What is BC Pie?

A restaurant waiter serving BC Pie on a platter.

BC Pie is a package-based ecosystem for creating Business Catalyst websites and apps.

We intend it to be a source of great documentation, clear methodology and best practices.

Is it a framework?

Actually, yes, but not like Foundation or Bootstrap, which are CSS frameworks. BC Pie is a site framework, or rather an extension of Business Catalyst’s existing site framework. Here’s the difference:

CSS Framework

  • Provides a predesigned set of CSS styles
  • Often includes JavaScript to work with their styles to provide specific functionality
  • Dictates how HTML should be written in order to benefit from the CSS and JavaScript

Site Framework

  • May include a CSS framework, but not necessarily
  • Includes server-side software to provide functionality and dictate how files will be handled
  • Every CMS is a site framework. Business Catalyst is a site framework.

Business Catalyst’s site framework is brilliant, but not all of it is aging well. While Adobe has focused on server-side upgrades and security features, they have left much of the user experience alone. This is where BC Pie comes in.

Features

As an extension of Business Catalyst’s existing site framework, BC Pie not only enhances existing features, but also adds entirely new experiences. BC Pie’s features are currently divided into three categories:

Packages

BC Pie’s concept of “packages” is essentially a modular extension system for Business Catalyst. It was tempting to name them “modules”, however we wanted to separate them from the vastly different native Business Catalyst modules.

Packages are the ultimate building blocks of BC Pie sites. They come in many flavors and varieties, and are categorized as follows:

Layouts

In its simplest definition, layouts consist of one or more related html pages which are installed as a group. A layout can optionally be specific to a CSS framework, or even be prebuilt to utilize certain tricks. Layouts are devoid of any inline styling, so they should pick up the current site theme automatically. Plug and play.

Tricks

Traditionally, adding extra JavaScript functionality to a website requires web designers to write a few lines of JavaScript. For many reasons, this is not ideal. For example, not every web designer is skilled enough to write JavaScript. It’s also a distraction from the flow of writing HTML. In BC Pie, a trick is a special JavaScript plugin that is used entirely through html data attributes. No js skills required.

Themes

Themes are a simple way of changing the foundational styling of a site. With a simple theme.css file, a site can take on a whole new look.

Frameworks

Choosing and installing a CSS framework, like Foundation or Bootstrap, should be clean and easy. BC Pie makes it so.

Fonts

Through BC Pie’s Package Manager app, you can natively install fonts from TypeKit, Google Fonts, or even upload fonts from your computer.

NPM

Coming this summer, NPM's vast catalog of front-end packages will be available to use directly through the app. This includes thousands of libraries, frameworks and plugins. 

Apps

BC Pie apps are utility in nature. Their common purpose is to help developers quickly create consistent, high-quality Business Catalyst sites and apps.

SDK

The SDK provides developers easy access to Business Catalyst’s APIs.

Installation

Installation of BC Pie is very involved. First, install the BC Pie app. Then you’re done. Insert emoji.

The BC Pie app is actually a bundle of apps under the same wrapper. In the Business Catalyst admin, they appear at the bottom of the side navigation under the heading “BC Pie”.

Best Practices

Resources

Roadmap

Dec 2017

Package Manager (alpha release)

  • Can upload, manage and install:
    • fonts
    • third party scripts
    • frameworks
    • tricks
  • Initializes a site with correct file structure
  • Automatic dependency management
  • Minifies CSS and JS

Feb 2018

App Builder (alpha release)

Apr 2018

Package Manager

  • Find and install packages directly from the app’s online catalog
  • Integrate npm into online catalog

Jul 2018

Package Manager

  • Typekit and Google font management
  • version management for packages and npm assets

Dec 2018

Package Manager & App Builder (beta release)

  • developers able to distribute/sell packages and App Builder apps through online catalog
A restaurant waiter serving BC Pie on a platter.