Clearer requirements through Sitecore prototyping

Sitecore 122Recently, my colleagues and I were about to embark on a mission to gather requirements for an upcoming release. We had already worked with this particular client and therefore knew that they would have a solid understanding of their existing solution, if not the full capabilities of the Sitecore platform. For the new requirements, we decided to put together some prototypes. I’m so glad we did!

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Using subfolders for Sitecore config files

Sitecore 122Recently, I’ve been changing the organization method I’m using when architecting builds for my clients. Sitecore supports automatically patching in include files from subfolders of App_Config\Include, which allows for architecting project-specific overrides and environment-specific settings in a much cleaner manner.

Kamruz Jaman just wrote a great post about this on Friday. The upshot? Stop putting your files in the primary Include folder and make sure you use subfolders!

Another few tips to add to Martin’s post:

  1. Use a naming convention for environment files. You want to make sure you have a way for deployment scripts to determine whether a file belongs to your primary or secondary content delivery server, or if it applies to all environments. An example would be PRD.CD1.CustomSettings.config.example for a file you want to deploy to your primary production environment.
  2. Use .example for files intended for other environments. If you are trying to manage all of your environment-specific files in a single solution, you will need .example extensions on the files. Otherwise, these files will all activate in your local development.

Upcoming VS Online licensing changes greatly helping Microsoft’s position

TFSLast week, Brian Harry announced on his blog some upcoming changes to the Visual Studio Online licensing.  Word is that the changes should be coming in the next few months (an August-like timeframe is mentioned).  The announced changes are going to be a great help in positioning Microsoft against some of their competition in the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) sphere. How they went about deciding what change to make is just as interesting.

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WCF and CORS: “No ‘Access-Control-Allow-Origin’ header is present on the requested resource”

Service-oriented ArchitectureIf you are building an Angular app (or other form of HTML5 web application) you are probably running controllers on JSON data to bind to repeaters and present to your users. In many examples, this is usually set up with static data, or a local file, but inevitably you will want to architect something a bit more scalable. One way is to introduce a WCF service to act as your gateway to a data store, but if you are running this service outside of the domain of your web application, you will see the following error in your Javascript console:

No ‘Access-Control-Allow-Origin’ header is present on the requested resource. Origin ‘’ is therefore not allowed access.

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Visual Studio and Git error: “URI formats are not supported”

TFSRecently, while trying to synchronize with my Visual Studio Online git repository, the Visual Studio Git plugin started displaying the error “URI formats are not supported” while attempting to execute a pull operation. This appears to be an issue introduced with Update 2, and at least from my own experience only appears to be affecting Pull operations.

This issue appears to be manifesting in my case due to either a web application or WCF service application that I added to my solution and synchronized to the repository. If you’ve done something similar, you’ll probably start seeing this error as well. After this error occurs, push synchronizations will continue to work, but attempting to pull changes or use the ‘Sync’ operation on the remote repository will fail with the error message.

The issue has been reported to Microsoft back in May and a few workarounds have been posted, including a suggestion to use another tool like SourceTree to execute your repository synchronizations.

Sitecore 7: Ensuring IQueryable ordering with string fields

Sitecore 122I hadn’t had the chance to really play around with the indexing options in Sitecore 7 until this past week when I needed to build a listing page from an index and sort it by the page title. At first, I just couldn’t get it to work. The ordering never seemed to match up to the actual title field I was ordering by. Time to dig into the indexing configurations!

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Using MongoLab to manage your MongoDb instances

Icon_MongoDBIf you have been looking at getting into using document-oriented storage, you have probably looked at the variety of NoSQL offerings such as CloudDB, Elasticsearch, or MongoDB. These databases are built for scalability, performance, and high availability, tailored for gathering large quantities of data in a reliable manner.

My personal preference is MongoDB, as the support for it is very solid and the C# driver is great for the .NET applications I build. Recently, while working on a pet project, I started playing around with MongoLab to host a cloud storage of the data.

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