Modifying Rendering Parameters with Sitecore Powershell

Okay, so we all know the difference between Renderings and Final Renderings right? Final renderings were introduced in Sitecore 8 to make it possible to have different layouts for the various language and versions of an Item. Awesome!!

  • __Renderings – a shared field where you specify the common layout for all languages and versions of the item.
  • __Final Renderings – a versioned field where you specify individual layouts for languages and versions of the item.

I ran into an issue where I needed to modify the __Final Renderings for specific templates. A parameter of a component for a specific language in use on a site, needed to be updated. Continue reading

Capture & Monitor JMeter metrics in real-time with InfluxDB & Grafana

The JMeter GUI is great for creating and debugging test plans, however, as I have mentioned in a previous post it is not recommended for running your actual test plan. JMeter is simply not designed to produce high loads in GUI mode, as it can consume a lot of resources and potential produce unreliable load test results. While it is recommended you run your actual test in CLI mode, this means you have to wait until the test is complete before you can see the results. While this might be okay for short tests but for longer running soak tests you might want to examine the results while the test is running. In this post, I will show you how this can be achieved using InfluxDB and Grafana.

The Tools

InfluxDB is a time-series database built for high-performance handling of time-stamped data.  JMeter provides a backend listener InfluxdbBackendListenerClient to write the data to InfluxDB. Grafana is an open-source metric analytics and visualization suite. It is most commonly used for visualizing time series data for infrastructure and application analytics. Continue reading

Nicely packaged Sitecore Items

Okay, so we all love and appreciate something that has been packaged up nicely. There are some really useful features built into Sitecore package designer that can make a huge difference in the packages we create and even save us time.

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Saving & Opening Existing Packages

If you have spent time creating a package you should save it so that if you need to modify it later, you can. After you have generated and installed the package but discover you have forgotten to include something rather than go through the pain of creating a new package you can simply open the existing package. Opening a package allows you to modify the items contained in the package or add new items. This is a no-brainer. Continue reading

Handy dandy tool for sharing Sitecore instances

Often while working on projects, a team member may ask you to share your local Sitecore instance with them. Or you might even want to expose your local site to an external service for performance testing/analysis. There is a handy dandy tool that makes this really easy, ngrok. Using secure tunnels ngrok exposes local sites behind NATs and firewalls to the public internet. By connecting to the ngrok cloud service which accepts traffic on a public address and relays that traffic through to the ngrok process running on your machine and then on to the local address you specify.

There are various plans available including a free plan which supports:

  • HTTP/TCP tunnels on random URLs/ports
  • 1 online ngrok process
  • 4 tunnels/ngrok process
  • 40 connections / minute

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Continue reading

Planning your Sitecore 9 upgrade?

With support for Sitecore 8.2 coming to an end 31st Dec 2019, several clients are planning their migration to Sitecore 9 if they have not done so already. This post describes the process and some of the tasks involved in upgrading from Sitecore 8x.

There are two main approaches when upgrading you might consider:
1. Upgrade existing instances – the upgrade is performed against the existing instances and rolled out to all environments.
Pros:

  • Additional infrastructure is not required for the upgrade

Cons:

  • Usually Requires a code freeze while the upgrade is rolled out to all environments.
  • Unanticipated Issues can arise during the upgrade that can cause delays in the development lifecycle.

2. Clean Approach – setup a clean environment and clean Sitecore instances, migrate data.

Pros:

  • Upgraded and tested in isolation of the current production instance.
  • Provides an opportunity to upgrade the OS & SQL.
  • Easily rollback if issues occur.
  • Code freeze to existing solution not required for the entire duration of the upgrade and bug fixes and new features can be rolled out and worked on in parallel to the upgrade.

Cons:

  • Additional Infrastructure is required for the new environments to run in parallel. We would need to spin up new servers to support the new environment as these would be running on different versions of the operating system and version of software to meeting the requirements of Sitecore 9.
  • We will have the additional overhead of managing two sets of environments for a period of time while.

The clean approach effectively means you a Sitecore 8x environment – current site and a brand new Sitecore 9 environment – for the upgraded site.

Once you have switched over to 9 you can decommission the old environment. Continue reading

Load Testing with JMeter Advanced

In my previous post in this series on load testing I provided an introduction to JMeter to help get you started in this post I’ll explore the following topics and provide solutions to some challenges you may come across while creating your load tests.

Continue reading