Block List

    Alias: Umbraco.BlockList

    Returns: IEnumerable<BlockListItem>

    Block List is a list editing property editor, using Element Types to define the list item schema.

    A default Umbraco CMS installation does not ship with a defined Data Type using the Block List editor. In order to start using the property, follow the steps outlined below.

    Click here for an overview with a worked example and references back to the relevant documention.

    Configure Block List

    The Block List property editor is configured in the same way as any standard property editor, via the Data Types admin interface.

    To set up your Block List Editor property, create a new Data Type and select Block List from the list of available property editors.

    Then you will see the configuration options for a Block List as shown below.

    Block List - Data Type Definition

    The Data Type editor allows you to configure the following properties:

    • Available Blocks - Here you will define the Block Types to be available for use in the property. Read more on how to set up Block Types below.
    • Amount - Sets the minimum and/or maximum number of blocks that should be allowed in the list.
    • Live editing mode - Enabling this will make editing of a block happening directly to the document model, making changes appear as you type.
    • Inline editing mode - Enabling this will change editing experience to inline, meaning that editing the data of blocks happens at sight as accordions.
    • Property editor width - Overwrite the width of the property editor. This field takes any valid css value for "max-width".

    Setup Block Types

    Block Types are Element Types which need to be created before you can start configuring them as Block Types. This can be done either directly from the property editor setup process, or you can set them up beforehand and add them to the block list after.

    Once you have added an element type as a Block Type on your Block List Data Type you will have the option to configure it further.

    Block List - Data Type Block Configuration

    Each Block has a set of properties that are optional to configure. They are described below.

    Editor Appearance

    By configuring the properties in the group you can customize the user experience for your content editors when they work with the blocks in the Content section.

    • Label - Define a label for the appearance of the Block in the editor. The label can use AngularJS template string syntax to display values of properties. Example: "My Block {{myPropertyAlias}}" will be shown as: "My Block FooBar". You can also use more advanced expression using AngularJS filters, e.g. {{myPropertyAlias | limitTo:100}} or for a property using Richtext editor {{myPropertyAlias | ncRichText | truncate:true:100}}.
    • Custom view - Overwrite the AngularJS view for the block presentation in the Content editor. Use this to make a more visual presentation of the block or even make your own editing experience by adding your own AngularJS controller to the view.
    • Custom stylesheet - Pick your own stylesheet to be used for this block in the Content editor. By adding a stylesheet the styling of this block will become scoped. Meaning that backoffice styles are no longer present for the view of this block.
    • Overlay editor size - Set the size for the Content editor overlay for editing this block.

    Data Models

    It is possible to use two separate Element Types for your Block Types. Its required to have one for Content and optional to add one for Settings.

    • Content model - This presents the Element Type used as model for the content section of this Block. This cannot be changed, but you can open the Element Type to perform edits or view the properties available. Useful when writing your Label.
    • Settings model - Add a Settings section to your Block based on a given Element Type. When picked you can open the Element Type or choose to remove the settings section again.

    Catalogue appearance

    These properties refers to how the Block is presented in the Block catalogue, when editors choose which Blocks to use for their content.

    • Background color - Define a background color to be displayed beneath the icon or thumbnail. Eg. #424242.
    • Icon color - Change the color of the Element Type icon. Eg. #242424.
    • Thumbnail - Pick an image or SVG file to replace the icon of this Block in the catalogue.

    The thumbnails for the catalogue are presented in the format of 16:10, and we recommend a resolution of 400px width and 250px height.

    Advanced

    These properties are relevant when you work with custom views.

    • Force hide content editor - If you made a custom view that enables you to edit the content part of a block and you are using default editing mode (not inline) you might want to hide the content-editor from the block editor overlay.

    Editing Blocks

    When viewing a Block List editor in the Content section for the first time, you will be presented with the option to Add content.

    Block List - Add Content

    Clicking the Add content button brings up the Block Catalogue.

    Block List - Setup

    The Block Catalogue looks different depending on the amount of available Blocks and their catalogue appearance.

    Block List - example setup from Umbraco.com

    Click the Block Type you wish to create and a new Block will appear in the list.

    Depending on whether your Block List Editor is setup to use default or inline editing mode you will see one of the following things happening:

    In default mode you will enter the editing overlay of that Block:

    Block List - Overlay editing

    In inline editing mode the new Blocks will expand to show its inline editor:

    Block List - Inline editing

    More Blocks can be added to the list by clicking the Add content button or using the inline Add content button that appears on hover between or above existing Blocks.

    Block List - Add Content

    To reorder the Blocks, click and drag a Block up or down to place in the desired order.

    To delete a Block click the trash-bin icon appearing on hover.

    Rendering Block List Content

    Rendering the stored value of your Block List property can be done in two ways.

    1. Default rendering

    You can choose to use the built-in rendering mechanism for rendering blocks via a Partial View for each block.

    The default rendering method is named GetBlockListHtml() and comes with a few options to go with it. The typical use could be:

    @Html.GetBlockListHtml(Model, "MyBlocks")
    

    "MyBlocks" above is the alias for the Block List editor.

    If using ModelsBuilder the example can be simplified:

    Example:

    @Html.GetBlockListHtml(Model.MyBlocks)
    

    To make this work you will need to create a Partial View for each block, named by the alias of the Element Type that is being used as Content Model.

    These partial views must be placed in this folder: Views/Partials/BlockList/Components/. Example: Views/Partials/BlockList/Components/MyElementTypeAliasOfContent.cshtml.

    A Partial View will receive the model of Umbraco.Core.Models.Blocks.BlockListItem. This gives you the option to access properties of the Content and Settings section of your Block.

    In the following example of a Partial view for a Block Type, please note that the MyElementTypeAliasOfContentand MyElementTypeAliasOfSettings should correspond with the selected Element Type Alias for the given model in your case.

    Example:

    @inherits Umbraco.Cms.Web.Common.Views.UmbracoViewPage<Umbraco.Cms.Core.Models.Blocks.BlockListItem>;
    @using ContentModels = Umbraco.Cms.Web.Common.PublishedModels;
    @{
        var content = (ContentModels.MyElementTypeAliasOfContent)Model.Content;
        var settings = (ContentModels.MyElementTypeAliasOfSettings)Model.Settings;
    }
    
    // Output the value of field with alias 'heading' from the Element Type selected as Content section
    <h1>@content.Value("heading")</h1>
    

    With ModelsBuilder:

    // Output the value of field with alias 'heading' from the Element Type selected as Content section
    <h1>@content.Heading</h1>
    

    2. Build your own rendering

    A built-in value converter is available to use the data as you like. Call the Value<T> method with a generic type of IEnumerable<BlockListItem> and the stored value will be returned as a list of BlockListItem entities.

    Example:

    @inherits Umbraco.Cms.Web.Common.Views.UmbracoViewPage;
    @using Umbraco.Cms.Core.Models.Blocks;
    @{
        var blocks = Model.Value<IEnumerable<BlockListItem>>("myBlocksProperty");
        foreach (var block in blocks)
        {
            var content = block.Content;
    
            @Html.Partial("MyFolderOfBlocks/" + content.ContentType.Alias, block)
        }
    }
    

    Each item is a BlockListItem entity that contains two main properties Content and Settings. Each of these is a IPublishedElement which means you can use all the value converters you are used to using.

    Example:

    @inherits Umbraco.Cms.Web.Common.Views.UmbracoViewPage;
    @using ContentModels = Umbraco.Cms.Web.Common.PublishedModels;
    @using Umbraco.Cms.Core.Models.Blocks;
    @{
        var blocks = Model.Value<IEnumerable<BlockListItem>>("myBlocksProperty");
        foreach (var block in blocks)
        {
            var content = (ContentModels.MyAliasOfContentElementType)block.Content;
            var settings = (ContentModels.MyAliasOfSettingsElementType)block.Settings;
    
            <h1>@content.MyExampleHeadlinePropertyAlias</h1>
        }
    }
    

    Extract Block List Content data

    In some cases, you might want to use the Block List Editor to hold some data and not necessarily render a view since the data should be presented in different areas on a page. An example could be a product page with variants stored in a Block List Editor.

    In this case, you can extract the variant's data using the following, which returns IEnumerable<IPublishedElement>.

    Example:

    @inherits Umbraco.Cms.Web.Common.Views.UmbracoViewPage;
    @using ContentModels = Umbraco.Cms.Web.Common.PublishedModels;
    @using Umbraco.Cms.Core.Models.Blocks;
    @{
        var variants = Model.Value<IEnumerable<BlockListItem>>("variants").Select(x => x.Content);
        foreach (var variant in variants)
        {
            <h4>@variant.Value("variantName")</h4>
            <p>@variant.Value("description")</p>
        }
    }
    

    If using ModelsBuilder the example can be simplified:

    Example:

    @inherits Umbraco.Web.Mvc.UmbracoViewPage
    @using ContentModels = Umbraco.Web.PublishedModels;
    @{
        var variants = Model.Variants.Select(x => x.Content).OfType<ProductVariant>();
        foreach (var variant in variants)
        {
            <h4>@variant.VariantName</h4>
            <p>@variant.Description</h4>
        }
    }
    

    If you know the Block List Editor only uses a single block, you can cast the collection to a specific type T using .OfType<T>() otherwise the return value will be IEnumerable<IPublishedElement>.

    Build a Custom Backoffice View

    You can choose to customize your editing experience by implementing a custom view for each Block.

    By picking a custom view you overwrite the backoffice UI for the given block with your own. This enables you to define how a block should be presented, but can also include interactive elements and be a full custom solution to how data is manipulated. Inline editing mode must be disabled for custom backoffice views to work.

    Write Your Own HTML View

    Currently you can only pick HTML files for a custom view. These views are powered by AngularJS and therefore you can write any AngularJS logic.

    Your HTML can be anything, but if you like to use it as a representation of the content then you would also want the full view to be clickable, which then opens the default editor for editing of your content.

    The following example displays the property with the alias headline together with the description inside a button to edit your block.

    <button type="button" ng-click="block.edit()">
      <h2 ng-bind="block.data.headline"></h2>
      <p ng-bind="block.data.description"></p>
    </button>
    

    If you'd like to display properties of settings, you can access these by block.settingsData.myPropertyAlias.

    Adding custom implementation to your View

    To achieve this you need to add a custom angularJS controller to your custom view, using the ng-controller attribute:

    <button  type="button" ng-controller="customBlockController" ng-click="api.editBlock(block, block.hideContentInOverlay, index, parentForm)"  class="btn-reset umb-outline blockelement-labelblock-editor blockelement__draggable-element ng-scope ui-sortable-handle" > 
        <h2 ng-bind="block.data.headline"></h2>
        <p ng-bind="block.data.description"></p>
    </button>
    

    The class declaration is necessary to allow the block to behave like the default blocks (i.e. drag-to-sort etc.)

    Create a folder inside the App_Plugins folder called 'CustomBlockView' or something more meaningful for your implementation.

    Inside this folder create two files,. The first file should be called package.manifest that contain the following:

    {
      "javascript": [
        "~/App_Plugins/CustomBlockView/customBlock.controller.js"    
      ]  
    }

    Umbraco will parse all package.manifest files and load any resources they reference into the backoffice during startup.

    The second file should be a javascript file called

    customBlock.controller.js

    (to match the file referenced in your package.manifest file)

    This file then should register your 'customBlockController' mentioned in your view ng-controller attribute with Umbraco's angular module's controllers

    angular.module("umbraco").controller("customBlockController", function ($scope) {
    // you can do your custom functionality here!
    });
    

    Example: Displaying an image from a Media Picker

    Your block may enable you to 'pick' an image for use as the background for a particular block or to display as part of the block layout. If you try to display this image directly in the view from the property block.data.image you'll see the unique id and not the image.

    We'll need to use the Id in our custom angularJS controller to get the ImageUrl to display in our Backoffice Block Editor View.

    With the setup of files above, we would amend our customBlock.controller.js file, injecting the mediaResource to retrieve the image from the id:

    angular.module("umbraco").controller("customBlockController", function ($scope, mediaResource) {
    
        //your property is called image so the following will contain the udi:
            var imageUdi = $scope.block.data.image;
        //the mediaResource has a getById method:
            mediaResource.getById(imageUdi)
                .then(function (media) {
                    console.log(media);
                    //set a property on the 'scope' called imageUrl for the returned media object's mediaLink
                    $scope.imageUrl = media.mediaLink;
        });    
    });
    

    Update the View to use the 'imageUrl' property to display the image:

    <div ng-controller="customBlockController" ng-click="block.edit()">
        <h2 ng-bind="block.data.headline"></h2>
        <img src="{{imageUrl}}" />
        <p ng-bind="block.data.description"></p>
    </div>
    

    If you need to use a specific crop, you can inject the imageUrlGeneratorResource resource, which has a getCropUrl(mediaPath, width, height, imageCropMode, animationProcessMode) method:

    angular.module("umbraco").controller("customBlockController", function ($scope, mediaResource,imageUrlGeneratorResource) {
    
        //your property is called image so the following will contain the udi:
            var imageUdi = $scope.block.data.image;
        //the mediaResource has a getById method:
            mediaResource.getById(imageUdi)
                .then(function (media) {
                    imageUrlGeneratorResource.getCropUrl(media.mediaLink, 150, 150).then(function (cropUrl) {
                    console.log(cropUrl);
                    $scope.imageUrl = cropUrl;
                });
        });    
    });
    

    Creating Blocklist programmatically

    In this example, we will be creating some Block List objects under the People property in the Home Document Type. The People property implements a Block List Data Type where a Person Document Type can be created. The Person Document Type has two properties - user_name and user_email.

    The approach to saving Blocklist content programmatically is similar to Nested Content - though the JSON schema is a bit different.

    The JSON object we will pass into the People property will look like this:

    {
       "layout":{
          "Umbraco.BlockList":[
             {
                "contentUdi":"umb://element/0da576e5fc7445bd9d789c5ee9fe9c54",
                "settingsUdi":"umb://element/7073a102dbcc487986962a3d51820de7"
             },
             {
                "contentUdi":"umb://element/c6e23e8137d24b409bb5ef41bdb705b9",
                "settingsUdi":"umb://element/0467ceb158cc49a1acfd1516f63eccf6"
             }
          ]
       },
       "contentData":[
          {
             "contentTypeKey":"aca1158a-bad0-49fc-af6e-365c40683a92",
             "udi":"umb://element/0da576e5fc7445bd9d789c5ee9fe9c54",
             "user_name":"Janice",
             "user_email":"[email protected]"
          },
          {
             "contentTypeKey":"aca1158a-bad0-49fc-af6e-365c40683a92",
             "udi":"umb://element/c6e23e8137d24b409bb5ef41bdb705b9",
             "user_name":"John",
             "user_email":"[email protected]"
          }
       ],
       "settingsData":[
          {
             "contentTypeKey":"aca1158a-bad0-49fc-af6e-365c40683a92",
             "udi":"umb://element/7073a102dbcc487986962a3d51820de7",
             "role":"content editor"
          },
          {
             "contentTypeKey":"aca1158a-bad0-49fc-af6e-365c40683a92",
             "udi":"umb://element/0467ceb158cc49a1acfd1516f63eccf6",
             "role":"admin"
          }
       ]
    }

    We will be adding two people in contentData , whose udi values have to be referenced in the layout up above. The contentTypeKey is in this context the Key value of the Document Type we are using in the Block List (Person), and the udi we will generate manually.

    One of the approaches would be creating a basic model which we will later serialize into JSON:

    using Newtonsoft.Json;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    //this class is used to mock the correct JSON structure when the object is serialized
    public class Blocklist
    {
        public BlockListUdi layout { get; set; }
        public List<Dictionary<string, string>> contentData { get; set; }
        public List<Dictionary<string, string>> settingsData { get; set; }
    }
    //this is a subclass which corresponds to the "Umbraco.BlockList" section in JSON
    public class BlockListUdi
    {
        //we mock the Umbraco.BlockList name with JsonPropertyAttribute to match the requested JSON structure
        [JsonProperty("Umbraco.BlockList")]
        public List<Dictionary<string, string>> contentUdi { get; set; }
        //we do not serialize settingsUdi
        [JsonIgnore]
        public List<Dictionary<string, string>> settingsUdi { get; set; }
        public BlockListUdi(List<Dictionary<string, string>> items, List<Dictionary<string, string>> settings)
        {
            this.contentUdi = items;
            this.settingsUdi = settings;
        }
    }
    //this is our Blocklist's allowed nested element. We make a model for it so we can create some dummy data
    public class Person
    {
        public string user_name { get; set; }
        public string user_email { get; set; }
        public Person(string user_name, string user_email)
        {
            this.user_name = user_name;
            this.user_email = user_email;
        }
    }
    

    After injecting ContentService and ContentTypeService, we can do the following:

                @inject IContentService Services;
                @inject IContentTypeService _contentTypeService;
    
               //if the class containing our code inherits SurfaceController, UmbracoApiController, or UmbracoAuthorizedApiController, we can get ContentService from Services namespace
                var contentService = Services;
                //not to be confused with ContentService, this service will be useful for getting some Document Type IDs
                IContentTypeService contentTypeService = _contentTypeService;
                //we are creating two people to be added to Blocklist, which means we need two new Guids
                GuidUdi contentUdi1 = new GuidUdi("element", System.Guid.NewGuid());
                //Since these will be BLock List objects the Guids need to mention the "element" keyword  
                GuidUdi contentUdi2 = new GuidUdi("element", System.Guid.NewGuid());
                //We need to do something similar for the settings data
                GuidUdi settingsUdi1 = new GuidUdi("element", System.Guid.NewGuid());
                GuidUdi settingsUdi2 = new GuidUdi("element", System.Guid.NewGuid());
                //using Content Service, we create a new root node with the name Home and Document Type home
                IContent request = contentService.Create(nodeName, -1, "home", -1);
                //we create some dummy users
                Person person1 = new Person("Janice", "[email protected]");
                Person person2 = new Person("John", "[email protected]");
                //initialize our new empty model to mimic proper JSON structure
                Blocklist blocklistNew = new Blocklist();
                //initialize empty person list where we will add our users
                var personList = new List<Dictionary<string, string>>();
                //initalize empty settings list as well
                var settingsList = new List<Dictionary<string, string>>();
                //we get the Content Types to later get the Person Document Type key from
                var contentTypes = contentTypeService.GetAll();
                //using the above types, we locate the one that corresponds to the Person Document Type
                var personType = contentTypes.Where(n => n.Alias == "person").FirstOrDefault();
                //the dictionaryUdi list here will be passed in the first section of our final JSON object
                var dictionaryUdi = new List<Dictionary<string, string>>();
                //we also initialize a List for settings configuration
                var settingUdi = new List<Dictionary<string, string>>();
                //add person1
                personList.Add(new Dictionary<string, string>
                {
                    //we need to pass the key of the Block List item type, we used ContentTypeService to obtain it
                    {"contentTypeKey", personType.Key.ToString()},  
                    //each item should also have a unique udi. We are passing the one we generated before
                    {"udi", contentUdi1.ToString()},  
                    //Document Type custom property
                    {"user_name", person1.user_name},  
                    //Document Type custom property
                    {"user_email", person1.user_email}
                });
                settingsList.Add(new Dictionary<string, string>
                {
                    //in this case the settings is set to use the contentTypeKey as the content - Person document type
                    {"contentTypeKey", personType.Key.ToString()},
                    {"udi", settingsUdi1.ToString()},
                    //role is our setting for this blocklist - not a property for the actual content
                    {"role", "content editor"}
                });
                //with person 1 added to the contentData section of our JSON, we also add a reference to layout section
                dictionaryUdi.Add(new Dictionary<string, string> { { "contentUdi", contentUdi1.ToString() }, { "settingsUdi", settingsUdi1.ToString() } });
                //add person2
                personList.Add(new Dictionary<string, string>
                {
                    {"contentTypeKey", personType.Key.ToString()},
                    {"udi", contentUdi2.ToString()},
                    {"user_name", person2.user_name},
                    {"user_email", person2.user_email}
                });
                settingsList.Add(new Dictionary<string, string>
                {
                    {"contentTypeKey", personType.Key.ToString()},
                    {"udi", settingsUdi2.ToString()},
                    {"role", "admin"}
                });
                dictionaryUdi.Add(new Dictionary<string, string> { { "contentUdi", contentUdi2.ToString() }, { "settingsUdi", settingsUdi2.ToString() } });
    
                //first section of JSON must contain udi references to whatever is in contentData
                blocklistNew.layout = new BlockListUdi(dictionaryUdi, settingUdi);
                //contentData is a list of our Person objects
                blocklistNew.contentData = personList;
                //we bind the previously made settings list to our model to be serialized
                blocklistNew.settingsData = settingsList;
                //bind the serialized JSON data to our property alias, "people"
                request.SetValue("people", JsonConvert.SerializeObject(blocklistNew));
                //save and publish the node
                contentService.SaveAndPublish(request);
    

    When adding several items, it is important that each item added in contentData section has the corresponding Udi mentioned in the layout section as well - otherwise the item will not show.