2.13.2. HTML mark-up

In a web solution, the relationship between mark-up and theming is one of the biggest sources of dependencies. If there is no strategy for managing HTML mark-up in a decoupled manner, the whole implementation can easily become very monolithic, and flexibility and productivity become stifled.

Most renderings, and therefore the HTML mark-up, in a Helix implementation will reside in the feature layer. On the other side, the business requirements are fulfilled in the project layer, by combining the features into the user experience. Therefore, in a multi-tenant or multi-site scenario, the challenge is that features need to address multiple business requirements – or simply different visual designs.

In other words, in a multi-tenant scenario some assets will always be shared between tenants (see Multi-site and multi-tenant) and when following the Helix conventions, the mark-up is very often one of these assets.

In a single tenant scenario, this is not such a big issue, as features can be built with a single business in mind. Features can be changed and adapted as the requirements changes.

A recommended approach to the shared mark-up challenge is to align your front-end technologies with the Helix principles and split the implementation of the Visual Design across the layers. In your foundation layer, you place the principal front-end framework or frameworks on which you are basing the implementation. These are the frameworks that define how to structure the HTML mark-up in the features. This includes technologies like Bootstrap, Foundation, 960 Grid System, and jQuery. In reality, the foundation layer module will likely contain a multitude of frameworks and utilities – perhaps extended with custom mark-up - which together form the conceptual base that feature developers need to follow. It can even be a custom defined mark-up strategy that is clearly known to feature developer.

The point is that by defining a mark-up strategy in the foundation layer, the feature modules can follow this strategy and know that they are adhering to the implementation conventions.

Habitat Example

The module Foundation/Theming establishes the mark-up framework for the Habitat example site. The module uses bower to bring in a number of external frameworks based on Bootstrap and jQuery.

    "name": "sitecorehabitattheme",
    "private": true,
    "dependencies": {
        "bootstrap-sass": "~3.3.5",
        "bootstrap-block-grid": "~1.1.2",
        "modernizr": "~2.8.3",
        "hover": "Hover#~2.0.2",
        "animate.css": "~3.5.0",
        "wow": "wowjs#~1.1.2",
        "shufflejs": "~3.1.1",
        "responsive-bootstrap-toolkit": "responsive-toolkit#~2.5.1",
        "OwlCarousel": "~1.3.2",
        "jquery": "~2.2.0",
        "font-awesome": "4.4.0",
        "ekko-lightbox": "~4.0.1",
        "ace-builds": "~1.2.2",
        "imagesloaded": "~4.1.0"
    "overrides": {
        "bootstrap-sass": {
        "main": [
        "font-awesome": {
        "main": [
        "OwlCarousel": {
        "main": [
    "devDependencies": {},
    "resolutions": {
        "jquery": "~2"