Simple background scheduling

Every so often I come across the need for some simple code to schedule a bit of work in the background of an application. Sometimes because a service (for integration tasks, perhaps) needs to kick off processing every so often, or sometimes because some background part of a larger program needs to happen in parallel with the main execution. A common part of these requirements is that the task should run every so often, but two instances of the task should not overlap no matter how long the background processing takes.

A few times I’ve come across projects with subtly broken implementations of this requirement, so I thought I’d write down a simple approach that has worked for me. That way next time I need it, I won’t have to go digging through git repos… Continue reading

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An interesting side effect of compiled views

I read a blog post earlier this week that talked about the benefits of compiling your View files to increase performance in Sitecore applications. Reading that post (which I stupidly failed to keep track of the link to, so can’t reference it now the comments pointed me back to) reminded me of an interesting issue that came up on a project I was looking at recently. If you’re interested in the raw performance of your Sitecore sites, you might want to consider this as well when you’re planning your views: Continue reading

Spotting common challenges when you’re doing performance tracing

I find myself doing quite a lot of work on performance for Sitecore websites at the moment. Whenever I do a similar job for a group of clients, I start to spot patterns in the sites I’m working on – and it struck me that there are some common performance issues that can be spotted just from the overview graphs you see when you collect trace data.

So to try and help you all improve the sites you ship, here are three that I’ve come across in a few projects recently: Continue reading

A hack for role-based config in v8 deployments

It’s a pretty common requirement that deploying instances of Sitecore will require slightly different configuration on different servers. Different roles, like content management and content deployment, will require different settings and features to work. So it’s not surprising that there are a variety of approaches to how you manage this configuration in your projects.

In the past I’ve often made use of separate config files, where you have a file for “config changes needed on all servers” and then further files for “config changes needed for CM servers”, and even down to the level of “config changes needed on server CD01” if necessary. This works fine if your deployment process understands which files should go on which servers.

Recently, however, Sitecore have started to offer a “role based configuration” approach in the configuration of v9 – so you can deploy a single config file and the server can pick and choose sections of its configuration based on what role it is performing. But back in the real world, most of us are still supporting V8 (and older) sites, so is it possible for them to adopt something similar to this idea? Here’s one approach that achieves something similar: Continue reading

Issues with Invoke-Webrequest and IE on servers

I’ve been doing some work with Release Management in Visual Studio Online recently. Overall it’s been a pretty positive experience, but there was one face-palm inducing moment I came across which needs writing down so I don’t fall into the same trap next time I have to do this. When you’re working with local release agents, you mustn’t forget the security settings that your agent’s server is configured with… Continue reading

Embedding resources in PowerShell scripts

A challenge I’ve come across a number of times while working with PowerShell scripts for Sitecore is that scripts sometimes have other files they depend on. Making sure that your scripts and their dependencies stay in sync can be a challenge at times, especally when scripts get reused across an organisation. So what approaches can you use for this? Continue reading

Downloading stuff from dev.sitecore.net

There’s been a bit of a theme in my recent posts about scripting stuff, and that continues this week. I’ve been looking at some ideas for automating tasks for developers recently, and one of the things I was interested in was being able to get stuff downloaded from dev.sitecore.net without having to do it manually. So, here’s some PowerShell that can help you with that… Continue reading