Sitecore Rendering Datasource Restrictions

Datasources on Sitecore Renderings are the basis for content authors to combine a variety of components to form a page, without the need for all the fields to exist in the context item. They also form the underpinnings of switching out content based on personalization rules.

To make life easier for content authors there are two properties which should always be set; Datasource Template and Datasource Location.

Datasource Template

The datasource template field is fairly straightforward to understand. It specifies what type of template is compatible with a rendering.

If the content editor try’s to select an incorrect template they will see an error message like this and the ok button will be disabled:

Incorrect template type

The template reference can point to either the final template that an instance of which will be created, or a template that had been inherited. So if you structure your templates using base template like I describe in my article on How I structure Sitecore Templates then you can reference the base template and anything including it will become available.

However there is a fundamental flaw in linking to a base template. As well as restricting the template that can be selected, specifying the template type also enables the ability to create new content, which will create it as the form of the template specified. So only link to the templates you want your editors to create.

Datasource Location

The datasource location property (as the name suggest) enables you to restrict where in the content tree items can be selected from (or new content created).

Simply specify the folder the content should be placed in and the rest of the content tree will now be hidden from content authors.

Datasource Location Fixed Path

Multi-site solutions

If your solution contains more than one website this may cause a problem as you likely want to be able to restrict certain content to certain sites and may additionally have a global content folder.

Datasource Location Multiple Folders

The first solution to this is to add multiple path’s separated by a pipe.

Datasource Location Multiple Folders Config

This will enable multiple folders to be shown to the user, but it wont enable any sort of restriction.

The second option is to add an xpath query find the relevant folder. This can also be used in conjunction with the static path by being pipe separated as in the last example.

A query like this:

Datasource Location XPath

/sitecore/content/Shared Components/Shared Hero Banners|query:./ancestor-or-self::*[@@templatename='Site']/Components/*[@@templatename='Hero Banners']

Will produce the desired output like this:

Datasource Location XPath Result

Here you can see the shared hero banners folder is available as is the specific hero banner folder for the current site, but not the hero banner folder from the other site.

Using template source restrictions in Sitecore

The source field on a template definition is a great and easy way to enhance your content editors experience.

With fields types such as a tree list, this can be used to restrict the content tree to the section that is relevant. e.g.

Adding a source property like this:

Source Restriction

Will change how a tree list displays from this:

Unrestricted Tree List

To this:

Restricted Tree List

Multi-Site Solutions

The source field however is far more powerful than just pasting in a fixed path to an item. Rather than a static path you can use xpath to make the results based on a query, such as restricting options on a droplink by template type.

In a multi-site solution this is particularly useful, by restricting the options to the site that your content item is on.

With a fixed path the best we could do in the above example would be to set the restriction to the nearest folder that could access both, resulting in a restriction like this:

Fixed restriction showing both sites

While this makes some improvement for the user, but not hugely and they can still select content from the wrong site.

By using an xpath query that utilizes the ancestor-or-self function with a template name, the restriction will dynamically be based on navigating up the content tree from the current item until the template is found and then showing items from it or in this example going back down to the home item.


Resulting in an output like the original example, but dynamically changing to be the correct items for where the current content item is located:

Treelist with dynamic restriction

Creating a WFFM Save action with Field Mappings

The Sitecore Web Form for Marketers module offers content editors a flexible way to create data capture forms and then trigger certain actions to occur on submission. There’s a whole host of save action options out the box, such as sending an email, enrolling the user in an engagement plan or updating some user details.

However one save action that is often required is the ability to send the data onto a CRM system so that it can get to the people that need to act on it, rather than staying in Sitecore with the content editors. To do this your best option is to create a custom save action that can send on the information.

Creating a Save Action in Sitecore

Save actions in Sitecore are configured under /sitecore/system/Modules/Web Forms for Marketers/Settings/Actions/Save Actions. Here you can see all the standard ones that come out the box and add your own.

Right click Save Actions and insert a new Save Action. You will need to fill out the Assembly and Class fields so that Sitecore knows which bit of code to execute (details on creating this bit below).

Custom Save Action Sitecore Item

Adding Field Mappings

To really make your save action usable you will want to allow the content editor to map the fields on their form with the ones in the CRM, rather than relying on them both having the same name and hard coding the expected WFFM field names in your save action logic.

On your Save Action Item in Sitecore their are 2 fields to fill out to enable the editor in WFFM (Editor and QueryString). Luckily Sitecore provide a mapping editor out the box so there’s very little effort involved here.

Within the Editor filed add the value:


And within the querystring field, add your list of fields in the format fields=FieldName|FieldDisplayText

fields=FirstName|First Name,LastName|Last Name,EmailAddress|Email Address,CompanyName|Company Name


Custom Save Action Field Mappings

When the content editor now adds the save action to their form they will now be able to select a form field for each of these fields.

Custom Save Action Select Fields

Creating the Save Action in code

To create the save action you will need a class that inherits from either ISaveAction or WffmSaveAction. I’ve used WffmSaveAction as it already has some of the interface implemented for you.

The field list you added to the Querystring property of the save action in Sitecore will need to be added as public properties to your class. Sitecore will then populate each of these with the ID the field gets mapped to or null if it has no mapping.

Then all that’s left is to add an Execute method to populate your CRM’s model with the data coming in through the adaptedFields parameter and send it onto your CRM.

using Sitecore.Data;
using Sitecore.WFFM.Abstractions.Actions;
using Sitecore.WFFM.Actions.Base;
using System;

namespace MyProject.Forms
    public class SendFormToCrmSaveAction : WffmSaveAction
        public string EmailAddress { get; set; }
        public string FirstName { get; set; }
        public string LastName { get; set; }
        public string CompanyName { get; set; }

        public override void Execute(ID formId, AdaptedResultList adaptedFields, ActionCallContext actionCallContext = null, params object[] data)
            // Map values from adapted fields into enquiry model
            IEnquiry enquiry = new Enquiry();

            enquiry.Email = GetValue(this.EmailAddress, adaptedFields);
            enquiry.FirstName = GetValue(this.FirstName, adaptedFields);
            enquiry.LastName = GetValue(this.LastName, adaptedFields);
            enquiry.CompanyName = GetValue(this.CompanyName, adaptedFields);

            // Add logic to send data for CRM here

        /// <summary>
        /// Get Value from field list data for a given form field id, or return null if not found
        /// </summary>

        /// <param name="formFieldId"></param>
        /// <param name="fields"></param>
        /// <returns></returns>
        private string GetValue(string formFieldId, AdaptedResultList fields)
            if (string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(formFieldId))
                return null;
            if (fields == null || fields.GetEntryByID(formFieldId) == null)
                return null;
                return fields.GetValueByFieldID(formFieldId);