Preparing for success on your next website launch

Website LaunchI recently blogged over on Nonlinear Thinking about the 9 steps to a successful Sitecore website launch.  While targeted at a Sitecore audience, these steps do apply to pretty much any website launch.

So, if you are about to plan the site launch for your most recent project, putting together a cutover project plan, or you are just wondering about some common obstacles you should watch out for, check it out!

Read more: https://medium.com/valtech-sitecore-experts/how-to-successfully-launch-a-sitecore-website-in-8-steps-a2c07efe77ef

UPDATED 2020-02-13: The Nonlinear blog site is no longer valid and the redirect did not work. I have found an alternate blog copy of this on Medium which i have included instead. Because of the likelihood this content may be removed, I have duplicated the content below:
Continue reading “Preparing for success on your next website launch”

TDS: Deploy failed – “This software is protected to provide copy protection”

HedgehogHave you encountered a failure while executing an automated Sitecore deployment with TDS where the type initializer throws an exception and you are asked to reinstall the TDS application?  Apparently, if your TDS installation becomes corrupted somehow, you need to get rid of the web service and let TDS reinstall itself.  This might occur if you upgrade versions, at least, it did for me!  Here’s how to handle the issue…

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TDS deployments slow with Sitecore 6.6? Upgrade versions!

HedgehogHave your deployments to Sitecore 6.6 installations been taking a very long time?  Do your build logs show 3-4 seconds for every template item that is deployed?  Are you seeing the following warning in Sitecore logs?

All caches have been cleared. This can decrease performance considerably.

If so, you are probably running on an older version of TDS.  I recently ran into this problem with our TeamCity installation that was using TDS 4.0.0.17 to execute deployments.  Simple deployments were taking over 30 minutes, sometimes up to a full hour.  We brought that down to 5 minutes or less by simply upgrading to the latest version of TDS.

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Microsoft completes acquisition of InRelease software

TFSWhile I was at the ALM Summit in January, Claude from InCycle (now with Microsoft) was doing demos of their InRelease software.  The deployment software allowed for a massive amount of deployment configuration, moving a build between labs and retaining environment-specific configurations using a tokenized language.  The workflow definition for how the build should flow from environment to environment also allowed for accepting or rejecting the build.

I was impressed at the time, and obviously Microsoft was as well, since they started the process for acquiring the product a few months ago.  As of July 10th, the acquisition is official.

This means InRelease will soon become a full part of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server 2013.  The preview download is available from the InCycle website.

Media:

Setting up a simple countdown to launch date

For all of my projects, there comes a point in time where we start winding down towards launch and the team begins watching the calendar very closely.  This can be both a stressful and exciting time, but I feel that having a little bit of celebration around this is something that is worth doing.

For my current project, I decided I wanted to setup a countdown page that I could install on any computer and just launch and let it run.  My acceptance criteria:

  1. Must display a countdown to the date of launch.
  2. Must be able to display the current live site.
  3. Must be able to display an example of the upcoming site.
  4. Must toggle between current live site and upcoming site views
  5. Must refresh view automatically so that when the live site changes it is displayed.
  6. Refresh rate must be configurable.
  7. Launch date must be configurable.

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4 reasons why agile teams should stage deployments each iteration

There are a few shops like Etsy that use continuous deployment/delivery to have code go straight into production, but otherwise the rest of us have some sort of environment between the developer’s machine and the live production environment.  Some call this Staging or QA, or there may actually be MANY of these environments that a build needs to be promoted through before it is pushed to production.  We’ve all seen this, we’ve all had to go through “deployment day”, and we’ve all hated it.

Whether you run agile/lean or waterfall, this idea of acceptance environments is the same.  However, for some reason, these environments only seem to get updated at “critical milestones” on projects.  In a waterfall pattern, this makes sense.  You finish your work, you pass it to the next environment and let it continue its path.  However, why do so many agile teams not push through these environments every iteration? Why are we pushing to acceptance environments so late in our projects?

Perhaps it is because we have embedded QA on our teams during the iteration and believe that everything is ready for production by the end of the iteration so we don’t need to worry about testing in all the various environments. We’ve already done our testing, so why do it again? Doesn’t that seem more like a waterfall testing approach? Absolutely not, and here’s why:

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

If 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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Automating Sitecore Deployments with TFS and TDS

During development, your team makes a lot of changes to fields, templates, presentation details, and various other elements that need to be tracked, verified, and deployed.  You need a way to source control those database changes, and then make them available to your team to test.  Here’s how to accomplish that using Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Team Development for Sitecore (TDS)!

Sitecore content items in source control

Our teams use Team Development for Sitecore from Hedgehog Development to create .NET TDS projects to source control the changes we make in the Sitecore database.  There’s a great guide from Hedgehog to start with, and I’ve previously written a post on some project configuration basics.

Automating deployments of Sitecore content items

With your content items now in Source Control, you can start getting your database changes deployed along with your build.

Note: This assumes you are automating your file deployments to push code changes out to your environments.  If you aren’t yet, you should be!  Look for my upcoming posts on setting up deployment build configurations.

In order to get TFS to be able to deploy, there are a few things you need:

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Automating Sitecore Deployments with TeamCity and TDS

TeamCityDuring development, your team makes a lot of changes to fields, templates, presentation details, and various other elements that need to be tracked, verified, and deployed.  You need a way to source control those database changes, and then make them available to your team to test.  Here’s how to accomplish that using TeamCity and Team Development for Sitecore (TDS)!

Sitecore content items in source control

Our teams use Team Development for Sitecore from Hedgehog Development to create .NET TDS projects to source control the changes we make in the Sitecore database.  There’s a great guide from Hedgehog to start with, and I’ve also just written a post on some project configuration basics.

Automating deployments of Sitecore content items

With your content items now in Source Control, you can start getting your database changes deployed along with your build.

Note: This assumes you are automating your file deployments to push code changes out to your environments.  If you aren’t yet, you should be!  Look for my upcoming posts on setting up deployment build configurations.

In order to get TeamCity to be able to deploy, there are a few things you need:

Continue reading “Automating Sitecore Deployments with TeamCity and TDS”