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Configure Shell modules

Describes how to configure custom modules like gadgets and plug-ins, to be used in the Optimizely Content Management System (CMS) user interface.

There are two different kinds of shell modules: protected and public. Protected ones are secured by default, while public ones are accessible to all users.

Modules can be added to Optimizely Content Management System (CMS) by configuring the options for automatic discovery or by explicitly adding them either by configuring the corresponding option through code or appSettings.json file.

Example on configuration from appSettings.json:

"EPiServer": {
  "CmsUI": {
    "ProtectedModule": {
      "Items": [{
        "Name": "MySecureModule"

Example of configuration from code:

services.Configure<ProtectedModuleOptions>(o => o.Items.Add(new ModuleDetails { Name = "MySecureApp" }));

Public modules are installed in the modules folder while protected modules should be installed modules\_protected folder. The web application self is also treated as a "default" shell module but with path '.' (that is the application root). To add additional settings for the "default" shell module, add a module.config to the root of the application.

Options configuration

Some basic module configuration can be done through resource paths and assemblies. The recommendation is that a shell module should have a corresponding module.config.

Module manifest

Each module can have a manifest file (module.config) in the module's root directory, where you can specify further module-specific settings.


A shell module can specify which security policy should be applied to requests for the module by assigning the attribute authorizationPolicy in module.config with the name of the policy to apply. If the module does not explicitly specify a policy is by default no policy applied to public modules, while a policy named episerver:defaultshellmodule (requires user to be in any of roles defined in CmsPolicyOptions.DefaultShellModuleRoles which by default is WebEditors, WebAdmins, CmsAdmins, and Administrators) is applied to protected modules.

Example of assigned policy episerver:cmsedit for module through module.config:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
    <module authorizationPolicy="episerver:cmsedit">
            <add assembly="MyModuleAssembly" />


Both ProtectedModuleOptions and PublicModuleOptions have a property AutoDiscovery that can be configured to specify how module discovery should be performed. By default is PublicModuleOptions.AutoDiscovery set to AutoDiscovery.Modules meaning the modules folder is scanned for modules, which will then be automatically registered. The default for ProtecedModuleOptions.AutoDiscovery is set to AutoDsicovery.Minimal meaning all protected modules need to be explicitly registered. The CMS built-in modules like edit and admin mode is registered when AddCms is called.

Version client resources

You can specify the relative path to client resources in the module folder using the optional clientResourceRelativePath attribute of the module node in the module manifest file, module.config. The module client resource path is equal to the resource base path when clientResourceRelativePath attribute is not defined, or the value is an empty string. Otherwise, the system combines the module resource base path and the relative path specified in clientResourceRelativePath attribute. The resulting value is used as the module client resource path if it is a valid absolute path.

Usage example

You can use this feature to implement versioning to avoid client-side caching issues without changing all references to the resource files individually.

Example module directory structure

Example module.config

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <module clientResourceRelativePath="1.5.0" >
      <!-- ... -->
        <add location="myScript" path="ClientResources/script.js" resourceType="Script" />
        <add location="myStyles" path="ClientResources/styles.css" resourceType="Style" />
      <!-- ... -->
  • Resource base path: ~/modules/SampleModule/
  • Client resource path: ~/modules/SampleModule/1.5.0/