1.0.7.min.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="scripts/app.js"></script>

    <!-- Latest compiled and minified JavaScript -->
    <script src="//netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.0.0-rc1/js/bootstrap.min.js"></script>

The things to note is the ng-app attribute on the body tag, the ng-class attributes on the LI elements and the ng-view on the div.

I will cover what these items do a bit later on.

Next we need to take a look at the app.js file in /App_plugins/Diagnositcs/scritps/app.js

var umbracoDiagnosticsApp = angular.module('umbracoDiagnosticsApp', []);

umbracoDiagnosticsApp.config(function($routeProvider) {
                controller: 'GeneralController',
                templateUrl: 'partials/general.html'
                controller: 'PackagesController',
                templateUrl: 'partials/packages.html'
        .otherwise({ redirectTo: '/' });


//General Controller
umbracoDiagnosticsApp.controller('GeneralController', function ($scope, $http, $rootScope, $location) {
    $http.get('/Umbraco/Api/DiagnosticsApi/GetVersion').success(function (data) {
        $scope.version = data;

    $http.get('/Umbraco/Api/DiagnosticsApi/GetVersionAssembly').success(function (data) {
        $scope.assembly = data;
    $http.get('/Umbraco/Api/DiagnosticsApi/GetVersionComment').success(function (data) {
        $scope.comment = data;
    $http.get('/Umbraco/Api/DiagnosticsApi/GetServerInfo').success(function (data) {
        $scope.server = data;
    $http.get('/Umbraco/Api/DiagnosticsApi/GetDBInfo').success(function (data) {
        $scope.db = data;
    //Pass location url value into an item on our scope object
    $rootScope.locationUrl = $location.$$url;

//Packages Controller
umbracoDiagnosticsApp.controller('PackagesController', function ($scope, $http, $rootScope, $location) {
    $http.get('/Umbraco/Api/DiagnosticsApi/GetPackages').success(function (data) {
        $scope.packages = data;
    //Pass location url value into an item on our scope object
    $rootScope.locationUrl = $location.$$url;

The very first line in this app.js defines our AngularJS module and in this case it’s called umbracoDiagnosticsApp and this needs to be in the ng-app attribute in the HTML document as shown above.

The next part of this file is to wire up the URL routes, so when the link/URL changes we can load in a different view and controller into our div with the attribute of ng-view.

So when we click on the different tabs such as Packages, it loads the URL #/packages and then maps the view /partials/packages.html and to use the packages controller.

In this controller for packages we do a HTTP WebAPI call to /Umbraco/Api/DiagnosticsApi/GetPackages fetch some JSON and then we store the results of the JSON into an object called packages which we then use in our view.

So lets take a look at the partial view for packages to see how we display the package information.

<table class="table table-striped table-hover">
            <th>Has Update?</th>
        <tr ng-repeat="package in packages">
            <td>{{ package.Id }}</td>
            <td>{{ package.Name }}</td>
            <td>{{ package.Version }}</td>
            <td>{{ package.Author }}</td>
            <td>{{ package.HasUpdate }}</td>

So we use mustache in our partial view to output the properties stored in our packages JSON we received from our WebAPI call and with the ng-repeat attribute we can easily loop over each item in the collection and output the properties stored in the JSON.

So the final piece of the puzzle is to have a WebAPI setup in Umbraco to get our information back as JSON.

using umbraco.cms.businesslogic.web;
using Umbraco.Core.Configuration;
using umbraco.interfaces;
using Umbraco.Web.WebApi;
using umbraco.cms.presentation.Trees;
using Package = umbraco.cms.businesslogic.packager.repositories.Package;

namespace CWS.UmbracoDiagnostics.Web.Controllers
    public class DiagnosticsAPIController : UmbracoAuthorizedApiController

        public List<PackageInstance> GetPackages()
            var allPackages = new List<PackageInstance>();

            //Get packages
            var packages = InstalledPackage.GetAllInstalledPackages();

            //loop over them
            foreach (var item in packages)

            //Return the list
            return allPackages;

So in this WebAPI controller class I inherit from UmbracoAuthorizedApiController which only allows these requests to be made to the API if you are logged into the Umbraco backoffice to ensure this information is not publicly available.

So in a nutshell that is all the components that makes up this AngularJS Umbraco Diagnostics application.

Any questions or improvements to this then please let me know.


The new way to do a 404 Umbraco Handler

Hello all,
As you may or may not be aware I have been building a new Umbraco starter kit called CWS Start. In this package I wanted to have a 404 page setup for the site. Currently the way to setup a 404 page is to put a node ID in the umbracosettings.config file. My only concern with this approach is that if you delete the node and recreate the node then the 404 will stop working.

So I decided to ask the Umbraco community how they do 404’s and I got a fantastic response from the community.

Stefan & Lee K gave me some fantastic answers and filled me on the new Request pipeline in Umbraco and a way on how to add a ContentFinder to Umbraco, aka the new way of doing 404 handlers in Umbraco 6.1 and any other type of content finders.

Show me the code!

    public class _404iLastChanceFinder : IContentFinder
        public bool TryFindContent(PublishedContentRequest contentRequest)
            //Check request is a 404
            if (contentRequest.Is404)
                //Get the home node
                var home = contentRequest.RoutingContext.UmbracoContext.ContentCache.GetAtRoot().Single(x => x.DocumentTypeAlias == "CWS-Home");

                //Get the 404 node
                var notFoundNode = home.Children.Single(x => x.DocumentTypeAlias == "CWS-404");

                //Set Response Status to be HTTP 404
                contentRequest.SetResponseStatus(404, "404 Page Not Found");

                //Set the node to be the not found node
                contentRequest.PublishedContent = notFoundNode;

            //Not sure about this line - copied from Lee K's GIST
            return contentRequest.PublishedContent != null;

And then we need to register this in Umbraco on App Startup like so:

        protected override void ApplicationStarting(UmbracoApplicationBase umbracoApplication, ApplicationContext applicationContext)
            //On application starting event...
            //Add to the ContentFinder resolver collection our custom 404 Content Finder resolver
            ContentLastChanceFinderResolver.Current.SetFinder(new _404iLastChanceFinder());

There are other use cases for IContentFinders and Lee K has a great little example he posted to Gist

Umbraco MVC: What on earth is a surface controller?

Continuing the Umbraco MVC blog post series we will look at Surface controllers in this post and find out what the heck they are why they are so important when building Umbraco MVC websites.

Read on to find out how to implement your very own surface controllers.

Continue reading “Umbraco MVC: What on earth is a surface controller?”

Umbraco MVC: Is the macro as useful in V6 with Partials?

Following on from my previous blog post on Umbraco MVC, where we got MVC setup in Umbraco and created nested templates. In this next post in this series, I will talk about adding dynamic functionality to your website such as a simple navigation and discuss that perhaps that the Umbraco Macro is no longer needed as much as we have used it before. So carry on reading to find out why that the Umbraco macro is perhaps on it last legs in my opinion.

Continue reading “Umbraco MVC: Is the macro as useful in V6 with Partials?”

Umbraco MVC: First Steps

Like most people we fear change, but that should not be the case with the switch from WebForms to MVC in Umbraco. I’ve made the switch and am glad I have done it. In this blog series I will go through common scenarios to make us all feel better about MVC with Umbraco.

So carry on reading on to find out how to take our initial baby steps towards a better and happier development life with Umbraco MVC.

Continue reading “Umbraco MVC: First Steps”

Why I think your doing it wrong: Umbraco AltTemplate & Data Views

Common sense warning

Before I start this post let me outline this is my opinion and you may or may not agree with it. However if you want to discuss it with me in the comments I will be more than happy to, but please respect each others opinions and views and don’t start an angry flame war.

OK enough of the common sense stuff lets get to it.

I personally think you are doing it wrong if you are using alternative templates in Version 6 of Umbraco to return JSON or XML for example.
So read on to find out why and the approach I think you should be using.

Continue reading “Why I think your doing it wrong: Umbraco AltTemplate & Data Views”