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Customize a design using Velocity

Use the open-source Velocity design language to customize recommendation designs.

Velocity overview

Information about Velocity can be found at https://velocity.apache.org .
All Velocity logic, syntax, and so on can be used for a recommendation design. This means that you can create for loops, if statements, and other code using Velocity rather than JavaScript.
Any variable sent to Recommendations in the productPage mbox or the CSV upload can be displayed in a design. These values are referenced with the following syntax:
$entityN.variable

Variable names must follow Velocity shorthand notation, which consists of a leading $ character, followed by a Velocity Template Language (VTL) Identifier. The VTL Identifier must start with an alphabetic character (a-z or A-Z).
Velocity variable names are restricted to the following types of characters:
  • Alphabetic (a-z, A-Z)
  • Numeric (0-9)
  • Hyphen ( - )
  • Underscore ( _ )
The following variables are available as Velocity arrays. As such, they can be iterated over or referenced via index.
  • entities
  • entityN.categoriesList
For example:
#foreach ($category in $entity1.categoriesList) 
<br/>$category 
#end

Or
#if ($entities[0].categoriesList.size() >= 3 ) 
$entities[0].categoriesList[2] 
#end

If you use a profile script in your design, the $ preceding the script name must be escaped with a \. For example, \${user.script_name} .
The maximum number of entities that can be referenced in a design, either hardcoded or via loops, is 99. The template script length can contain up to 65,000 characters.
For example, if you want a design that displays something similar to this:
you can use the following code:
<table style="border:1px solid #CCCCCC;"> 
 
<tr> 
 
<td colspan="3" style="font-size: 130%; border-bottom:1px solid  
#CCCCCC;"> You May Also Like... </td> 
 
</tr> 
 
<tr> 
 
<td style="border-right:1px solid #CCCCCC;"> 
 
<div class="search_content_inner" style="border-bottom:0px;"> 
 
<div class="search_title"><a href="$entity1.pageUrl"  
style="color: rgb(112, 161, 0); font-weight: bold;"> 
$entity1.id</a></div> 
 
By $entity1.message <a href="?x14=brand;q14=$entity1.message"> 
(More)</a><br/> 
 
sku: $entity1.prodId<br/> Price: $$entity1.value 
 
<br/><br/> 
 
</div> 
 
</td> 
 
<td style="border-right:1px solid #CCCCCC; padding-left:10px;"> 
 
<div class="search_content_inner" style="border-bottom:0px;"> 
 
<div class="search_title"><a href="$entity2.pageUrl"  
style="color: rgb(112, 161, 0); font-weight: bold;"> 
$entity2.id</a></div> 
 
By $entity2.message <a href="?x14=brand;q14=$entity2.message"> 
(More)</a><br/> 
 
sku: $entity2.prodId<br/> 
 
Price: $$entity2.value 
 
<br/><br/> 
 
</div> 
 
</td> 
 
<td style="padding-left:10px;"> 
 
<div class="search_content_inner" style="border-bottom:0px;"> 
 
<div class="search_title"><a href="$entity3.pageUrl"  
style="color: rgb(112, 161, 0); font-weight: bold;"> 
$entity3.id</a></div> 
 
By $entity3.message <a href="?x14=brand;q14=$entity3.message"> 
(More)</a><br/> 
 
sku: $entity3.prodId<br/> Price: $$entity3.value 
 
<br/><br/> 
 
</div> 
 
</td> 
 
</tr> 
 
</table>

If you want to add information after the variable value, you can do so using formal notation. For example: ${entity1.thumbnailUrl}.gif .
You can also use algorithm.name and algorithm.dayCount as variables in designs, so one design can be used to test multiple criteria, and the criteria name can be dynamically displayed in the design. This shows the visitor that he or she is looking at "top sellers" or "people who viewed this bought that." You can even use these variables to display the dayCount (number of days of data used in the criteria, like "top sellers over the last 2 days," etc.

Scenario: Display key item with recommended products

You can modify your design to show your key item alongside other recommended products. For example, you might want to show the current item for reference next to the recommendations.
To do this, create a column in your design that uses the $key attribute you are basing your recommendation on rather than the $entity attribute. For example, the code for your key column might look like this:
<div class="at-table-column"> 
   <a href="$key.pageURL"> 
      <img src=$key.thumbnailUrl" class="at-thumbnail"/> 
      <br/><h3>$key.name</h3> 
      <br/><p class="at-light">$key.message</p> 
      <br/><p class="at-light">$key.value</p> 
   </a> 
</div>

The result is a design like the following, where one column shows the key item.
When you are creating your Recommendations activity, if the key item is taken from the visitor's profile, such as "last purchased item," Target displays a random product in the Visual Experience Composer (VEC). This is because a profile is not available while you design the activity. When visitors view the page, they will see the expected key item.

Scenario: Replace the decimal point with the comma delimiter in a sales price

You can modify your design to replace the decimal point delimiter used in the United States with the comma delimiter used in Europe and other countries.
The following code shows a single line in a conditional sale pricing example:
<span class="price">$entity1.value.replace(".", ",") €</span><br>

The following code is a complete conditional example of a sale price:
<div class="price"> 
    #if($entity1.hasSalesprice==true) 
    <span class="old">Statt <s>$entity1.salesprice.replace(".", ",") €</s></span><br> 
    <span style="font-size: 10px; float: left;">jetzt nur</span> $entity1.value.replace(".", ",") €<br> #else 
    <span class="price">$entity1.value.replace(".", ",") €</span><br> #end 
    <span style="font-weight:normal; font-size:10px;"> 
                                        $entity1.vatclassDisplay 
                                        <br/> 
                                        $entity1.delivery 
                                        <br> 
                                    </span>

Scenario: Create a 4x2 default Recommendations design with null-checking logic

Using a Velocity script to control for dynamic sizing of the entity display, the following template accommodates a 1-to-many result to avoid creating empty HTML elements when there aren't enough matching entities returned from Recommendations. This script is best for scenarios when back-up recommendations wouldn't make sense and Partial Template Rendering is enabled.
The following HTML snippet replaces the existing HTML portion in the 4x2 default design (the CSS is not included here, for the sake of brevity):
  • If a fifth entity exists, the script inserts a closing div and opens a new row with <div class="at-table-row"> .
  • With 4x2, the maximum results shown will be eight, but this could be customized for smaller or larger lists by modifying $count <=8 .
  • Be aware that the logic won't balance the entities on multiple rows. For example, if there are five or six entities to display, it won't dynamically become three on top and two on the bottom (or three on top and three on the bottom). The top row will display four items before starting a second row.
<div class="at-table">
  <div class="at-table-row">
    #set($count=1) 
    #foreach($e in $entities)  
        #if($e.id != "" && $count < $entities.size() && $count <=8) 
            #if($count==5) 
                </div>
                <div class="at-table-row">
            #end
            <div class="at-table-column">
                <a href="$e.pageUrl"><img src="$e.thumbnailUrl" class="at-thumbnail" />
                    <br/>
                    <h3>$e.name</h3>
                    <br/>
                    <p class="at-light">$e.message</p>
                    <br/>
                    <p class="at-light">$$e.value</p>
                </a>
            </div>
            #set($count = $count + 1) 
        #end 
    #end
    </div>
  </div>