Install Sitecore 9 Update 1 – in 4 Simple Steps

By now you probably know installing Sitecore 9 is a bit different to previous versions and instead of using an installer the process involves using The Sitecore Install Framework (or SIF) to install Sitecore. When Sitecore 9 first came out I made numerous attempts to install it on my Windows 8.1 machine and couldn’t get it to work due to an issue with SSL certs for xConnect. Apparently it’s possible to get working but I couldn’t get past the issue so decided I’d upgrade to Windows 10 instead. Sitecore 9 Update-1 came out earlier this week and after upgrading to Windows 10 over the Christmas break I decided it was time to have another go. I’ve kept a close eye on the Community tools and blog posts for helping with installing Sitecore 9 over the past two months and think the approach I have outlined below is pretty quick and fairly simple. Prerequisites First up … Continue reading Install Sitecore 9 Update 1 – in 4 Simple Steps

Manchester Sitecore Technical User Group Presentation

Last Wednesday I was kindly invited by Jitendra Soni  & Martin Davies  to Talk at the Manchester Sitecore Technical User group. After some deliberation I decided I would do a Talk on using Jeff Darchuk’s Content Migrator module for Auto-syncing content and show the customisations we implemented for this to sync content on a specific day of the week and build a UI for setting up the configuration of Content Migrator for Automated Syncs. Jitendra presented first and talked about the new features in Sitecore 9, whilst I’ve read quite a bit about Sitecore 9 It was good to see some of these in more detail and be able to ask questions. I enjoyed giving my first presentation at a Sitecore technical user group, everyone seemed to be engaged in the talks and it was great to see so many Sitecore developers at the Manchester Meet-up. For those who have asked … Continue reading Manchester Sitecore Technical User Group Presentation

Auto-Setting Alt Text For Existing & New Images in Sitecore with Cognitive Services

Alt text on images is important for accessibility but often content editors do not set it or are not sure what to set it to. I recently had the scenario where a client had thousands of existing images (across a Multisite Solution) with no Alt text entered and was asked to find a solution to add these retrospectively and also to make this easier going forward. The Robots Are Coming After considering my options (and reading a bunch of Blog Posts on how others have solved this) I decided to use Sitecore Powershell to set the missing Alt tags. This was because I only needed to run this once and then I won’t need to do this again. However what should I set the Alt text too? It would be possible to use the image name in Sitecore or other attributes on the image in Sitecore to intelligently name the … Continue reading Auto-Setting Alt Text For Existing & New Images in Sitecore with Cognitive Services

Upgrading Sitecore Content Migrator & Scheduling Content Syncs

Back in February I wrote about using Sitecore Content Migrator to Sync Content to your Dev and Staging Environments from Production. Since then Jeff Darchuk has released a number of versions and in 3.1 on-wards it now support  Scheduling Content Syncs :-). This is great as it means you will no longer have to do this manually – this can take a lot of time if you have a few Sites and environments to sync. If your not already using Content Migrator yet then you can just go ahead and install 3.2* from the VS Package Manager Console like so: Install-Package SitecoreSidekickContentMigrator -Version 1.3.2 However if you have an older version installed (like me) you will need to upgrade first. I didn’t find the steps after upgrading very clear, so I’ve documented this for anyone else who needs to do this. * Note: you can install 4.0 rc2 instead, this is pretty stable … Continue reading Upgrading Sitecore Content Migrator & Scheduling Content Syncs

Auto-maintaining Sitecore Session State permissions in tempDB after SQL Server restarts

We use SQL Server to maintain our Sitecore sessions which mostly works fine. However as part of the performance boosts recommended by Sitecore the session-state is moved to store session in SQL Server tempDB. The process is explained here: https://doc.sitecore.net/sitecore_experience_platform/setting_up_and_maintaining/session_state/session_state/walkthrough_configure_a_shared_session_state_database_using_the_sql_server_provider However, every time that SQL Server is restarted, it recreates tempDB and resets the access rights for users and the session tables. This will result in your Sitecore site going down and an error such as: System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: The SELECT permission was denied on the object ‘SessionState’, database ‘tempdb’, schema ‘dbo’. The INSERT permission was denied on the object ‘SessionState’, database ‘tempdb’, schema ‘dbo’. The UPDATE permission was denied on the object ‘SessionState’, database ‘tempdb’, schema ‘dbo’. And also an angry client and customers :-(. How do I solve this? You could re-run the script from the Performance boost download provided by Sitecore (Sessions db performance boost.sql ) but this could happen late … Continue reading Auto-maintaining Sitecore Session State permissions in tempDB after SQL Server restarts

SUCON 2017 – Day 2

I missed a couple of the morning sessions on Day 2 so I’m hoping that some of them will make it online, from what I hear the Publishing Service 2.0 presentation by Stephen Pope was very good. If you missed it you can read about Day 1 here. Tooling For Helix with a Docker focus The first talk I went to was from some of the guys at Pentia (Thomas Stern & Emil Klein) on using Docker and Yoman to generate a Helix based Sitecore site. The tool they have built looks really cool, it takes a project name, folder and .NET version and creates a Sitecore site for you within a Docker container within a few minutes. This includes installing the .NET Framework, the Site files and setting up IIS. They have also created similar tools for setting up Mongo and Solr within Docker. The link above is hard to … Continue reading SUCON 2017 – Day 2

SUCON 2017 – Day 1

I was lucky enough to attend Sitecore SUGCON 2017 in Amsterdam the week before last, which for those who don’t know is the annual Sitecore User Group Conference and is a must-attend event for every Sitecore developer. I was really looking forward to a number of the talks and meeting some of the Sitecore folks who I’ve got to know through the community. It was a packed two days so I thought I’d share my key takeaways from SUGCON for those who couldn’t attend, or if you had a few too many beers and forgot some of it 😊. As usual there were some session clashes so I couldn’t go to everything but I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch some of the other sessions when they are put online. SUGCON opened with Lars Nielsen taking to the Stage to talk about the future of Sitecore. He gave us some … Continue reading SUCON 2017 – Day 1

Bulk Move Items with Sitecore Powershell Extensions

Sitecore Powershell Extensions (or SPE) is a great Module for Sitecore that allows you to automate a lot of menial tasks, e.g bulk renaming, moving or deleting items and much more besides. There is a great Git book here with more info on what you can do with it: https://sitecorepowershell.gitbooks.io/sitecore-powershell-extensions/ I needed to move about 3,000 child-items to a sub-folder in Sitecore and since there is no easy way to do this I decided SPE would be perfect for the job. Before you do anything with SPE on a Production environment – a word of caution: please be very careful to test your scripts on a Development or Staging environment first and backup your live database before you run anything on Production. Ok now on with the code. The script below has two variables defined at the top. $rootOfitemsToMove – The folder/parent item where the child items you want to move currently exist. $destinationItem … Continue reading Bulk Move Items with Sitecore Powershell Extensions

Hiding unneeded Components to speed up Sitecore Experience Editor

Sitecore Experience Editor is very powerful but if you have lots of components on a page it can be slow to load sometimes. Because of this as a Sitecore developer you often find yourself looking at what you can do to speed it up. The first steps are usually to ensure you are following the recommendations in Sitecores Performance Tuning Guide. Also in more recent versions of Sitecore such as Sitecore 8.2 there are improvements in the performance of Experience Editor by Lazy Loading components in the Ribbon and so on – so if upgrading in the immediate future is an option this is recommended. If it isn’t and you are stuck on Sitecore 8.1 then also look at the following potential improvements: Disabling the My Items count (there is also a Support Hotfix for this now) and turning off the Suggested Tests count. What else can I do to speed up Experience Editor? So as the … Continue reading Hiding unneeded Components to speed up Sitecore Experience Editor