Automate your pipeline part 1: World’s fastest delivery pipeline for Sitecore on Azure

On October 9th I presented for the 3rd time at the Sitecore Symposium. In my previous blogpost I described shared how I felt during the creation of this presentation and on the day itself. In this series of blogposts I’ll describe every subject I discussed during my presentation, which will, in the end, enable you to setup your own fully automatic deployment pipeline using standard Microsoft technologie such as msbuild, msdeploy, nuget and Azure DevOps. This blogpost is just a container for all the upcoming blogposts (which is subject to change). When you are missing a subject, feel free to get in touch with me.

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Private Sitecore nuget feeds using VSTS – why we don’t use Sitecore myget and how we work with package management

First of all: hands down to Sitecore when they created the nuget feed a while back: it’s really, really convenient to be able to use a nuget feed for all those Sitecore packages, including their dependencies. But we had some issues with the way Sitecore versions it’s packages, the fact that we use multiple versions of Sitecore and the way we wanted to provision our own reusable sitecore-specific nuget packages. Aside from that; our existing nuget-feed was a NAS which had many, many performance issues. In the end we came up with a private nuget feed per Sitecore version which contains all the Sitecore assemblies for that specific version, its dependencies and our own reusable nuget packages for that specific Sitecore version.

Source can be found on github

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Federated Authentication in Sitecore – Error: Unsuccessful login with external provider

I faced this error quite a few times now and I always forget what the root cause of this error was. To keep me away from debugging and reflecting code again I wrote this blogpost 😉When the claim http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims/nameidentifier is not present, Sitecore will throw this exception, although a successful login may happen! This blogpost explains the root cause and how to solve the issue

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How to update the default hashing algorithm for Sitecore 9 to SHA512 using msdeploy

A few years ago I already blogged on updating the default hashing algorithm that Sitecore used. It’s ancient, unsafe and it’s for a change! Luckily, with the introduction of msdeploy packages and the Sitecore on Azure templates, this becomes easy, without having to (manually) change the password after the hashing upgrade and manually changing the hashAlgorithm in the web.config. This can be done by using msdeploy the tool to install and create msdeploy packages.In my previous blogpost I already showed how to add parameters to the web deploy packages, in this approach I am going to show how contents can be changed using this technique. The benefit of this approach is that it can be used with the out of the box Sitecore packages, and, when used as a source for the initial deployment, the right algorithm will be used deploy time and everything will be automated. This method might look a little bit cumbersome, because a manual change might work, but with tens to hundreds of environments, you just want to have everything automated as much as possible.

Source can be found here:

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How to deploy Sitecore web deploy packages using the VSTS Azure App Service task

With the introduction of the Sitecore 8.2, Sitecore also introduced some Sitecore web deployment packages (WDP), which are used by the Sitecore-Azure-Quickstart-Templates for the deployment of Sitecore. When using ARM templates to provision the Sitecore Infrastructure and deploy the Sitecore application, this works fabulously. But when there is a requirement to use the VSTS Azure App Service deployment task, these packages can’t be used, due to two reasons. This blogpost explains why this task can’t be used and how to fix it (and explains why I spend a lot of time on writing a custom deployment script)

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Gotchas while installing Sitecore 9 using the Sitecore installation framework

Sitecore released a nice Installation framework to install Sitecore, xConnect and configure Solr. I used this framework already a few times (on a few machines and it turned out that I am very proficient in breaking things. Especially Sitecore 9). During this installation I faced some inconvenient issues (and found out some tips) which I wanted to share with you. This should help you getting up and running even faster!

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Solr: Error creating SolrCore when using the Sitecore installation Framework

Today I experienced an error while installing Sitecore 9 using the Sitecore installation framework:

“Install-SitecoreConfiguration : Error CREATEing SolrCore ‘xp0_xdb’: Unable to create core [xp0_xdb] Caused by: null”

Setting the verbose logging option didn’t help and my tries to manually reproduce the issue didn’t work out as well; Or the core was successfully created or I got an error message that the core was already created.

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Enable federated authentication and configure Auth0 as an identity provider in Sitecore 9.0

Sitecore 9.0 has shipped and one of the new features of this new release is the addition of a federated authentication module. I wrote a module for Sitecore 8.2 in the past (How to add support for Federated Authentication and claims using OWIN), which only added federated authentication options for visitors. Backend functionality was a lot harder to integrate, but I am glad that Sitecore took the challenge and solved it for both the front- and backend. It means that I can get rid of the old code and finally can use the out of the box solution provided by Sitecore. They created a very pluggable solution which can basically register any kind of authentication module via the OWIN middleware. This blogpost will show how I integrated the Identity broker Auth0 with Sitecore. Auth0 is a platform which can act as an Identity Broker: it offers solutions to connect multiple identity providers via a single connection. Code is available at my github repository:

PS: in this example I use Auth0 as Identity broker for Facebook and Google. It’s of course possible to connect directly to Google and Facebook, I just chose not to do this.

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A new Sitecore version has shipped, save your ass(emblies)

With the release of Sitecore 9.0 at the Sitecore Symposium, a lot has changed. We saw very interesting improvements on Marketing automation, new products like xConnect and Cortex and the new installation framework. With the new release, new assemblies and versions will be shipped, while others are removed. It’s important to update your references to these new versions in your projects, so you won’t overwite the shipped assemblies with other versions. I made a quick overview on what has changed:

  • Which assemblies have been removed?
  • Which assemblies have been added?
  • Which assemblies had a version change?
  • What are the most important observations?

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