Sitecore Symposium 2017: A Brief Introduction to xConnect

A couple hours ago, the 2017 Sitecore Symposium officially kicked off with a fantastic keynote by Sitecore CEO Mark Frost. Sitecore 9 is officially here and the entire Sitecore community’s excitement level is at an all time high! (Excitement levels determined by the data collected, sent to Cortex using xConnect.)

I feel like an excited little Superboy, sleepily opening gifts on a wintery Ohio Christmas morning in 1984. Flash forward 33 years, I am now an excited little Sitecore Superman, sleepily opening Sitecore 9 on a hot, Las Vegas afternoon.

Sitecore 9 comes with a lot of new exciting features. With so much to choose from, I decided to take a Pre-Symposium boot camp focusing on xConnect and Data Exchange Framework, I also plan on attending all the xConnect seminars this week.

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Get to Know Your Sitecore Utilities – Part 2: WebUtil

Spider-Man: Web Developer

In the new Spider-Man: Homecoming movie, Peter Parker received an awesome, high-tech suit. One of the cool features of this suit is the new 🕸 web utilities he now has at his disposal. Excited, Spider-Man didn’t hesitate and rushed into web development without understanding the basic functionality of these tools… naturally, hilarity ensued. 🕷

Tony Stark gave Spider-Man those new web utilities to make Peter’s job easier, just as Sitecore gave us web utilities to help make our jobs easier.
Continue reading “Get to Know Your Sitecore Utilities – Part 2: WebUtil”

Get to Know Your Sitecore Utilities & Other Tools – Part 1: Valid Item Naming

As you may know, I spend a lot of my free time exploring Sitecore’s tools, utilities and the rest of its inner workings. I find it fun understanding how various pieces of Sitecore works. If you ask my wife about my love of everything Sitecore, she’d roll her eyes. Kathy would tell you she wishes I showed the same passion to learn how to safely and properly handle the various (deadly🛠) tools in our garage.

Think of me as Tim from Home Improvement. Tim knew more about tools than I and he also got injured more. I too have had many close calls, lil’blood loss, stitches and lots of bruises🤕. It’s important to understand what you’re working with; if you don’t, you could find yourself in a bind.

Learn everything you can about Sitecore, front and back, inside and out. While you are doing that, you should also get familiar with the basics like the Sitecore’s Utilities. You don’t have to use the code the Sitecore devs worked hard creating for us, but without knowing Sitecore’s most basic functionality, you could be missing out on learning something new and possibly cool.

I will show you three approaches that try to accomplish the basic task of making a friendly Sitecore item name. I will cover two different Sitecore Utility methods along with our trusty pal, Regex. Continue reading “Get to Know Your Sitecore Utilities & Other Tools – Part 1: Valid Item Naming”

Choosing the Right Commerce Solution for your Sitecore Implementation

I prefer to do all my commerce activities online and I wish my daughter would as well. The thought of taking my teenage daughter shopping frightens me to my core😱. Not only am I extremely uncomfortable in that setting but it also completely ruins my plans for the day. How anyone can enjoy spending multiple hours in a mall; I honestly can’t see how that is possible.

Long ago, when I was a teenager I hated the mall experience but unfortunately Amazon was in its infancy and their product selection was not as diverse as it is today. I would often dream about the future where I never had to leave the house to shop. It took well over a decade, but that dream is now reality. Today almost everything can be purchased from a commerce site with minimal human interaction and have it delivered to your doorstep.

Online commerce is the present and future of shopping so it’s imperative that the right commerce software is selected. We need to be sure that the software will easily mesh seamlessly with Sitecore. There are many commerce options on the market to choose from, but how do you pick the right one for your implementation? Hopefully the choice is made prior to development and it needs to fit the overall strategy.

I cannot stress enough how important this decision is since the Commerce piece is. Done correctly, the company should be able to recoup its initial investment and eventually generate a profit💰💰. I hope to help provide some useful information and make choosing the right commerce product easier. Continue reading “Choosing the Right Commerce Solution for your Sitecore Implementation”

Sitecore Commerce: Before My Wondrous Adventure Begins, A Little Nostalgia

Not to brag, but I have some knowledge about everything Sitecore 🙄🤣. I’m not saying the knowledge is substantial by any means, but it’s something more or less😆.  For example, today, July 28th 2017, I know very little about the Sitecore Print Experience Manager and the Email Experience Manager.  However, I know how to install it! That little piece of knowledge is going to eventually grow 🤣. There might be some other products or modules that I have neglected, but the largest area is Sitecore Commerce.

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Setting up a Habitat + Sitecore.Demo Site Locally

I was talking to my mentor Jon recently about Sitecore Ignition and various other topics and he mentioned on how he’s been constantly slammed with work. Jon’s so busy I think he’s forgot what having free time feels like. It’s nice, Jon 😏, free time is nice.

Finding free time is one of my super powers. However, as great as I am at finding time, I am unable to share the time I find. Aware of my powers as Sitecore Superman, Jon asked me for a favor. Since I am happy to help my Sitecore friends and I hate to let free time expire I told Jon I would be happy to help.

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A Coming-of-Age Story of a Developer’s First Time with SOLR – Part 2: Installation Fun with SOLR

Before I begin I am under the assumption SOLR is going to be a diva.👸🏻 Why? I don’t know, guess it’s a gut feeling or a lame attempt to get a laugh. I don’t know what craziness awaits, however, I am pretty sure SOLR won’t request me to alphabetize it’s M&Ms.

SOLR gave me a list of demands that I must complete before it will start working. Those can be found here. Looking over its demands, it appears I need to use the command prompt… awesome…. not really. I dislike the cmd and I avoid it as much as possible. My dislike for the cmd is totally based on my lack of overall knowledge about its syntax and commands and my laziness to learn more. All I know is how to change directories👍🏻 👏🏻, and that’s it, everything else requires Google searches.

Disclaimer: Any errors I encounter involving the cmd will be my fault and probably for a dumb reason.  The documentation is most likely accurate. Continue reading “A Coming-of-Age Story of a Developer’s First Time with SOLR – Part 2: Installation Fun with SOLR”

The Better Solution: Injecting Resources into the Experience Editor

Friday, July 7th I began my new series “A Different Approach” with the post about injecting resources into the experience editor. After I made my that post live, I continued my research and I became increasingly unhappy with my solution described. There is a better solution that solves my issue and that solution is somewhere in this post! 😮  Continue reading “The Better Solution: Injecting Resources into the Experience Editor”

A Coming-of-Age Story of a Developer’s First Time with SOLR – Part 1: Life Before SOLR

The Olden Days, Sitecore 6x and the Dreaded Sitecore Search

Before Sitecore 7/8 and the great feature explosion (Experience Editor, DMS, EXM, DEF, etc.), Sitecore Search scared me, it was my Kryptonite. Any attempts to learn it always seemed to end with frustration and my anxiety smashing through the roof. In my weakened state, all chances of learning were now gone until I eventually recovered from my Kryptonite exposure. Continue reading “A Coming-of-Age Story of a Developer’s First Time with SOLR – Part 1: Life Before SOLR”

A Different Approach: Injecting Resources into the Experience Editor

Welcome to the first post in a new series called “A Different Approach”. Often when I search for a solution to an issue, I find multiple posts that solve the issue in a similar fashion. Since I have a strong need to be unique, I try and come up with a different approach. In this new series, I’ll share the most common solution found, cite the source(s) and explain my unique alternate approach. In the event my approach is not all that unique and is similar to another, please inform me and comment below. I will happily update my post giving credit to the developer and providing a link to their post.

Last week in my “Mister Rogers” themed post, I presented an issue a client had with the Experience Editor and then showed you my solution to that issue. My code contained some HTML markup with custom CSS classes. In order to complete the video demo by the end of last week, I took a shortcut and hardcoded the style definitions above the markup in processor. This is unacceptable for numerous and obvious reasons.

This is a great example of a ”code smell”.

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