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New in 2sxc 7: #2 Using Visual Query with Token Templates

This is a part of my series The New Features of 2sxc 7 and introduces you to the Token-Repeat enhancements and how to use them together with the Visual Query

There are many common ways to consume Query data - the simplest one is to use tokens. 

Note that it's easiest to learn this by using the App I prepared for you containing all these examples. The output can be seen here, the App can be downloaded here

Configure a Template to use a Query

To tell a template that it must use a predefined Query instead of the normal content-items, you must configure it in the template settings here:

If you do this, then all data-streams delivered by the query can be used in the template - using the new repeater-syntax. In 2sxc 6 there were only a few token sources available like Content, ListContent, QueryString, App and DNN-sources like Tab, Portal etc. and there was no need to repeat any other list - because there was only a content-list. So repeating was made possible through a simple <repeat> tag. 

But to be able to loop through a query with multiple streams like this:

...we had to extend the repeat which allowed you to repeat across any stream you wanted to. So we introduced the new syntax:

<repeat repeat="InnerTokenName in Data:StreamName">

For a realistic example, this could look like this: 

    <repeat repeat="Feedb in Data:Feedback">

This is very simple and easy to understand - but together with the Visual Query Designer (see this post) this allows you to create pretty cool tools, and with the new View-Name-In-URL (wait for that post) this allows you to create very complex list-details scenarios without any code at all. 

A Note on Using List-Iterators

The token engine automatically provides you with additional list-information on this iterator. The syntax is 

[InnerTokenName:Repeater:SpecialKey] - where specialkey can be things like Index, Index1, Count, Alternator, IsFirst...

    <repeat repeat="Feedb in Data:Feedback">
        <li>[Feedb:Description] - this is Feedback[Feedb:Repeater:Index1] of [Feedb:Repeater:Count]</li>

A Note on Using Presentation Information

2sxc offers a special feature called Presentation. This is a page/module-specific additional information on how a content-item (like an address) is to be displayed on this specific page/module. When using it without Queries, you would write


...or something similar. But now that we have queries, how can we use this? The answer is simple, but requires a bit of background knowledge:

  1. Presentation is only available for content which was really added to a specific module - because only module-specific-content has presentation information. This is because an address can have different presentation-settings in each use-case. 
  2. So if you retrieve a list of all addresses in an App, you will not have any specific Presentation
  3. But if you retrieve the Addresses of a specific module, it will have presentation (assuming that the template actually uses presentation). 

In summary - only the Default-Stream and the ListContent-Stream from the ModuleDataSource can have a presentation-property (but doesn't always have one, this depends on the template settings), all other streams don't. 

Using that would look as follows:

    <repeat repeat="Address in Data:Default">
        <li class="[Address:Presentation:Color||color-default]>[Address:City]</li>

The template above first creates a h1/h2/h3 etc. tag (based on the ListContent-Presentation configuration) and places the title into that, then it creates a list which is colored by the settin in the Address-Presentation (and defaults to "color-default") if nothing is set, then shows the City. 

A note on Query-Parameters with Token-Templates

Since a Query can contain any kind of parameters like [QueryString:ID] or [Tab:TabId] or even [In:UserConfiguration:DefaultSortDirection] these are automatically resolved by the Query-Engine whenever you access the query. You don't have to do anything - it just works. 

With love from Switzerland,

Daniel Mettler grew up in the jungles of Indonesia and is founder and CEO of 2sic internet solutions in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, an 20-head web specialist with over 600 DNN projects since 1999. He is also chief architect of 2sxc (2SexyContent - see forge), an open source module for creating attractive content and DNN Apps.


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