Sitecore tips and tricks for beginners

Lately I'm working a lot with Sitecore (8.2) and since this is my first time, I collected a lot of findings to questions I stumbled upon. In this post you will find quick wins, tips, tricks and other material that may help you further when you are starting with Sitecore. In my current project I work with Sitecore 8.2, which is fairly new. The latest is version 9.0, released in October 2017.

I assume you already have a running Sitecore website set up via the wizard.

One very handy page is the Sitecore admin panel: http://localhost/sitecore/admin.
It shows you in one overview all the admin related sub pages.

Sitecore admin panel

A couple of them you might use on a regular basis:

  • showconfig.aspx
  • cache.aspx
  • showservices.aspx
  • logs.aspx

For more explanation on the various tools listed here, check out this blog:

Use Glass Mapper

Use Glass Mapper to map your Sitecore data to code. It makes your code more testable, since there are no dependencies on your domain model. Check out the website of Glass Mapper:

Base everything on Habitat

Base your Sitecore project on the best practises and principles of Habitat. When you base your project on Habitat, you know you start off well, without reinventing the wheel for most parts. It will get you going the same way as many other Sitecore developers.

Get started via this link:

What are template standard values?

Standard values allow you to have a template pre-filled with default values once you use the template in a rendering. The standard values item can be automatically created. This page explains it all:

Check if an item derives from a template

If you want to know if an item derives from (created from) a template, it takes quite some long code statement to do that. So here is born a Sitecore extension method. Read all about it here:

Where is the XPath Builder?

In Sitecore 7 there was a Developer Center. Since version 7.5 it has disappeared. In version 8.2 you can still access the XPath Builder via this link: http://localhost/sitecore/shell/default.aspx?xmlcontrol=IDE.XPath.Builder&sc_lang=en.

More info on using the XPath Builder:

Sitecore reporting architecture

I had some issues with the Sitecore reporting architecture, in combination with Web Forms for Marketeers (WFFM). What helps a lot is to know how the architecture is set up. This page explains the architecture and the relation between the various elements: MongoDB, database, session, etc.:

Issue 'Exception when storing an aggregation result into reporting database'

I ran into this issue when working with Web Form for Marketeers on a combined CM/CD environment. The problem was that I had a double entry in the Sitecore.WFFM.Analytics.config, called Fact_conversions. This entry was already mentioned in another config file. When I removed it, the issue was solved. This only works (or occurs) on a combined CM/CD environment, such as your local development environment.

This link helped me out:

Sitecore renders urls as link tag

The issue was that when I was rendering a Link property in a View, it would appear as a string containing the object namespace: Glass.Mapper.Sc.Fields.Link. It did not render the way I expected. I'm using Glass Mapper. This link gave me the answer:

For now, this is my list. As I continue to work with Sitecore, I might stumple upon other questions and issues. I might extend this post or just start another.

I hope some of these subjects helped you any further in your quest to master Sitecore.

This blog article is tagged with: Sitecore, Tips, Tricks, Glass Mapper, XPath Builder, Template, Standard Values, WFFM, Reporting, Habitat

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