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EPiServer’s Dynamic Data Store: a Better Solution for Custom Data
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EPiServer’s Dynamic Data Store: a Better Solution for Custom Data

CMS, Episerver, Code
Published by Brad McDavid on 05.14.15

Learn how EPiServer's Dynamic Data Store gives web developers the power to create and utilize custom website data.

The merger between EPiServer and Ektron has been a big shake-up in the world of Content Management System (CMS) development, especially for Ektron developers who are learning the ins and outs of the EPiServer platform. As we continue to look at the features and capabilities that EPiServer offers to developers, we want to focus on one aspect of the platform: the Dynamic Data Store.

What is the Dynamic Data Store?

One issue that Ektron developers regularly face is storing information that isn’t included in the Ektron database. As an example, earlier versions of Ektron did not include a place to store information related to 301 redirects (this has been included in more recent versions of the platform), so Diagram's developers created custom tables in the Ektron database to store the redirect data. To utilize this capability on the websites we developed, we also had to write code to incorporate it into the site, and additional configuration was required in order to make it work with sites that used eSync.

EPiServer also does not have an out-of-the-box solution for redirects (although add-ons that incorporate the capability are available), so our developers were able to create the functionality using EPiServer’s Dynamic Data Store, or DDS. This is a built-in feature that allows developers to build functions on top of the platform without needing to create custom database tables. Instead, we can create .NET classes to represent the model of our data. Using a simple interface, EPiServer can then write this data back to its main database.

How is this helpful?

Using the DDS, developers can store custom data of a variety of types and easily configure the CMS to use it. Since classes are being used to represent the data, developers can use Microsoft’s Language-Integrated Query (LINQ), which makes filtering and working with the data much simpler. Rather than writing SQL expressions to query the database, LINQ expressions allow them to filter data within the site code.

EPiServer uses mirroring to synchronize between a site’s multiple tiers, and while the DDS does support mirroring, additional code is needed to utilize this functionality.

Examples

The DDS provides an interface that developers can use to create a wide variety of custom functionalities, such as the redirect capability mentioned above. One great example is the tagging feature that was created by developer Frederik Vig. This module uses the DDS to create custom tags that can be added to content within EPiServer, providing helpful functionality for a site’s users that is not natively available within the CMS platform.

By making use of this powerful component of the EPiServer platform, developers are able to extend the capabilities that are available to website owners and create the customized capabilities that best fit the needs of a site’s users. As we learn more about how the best parts of both Ektron and EPiServer are being incorporated into the converged platform, we’re excited about the tools that we will be able to use to create the best online experiences for our clients.

If you want to know more about how we can use these tools to provide your website with the functionality you need, please contact us, or feel free to share any other questions you might have about EPiServer and/or Ektron development in the comments below.

 

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