Skip to main content

Introducing CMSprinkle: A Micro CMS for C# Advent

December 25, 2023 mgroves 0 Comments
Tags: cms content content management system core c# Couchbase

Today, I’m presenting my C# Advent entry for December 25th, a project that emerged from the C# Advent series: CMSprinkle. (By the way, C# Advent merch is still on sale, but not for much longer).

What is CMSprinkle?

CMSprinkle is a micro content management system I developed specifically for the C# Advent website. Its creation was driven by the need for a straightforward and efficient way to manage small bits of content without the overhead of a full-blown CMS or even a headless CMS.

Features and Functionality

CMSprinkle is now available on NuGet and GitHub. It’s designed for ASP.NET Core web applications, particularly MVC projects. (It may also be adaptable to other ASP.NET Core projects, though this remains untested).

Here’s a quick walkthrough of setting up a new project with CMSprinkle:

  1. Creating a New Project: Start with a new ASP.NET Core web application, targeting .NET 8. (Alternatively, you should be able to add CMSprinkle to any existing ASP.NET Core web project that you already have available).

  2. Installing CMSprinkle: Add CMSprinkle from NuGet to your project. (dotnet add package CMSprinkle)

  3. Choosing a Data Provider: Select from available data providers like Couchbase (used by the C# Advent site) or SQL Server. The system is designed to be extensible, so feel free to contribute or request additional database support.

  4. Setting Up: After adding CMSprinkle, you’ll configure it in the views and program files: set up a tag helpers, and add services in your startup.

builder.Services.AddCouchbase(options =>
    options.ConnectionString = "couchbase://localhost";
    options.UserName = "Administrator";
    options.Password = "password";

// this adds auth to CMSprinkle
// if don't do this, it will be local only
// ExampleAuthClass enables anonymous public access, so don't use it as-is!
// builder.Services.AddTransient<ICMSprinkleAuth, ExampleAuthClass>();

// this adds CMSprinkle to your project
builder.Services.AddCMSprinkle(options =>
    // changes URL for cmsprinkle pages
    // if not specified, default is "cmsprinkle"
    // then URLs would be /cmsprinkle/home, etc
    options.RoutePrefix = "managecontent";

    // what message you want to show up when the
    // content hasn't been created yet
    // there is a default message if you don't specify this
    options.ContentNotFoundMessage = (contentKey) => $"ERROR: Can't find {contentKey}, did you add it yet?";

// this adds a Couchbase connection to CMSprinkle
builder.Services.AddCMSprinkleCouchbase("Example","_default","_default", createCollectionIfNecessary: true);

// or here's the SQLServer provider
// builder.Services.AddCMSprinkleSqlServer("Server=localhost;Database=Example;User Id=sa;Password=yourStrong(!)Password;TrustServerCertificate=True;", "SprinkleContent", "dbo",  createTableIfNecessary: true);

Managing Content

CMSprinkle aims to reduce friction in adding a CMS to your site. You define content keys directly in tag helpers and configure options like custom error messages for unfound content.

<div class="text-center">
    <h1 class="display-4">Welcome</h1>
    <p>Learn about <a href="">building Web apps with ASP.NET Core</a>.</p>

    @* this is how you sprinkle managed content into your pages *@
    @* make sure you add CMSPrinkle in _ViewImports.cshtml first *@
    @* this will say "ERROR: Content Not Found (HelloWorld)" until you actually create the content.*@
    <CMSprinkle contentKey="HelloWorld" />

The system also includes a management console for easy content addition and editing.

A Focus on Minimalism

The guiding principle of CM Sprinkle is minimalism. It’s ideal for existing ASP.NET Core websites that require very modest content management capabilities without the complexity of a full CMS. If you have specific features in mind that would make CMSprinkle more suitable for your project, feel free to submit an issue to the GitHub repository.

Video Introduction

You can watch a video introduction to CMSprinkle here, showing a demo in action:

Join the C# Advent Celebration

I invite you to dive into the rich collection of C# Advent entries for 2023. With 50 total entries on, there’s something for everyone.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for participating in the C# Advent, and I hope to see you again next year.


Matthew D. Groves

About the Author

Matthew D. Groves lives in Central Ohio. He works remotely, loves to code, and is a Microsoft MVP.

Latest Comments