Caching when you have duplicate container components

In theory, the magic of Dynamic Placeholders lets us have a container component placed onto your page more than once. That didn’t work in the old world of “static” placeholders, because the rendering engine didn’t like two placeholders with the same name. But despite it’s benefits, the dynamic implementation has an annoying edge case – you may not be able to enable caching for your container component. I had a client bump into this issue recently, so I spent some time considering approaches that might help them address this issue. Continue reading

Shooting myself in the foot with Marketing Automation

I had another of my fun chats with Sitecore Support recently, for an issue that seemed to get no useful results in Google when I looked. So, as is my way, I’m filling that search-engine void today. This turned out to be entirely my fault – but it seems like the sort of mistake that others might encounter too… So if you’ve deployed a distributed instance of Sitecore and found Marketing Automation was behaving oddly, read on… Continue reading

A pain point with “Trusted Connection” in Sitecore v9.1

One of the projects I’m working on at the moment came with a requirement to change Sitecore v9.1 from running with the default SQL Security accounts to trusted connections using specific Active Directory accounts that the client provided. While there’s a bit of work to do to enable this, it shouldn’t be too tough. But trying to be a bit clever, I hit upon an issue which seemed worth documenting… Continue reading

Ooops… Looks like WFfM broke analytics…

I got a fun support ticket recently, for a client on Sitecore v8.1 whose analytics processing had stopped working. Their outstanding queue of raw analytics data that needed to be aggregated was slowly growing, and some functionality which relied on the existence of recent analyics data had stopped working. Trying to fix this caused me to look at two issues which are related to how Web Forms for Marketers data is processed in analytics – and these seemed like issues that other people who do support work might need info on… Continue reading

What do you mean you can’t fetch that item by its path?

There are some things in Sitecore that you just take for granted will work. Loading items is a good example of this. I’ll admit that user error can get in your way, but usually if you can see an item in the content tree, you can write code that will load it without issues. So I’ll admit I was pretty confused when I came across a scenario recently where this did not appear to work correctly. In case anyone else hits this challenge, here’s what happened: Continue reading

A fast query edge case that might bite you

There’s been a bit of discussion (I might even go as far as to say ranting 😉 ) on the subject of not using “fast query” in your website code recently. I’m a supporter of this idea – but I came across an issue recently that points out why it’s not always easy to be confident that you’re not making use of it indirectly…

So, for the benefit of Google: Continue reading

It’s never the runtime… (Except when it is)

BugSomething I’ve learned over the course of many years working in IT is that when you hit a difficult to explain problem it’s very easy to say “it’s the runtime’s fault!” or “that’s a compiler bug” to cover for the lack of explanation for your problem. The vast majority of the time, it’s not true though. It’s just a subtler bug in your own work that you can’t see yet.

Every so often, however, it is true. And it turns out the issue I discussed the other week about Sitecore rendering a Razor error when you asked for a media item may well be an example of this. Continue reading

What went wrong with my media?

Edited to add: With help from Sitecore Support, there’s an explanation for what was going on here now.
Edited further to add: According to the release notes, this issue is resolved in Sitecore 8.2 update 6.

If you spend your life working with software, you can’t help but collect a few stories of issues that defied your understanding – and I came across a great example with Sitecore recently. I haven’t managed to decide if this is an issue that can happen to others, or whether it was completely specific to the setup of this particular site. But since I got few useful results from Google when I was trying to solve this, I figure it’s worth writing about it just in case someone else sees a similar problem in the future… Continue reading