This chapter has not been updated for the current version of Orchard, and has been ARCHIVED.

Adding Custom Settings pre Orchard 1.8

This document traces the process of defining and implementing and individual site setting for a live orchard module that can be added to your site to enable the webservice known as 'AddThis' Content Sharing

The specific goal being "to store my AddThis service login credentials so that all share bars across the site will be able to access my account"

The first thing to understand is that our site setting is really just another form of the basic Orchard building blocks - the ContentPart/ContentPartRecord. While most ContentParts render visual elements to the site's visitor, they can also deliver non-visible chunks of data that can provide dynamic functionality to your pages. A great introduction to the construction of content types can be found found here):

public class ShareBarSettingsPart : ContentPart<ShareBarSettingsPartRecord> {
    public string AddThisAccount {
        get { return Record.AddThisAccount; }
        set { Record.AddThisAccount = value; }

When you create a Content Type you will almost always find yourself also creating a ContentTypeRecord which can be thought of as creating a new field in the database for storing the ContentType values.

public class ShareBarSettingsPartRecord : ContentPartRecord {
    public virtual string AddThisAccount { get; set; }

You can also decorate the content part AddThisAccount property with [Required] attribute to make it a required field when editing site settings.

After creating the content part and record classes, you need to create appropriate database mappings, called in Orchard - Data Migration. You shouldn't do it by hand: there is a command-line, codegen datamigration <feature_name>, which will create the appropriate file for you. You can see how to use it here.

The next step is to create a corresponding driver, which will be responsible for displaying the editor that the end-user invokes when setting the posted values. If you have already written some content parts, than this part of code should look familiar:

public class ShareBarSettingsPartDriver :
    ContentPartDriver<ShareBarSettingsPart> {

    public ShareBarSettingsPartDriver(
        INotifier notifier,
        IOrchardServices services) {
            _notifier = notifier;
            T = NullLocalizer.Instance;

    public Localizer T { get; set; }
    private const string TemplateName = "Parts/Share.Settings";
    private readonly INotifier _notifier;

    protected override DriverResult Editor(
        ShareBarSettingsPart part, dynamic shapeHelper) {

        return ContentShape("Parts_Share_Settings",
                   () => shapeHelper.EditorTemplate(
                       TemplateName: TemplateName,
                       Model: part,
                       Prefix: Prefix));

    protected override DriverResult Editor(
        ShareBarSettingsPart part, IUpdateModel updater, dynamic shapeHelper) {

        if (updater.TryUpdateModel(part, Prefix, null, null)) {
                T("Content sharing settings updated successfully"));
        else {
                T("Error during content sharing settings update!"));
        return Editor(part, shapeHelper);

I omitted some code for checking permissions to edit the settings for better readability, but you are free to take a look at the full source code hosted on GitHub.

To review, so far we have our Content Part (plus it's attendant Content Part Record) and this just added driver. Two more structures are required before we can implement our new site-wide property setting: a Handler (controller) where we define the behavior of our Content Part, and the Shape (view) that will render the HTML markup for our form's editor. The Handler looks like:

public class ShareBarSettingsPartHandler : ContentHandler {
    public ShareBarSettingsPartHandler(
        IRepository<ShareBarSettingsPartRecord> repository) {

        Filters.Add(new ActivatingFilter<ShareBarSettingsPart>("Site"));

In most cases its just that simple:

  1. Add an activating filter. Tells Orchard which of the existing Content Types our ShareBarSettingsPart should be attached to. Because Site is also a Content Type, we can attach our part to it. Basically, this is the point that differentiates the ordinary content parts from site settings.
  2. Add the storage filter to register our settings repository - required because we want to be storing records in the database.

So if the above handler can be thought of as a 'controller' the obvious next step is creating the 'view'. Orchard's term is 'shape' and is nothing more than a .cshtml file that combines HTML markup with razor's ability to render database elements. First, you have to create a .cshtml file under /Views/EditorTemplates/Parts/. This file, as the naming convention informs us, should be named Share.Settings.cshtml. This name corresponds to the Parts_Share_Settings shape used inside the driver above.

We've got only a single field (AddThisAccount) in our settings, so the markup inside the Share.Settings.cshtml file will look like this:

@model Szmyd.Orchard.Modules.Sharing.Models.ShareBarSettingsPart
    <legend>@T("Content sharing settigs")</legend>
        @Html.LabelFor(m => m.AddThisAccount, @T("AddThis service account"))
        @Html.EditorFor(m => m.AddThisAccount)
        @Html.ValidationMessageFor(m => m.AddThisAccount, "*")

Next, we need to tell Orchard where in the Site -> Settings pane our form should be displayed. To do this we create a file in our module root:

    <Place Parts_Share_Settings="Content:0"/>

which tells Orchard to display our form field at the beginning.

Now that we've configured our settings we will look at what it takes to actually use them.

Using site scope settings

This part is basically a one-liner:

var shareSettings = _services.WorkContext.CurrentSite.As<ShareBarSettingsPart>();

Where _services is the IOrchardServices object (eg. injected in the constructor). Please note that you have to include "using Orchard.ContentManagement;" on the class. Simple, isn't it? The full (simplified for readability) example from the ShareBarDriver from Content Sharing module:

public class ShareBarPartDriver : ContentPartDriver<ShareBarPart> {
    private readonly IOrchardServices _services;

    public ShareBarPartDriver(IOrchardServices services) {
        _services = services;

    protected override DriverResult Display(
        ShareBarPart part, string displayType, dynamic shapeHelper) {

        var shareSettings = _services.WorkContext.CurrentSite

        // Prevent share bar from showing if account is not set
        if (shareSettings == null ||
            string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(shareSettings.AddThisAccount)) {

            return null;

        return ContentShape("Parts_Share_ShareBar",
            () => shapeHelper.Parts_Share_ShareBar(
                Account: shareSettings.AddThisAccount));