DAM For Sitecore V5 – I Got The Key

I got the Key to unlock – Digizuite™ DAM for Sitecore 5.0 WHOO HOO!! I was fortunate enough to get a early tech release of DAM for Sitecore V5, to test prior to it’s release. I Actually think, I may have been the first Sitecore developer outside Digizuite to have had the opportunity to play with it.

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What is DAM For Sitecore?

DAM for Sitecore extends Sitecore Experience Platform with a full-scale digital asset management (DAM) system, delivering the advantages of a single source for any digital media file. While Sitecore’s Media Library allows perfect website image management, a centralized digital asset management system optimizes digital workflows and supports multi-channel management.

DAM for Sitecore allows you to control digital content in the entire content lifecycle: you can organize, manage, search, edit, add metadata, distribute, and repurpose rich media content (images, videos and presentations) all in one place.

Structure

  • Store everything in one place.
  • Integrate with your existing business systems for smooth workflows.
  • Integrate with Active Directory.
  • Customize, configure and scale based on your needs.

Manage

  • Manage and edit metadata intuitively for fast search.
  • Control user rights on individual or group level.
  • Transcode your images and videos to your needed formats automatically.
  • Mobile upload of images and videos.

Search

  • Accurate search results due to powerful metadata.
  • Search across systems and channels.
  • Navigate easily through an intuitive user interface.

Collaborate

  • Improve your digital collaboration.
  • Allow content sharing with people outside the organization.

Distribute

  • Stream your video on any device.
  • Scale your digital assets for any device.
  • Share content on Sitecore and other platforms.
  • Support for Content Delivery Networks.
  • Share on social media.

What’s different in Version 5 Module?

If you have any experience with previous versions of DAM for Sitecore, you will find some significant changes in Version 5. The module has been rebuilt from the ground and up, utilizing Sitecore SPEAK. The new SPEAK interface provides a fluid and seamless integration with Sitecore, making it easy and more intuitive for content authors to add digital assets to Sitecore content.

DAM For Sitecore now contains a number of sub modules:

  • DAM For Sitecore Connect/Synchronization framework
  • DAM For Sitecore Explorer
  • DAM For Sitecore Asset Browser

DAM For Sitecore Connect

Version 5 now stores information about your assets in buckets known as Silos within the media library.  This is made possible with the new Connect/Synchronization framework in keeps the Silo in sync with DAM.  A Silo is synchronized with a digital channel or a specific folder in the Digizuite DAM center.  You have the flexibility to configure multiple Silos targeting specific assets or types of asset.  DAM for Sitecore only stores a subset of the data from DAM center in the Sitecore master database. The asset data files are stored in Sitecore’s Media Cache.  This keeps Sitecore database size from growing out of control with media content but also offers the advantages of features from the Sitecore Experience Platform.

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DAM For Sitecore Explorer

The DAM For Sitecore Explorer is accessible from the Launch Pad. It enables a content author to manage all the digital assets available to him/her based on their user rights. With a well-defined metadata structure, it will be easy for content authors to search, find, manage and reuse digital content. The powerful metadata tools provided by DAM enable fast search and filtering of assets, that are easy to perform. Once you’ve located an asset you view/edit its metadata, crop (if it is an image) and download the original image all from within Sitecore.

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DAM For Sitecore Asset Browser

The new asset browser helps you easily locate and insert an asset within your Sitecore content items or within Rich Text fields.  The interface is consistent with the Explorer module with the addition of an image size drop list and insert and cancel buttons.

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DAM Asset Browser with a sparkling new SPEAK interface

DAM for Sitecore provides three field types that can be populated by the Asset Browser:

Asset Field Type – this is the standard field type shows assets on the website. It corresponds to Sitecore’s native image field. It can store any asset regardless of asset type, including, but not limited to, videos, PDF, images, audio files etc. The field contains not only information about which asset is selected, but also what quality is selected. This field can be rendered both as a link and as a media output, e.g. an image tag or a video tag. By default, the field will be rendered as a media output.

Assetlink Field Type – is the standard field type used to show assets links on the website. It corresponds to Sitecore’s native Link field.  This field can be rendered both as a link and as a media output, e.g. an image tag or a video tag. By default, the field will be rendered as a link output, but this can be changed in the corresponding settings for the type.

AssetList Field Type – can contain a list of assets. The individual assets in the list can be of any kind, e.g. a list can contain videos, images, PDF files or any other asset type simultaneously.

Users and Roles

You can control access to your digital media files by assigning individual user rights that keep your digital media files secure. The rights management processes are highly secure and aligned with the rights management in Sitecore.

DAM for Sitecore uses standard Sitecore membership implementation by overriding the default Sitecore membership provider and  also uses standard Sitecore role manager implementation, by overriding the default Sitecore role manager provider.  Both of which require some configuration changes to Sitecore.

More to follow soon…

Some Useful Resources

uCommerce and Sitecore an Introduction

uCommerce is a platform for building e-commerce solutions.  It removes a lot of the headache and repetitive development effort involved in getting an e-commerce solution up and running.  uCommerce is built using a framework first approach, which comprises of a number of really well designed functional areas known as foundations.  These foundations are the building blocks for your online store.
Catalog Foundation – allows you to easily manage everything related your product catalogs. Features include:
  • Multiple catalogs for managing separate brands.
  • Products can exist in multiple stores, catalogs and categories.
  • You can have create as many categories as you need.
  • Create Product definitions gives you control over the information stored against products and supports multi-lingual.
  • Create product variants.
  • Create product relations to improve cross-sell and up-sell.
  • Provides its own fast product search so administrators can quickly find and update products.
Transaction Foundation – when a customer adds an item has been added to his or her basket the Transaction foundation kicks in and manages the persistence of the basket and the entire checkout process.
  • Provides an extensible framework for payment gateway integration.
  • Easily search for orders which can be viewed and modified through the backend.
  • Order history available for customers.
  • Multiple shipping methods and shipping price configuration.
  • Extendable checkout and order processing.
  • Customizable back office workflow, for sending customer emails etc during order processing.
uCommerce Marketing FoundationMarketing Foundation – enables you to create and manage marketing campaigns, create and send vouchers, Setup discounts etc. The intuitive Advertise, Act, Award interface gives marketers the ability to easily setup up campaigns without having a dependency on a developer or technical resource.
Social Commerce – has changed the way we shop today. We like to know and value what other people have to say about products and use this valuable information to help us make a purchase.  Ucommerce allows users to easily review and rate your products and add comments.  This information can be easily moderated and shared with potential customers.
Search Foundation – allows customers to quickly find products using uCommerce multi-faceted search.  Administrators can easily add new facets as when required without any technical knowledge or getting hung up on configuration setup. uCommerce makes use RavenDB for indexing the product catalogs which provides fast search capabilities.

Sitecore

uCommerce adminuCommerce is not a standalone application it requires a CMS to deliver and serve up the content to the end user.  This is where Sitecore comes in. The uCommerce shell has been been tightly integrated with Sitecore to provide the best user experience possible for your administrators.  In fact it’s so well integrated with the Sitecore UI that your administrators won’t realise they are interacting with another system.
sitecore content tree
Also when Products are added to uCommerce they also appear in the Sitecore tree. So adminstrators have the option of using the native Sitecore interface or uCommerce to manage their product details.

Installation

Simply download uCommerce install package and install using the Sitecore Installation Wizard.

Developing with uCommerce

In the same way Sitecore provides a framework for building great websites, uCommerce is similar, it does not come with a ready made online store out of the box, like some there e-commerce platforms do. Instead it provides a comprehensive set of API’s, allowing you to build a best of breed e-commerce solution, that is really only limited by your own creativeness.
The API are categorised as either:
  • Libraries – provide access to functionality on the front end for example , product search, add product to basket etc.
  • Context Classes – provide access to the current context for example current store, current catalog or current basket.
blog_ucommerceintro_apiMost of the common functionality you’ll need to build a basic store, can be found in the following top level libraries:
  • CatalogLibrary
  • MarketLibrary
  • PriceCalculation
  • SearchLibrary
  • TransactionLibrary

If you explore the UCommerce.dll using DotPeek or Reflector you will find these libraries located within the UCommerce.Api namespace.

If you cannot find the functionality you are looking in these libraries you can always access lower level libraries.  I also recommend checking out the online Api reference documentation.

Demo Store

uCommerce online demo store

uCommerce demo store – Avenue Clothing

To help you get up and running quickly, uCommerce have developed a demo store this is downloaded and installed as a separate package.  The demo store is a good starting point, to help you understand how to setup a basic store in uCommerce.  They have also made the source code available on BitBucket.  This is really useful in helping you understand, how the various uCommerce libraries and context classes are structured and how they can be utilised to build a basic ecommerce store.  The demo store is also available online, this is really handy if you want to give a quick demo to a potential client.  You can access the Sitecore client using the default username and password.  I’m fairly certain the online demo gets cleared down every night.

Extendability

One of the great things about uCommerce is it’s framework first approach which makes it totally extendible.  uCommerce utilises Castle Windsor for resolving its components, by following a few basic rules you can override it’s components with your own.  So if something doesn’t function how you need it too, you can simply swap it out for your own component, whether is a basket behaviour, shipping workflow or a pricing calculation.

Integration

The uCommerce team have developed their own integration platform called uConnector. This enables uCommerce to interact with other systems.  It is optimised for getting information in or out of the uCommerce platform quickly and efficiently.  It comes with standard integration to Excel and .csv, which could be used for the initial load of products.  It can also be extended to interact with other data stores,such as your warehouse fulfillment system.

Payment Providers

uCommerce comes out of the box with integration to a long list of established payment providers.  You just need to add some configuration and you can be up and running, accepting credit card payments, on your e-commerce site.  If your provider isn’t available, uCommerce can be easily extended to include your specific provider.

Useful Resources