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Umbraco Pylon Framework


This project is set up to provide base classes and structures for developing well architected, developer focussed Umbraco solutions that maximise reuse and testability.


Until recently, NuGet packages of Umbraco.Pylon always reflected the Umbraco version that they were intended to support / are dependent on with an optional supplemental fourth digit version number to indicate a version difference in Pylon itself.

The down side to this was that it made keeping track of major Pylon versions difficult.

Pylon is now in it's third major version. With the advent of integrated Umbraco.ModelsBuilder, the philosophy of Pylon has adapted to be more simplified, removing complex elements that muddy the waters of minimalist high reliability coding. To simplify versioning, the main package has been renamed from Umbraco.Pylon to UmbracoPylon and direct Umbraco dependencies have been removed.

The intent is that, hopefully, any version of pylon SHOULD be compatible with any Umbraco version in it's major version number.

The current version has been tested and works with 7.10.X and 7.11.X but will probably work fine with any version form 7.4.X upward.

New versions are as follows...

  • Pylon 3 is a significant change from Pylon 2 but much more streamlined. Classically versioned releases are available numbered to match Umbraco 7.10.4 and 7.11.1.
  • Pylon version 2 is available for Umbraco versions 7.2.1 (Pylon to Umbraco 7.9.6.
  • The original version of Pylon, which has since been retired, can be used on Umbraco 7.2.1 by installing version 7.2.1 of Pylon.

Pylon versions are tagged in Github, so if you are looking for older version documentation - It should be there!

Sample Code

A sample implementation has now been written into /reference/EmptyUmbracoWebApp

Core Classes and Interfaces

PublishedContentRepository \ IPublishedContentRepository

Umbraco.Pylon's heart is the abstract PublishedContentRepository and it's associated interface, IPublishedContentRepository. They contain a very slim selection of key methods for accessing content. The PublishedContentRepository effectively provides a testable wrapper that is created by providing either an UmbracoHelper or an UmbracoContext. The wrapper then provides access to content via an injectable and mockable interface.

We recommend that an IPublishedContentRepository implementation should be super light (as you can't test it directly) and act purely as a gateway for accessing content data.

You CAN create a repository without providing an UmbracoHelper or UmbracoContext but you won't get very far with it. As soon as you try to access content you will get a very explanatory error message to advise you that this is required. The use of the Umbraco property directly is discouraged now in favour of the repository implementation. The latest versions of the Pylon Controller base classes will throw an error if you try to bypass the repository.

It's not recommended that these classes be used directly in a nicely architected site. You should create a site specific implementation of the class and interface, as indicated in the example below taken from the Ministry website. In your specific implementation you can set up methods to return special content items such as homepages etc. Maintaining a matching interface still allows for a good testable framework. The base class contains the following key methods...

  • Umbraco - Exposes the UmbracoHelper class. There is a fair argument for this to become protected or even private.
  • Context - Exposes the UmbracoContext class. There is a fair argument for this to become protected or even private.
  • Content() - Returns a given node Id as Content or as null as appropriate.
  • ContentExists() - Indicates if a given Content ID exists.
  • MediaExists() - Indicates if a given Media ID exists.
  • MediaItem() - Returns a given media Id as a Media Item.

If you find you're adding commonly useful features to your site specific content repository, consider proposing the properties / methods be integrated into the base class within the Pylon project.

/// <summary>
/// A repository for providing access to Umbraco media nodes.
/// </summary>
public interface IMinistrywebPublishedContentRepository : IPublishedContentRepository
    Home RootAncestor { get; }
    Article Article(int id);
    StandardBlog BlogRoll { get; }
    Contact Contact { get; }
    DevelopersBlog DeveloperBlogRoll { get; }
    IEnumerable<Project> OssProjects { get; }
    IEnumerable<MinistryService> Services { get; }
    IEnumerable<CorporatePartner> Partners { get; }
    IEnumerable<TeamMember> Associates { get; }
    IEnumerable<Testimonial> Testimonials { get; }

/// <summary>
/// A repository for providing access to Umbraco media nodes.
/// </summary>
public class MinistrywebPublishedContentRepository : PublishedContentRepository, IMinistrywebPublishedContentRepository
    private Home rootAncestor;
    private SiteSettings siteSettings;
    private DataSources data;
    private StandardBlog blogRoll;
    private DevelopersBlog developerBlogRoll;
    private Contact contact;
    private IEnumerable<MinistryService> servicesList;
    private IEnumerable<Project> projectsList;
    private IEnumerable<CorporatePartner> partnersList;
    private IEnumerable<TeamMember> associatesList;
    private IEnumerable<Testimonial> testimonialsList;

    #region | Construction |

    public MinistrywebPublishedContentRepository()
    { }

    public MinistrywebPublishedContentRepository(UmbracoHelper umbraco, UmbracoContext context)
        : base(umbraco, context)
    { }


    #region | Core Nodes |

    public Home RootAncestor => rootAncestor ?? (rootAncestor = new Home(Umbraco.TypedContent(MinistrywebPublishedContentNodeIds.RootAncestor)));

    protected SiteSettings Settings
        => siteSettings ?? (siteSettings = new SiteSettings(Umbraco.TypedContent(MinistrywebPublishedContentNodeIds.SiteSettings)));

    protected DataSources Data
        => data ?? (data = new DataSources(Umbraco.TypedContent(MinistrywebPublishedContentNodeIds.DataSources)));


    public Article Article(int id)
        var content = Umbraco.TypedContent(id);
        return content == null || content.Id < 1 ? null : new Article(content);

    #region | Blog Rolls |

    public StandardBlog BlogRoll 
        => blogRoll ?? (blogRoll = new StandardBlog(Settings.BlogRoll));

    public DevelopersBlog DeveloperBlogRoll 
        => developerBlogRoll ?? (developerBlogRoll = new DevelopersBlog(Settings.DevelopersBlogRoll));


    public Contact Contact
        => contact ?? (contact = new Contact(Settings.Contact));

    public IEnumerable<Project> OssProjects
        => projectsList ?? (projectsList = Settings.OssProjectsContainer.Children<Project>());

    #region | Partners |

    public IEnumerable<CorporatePartner> Partners
        => partnersList ?? ( partnersList = Settings.PartnersContainer.Children<CorporatePartner>());

    public IEnumerable<TeamMember> Associates
        => associatesList ?? (associatesList = Settings.PartnersContainer.Children<TeamMember>());


    public IEnumerable<MinistryService> Services
        => servicesList ?? (servicesList = Settings.ServicesContainer.Children<MinistryService>());

    public IEnumerable<Testimonial> Testimonials
        => testimonialsList ?? (testimonialsList = Data.FirstChild<Testimonials>().Children<Testimonial>());


In a similar way to the PublishedContentRepository this is intended to be inherited from (See the sample code below) in order to pass in the necessary implementation of PublishedContentRepository. This class can be considered the root of your site from a code point of view. It's largely syntactic sugar, allowing you to write code like this...

var mySite = new MyWebSite();
var url = mySite.Content.ContentUrl(123);

This is where you can add an acces point to globally required items that are based on content but you CAN properly unit test these by mocking IPublishedContentRepository.

The value of mySite would generally be provided by an IoC Implementation such as Ninject or AutoFac or wrapped to make it more accessible.

In the section below on 'PylonViewPage' you can see how the Ministry site uses the DependencyResolver directly (generally bad practice, but this is an unusual use case) to inject into the base view.

public interface IMinistrywebSite : IUmbracoSite<IMinistrywebPublishedContentRepository>
    INavigationBuilder Navigation { get; }

public class MinistrywebSite : UmbracoSite<IMinistrywebPublishedContentRepository>, 
    #region | Construction |

    public MinistrywebSite(IMinistrywebPublishedContentRepository contentRepo, 
        INavigationBuilder navigationBuilder)
        : base(contentRepo)
        Navigation = navigationBuilder;


    public INavigationBuilder Navigation { get; private set; }


This view base class brings everything together, providing acces to the UmbracoSite implmentation from the view, removing direct access to Umbraco and UmbracoContext and discuraging bad design.

There are effectively 4 variants of this class with different generic parameters...

  • One of these takes a model and effectively replaces the UmbracoViewPage class (with a standard, plain, UmbracoSite implmentation)
  • One does not take a model and exposes content as an IPublishedContent (with a standard, plain, UmbracoSite implmentation)
  • The remaining two are as above but take instances of the site specific implementations of IUmbracoSite and IPublishedContentRepository (recommended)

All provide a property that allows easy access to an implementation of UmbracoSite, as follows...

var homeUrl = UmbracoSite.Content.Home.Url;

I recommend creating your own site wide base classes for views and inheriting the appropriate variations of PylonViewPage to enable you to add your own layers. For the Ministry web site I wrote this...

/// <summary>
/// An abstract base class for Ministryweb views.
/// </summary>
public abstract class MinistrywebViewPage : PylonViewPage<IMinistrywebSite, IMinistrywebPublishedContentRepository>
    #region | Construction |

    /// <summary>
    /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="MinistrywebViewPage"/> class.
    /// </summary>
    protected MinistrywebViewPage()
        : base(DependencyResolver.Current.GetService<IMinistrywebSite>())
    { }


/// <summary>
/// An abstract base class for Ministryweb views.
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="TModel">The type of the model.</typeparam>
public abstract class MinistrywebViewPage<TModel> : PylonViewPage<IMinistrywebSite, IMinistrywebPublishedContentRepository, TModel>
    #region | Construction |

    /// <summary>
    /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="MinistrywebViewPage"/> class.
    /// </summary>
    protected MinistrywebViewPage()
        : base(DependencyResolver.Current.GetService<IMinistrywebSite>())
    { }


By doing this I am binding everything together through the IoC dependency resolver so I only need to register the dependencies in one place.


Umbraco.Pylon provides 3 base controllers...

  • PylonMvcController - Use for route hijacking
  • PylonSurfaceController - Use for handling actions to build partial results (Html.Action). Do NOT use these to produce Json.
  • PylonApiController - Use to return or take in Json or XML data.
  • PylonAuthorizedApiController - As a standard Api controller but requires back office authorization. Used generally for back office operations.

These controllers should be used in favour of the Umbraco controllers with similar names - They inherit from them but they ALSO provide access to the IUmbracoSite implementation and block direct access to UmbracoHelper and UmbracoContext (with the exception of PylonAuthorizedApiController, which allows direct access to UmbracoHelper and UmbracoContext as they may be required in the back office).

Supporting Classes


This class is used within the various controller classes and will convert the rendered output of a view into a string. This is useful for taking a view output as an HTML property for JSON output.


Replacing the need for the Api Controller variation, this class generates an HttpMessageResponse dependent on the passed in function returning an object of some kind, null or throwing an error. The class returns a 404 or 500 as appropriate.

Using Umbraco.ModelsBuilder with Pylon

We recommend using Umbraco.ModelsBuilder with Pylon, as it allows you to generate strongly typed models for all of your content. These models are generated as partial classes so you can easily add extra properties and methods to them. Compositions in Umbraco now represent themselves as interfaces. Extension methods let you effectively add functional elemenst to an interface context as necessary so maintaining a totally seperate view model structure is no longer necessary.

To make the best use of this, we recommend the following configuration during development...

<!-- Models Builder -->
<add key="Umbraco.ModelsBuilder.Enable" value="true" />
<add key="Umbraco.ModelsBuilder.ModelsNamespace" value="MyRootSiteNamespace.Core.Models.Content" />
<add key="Umbraco.ModelsBuilder.ModelsMode" value="LiveAppData" />
<add key="Umbraco.ModelsBuilder.ModelsDirectory" value="~/../MyRootSiteNamespace.Core/Models/Content/" />
<add key="Umbraco.ModelsBuilder.AcceptUnsafeModelsDirectory" value="true" />
<add key="Umbraco.ModelsBuilder.LanguageVersion" value="CSharp6" />

...where MyRootSiteNamespace.Core is a seperate code library where most of the app code lives.

Any partials MUST be created in the same folder as the generated models in order for any overridden property implementations to be recognised when the models are generated (See the Umbraco.ModelsBuilder docs for details on what these are and how it works). I then have a seperate folder of /Models/View to store custom view models for use with partials generated by Surface Controllers.

What if I don't want to use ModelsBuilder?

This is purely a recommendation - you can use this how you like, use a different model generator or roll your own models. While Pylon is now desgned to work well alongside ModelsBuilder, it's not intended to be opinionated either.

UmbracoPylon.Autofac & UmbracoPylon.Ninject

Umbraco Pylon 3 comes with 2 extra supporting libraries that give you the code you need to quicly wire up not just Pylon, but Umbraco itself, using these two IoC containers.


This static class registers key dependencies for Umbraco and Pylon. These are fluent extensions that can be called as part of your own IoC setup.

In Autofac for example you can call...

var builder = new ContainerBuilder()
    .RegisterCustomContentRepository<MinistryPublishedContentRepository, IMinistryPublishedContentRepository>()

Autofac allows you to pass in the assembly that your own controllers are located in (It will try and make a good guess anyway). If you do this it will bind them all. Ninject doesn't have this option as it binds controllers using it's own peculiar wizardry.

And in Ninject...

    .BindCustomContentRepository<IMinistryPublishedContentRepository, MinistryPublishedContentRepository>();

You have to Bind your repo like this so it has the Umbraco Contexts correctly, OR you can manually bind it like this...

// Autofac

// Ninject

InstancePerHttpRequest / InRequestScope is important here as you need to ensure a new instance of the repo on each request.

These methods will register all of the Umbraco API Services, UmbracoHelper and UmbracoContext as well as the main Pylon elements. You will have to register your own services and implementations yourself.

If you're just using the default repository and site implementations you can register your repo as follows...

// Autofac

// Ninject

If you're using a different IoC tool, feel free to take the source code of one of these and build your own - Submit it back to the project!

PylonIoCConfig (Autofac Only)

This abstract class provides a base definition for an Autofac IoCConfig instance.

The Ministry one looks like this...

public class IocConfig : PylonIocConfig
    private static IocConfig instance;

    public static IocConfig Instance => instance ?? (instance = new IocConfig());

    #region | Private Methods |

    protected override IContainer BuildContainer()
        return new ContainerBuilder();


Retired Elements

The following elements of Pylon have been retired in Pylon 3...

  • ContentAccessor \ IContentAccessor - Now done directly through the PublishedContentRepository.
  • MediaAccessor \ IMediaAccessor - Now done directly through the PublishedContentRepository.
  • ContentFactory \ IContentFactory
  • DocumentType \ IDocumentType - Replaced by a choice of Umbraco.ModelsBuilder (recommended) or custom model generation.
  • DocumentTypeFactory \ IDocumentTypeFactory
  • LinkedViewModel - Pylon controllers and views will now work with any model, so this base class is now redundant.

The Ministry of Technology Open Source Products

Welcome to The Ministry of Technology open source products. All open source Ministry of Technology products are distributed under the MIT License for maximum re-usability. Details on more of our products and services can be found on our website at http://www.ministryotech.co.uk

Our other open source repositories can be found here...

Our content is stored on Github.

Where can I get it?

You can download the package for this project from NuGet...

Older versions can be found at...

Contribution guidelines

If you would like to contribute to the project, please contact me.

Who do I talk to?

 Download package
version 3.711.0.0

NuGet install instructions for Umbraco 7.10.0-7.11.0

Install-Package UmbracoPylon

Package owner

Keith Jackson

Keith Jackson

Keith has 552 karma points

Package Compatibility

This package is compatible with the following versions as reported by community members who have downloaded this package:
Untested or doesn't work on Umbraco Cloud
Version 8.18.x (untested)

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Previously reported to work on versions: 7.11.x, 7.10.x

Package Information

  • Package owner: Keith Jackson
  • Created: 01/08/2018
  • Current version 3.711.0.0
  • .NET version 4.5.2
  • License MIT
  • Downloads on Our: 229
  • Downloads on NuGet: 4.9K
  • Total downloads : 5.1K