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The very first question we should answer when talking about the new Sitefinity backend architecture is: why? The second one is what do you get if you embrace it. This topic will answer these two questions.
Let’s take a look at the following diagram describing the old way of doing things:
So, as you can see the architecture was extremely simple. We would have a module class which would instantiate an instance of Control Panel class. Control Panel was your user interface - this was where you would define all the controls and then show them or hide them based on the current mode. Control Panel this in addition to this instantiate also an instance of Command Panel class, whose sole purpose was to provide user interface for switching the modes of Control Panel.
It is easy to see, where things got complicated with more complex modules did. Let’s take Images & Documents module for example. The module has around 15 different modes, which results in a hard to maintain implementations with switch statements and countless event handlers all packed inside of one class. The complexity started to take over.
Another significant problem that appeared over the time was the difficult and timely process of extending and reusing certain modules. Generally, most of the developers saw an opportunity to reuse certain parts of Generic Content module. With all logic tightly coupled inside of the Control Panel class, and ever expanding set of features of the Generic Content module, the process of basing one’s module on Generic Content became more and more cumbersome.
Since there was only one class you could inherit from, you were destined to inherit from a large and complex class such as Control Panel, even if all you wanted to do was something minor. With numerous dependencies of the base class, this process slowly turned into a nightmare on a large scale projects.
As you can see, Control Panel class plays a minimalistic role in this new architecture as opposed to its all-encompassing role it used to have before. The accent now is on the views and their composition. If we are to reuse View 2-1 or View 1-1 (and it’s children View 1-1-1 and View 1-1-2) in our custom module we could simple add those views to our module, or alternatively create new views and inherit from those - if we are to modify the behavior of these views.
This new composition also allows us, to simply replace View 1-1-2 with our custom View 1-1-2-custom through ControlsConfig configuration file, without actually reimplementing the module itself.
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