MVC with razor in Sitefinity 5
I've managed to get MVC + razor working in Sitefinity 5 so I though I'd share how.
I wanted to use MVC + razor for my frontend widgets. I've tried it in Sitefinity 4 but wasn't able to get it to work. Well, it will if you are already logged in. You can't use MVC and login simultaneously in Sitefinity 4. Though the login will work again if your remove the _AppStart files. Though they don't work together because authentication is forms based, it says so in the web.config file, so if one were to somehow get around that it could work.
Anyway, since Sitefinity doesn't support razor widgets I'm using iframes to render my MVC widgets. So it's not a real solution, more like a hack. But you can also use it to have parallel MVC sites along with Sitefinity ones. So I guess it's a solution for that.
Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything in any of the steps.
- First create a fresh MVC3 project
- Look at it's references
- References that it has and your Sitefinity project doesn't just add to your Sitefinity project’s references. Here’s a list of the references I see in a fresh MVC3 project:
- I forget which ones I had to add to the Sitefinity project.
- Then you do a similar thing for the web.config file, you add parts that are missing. But not all of them. Like membership management and so on. These are the parts I added:
- Then in your Sitefinity project create two empty files:
- Then copy paste the global.asax files from the MVC project to your Sitefinity project
- You’ll have to edit the global.asax file and change it’s inherits attribute so that it’s your project. For example my global.asax is
- And you’ll have to edit the global.asax.cs file to register your MVC routing
- Now regarding this, I’ve configured it so that I hold all of my MVC widgets in the “Areas” section/folder. You could add the standard MVC folder structure to your Sitefinity project and route to files in it. I don't as I find this cleaner. Especially since I'm only interested in MVC widgets.
- Anyway, this is my global.asax.cs file:
- And then change your Sitefinity project to a MVC project
- It’s basically the same as with the references and the web.config file
- You open the folder where the csproj file for your Sitefinity project is and open it in a text editor, notepad(++) for example
- Open the csproj of the fresh MVC project and find what your Sitefinity projects lacks and add it
- This is what I added to my Sitefinity project, minus the target-after-build which was already there:
- Now you can create an area. You go into your Sitefinity project in Visual Studio -> click on it -> Add -> Area and add an area.
- You have to manually create the controllers and views in it so I just copy paste them from a MVC project.
- I don’t think you can copy paste your MVC project into the Areas folder. I tried it and the web.config file of the MVC project was causing me problems so I decided to just copy paste the relevant parts.
- Now, I have a problem when trying to create controllers with read/write + views. It says something like some assembly is missing or it’s dependencies.
- You can fix this by installing the full package of the assembly for the project, for example the Ajax Toolkit with nuget.
- At least I think so. One assembly, Microsoft.IdentityModel, it's package cannot be installed on Win XP, which is the platform I am using, so that’s where I stopped with that issue.
- Now, the MVC widgets in the Areas folder can be used independently of Sitefinity, you can navigate to the MVC pages, use them side by side with Sitefinity's pages if you wish to
- But to use them inside Sitefinity as a widget I create a .ascx file with an iframe
- Which I register in Sitefinity as a regular widget
- Regarding iframes there is an issue with them not resizing properly
- Add this javacript to fix it, for example in the master page of the template you are using
- And for the iframe, let’s say you have an area named “Test” with the file "Test.ascx" with the iframe:
- The widget with this iframe should now, when loaded inside a Sitefinity page, display your MVC pages in the Test area as a properly sized iframe.