Archive for March, 2015

Create the first AEM template

In the last session, we have explored templates using CRXDE Lite. If you have not yet gone through the last session, go through it.  In this session, we will create a sample template using CRXDE Lite. Let us first get into the shoes of authors to see where exactly authors use a template in their content creation workflow.

  1. Open SiteAdmin. http://localhost:4502/siteadmin
  2. Log in with admin/admin credentials.
  3. In the left pane, go to Geometrixx Demo Site > English.
  4. From the right pane, select New > New Page.
    You see the Title and Name text boxes. (Title appears in the web page and Name becomes the URL.

What you see underneath, namely Geometrixx Content Page, Geometrixx Home Page, Geometrixx Form, are templates. They define the layout of your page.
In that sense, choosing the right template is a fundamental part of content creation.

  1. Now log into CRXDE Lite.
  2. Go to the Apps folder. We have seen earlier that apps is the folder where we create templates and components.
  3. Inside apps, create a new folder.
  4. Right-click apps and select Create Folder.
  5. Type aem-company. (This is our sample company.)
  6. After creating the company, click Save All to save the company. (Whenever you create a node, folder, or property, you need to save explicitly in CRXDE Lite.)
  7. In the similar way, inside aem-company, create two more folders: components and templates.

Now log into CRXDE Lite and create the first template.

  1. Now, right-click templates and select Create Template.
  2. Enter the following details:
  • Label: homepage
  • Title: AEM Company Home Page
  • Description: AEM Company’s Home Page Template
  • Recourse Type: aem-company/components/homepage
    This is the sling:resourseType property. We have seen that, it points to the rendering script. Right now, we have pointed it to a component that doesn’t exit. We will create that script shortly.
  • Ranking: You could leave it for the time being. It represents the order in which templates should appear.
  1. Click Next and enter Allowed Paths as /content(/.*)?. Means the template will apear in the content folder where all pages exist.
  2. Click Next till you see the Finish button.
    (We will learn about these properties at a later stage.)

Now, let us create the rendering script. We create the rendering script as a part of the component. We have already seen that, a component displays a specific information in a specific format. In this case, the component that we are going create, provides the layout of the page. It’s not a component that you can drag and drop to a page. We will name the component as homepage, so that we can identify it as a page component – or a component provides the layout of a page.

  1. Right-click the components folder and select Create > Create Component.
  2. Enter the following details.
  • Label: homepage
  •  Title: AEM Company Home Page Component
  • Description: AEM Company’s Home Page Component
  • ResourceSuperType: wcm/foundation/components/pageThis property decides the component from where you want to inherit properties that decide your page’s behavior.
    You have seen that the pages authors create have a sidekick, assets tab, and so on. We have pointed this to a page component that exists.
    Group: AEM Company

Note that, homepage component is created. It also adds a default rendering script: homepage.jsp. I have mentioned earlier that we used to create components using JSPs before. That’s the reason for the JSP extension. In this session, we will create the template using Sightly, because it’s HTML and easy to use.

Just rename the homepage.jsp to body.html. This is a very important step. The SuperType property points to wcm/foundation/components/page. Though we have not explicitly mentioned, this component exists in the libs folder. Let us locate it. Navigate to libs > wcm > foundation > components > page.

By providing this as the SuperType, we are inheriting the scripts the component has. Go to the page.html which is the rendering script. This script includes two pages: head.html and body.html. By renaming the homepage component’s rendering script’s name to body.html, we are overwriting the body.html. At the same time, we will inherit head.html. (I have explained in the simplest possible way. Let us have a detailed discussion about it later.)

Open the aem-company’s body.html and add some text. Now, go to siteadmin, create a new page. You will see the template you created. Create a page – AEM Company. Open the page and you will see the text you entered. We will modify the template further in the coming sessions.

Introduction to AEM developers, and their templates and components

In this post, we will see the very basic responsibilities of developers. Developers create templates and components.

Let us first take a recap: a template defines the layout of a web page. Authors select a specific template before they create a page. A component allows authors to display a specific information in a certain format. For example, a bulleted list is a component. An image is a component. We have seen that you can drag and drop an image to an Image component and it will get displayed in the page.

Authors use SiteAdmin as a tool to create web pages. Similarly, there is a web console that developers use a lot – CRXDE Lite. In one of the previous posts, I have mentioned that the data in AEM is saved as Tar files. AEM uses Apache Oak for saving the data. These data is saved as nodes and properties. CRXDE Lite provides you with an interface where you can see these nodes and properties. It allows you to create and update the nodes and properties.

Let us start our exploration on CRXDE Lite: http://localhost:4502/crx/de
Log in as admin and admin as the credentials.

Let us first examine the web page that you created in the previous session. You created a web page – MyNewPage. In the left pane, move to the Content folder. Then navigate Geomtrixx > en.
You can see the web page you created there. Select the page and then select the jcr:content node. The properties associated with the node gets displayed in the right pane.
You can see a cq:template proptery which provides the location of the template you used. /apps/geometrixx/templates/contentpage
Scroll down to see the jcr:title property – the title of your page. Now select the par node. It represents a node inside which you can add other components. Inside this node, you will see the Text component you added.

In short, the pages an author creates goes to the Content folder. Normally, it’s created through SiteAdmin. Developers won’t play around with these pages.

Developers create templates and components. Where are they hidden? Go to the apps folder. This is the folder where you create templates and components associated with your project. Then go to Geometrixx. You will see various folders: components, config, install, src, and templates. We will learn more about components and templates in this session. Go inside the template folder. You will see all the templates associated Geometrixx site. These were the templates you saw while you were creating a new web page. Select the contentpage node – The template you used for creating a new page. Note that the jcr:primaryType property is cq:Template. It also got a Tile and Description properties. Now select jcr:content property. It has a sling:resourceType property. It points to geometrixx/components/contentpage.  It means that the node pointed, basically a script, provides the layout to render the content.

Let us see how this script looks like. Go to components and select contentpage. You will see a content.jsp. This is the script using which the basic layout is created. All of the existing templates are created using JSP. In AEM’s context, it’s called a templating language. In AEM 6.0 release, Adode introduced a new templating language called Sightly. Sightly is HTML 5 and is very easy to use.

Let us wind up this session here. In the next session, we will create a template using Sightly.
To give you a summary:

  • CRXDE Lite is developers web console: http://localhost:4502/crx/de
  • content is the folder where all author-generated pages exist.
  • apps is the folder where you create templates and componenets associated with your project.
  • cq:template is a property associated with all templates.
  • sling:resourceType property of a template points the script that is used to render the layout.
  • JSP is the templating language in which all templates are written.
  • AEM 6.0 provides a new templating language – Sightly.

Adobe Experience Manager authors, and their templates, and components

In this section, you will see what exactly authors do with AEM. This session also gives an overview of templates and components. I thought it would be a good idea to record a video while I prepare the content. I used Adobe Presenter Video Creator. This is the first time I am using Adobe Presenter and it’s cool.

If you are keen, you would be able to watch the video in the Full Screen mode. I think my videos will improve as I progress in setting a stage for AEM learning.  🙂


Now that you have installed AEM. Let us start exploring the default web interface that came up. Log in using admin and admin as user ID and password respectively. In the left panel, you will see the following:

  • Projects: All existing projects.
  • Sites: Sample sites that are reference implementations of your projects.
  • Apps: The apps related to your site.
  • Publication: All publications associated with your sites.
  • Forms: LiveCycle Forms.
  • Assets: Digital assets such as images, PDFs, docs, and so on.
  • Communities: Your communities.
  • Commerce: Catalogs, products, and so on. You can use this as a reference site if you need to implement a Commerce portal.
  • Tools: Various other consoles that you need for development.

In most of the projects using AEM, you will (eventually) develop a website. In most cases, you will have an existing website and you need to migrate to AEM. Let us first see one of the reference implementations in AEM. As I mentioned earlier, there are a couple of reference implementations in AEM. They are called sample sites. Click on Sites and you will see the following reference implementations:

  • Geometrixx Demo Site: It’s a typical website.
  • Geometrixx Mobile Site: This site is designed for mobile devices. The content used for Geometrixx Demo site is repurposed for this site.
  • Geomotrixx Outdoors site: It’s a commerce implementation.

Let us explore Geometrixx Demo Site.

  1. Double-click Geometrixx Demo Site.
    You will see different language codes. These codes represent the same website in those languages.
  2. Move the cursor over English and select Edit.
    The page is opened in a new browser window.

The page is in the Edit mode now. It means that you can update the page.

The pane you see in the left is the Asset pane. You can drag and drop your digital assets to your page.

The small pane you see is fondly called the side kick. What you see inside the sidekick are called components. You can drag and drop components to your page. For example, the Image component. Assume that you want to add an image to the page. First drag and drop the Image component to the page. Double-click the image component. It opens a dialog box, from the Assets pane, drag and drop an image.

The Activity that you performed now is an Author activity. Authors in your organization create or update content. Now let us try to create a new web page. To do that, let me take you to a different console – SiteAdmin.

  1. Type the URL: Http://localhost:4502/siteadmin
  2. Select Geometrixx Demo Site > English. This is the location where you want to create a page. Click New > New Page. Give it a name.
  3. Also, select a template. A template defines the basic layout of your web page.
  4. After creating the page, double-click it to open.
    Observe that the page is not really blank. It has provided you with a basic layout. On top, it has provided you with a site icon, search bar, and a navigation bar.

Similarly, at bottom it has given you a couple of links. On your right, you are provided with a small pod with some content. You would have noticed that, these are common to all the pages you create based on a template. Whatever, you saw in the page is content displayed in a specific manner. And, they are called components. Now you have the page. You need to fill the page with information. From the component pane, drag and drop a Text component to the page. Click to select and click to edit.

Type some content. You can continue filling the content by adding different components. For example, image, table, and so on. As I mentioned earlier, this is an Author’s job. And, you would have assumed by now – a developer creates the template and components that an author uses. Site Admin is a web interface Author uses. Similarly, there are some interfaces developer uses, which you will see in the next session.

I hope you are now able to differentiate two main roles in AEM.

To take a recap:

We saw a web interface that authors use frequently: Site Admin. That’s where an author create or update content.