Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?
Experience Sitecore! | June 2015

Experience Sitecore!

Martin Miles on Sitecore

IIS URL Rewrite module - as reverse proxy with links rewrite

Not many people know that IIS itself can serve as Reverse Proxy, with rewriting URLs on-the-fly. We are going to take a look on how to configure that feature. Let's assume we have 2 websites - primary website that has URL http://test2/ and is a hosted by IIS, moreover there is an instance of Sitecore installed; and another external static website that has URL http://external/ and it has few static pages and resources. For this experiment I got external website hosted at the same IIS instance, while in reality it can be literary anything and anywhere.


Apart from having IIS, you will need the following prerequisite:

- URL Rewrite Module installed, version 2.0

- Application Request Routing version 2.0


The easiest way to get all the prerequisites is to install them through Web Platform Installer. It will install all of them so you'll just need to have IIS refreshed and get ready to start.



External website contains static.html file with the following code

<div>
    img/sitecore.png<br>
    <img src="img/sitecore.png" alt="sitecore" width="230" height="106">
</div>
<div>
    /img/sitecore.png<br>
    <img src="/img/sitecore.png" alt="sitecore" width="230" height="106">
</div>
<div>
    http://external/img/sitecore.png<br>
    <img src="http://external/img/sitecore.png" alt="sitecore" width="230" height="106">
</div>
<p>
    <a href="sitecore.zip">sitecore.zip</a><br>
    <a href="/sitecore.zip">/sitecore.zip</a><br>
    <a href="http://external/sitecore.zip">http://external/sitecore.zip</a><br>
</p>

This code has 3 images and 3 links to an archive file, each of them is either relative link (from the doc level, for sure) or absolute link (from web root) or fully qualified link including domain name and protocol. This HTML renders renders into the following screenshot:


Our objective is to have a "virtual" "folder" called ext on the test2 website so that it "mapped" to external website and also correctly "maps" and rewrites all the resources of external website on resulting page.

Example:

When we hit http://test2/ in browser - we get default Sitecore page as it is provided by Test2 website, as normally.

When we hit http://test/ext/static.html - we get the page at that URL but with the content of external/static.html page with all links and references rewritten to be test2/ext/*.* instead of external/*.*

So, to make IIS Rewrite work as reverse Proxy, let's do the following steps:


Make sure "Enable proxy"is checked, otherwise nothing will work.


In URL Rewrite section, click "Add Rule(s)" link, then from popup screen select "Reverse Proxy" and specify the rule. Also check outbound rules as the are rules that factually rewrite internal links. Please note that this function may add some overhead to your website performance.


After you specify the rules - one inbound and 2 outbound (they are shown below) - reverse proxy now functions and you may verify that by requesting the following ULR (as on the screenshot below):


Notice, that all links and images look correct, as the were before. To ensure they were rewritten correctly, let's view the source file of resulting page. Here is it:

<div>
    img/sitecore.png<br>
    <img src="img/sitecore.png" alt="sitecore" width="230" height="106">
</div>
<div>
    /img/sitecore.png<br>
    <img src="http://test2/ext/img/sitecore.png" alt="sitecore" width="230" height="106">
</div>
<div>
    http://external/img/sitecore.png<br>
    <img src="http://test2/ext/img/sitecore.png" alt="sitecore" width="230" height="106">
</div>
<p>
    <a href="sitecore.zip">sitecore.zip</a><br>
    <a href="http://test2/ext/sitecore.zip">/sitecore.zip</a><br>
    <a href="http://test2/ext/sitecore.zip">http://external/sitecore.zip</a><br>
</p>

As there were no need to rewrite relative URLs - they remain untouched. However root-folder URL and full URL were rewritten to satisfy new domain name and desired folder-path.

And finally, here is resulting configuration that makes it all work. Whatever we have previously configured is stored in the configuration file within system.webserver node in rewrite section:

<rewrite>
      <rules>
        <clear></clear>
          <rule name="ReverseProxyInboundRule2" stopprocessing="true">
            <match url="(ext)/(.*)?"></match>  
              <conditions>
                  <add input="{CACHE_URL}" pattern="^(https?)://"></add>
              </conditions>
              <action type="Rewrite" url="{C:1}://external/{R:2}"></action>
          </rule>
      </rules>
      <outboundrules>
        <rule name="ReverseProxyOutboundRule2" precondition="ResponseIsHtml1">
          <match filterbytags="A, Form, Img" pattern="^/(.*)" negate="false"></match>
          <action type="Rewrite" value="http://test2/ext/{R:1}"></action>
        </rule>
        <rule name="ReverseProxyOutboundRule1" precondition="ResponseIsHtml1">
          <match filterbytags="A, Form, Img" pattern="^http://external/(.*)?" negate="false"></match>
          <action type="Rewrite" value="http://test2/ext/{R:1}"></action>
        </rule>
        <preconditions>
              <precondition name="ResponseIsHtml1">
                  <add input="{RESPONSE_CONTENT_TYPE}" pattern="^text/html"></add>
              </precondition>
          </preconditions>
      </outboundrules>
    </rewrite>

There is no need to use visual configurer at all, you may just drop this snippet on web.config into appropriate section and it will start working straight away!


Sitecore 8: re-indexing errors out and module installation never ends without MongoDB running

What is happening? we got a commonly met point of frustration since recent - imagine, you have just installed an instance of Sitecore 8 and are trying to install some useful modules, for example Web Forms for Marketers 8.0 or PowerShell Module. And all you get is never-ending progress box dialog.


However that occurs not only while installing a module, but also when trying to rebuild indexes via built-in Developer toolbar interface. Same story, but at least this time it tries to tell us something with View all messages section, unfortunately unsuccessfully - there are no any error messages seen once you expand this box.



Why is it happening? Going through log files made me thinking there is something with xDB, it looks like sitecore tries to perform write operation into Mongo, but is not able to do. And because Sitecore 8 is now using modern client-based SPEAK interface instead of outdated SheerUI, the back-end where in fact an error occurs is not able to notify client about that (I believe is it not yet implemented and would be fixed with future updates).

How to fix? Let's install and run MondoDB. After default windows installation, the easiest way of running Mongo would be just running its server with dbpath parameter to where DB placed. I say the easiest because there is a better alternative to run MongoDB as Windows service application, so that it will run on system start up.


So, as soon Mongo is up and running, let's test our assumption and try to re-build Lucene indexes again:


And bingo! It now works well! Hope this solution helps.

Sitecore extensions for Google Chrome review

  1. Sitecore Developer Tool
  2. Sitecore Analytics Testing Tools
  3. Sitecore Expand Collapse Sections
  4. Sitecore Keyboard Shortcuts
  5. Sitecore Helper
  6. Dan's Sitecore Shortcuts

1. Sitecore Developer Tool

This is a nice, elegant and non-obtrusive shortcut extension located at the top right of your Chrome browser. It has several most useful shortcuts logically grouped by tabs.


Admin Pages tab contains useful admin pages hotlinks.


Database tab allows to quickly change context database.


Mode tab has 6 switchers - the names are self-describing.


There is also options tab, where you can add / edit favourites, add more databases and perform other settings for the extension.

You may install Sitecore Developer Tool by this link.



2. Sitecore Analytics testing tools

As it comes clear from its name, this is an extension to fit specific analytics purrposes, which are: clearning analytics-related cookies and specifying a forwarded IP address for GeoIP lookups.


Below there are screenshots of its settings screen:





Download and install exension: the link.



3. Sitecore Expand Collapse Sections

Minimal extension that serves just one purpose - expand and collapse data section panels in Sitecore.


What can be easier?


Unfortunately, at the moment this extension does not support Sitecore 8, so the last funcional verison is 7.5

You may install Sitecore Expand Collapse Sections by this link.



4. Sitecore Keyboard Shortcuts

It presents


It is a powerfull extension that allows you to create hot keys to quickly complete common tasks in Sitecore. This is especially useful for demos or for quick access to frequently used items. No need to repeatedly expand the content tree any longer.

it works well for Sitecore 8 as well as with all previous versions I have tested with. It also works well on Mac computers, however mac-specific keyboard extensions (ie. Cmd) are not supported. screenshot below shows settings screen:


And here is a dropdown containing list of possible actions. Quite impressive!


Download and install exension: the link.



5. Sitecore Helper

This extension brings upgrades the Sitecore interface with toggleable usability fixes.Applies several fixes & updates to the Sitecore user interface, use the options menu to toggle them on / off.


Download and install exension: the link.




6. Dan's Sitecore shortcuts

Extension provides a drop down with features and shotcut buttons.


Download and install: the link.


Hope these extensions may help you to improve your productivity while working on Stecore projects!