4 Tips for Optimizing Incremental Sitecore Content Publishing

Sitecore 122For the past few years, I have not been a big fan of incremental publishing. In fact, I’ve often recommended if there was one publishing mode to never use, it was incremental publishing. I didn’t know all the facts, but the truth was that every time I tried to implement a solution with incremental publishing the content wouldn’t publish correctly.

Over time, Sitecore has been tweaking incremental publishing and making it better, and some of the issues (like handling item renames) have been fixed in 7.2.  However, if you’re still on one of the other releases, there are a few tweaks you can make to enhance your incremental publishing.

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Getting started with Agile ALM for Sitecore

application-lifecycle-managementOver the last few years, I’ve been trying to iteratively improve our own processes at nonlinear to deliver better Sitecore solutions and set our clients up for maintainable and sustainable ALM processes. Some of my posts on automated Sitecore deployments with TFS or TeamCity outlined some of the initial steps we took in automated deployments.  Recently, we posted a brief series to help folks getting into Application Lifecycle Management:

The first new piece of content I put together on this was a slideshare introducing ALM concepts of tool and process improvements, just to get people thinking about where they are in the process and what they need to change. I also covered how to achieve this with continuous improvement model, instead of trying to do a big-bang delivery.

The second piece I wrote covers why ALM matters for Sitecore (and pretty much any web application).  The post covers some of the primary benefits of ALM, as well as how to apply ALM processes during your Sitecore implementations.

The third piece, written by my colleague Mauro, highlights some tips for automated testing of Sitecore implementations, specifically with Selenium. He’s been doing some really awesome things with automated testing of Content Editor, Page Editor, and the end-user flows.

The recommended reads:

Sitecore Continuous Deployment: Conditional sublayout logic

Sitecore 122In a previous post, I discussed handling the continuous deployment of templates and layouts, but mentioned that you also need to worry about conditional business logic in your sublayouts. The primary issue is this: if the data model is constantly in flux and the system is in a state of needing to maintain current functionality while also supporting testing of new functionality, how do we avoid sublayouts blowing up when they render to the user?

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Sitecore 7.2: Related Item Publishing

SitecoreA lot of new stuff dropped in Sitecore 7.2, so our team started taking a look at some of the bits that interested us most. I did a little bit of testing and review of the new related item publishing enhancements, and they are quite nice.

Peek on over at the corporate blog for my findings:

Et tu brute? Of cargo cults and agility…

ScrumI’m not sure what triggered it, but at some point while I was on vacation a few folks started getting really ticked off about the state of “Agile” these days. People adhering to rules or tools, not understanding what it means to bring agility to a project, or building giant runways in the jungle hoping an aircraft drop of supplies will come by.

I don’t necessarily disagree with the points made by the authors, except perhaps the insinuation that all consultants are a bunch of wannabes trying to fleece money from unknowing customers by using buzzwords and flashy smiles. What I didn’t understand: what was prompting this? Have we just reached a tipping point where the first generation of agilists is getting fed up with dealing with ‘fake’ agile?

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Making the case for Continuous Deployment

SitecoreOver on the corporate blog, I’ve tried to make the case for executing continuous deployment for Sitecore solutions.  In reality, the concepts apply to any web applications being developed, but the particulars of how you will accomplish it will depend on the technology platforms being used.

I’d love to get some feedback, so please take a look and let me know your thoughts!

Feeling the Product Owner’s pain

ScrumOn Friday, a large group of us gathered in the office for a full day of looking at how we are currently managing our requirements over the course of a project. In the room we had folks who play the roles of technical leads, scrum masters, and product owners, all chatting over some giant muffins, lots of sticky notes, and one too many rehashings of the insanely catchy Lego movie song.

Cue “Everything is awesome” to be stuck in your head for 4 days now.

A lot of our focus was on the various artifacts we need to pull together, and how they depend on each other. Really, what we were trying to do, was expose the details of why our Product Owners have been needing to pull off heroics just to keep on top of things.

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