Handling failed messages with Deadletter Queue and Sitecore Workflow

In my last post, I implemented a message queue which decoupled our application and provided a level of redundancy for our messages. But what about messages that are not processed successfully? This could occur for a number of reasons there might be an issue with the consuming application, a network issue or even an invalid message request.

A Deadletter queue, also known as an undelivered-message queue is a holding queue for messages that cannot be delivered to their destination. They provide a mechanism for persisting your failed messages without continually trying to process the same message. The deadletter queue could then be monitored and any failed messages can be examined and appropriate corrective action taken.


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Produce and Consume Messages with Sitecore

In my previous post, I looked at message queues and how they can be utilized in your solution architecture. In the second part of this series, I will explore how you can add messages to a Message queue (Message Publisher) and Consume messages (Consumer) from a message queue with Sitecore and AWS SQS.

Using the example of an Events Booking site where a user finds an event they are interested in complete an event registration form which gets submitted to Event Bookings Application via an API. The Booking Application is known to go down and it is not uncommon to run into connection issue with the API causing booking requests to get lost. The Booking Application is old and unreliable and occasionally goes down.

By adding a Message Queue we decouple the website from the booking application and provide a level of resilience. If an outage does occur or there is an API connection issue instead of messages being lost they will be persisted on the queue. When the booking application comes back online or connection has been restored the messages on the queue will get processed.


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Introduction to Message Queues

The basic architecture of a message queue is simple, there are client applications called producers that create messages and deliver them to the message queue. An application, called consumer, connects to the queue and retrieves the messages to be processed. Messages are stored in the queue until the consumer retrieves them for processing.queueIn this post I will share some the benefits you can gain from utilizing message queues in your application architecture and look at some of the queuing platforms available today.  In the following series of posts I will explore how message queues can be utilized with Sitecore:

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Common Sitecore DEF Mistakes

So in this short post, I’ll cover a few common mistakes that you might make when starting out configuring your DEF project, I know I certainly did and a fellow colleague hit the same issues on a recent project he just started. Hopefully, it will prevent you from falling into the same trap and banging your head against the wall.

Error An Item with the same key has already been added.

Symptoms: You see the following error being logged when you run your pipeline batch and you have a Resolve Sitecore Item Pipeline Step. You will probably see something like this in your Sitecore logs:

[Date/Time] ERROR An item with the same key has already been added.

[Date/Time] ERROR Pipeline step processing will abort because a critical error occurred during processing.

Possible Cause: You see this occur during the Resolve Sitecore Item pipeline step processor. It usually means you have duplicate field name on the item you are trying to create in Sitecore. Check the template of the Sitecore item you are attempting to create including any inherited templates and resolve any duplicate fields names.

Item is created in Sitecore but the fields are not populated.

Symptoms: You have a pipeline batch with pipeline steps that read data from a source, iterates the items and create an item in Sitecore. The Item is created with the correct identifier, however, the fields on the Sitecore item are not populated.

Possible Cause: Most likely this is an issue with Data Location field has been set incorrectly on a pipeline step. Go through each step and check the location value.

Hope this helps!

Generate Sitecore Support Package via Admin Tools

So I’ve been happily running the standalone SSPG (Sitecore Support Package Generator) for some time now, that is until my good friend Bill Cacy pointed out – it can now be generated via the Sitecore Admin Tools in Sitecore 8.2 onwards!! Wow, how did I miss this?

SSPG is an awesome tool for grabbing a snapshot of useful juicy information about your Sitecore instance to help you diagnose issues when thing go wrong or if just want to simply grab all the log files for a specified period of time. If you’ve never used it then chances are you’ve never had to raise a Sitecore support ticket, as this is one of the first things they will almost always ask for if you don’t provide it to them beforehand.

By making it available in Admin Tools Sitecore have made the process of generating this package and uploading it to the Sitecore FTP support location much much simpler.

1. Select Support Package from the Sitecore Admin Tools Index page (sitecore/admin/default.aspx)

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GDPR! Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in Sitecore xConnect.

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) about to go into effect on May 25th, you should be aware of what Personally Identifiable Information (PII) could be stored in Sitecore 9 xConnect.

These fields are easily identifiable if you have installed Sitecore Data Exchange Framework 2.0+ and the xConnect Provider (provides the ability to read and write data to the collection and reference data services of Sitecore xConnect).

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