SDL Tridion Reference Implementation

The SDL Tridion Reference Implementation is a reference implementation of SDL Tridion 2013 SP1 intended to help you create, design and publish an SDL Tridion-based Web site quickly.


The current release is called SDL Digital Experience Accelerator (version 1.1) and is available for download at the SDL Community site.

What is it

The SDL Tridion Reference Implementation helps you create, design and publish an SDL Tridion-based Web site quickly by doing the groundwork for you: it consists of Publications that are ready to publish to a dynamic, responsive and device-independent Web site with a customizable HTML design.

The Tridion Reference Implementation creates a foundation for you to build on and reduces the SDL Tridion domain knowledge required to develop front-end (Web application) functionality. It provides a standard for creating and sharing content-related Web application functionality and widgets to optimize and accelerate the delivery of SDL Tridion-driven Web sites with rich user experiences.


Using the Tridion Reference Implementation requires the following familiarity with SDL Tridion:

  • Developers or Implementers are expected to know how to set up Content Delivery and publish content from Content Manager.

  • Editors are expected to be familiar with the Content Explorer and Experience Manager user interfaces.


You can use the SDL Tridion Reference Implementation to create a basic Web site quickly with as goal to get developer familiar with SDL Tridion and its concepts, or as a foundation to kick start your own SDL Tridion implementation.

Example Site

An example Web site is installed with the Tridion Reference Implementation containing stock content and pages used to illustrate the different content types and layouts available. The content is royalty free, so you can build your site by extending the example site. You can also start from scratch and create a new Web publication to manage your Web site.


The Reference Implementation is not intended to be a one-size-fits-all solution for all requirements. SDL Tridion is an enterprise CMS which can be implemented to support almost any publishing model and web application architecture, the reference implementation is just one example of how SDL Tridion can be implemented and may not be the best solution for your organization's requirements.


The Tridion Reference Implementation Web application uses an MVC architecture.


Web ApplicationWeb Application uses an ASP.NET MVC 5 architecture (and DD4T-based Content Provider) and requires a database as its Content Data Store.
BluePrintThe default BluePrint structure is linear and consists of 3 Publications. You can implement your own BluePrint.
Security ModelThree Roles are defined: Site Manager, Editor and Developer.
TemplatingTemplating is implemented on the Content Delivery side using ASP.NET Razor Views. Some (.NET) Content Manager based template building blocks are used to publish navigation, configuration and resource data assets and the HTML design assets.
HTML designThe HTML design combines the Bootstrap framework with a number of third-party plugins and can be customized/extended on a number of levels.
Responsive designThe example site is responsive both client-side and server-side, the design changes adapts to the device from which it is viewed.
Navigation and sitemapThe organization of Structure Groups and Pages in the Publication is exposed in the following Web site items:
  • Top navigation, showing the top-level Structure Group names
  • Left navigation, showing the sibling Structure Groups and sibling Pages for the current page
  • Breadcrumb, showing the site structure to the current page
  • Sitemap, showing all visible pages in the site
  • Google sitemap, available at WEBSITE/sitemap.xml, where WEBSITE is the URL of the example Web site.
Example site contentThe contents of the site consist of "lorem ipsum" dummy content combined with royalty-free stock images.
Image resizingA single high resolution version of each image is managed and published from the Content Manager. This is resized by the web application to fit the design of the content element where it is displayed, and the display properties of the client device.
Multi-language supportThe Web site is set up to support multiple languages. Content Manager elements (schema and template names etc.) are all in English only.
Experience ManagerThe majority of pages and content are fully editable in Experience Manager, and the example site contains a set of page types to create new content.
Site FeaturesThe web application includes:
  • Separately managed header and footer
  • Separately managed navigation elements (Top, Left, Breadcrumb, Language Selector, Sitemaps)
  • Separately managed and localizable labels/resources and configuration
  • A variety of page layouts: Home page, Section pages, Content pages (with and without navigation)
  • Configurable social sharing toolbar, and links to social network pages.
  • Auto-populated open graph metadata for social sharing
  • Dynamic content lists based on broker queries
  • Various types of content: Articles, maps, downloads, videos, teasers
  • Various types of content list: Link lists, carousels, tabbed lists, accordions, paged lists and image galleries
  • Notification bars for cookie usage, and unsupported/old browser versions
  • Extensionless URLs, and internal/external redirect/short URLs
  • Client device detection using the Context Engine
IntegrationThe Web site allows the following integrations:
  • integration with the most common social networks
  • integration with YouTube
  • integration with Google Maps
  • integration with Google Analytics



This release contains only the Site project in the web-application Visual Studio solution, since only that part of the source is considered public API (as in, you are expected to change that). on GitHub you can find a repository containing the full source of all the Sdl.Web.* DLLs to give you insight in how the solution is built and what is there available for you to extend.

Support statement

The SDL Tridion Reference Implementation is intended as a toolkit to help the SDL Tridion community and is not an officially supported SDL Tridion product. If you encounter problems, reach out to the community:

:    Bart Koopman
License agreement
:    SDL,  Tridion,  reference,  implementation,  2013 SP1
:   1.0.1
:   Yes

Hotfix stri-1.0.1

This hotfix is intended for SDL Tridion Reference Implementation v1.0 GA and can be applied/installed on top of it.

Problem description:

This hotfix is a cumulative fix for the following issues:

  1. Modules do not have separate HTML Design configuration
  2. Example Site Homepage Carousel elements do not have links
  3. Need to manually install System.Web.Helpers in CM server GAC (typically by installing MVC4+)
  4. Cannot work with Article paragraph blocks in Experience Manager
  5. Larger images are not served to 'retina' display devices
  6. No helpful errors when invalid Publication ID in cd_dynamic_conf.xml
  7. Language selector always takes you to default content, even if the current page is available in another language
  8. Language selector default gives object moved error for default language
  9. Editing Carousel content in Experience Manager shows <Add text> and you cannot edit the text directly
  10. IE9,10: Label on Carousel should be semitransparent
  11. Drop down list of Language selector is white when Language selector is added to footer Page

The hotfix contains a CM part and a web application part, which contain code and content changes to address the described issues. Detailed installation instructions are included.

With the release of this hotfix, we have also updated the v1.0 GA release, if you have downloaded the patched v1.0.1 release of the Reference Implementation (see above), you don't need to apply this hotfix.

:    Bart Koopman
License agreement
Download package
:    SDL,  Tridion,  reference,  implementation,  2013 SP1,  hotfix,  stri-1.0.1
:   1.0.1
:   Yes

About the Author
Will Price
Principal Consultant

Will is a seasoned web application consultant having worked on web projects for clients all over the world for the last 14 years. He has a deep technical and functional understanding of SDL Tridion solutions from his 6+ years working at SDL as a Principal Consultant in Amsterdam. Since 2012 he has been working freelance and continues to be involved in SDL Tridion projects.

W.P. Consulting
About the Author
Bart Koopman
Community Development Consultant

As a Community Development Consultant, Bart is the evangelist of all SDL Tridion products. Bart used to be a consultant and trainer at SDL Tridion, supporting both partners and customers with their implementations.

SDL CMT division