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15 February, 2024

Sitecore XM Cloud CLI New Feature - Organization command

Sitecore updated the CLI with additional cloud command. 'organization'. This fits in along with other commands like login, logout, project, environment and deployment


Organization command has three sub commands which helps you to retrieve the organization information, health of the particular organization at that time and retrieve license file. 

In order to quickly update cloud plugin, you can just remove and add it by executing the following in terminal. 


cloud organization info

This sub command helps you to retrieve the currently logged in Organization details. 


cloud organization health

This sub command helps you to display the status of the organization. You can view the health in Sitecore Deploy Portal --> System Health.


cloud organization license

This sub command helps you to download the organization's license. This can be used for your local development. 

07 November, 2023

Sitecore Scheduled Publish Module Enhancements

Sitecore Scheduled Publish Module gives the content author the option to delay the publishing of an item for a future point in time. This module has been updated to Sitecore 10.3 recently. Also, I did update this module with few additional features for better usage. 

  • Set Scheduled Publish Requestor as Publisher

    A content author schedules a publish request. When the scheduler job executes the request at the appropriate time, it publishes the content as the requestor user. This allows Ops teams to track who initiated the request. If you want to track what items are published, you can override the publish:itemProcessed event to log the details.

    With this change, the actual publish request will be executed in the requestor user context. 



  • Alert content authors if the item is not in final workflow state

    The final workflow state is an important part of Sitecore's workflow system. It helps ensure that content items are published in a controlled manner and are not accidentally changed after they are published.

    If an item scheduled for publishing is not in the final workflow state, the publish job will not publish the item or will publish the last approved item version. To remind the content authors, a warning has been added to the dialog that shows whether the item is in the final state. If the item does not have a workflow, this section is hidden. 






  • Set the current time + 2 minutes as default for publish time

    Choosing the date and time when scheduling a publish was an extra step for content authors. With this change, the current date and time plus 2 minutes will be set as the default publish time in the publish time field.


  • Updated to latest Sitecore CLI and Serialization plugin

    Updated to use the latest version of Sitecore CLI (5.2.113 as of 11/07) with Serialization plugin. 

The Sitecore packages (.zip) are yet to be updated in the repository. Please take the latest codebase for the enhancements.  

18 October, 2023

XM Cloud Certification Exam Preparation

I am excited to announce that I have recently cleared the Sitecore XM Cloud Certification exam! This certification demonstrates my skills and knowledge in using Sitecore's cloud-native SaaS CMS to create and deliver engaging omnichannel experiences.


Few community members reached out to me to share the exam experience. So I have provided all the details in this blog post. 

The Sitecore XM Cloud Certification exam is somewhat challenging one, but it is well worth the effort. The exam covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Competency 1: XM Cloud Architecture and Developer Workflow - 12% 
  • Competency 2: Deployment of XM Cloud Projects - 16%
  • Competency 3: Renderings and Layout - 14%
  • Competency 4: Sitecore Content Serialization - 14%
  • Competency 5: Sitecore APIs & Webhooks - 10%
  • Competency 6: XM Cloud Pages - 10%
  • Competency 7: Security for Developers - 10%
  • Competency 8: Data Modeling - 14%

Exam Details

  • Multiple-choice Questions
  • 100 minutes to complete the test
  • Closed book exam
  • 50 questions (more compared to other Sitecore certs :) )
  • Schedule it in Kryterion WebAssessor
  • Cost: $350
All the exam details are clearly explained in the Study Guide: Sitecore XM Cloud Developer Certification Exam in learning portal and there are 10 sample questions in the Study guide course. 
 

How to prepare for the Sitecore XM Cloud Certification exam

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the exam:


Topics

The study guide course in learning portal has certain links on each competencies. It is highly recommended to read those articles. I have listed below some of the topics that I remember.
  • Headless SXA knowledge is important for the exam. Site Collection, Site, Modules, Page Variants, Creating component, Placeholder, Placeholder restrictions, Dynamic Placeholder.
  • Registering XM Cloud Components
  • Webhook
  • Features of XM Cloud Pages 
  • Experience Edge Publish Process
  • Using CLI for XM Environment Setup
  • Sitecore Content Serialization - Similar to XP certification. 
  • Understand the sample GraphQL queries
  • XM Cloud Environment and Source Control link
  • XM Cloud User roles and access

Exam Discount

  • MVPs get one free Sitecore exam voucher to use. 
  • (from Sitecore learning portal) Don't forget that Partners have Sitecore Special 20% promotion for all Sitecore certification exams. Promo code is CYBERCERT20



Good Luck and Happy Learning !!!

13 October, 2023

XM Cloud Component - Recursive Loop

In XM Cloud Components builder, we can add another component as an element in the canvas. 


Once you add the component element, you can choose what component to render in the right panel.


You can select other components from the list and also you can choose the same component as well. 


This will end up into infinite self-referential recursive loops and it is going to crash the application. 

Continuous calls to FEaaS Url to load component

Sitecore can do some check or warn before allowing content authors or developers to add same component.  

As of 11/08/2023 - Sitecore has fixed it by filtering out the current component from the available component list. 

10 October, 2023

XM Cloud Build Configuration & Post Deployment Actions

In the SaaS world, we have less control on what we can do and what to deploy. This is because SaaS applications are hosted and managed by the vendor, not by the customer. This means that the customer does not have the same level of access and control over the application as they would if it were deployed on-premises. Sitecore XM Cloud is similar, but the XM Cloud build configuration allows for a few additional capabilities.

The xmcloud.build.json file is an XM Cloud build configuration file that contains a set of configurations that allow customers to control what to build, what to deploy, and various options for post-deployment actions.

There are five configuration objects the build configuration right now.

  1. deployItems:

    Gets the list of serialization module names to be deployed, creates Items as Resources (IAR) file and deployed. No support for roles in this case so if there are any roles, you will need to use Post Deployment actions (scsModules).

  2. buildTargets:

    Enables you to define which project or solution to build. Otherwise, defaults to the solution file available in the root folder. 

  3. renderingHosts:

    To configure the location for the rendering hosts and sites they map to. More information about the rendering host configuration can be read here. 

  4. tranforms:

    To process XDT transformation of your configuration. Wildcard can be used for the path. 

  5. postActions:

    Various operations can be performed after the deployment stage in the XM Cloud deployment process. The available operations are explained below. 

Post Action Operations:

  1. CM Warm-up -  warmUpCm

    This option allows you to send GET requests to a set of URLs to start up and run your CM environment. You can also use this section to call a dedicated set of pages in your CM environment to perform any business-critical actions.

    In addition, you can create ASPX pages and trigger them to initiate any tasks. For example: 
    - triggering a task to pull content from 3rd party system. 
    - triggering a job to execute a Sitecore PowerShell script
    - triggering an email to content authors
    - ... and many more

    It would be really nice if we have a way to configure and trigger Sitecore Authoring and Management GraphQL API in post deployment actions. 

  2. Schema Population -  populateSchema

    Populate the managed schema for specific indexes by listing their names.

  3. Reindexing - reindex

    Reindex specific indexes by listing their names.

  4. Publishing - publish

    You can either publish a path and sub items with certain languages or specific items alone. You can specify whether it should be smart or republish. 

  5. SCS module deployment action - scsModules

    You can also use this section to push the content using Sitecore Content Serialization. Specify the modules names to be synched. In this section, you can push the roles as well. 

Currently, customers cannot create custom post-deployment actions in XM Cloud. They must use the out-of-the-box options available in the build configuration.

It would be really nice if we have a way to configure and trigger Sitecore Authoring and Management GraphQL API in post deployment actions. 

When you create a deployment request from the CLI, you can wait for post-deployment actions to complete and see the status or progress in CLI real time. By default, CLI will skip waiting for post-deployment actions. However, you cannot prevent these steps from execution if they are part of the XM Cloud build configuration.

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