Monday, March 14, 2016

Item Url Replacement Improvements - Sitecore 8.1 Update-2 Settings - Part 3

In this post, I would like to discuss about another setting that is introduced with Sitecore 8.1 rev. 160302 (Update-2), which is related to item name URL replacements

Ths setting we are going to discuss is
          Specifies whether you can create items with names that contain the values defined in the 'find' and 'replaceWith' properties in the
         'encodeNameReplacements' section.
          Default value: true.

 <setting name="ItemNameAllowMixingReplacementCharacters" value="true"/>

Early versions of Sitecore (earlier than 8.1 Update-2), if you have define character replacements for url's and want to include both parts 'find' and 'replaceWith'   from 'encodeNameReplacements' section, Sitecore failed to process the URL and find a matching item to serve.

for example,
  • you have defined following setting in <encodeNameReplacements> section 
<replace mode="on" find=" " replaceWith="-" />
  • and you have created an item with following name under /sitecore/content/home
"sample item-1"          (please note both space ('find' part) & hyphen ('replaceWith' part)
  • Sitecore generates above item url as http://hostname/sample-item-1
  • and request to above url (i.e. http://hostname/sample-item-1) returns item not found error.

As a solution to the above issue, in earlier versions of Sitecore, what we did was to restrict hyphens (-) character from item names, by adding hyphen into "InvalidItemNameChars" setting.
 <setting name="InvalidItemNameChars" value="\/:?&quot;&lt;&gt;|[]-" />
This option restricted Content Editors by creating item names with hyphen character.


With this new functionality introduced with Sitecore 8.1 Update-2, Sitecore will process above kind of senario URL's without any issue and successfully find the correct item to render.

Below is the video in Sitecore for Dummies YouTube channel, which discuss about this setting.

Happy Sitecore!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

New Cloning Related Features - Sitecore 8.1 Update-2 Settings - Part 1

Today I went through the configuration changes for the Sitecore 8.1 rev. 160302 (Update-2), which contains following config change to App_Config\Sitecore.config file, which I will go through one by one.

ItemCloning.DeleteClonesWithOriginalItem Setting

<setting name="ItemCloning.DeleteClonesWithOriginalItem" value="false" /> 

This is another very useful functionality added into 8.1 update-2, where cloned items will be also deleted when the source item is deleted.

In earlier version, when a Source item is deleted, Sitecore converts its clones into normal items, and did NOT provide any option to delete clones at the same time.

ItemCloning.DeleteClonesWithOriginalItem set to "false"

But, with this setting set to 'true', when the source / original item is deleted, clones of that item will also get deleted.

ItemCloning.DeleteClonesWithOriginalItem set to "true"

Video explaining the usage of this setting can be found in my "Sitecore for Dummies" YouTube channel.

Following is the description Sitecore has provided with this config setting.

Specifies whether item clones should be deleted when the original item is deleted. If true, when the original item is deleted all its clones are deleted and not just uncloned.    
Default value: false

For a one of my clients which Sitecore 6.6 few years back, I had to re-write the item delete functionality, so that it included this option.

ItemCloning.ForceUpdate.ChangeTemplate Setting

<setting name="ItemCloning.ForceUpdate.ChangeTemplate" value="false" />
In earlier versions of Sitecore, templates of clones were not updated, once the source item template is changed. With this new setting set to true, clones will also get updated with the source/original item template changes.

Video explaining the usage of this setting can be found in my "Sitecore for Dummies" YouTube channel.

Following is the description give to the setting in Sitecore configuration file
       Specify whether clones should be updated automatically when a different template is selected for the original item.
       Note: If true, all the clones of the original item are updated automatically.
       Default value: false

ItemCloning.RelinkClonedSubtree Setting

<setting name="ItemCloning.RelinkClonedSubtree" value="false" />

As you can see from the config description below, this will re-link all the links on items, within the cloning sub-tree.
Indicates that after cloning an item tree structure, all the internal links inside the cloned structure should be re-linked to point to the items in the cloned sub-tree. When the setting value is false, the links in the cloned structure will still link to the items in the original structure.    
Default value: false
This setting is very useful one, when doing content structuring/cloning a new node/etc. Earlier, when a new clone node was created, we had to run a custom written tool to modify the links to be match/used items within the newly cloned item sub-tree.

Video explaining the usage of this setting can be found in my "Sitecore for Dummies" YouTube channel.

Happy Sitecore!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My Footsteps on How to Become a Sitecore MVP

Recently one of my friends on Sitecore Community forum asked to provide some feedback on becoming a Sitecore MVP, which made me to write this article.
First, there are lot of good articles on this topic, which I myself had read and gained lot of information. So, it is good to go through all of them and try to get an idea what it takes and what needs to be done to become a Sitecore MVP

Good articles to read :

Becoming Sitecore Technology MVP by Vasilly Fomichev
Know What it Takes to Become a Sitecore Strategic MVP by Tom Head
3 Basic Steps to Help you Become a Sitecore MVP by Sitecore Sandbox

And following are the things I think that should be focused on :

  • Blogs

One of the best way to distribute your knowled to Sitecore Community is Blogging. More you write, more you get to know the community and help the community.
  • Sitecore Marketplace Modules

You can contribute to Sitecore Marketplace by developing new ideas as a module or contributing the features/extensions that you have already developed as a module to Marketplace.
  • Video contributions

You can record videos and release in your own YouTube channel. Also, you can contribute to Master Sitecore YouTube channel which is a official Sitecore channel. You can do small videos as well as longer videos, in any sitecore related topic.

Every day, interact with the forum by answer question/helping others questions. You need to understand people do post in the forum as their last shot. So, we need to try and help them as much as possible.
I think Sitecore can get reports on your interactions on the forum
  • Twitter

Very important to get your twitter account running, and add/Follow Sitecore people. It is a great knowledge source as well as way to get to know people.
Initial stage of my Sitecore carrier, I didn't use Twitter which I later found was a great loss in knowledge vise as well as networking.

Most of the MVPs and main Sitecore community are in that chat room. try to get involve putting questions and answering questions at the chat room.
  • Sitecore Support Portal

Try to contribute by reporting bugs/new features. But, I cannot give a exact answer if this will be counted or not. but, good to have this.
Note: You only have access to Sitecore Support if you are a Sitecore Certifield Developer and working for a Partner or Customer.
  • Sitecore User Groups

Try to participate to every user group event. If you have any good topic, you can try presenting at user groups also.
If you don't have a Sitecore User Group in your area, you can start a new one with getting your colleagues together. 
  • Sitecore Events participation

Participating to Sitecore events like Sitecore Symposium, Sitecore User Group Conferences, etc is also important to gain knowled as well as networking. But, if there is nothing near to you or not possible due to other reasons, then, this is not a must.
  • Sitecore community document site -

You can also try to contribute to sitecore community document site
  • Sitecore Certificates

If you can do Sitecore Certificates (like DMS, Commerce, etc), it is very good. but, if it is not possible due to some reason, not a must.
  • StackOverflow Contributions
StackOverflow contributions by answring questions on Sitecore related topics is also considered for the award.
  • Social Media Knowledge Share - Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter/etc

Sharing information related to Sitecore on social media will help knowledge to reach other community members.

Finally, make it a fashion to Share Knowledge and help others. Then, you will surely become an MVP. :-)
If you are planning to nominate yourself as Sitecore MVP 2017, you need to start today, since you only have another 10 months to nominate your-self.

UPDATE 17-11-2017

There is a separate stack exchange site for Sitecore now. You can contribute your knowledge/questions/answers to that.

Good Luck & Happy Sitecore !!