Modify Sitecore Install Framework Packages for Azure SQL

Unfrozen Caveman LawyerSitecore 9 is here, it’s in our lives, and we’re at the point where the projects we started at the beginning of the year are getting ready to roll out. That means we need to get our production environments ready. If you’re coming from the Sitecore 8.x and earlier world, this can be a challenge. There’s new databases, the xConnect service, security and certificate requirements, and of course our friend Solr is mandatory now. We have a new tool to help us get through all this, the Sitecore Install Framework (or SIF). It’s supposed to help us by automating our install steps, if you know how to use it.

Fortunately, Sitecore has really stepped up their documentation, especially with version 9. There’s a detailed guide on installing Sitecore 9, which covers a single instance (probably a local developer environment) and a scaled out production instance. However, when they say scaled out , they mean scaled out. There’s a script for every possible server role. In the real world, our environments don’t match what’s exactly in the documentation. For example, we often combine roles, or share hardware. We need to make some adjustments, and that’s when we start to go off the map.

Continue reading “Modify Sitecore Install Framework Packages for Azure SQL”

Jabberwocky Updated for Sitecore 9

a jabberwockyVelir’s Jabberwocky framework has been updated for Sitecore 9.0, initial release. This update doesn’t add any new features beyond support for Sitecore 9.

For now, the package is marked prerelease, due in-part to the dependency on Glass.Mapper, which is still in prerelease for Sitecore 9 support.  We’ll be assessing the framework during our upcoming Sitecore 9 upgrades and projects, and we will correct any uncaught issues with the framework. A final release will be available in the coming months.

As always, your feedback is welcomed!

Sitecore User Csv Import Module

I’ve created a small module to assist with importing users into Sitecore from a csv file. The purpose of the module is to bulk-import users into Sitecore from an external FTP source, but it can also be used to push users into the system in a 1 off manner, for example if you had to move users from another system into Sitecore as part of a site migration. It also comes with an automated agent that can be configured to run regular downloads and imports of user files from an external FTP source.

Overview

The module operates off of items created in Sitecore to represent the import csv sheets. These items contain fields that let you configure how the user will be created based on the data in the sheet, as well as define a role and domain to assign the user to. The module is capable of downloading these csv sheets from an external FTP site and updating the users if the sheet is newer than the last time it was processed. The agent (disabled by default) will iterate over the items in the module’s folder to download the sheet and update the users if the sheet is newer each time it runs.  Imports can also be initiated manually using a custom ribbon button on the sheet import items from within Sitecore.

Setting Up

After downloading and installing the package to Sitecore, open /App_Config/Include/Sitecore.SharedSource.UserCsvImport.config to edit the module’s settings.  You’ll need to create the folder that will store your csv files that the module will read, this should be in the site’s /data folder. If your csv’s are hosted on an external FTP site, you can define the hostname, username and password here as well.

Using the Module

Open the Sitecore content editor, and in the master database navigate to/sitecore/system/Modules/User Csv Importer/User Csv Sheets. In this folder, you can create the User Csv Sheet items.

On the User Csv Sheet item you’ll find the following fields,

  • File Name: The make of the sheet of user data to import. If using the FTP download feature, the folder path should match the folders on the FTP server. Ex. /folder/subfolder/usersheet.csv.
  • Last Updated: The last time the sheet was processed. Clear this field to force the sheet to import again.
  • Role: The membership role to apply to this user.  If it does not exist it will be created.
  • Identity Field Name: The column in the csv to use for the user’s username.
  • Email Field Name: The column in the csv to use for the user’s email.
  • Custom Profile: The profile to use for the users being created.  The columns in the csv should map to the fields on this profile item, meaning the field names should match the names of the csv columns.  Fields that do not exist will be skipped.  See this post for how to set up custom user profiles in Sitecore.

The UserCsvImport module has been tested on Sitecore 7.2 update 3, as well as Sitecore 8.1 initial release. The module depends on a few external libraries.  The Custom Item Generator, CSVHelper for reading and parsing the CSV files, and SSH.NET for the support of secure ftp file transfers.

Download the module from the Sitecore Marketplace, or the source from GitHub.

Sitecore on Solr Cloud: Part 4 – Tuning Solr for Production

This post is part of a series of posts on setting up your Sitecore application to run with Solr Cloud. We’ll be covering the procedure for setting up a Sitecore environment using the Solr search provider, and the creation of a 3-node Solr cloud cluster. This series is broken into four parts.

For the fourth part of this series, we will discuss updating your Solr settings, using Zookeeper to push those changes to the nodes, and some tuning and optimizations we can make to Solr and Sitecore for production.  Continue reading “Sitecore on Solr Cloud: Part 4 – Tuning Solr for Production”

Sitecore Solr Support for Chinese Language

If you’re running Sitecore with Solr, you may have noticed crawling errors when you add versions in certain languages. A common requirement for multilingual sites is support for Chinese, which the generated Solr schema Sitecore provides does not support by default.  Fortunately, it’s relatively simple to correct this and add support for Chinese, as well as other languages that aren’t available in the default schema. Continue reading “Sitecore Solr Support for Chinese Language”

Sitecore on Solr Cloud: Part 3 – Creating Your Sitecore Collection

This post is part of a series of posts on setting up your Sitecore application to run with Solr Cloud. We’ll be covering the procedure for setting up a Sitecore environment using the Solr search provider, and the creation of a 3-node Solr cloud cluster. This series is broken into four parts.

For the third part of this series, we will create our Sitecore collection, add replicas, and connect Sitecore to the collection. We’ll also go over load balancing the requests to distribute them among the Solr cloud nodes.

Continue reading “Sitecore on Solr Cloud: Part 3 – Creating Your Sitecore Collection”

Sitecore on Solr Cloud: Part 2 – Setting up Zookeeper and Solr

This post is part of a series of posts on setting up your Sitecore application to run with Solr Cloud. We’ll be covering the procedure for setting up a Sitecore environment using the Solr search provider, and the creation of a 3-node Solr cloud cluster. This series is broken into four parts.

For the second part of this series, we will go through the steps to set up a Zookeeper Ensemble, individual Solr nodes, and linking them together in a Solr Cloud configuration. We’ll then create Windows services to start Zookeeper and Solr automatically on each server.

Continue reading “Sitecore on Solr Cloud: Part 2 – Setting up Zookeeper and Solr”

Sitecore on Solr Cloud: Part 1 – Architecture

This post is part of a series of posts on setting up your Sitecore application to run with Solr Cloud. We’ll be covering the procedure for setting up a Sitecore environment using the Solr search provider, and the creation of a 3-node Solr cloud cluster. This series is broken into four parts.

For the first part of this series, we’ll go over some assumptions, prerequisites, definitions, as well as the architecture of Solr Cloud and how it interacts with a Sitecore application.

Continue reading “Sitecore on Solr Cloud: Part 1 – Architecture”

Preparing Your Site for Heavy Traffic

A few weeks ago one of our Sitecore clients had a piece of content hit the front page of Reddit.  Too often I see sites get an explosion of traffic, usually unexpected, and the site can’t handle the sudden spike in visitors. Fortunately, this client site’s architecture was able to handle the influx of traffic without a problem.

If your site goes down when your page views shoot up, you’ve squandered a rare opportunity. First impressions are important, and a user whose first impression of your site is instability is a user that likely won’t return. There are things you can do to prepare. My post over at Velir’s blog goes into more detail.