Sitecore 7: Content scalability and other exciting things

SitecoreThe company I work for has several Sitecore MVPs on staff who recently received an early preview of Sitecore 7.  The preview stirred up some excitement within the team, and yielded a great post by Amanda Shiga highlighting three reasons to be excited about the upcoming Sitecore 7 release.

There are definitely a bunch of goodies in there, but the changes for supporting greater content scalability is definitely going to have the most impact on Sitecore developers.  The current Sitecore.Item classes for calling the API will still be there, but if you want to take advantage of content scalability and performance all Sitecore developers are going to need to retool their frameworks and best practices.  Sitecore 7 starts to set us up to move towards using the indexes and not directly accessing the content via the API.

I’m also interested to see how the item buckets and indexing are going to impact unit testing.  Once I get a chance to play around in there, I’ll post some examples of how to do unit testing on the new platform.  I’m hopeful that the new model that is more abstracted away from the database should allow for an easier de-coupling from the context and database connections.

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Free Agile Task Tracking with Trello

TrelloThere are a ridiculous number of tools out there to help track tasks, but of all of them, Trello has been my favourite for cheap agile task tracking.  It’s has no cost, unlimited boards, real-time collaboration, and a UI so intuitive it makes adoption across the team dead simple.

First priority in selecting a tool has to be that it accomplishes what is needed by the team with as little overhead as possible.  Second priority is that the team has to be willing to use it. Trello meets a lot of needs for specific types of projects, and the free cost helps!

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Profiling Integration Performance on a Tight Budget

TFSApplication performance is heavily dependent on the performance of the communications between the primary application and all other integrated systems.  Even the tiniest of changes in a connected system can suddenly cause a huge performance hit.  For example, a small web service retrieving data about a user when they log in gets altered to return an extra field from a joined table, and suddenly the performance for users logging in bombs and you start getting timeouts.

When an application is built under one set of assumptions, the changes that will inevitably occur in any integrated system need to be monitored on an ongoing basis.  This is where automation of performance regression tests comes in. Whether running an agile project or not, ensuring integrated systems are performing over time requires a solid regression plan.  How can this be accomplished this cheaply?

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Dungeons and Dragons TFS Process Template

TFSThere was no way that I could resist downloading the D&D process template posted by the TFS product team on their blog.  I absolutely NEEDED to see what had been done inside here.  The blog post was very bare on the details, but it seems that with a few configuration changes this process template can help to make your daily work a little more fun.

Here’s what I was able to find by digging through the files in the ZIP that you can download:

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TDS: So you’re deploying Sitecore to a new environment…

HedgehogIf you’ve been using TDS to do automated deployments for Sitecore, you’ll eventually need to start deploying to a new environment.  Maybe you’ve set up your local environment, and now you want to get that process working in a daily build environment.  Maybe you want to automate deployment to a QA or Staging environment.  Maybe you’re trying to do continuous deployment to Production.  In all these scenarios, you’ll come across a few hiccups when first setting up the new environment. Below I’ll provide some troubleshooting tips for these common issues…

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