Content References in XhtmlString Properties

XHtmlString properties are more than just HTML, they include HTML, internal links to content, embedded blocks, personalization, and more. Blend's Director of Development Bob Davidson takes a brief look at the internals of XhtmlString properties and the fragments that make them.


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A string of fragments.

Strictly speaking, an XhtmlString property is, in fact, a string at heart. But it’s a string made up of special segments that must be interpreted. These segments are more accurately known as Fragments, each of which are instances of IStringFragment. These fragments represent a number of things an editor can embed within an XhtmlString:

Static HTML/Text - Plain old text is represented in StaticFragments. These fragments are not necessarily complete HTML, but rather substrings of HTML. A static fragment might stop at the start of a href attribute value, if the link in that href is a permanent link. These fragments, for the most part, require no special processing.

  • Links to content - Links to content within the CMS are UrlFragments. These fragments have a URL property that represents the Permanent Link of the linked content. If you’ve ever seen links rendered on the front end that start with /link/ and contain an embedded GUID, those are likely permanent links that are not being resolved correctly.
  • Embedded content - Editors can drag blocks and page partials into the XhtmlProperty editor. These blocks are represented as ContentFragment instances. The fragment will give you the Content GUID, Content Link, Display Option, and more.
  • Personalized content - Editors can personalize blocks in the XhtmlString property in the same way they do in content areas. These personalized sections are represented as PersonalizedContentFragments. From these fragments, you can get a list of roles (visitor groups) this section targets, and a collection of child fragments representing the content to display to those roles.
  • And more! There’s a DynamicContentFragment if you’re still using dynamic content, for example.

The fragments here are really just scratching the surface of how XhmlStrings are rendered and indexed. And the same is true for Content Areas, which are actually specialized XhtmlStrings.

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