Sitecore OTE
Published: 01 July 2015

I recently worked on a migration from Sitecore 6.5 to 7.2 for a website built by another agency. Every migration you do is always a bit different and this one proved to be the same. Though this one highlighted for me the importance of good design principles from the get go.

The biggest problem with upgrading from Sitecore 6.5 to 7.0 as every Sitecore professional knows, is the search. If it’s built properly using proper design principles you should be able to pull the old search module out and plugin the new one on top.

For instance our in house one is in a separate project with clearly defined interfaces and objects. We try very hard to make sure our code knows as little as humanly possible about Sitecore search. Because if it’s changed once, it will change again, that and the fact it’s just good practice.

This one was pretty much the exact opposite of that. The search was split across multiple files, meaning you have to go through every file by hand and swap out the old search code with a new centralised search system.

Imagine copper piping running through every wall in your house and asking someone to remove it and install something new. Quite a time consuming and heavy going task, for even the most hardened of developers.

The other issue we encountered was migrating content, Sitecore serialization is quite frankly awesome. We can migrate config and content between instances without any problem at all.

I’ve migrated entire sites content from one version to another without the slightest issues on our own code base.

The problem we encountered was strange, it appears that when migrating content the renderings field responsible for presentation was getting butchered. You could compare the old field and the new field and see they didn’t bare any resemblance. It was also effecting the published flags causing unpublished content to come back online.

That was quite a head scratcher and I imagine most, if not all Sitecore developers reaching for the Sitecore Support portal! As it turned out the cause appears to be the code we inherited, specifically a file overriding the event handling for publishing.

It’s certainly something I will watch out for on future builds we inherit from other agencies.
WeBlog is a Sitecore module for providing a blogging system for Sitecore.

https://github.com/WeTeam/WeBlog
To get it running on 7.2 we had to upgrade it to the latest version. The latest version still contains this bug.

https://github.com/WeTeam/WeBlog/issues/64
special chars in the comment box causes Sitecore to error. You have to restyle any file in Website\layouts\WeBlog that was styled and gets overwritten by the update. You will also encounter this unfixed bug with dashes in paths

https://github.com/WeTeam/WeBlog/issues/52
As well as the weblog.config is customised to change the way items are ordered in the Sitecore tree by date. However you need to manually combine the old file and the new one as they are slightly different. So overall WeBlog is a Sitecore upgrade nightmare and any website containing it should have several days of upgrade time to cope with the many issues it adds to a build.

I have pulled together the following information about Sitecore versions and their features which you may also fine helpful:

 

Product

Initial Release Date

Release Highlights

Sitecore 8.2
 2016

Content Foundation improvements (Dependency Injection, Caching and Performance)
Support for the Publishing Service (installed separately)
Support for Express Migration (installed separately)
Enhanced Experience Editor features
Marketing Funnels
New Experience Analytics reports and charting
Improved Content Testing UI
Enhanced Path Analyzer component
Sitecore Experience Accelerator (installed separately)

Sitecore 8.1

 2015

Fully integrated Device Detection features
Fully integrated IP Geolocation features
Enhanced Experience Editor features
New Experience Analytics reports and dimensions
New SPEAK components and improved SPEAK component framework
New Language Fallback features
Marketing Foundation improvements
Improved Content Testing UI
Integrated Campaign Creator
Improved Path Analyser components

Sitecore 8.0

2015

A new cross-platform visual design for the Sitecore client interfaces, applications, and modules
A redesigned Sitecore login screen
A redesigned Launchpad which is now available to all users
New Marketing Foundation features
A new way of centrally managing marketing taxonomies and classifying marketing definitions
A fully integrated Federated Experience Manager (FXM)
List Management as an integrated part of the platform
New SPEAK components within a new SPEAK theme
Enhanced Experience Analytics
Enhanced Experience Profile features
Automatic content testing and optimisation reporting
A new Path Analyser component
Full UTC support across the complete platform
Versioned layouts – a different presentation set on different versions of different languages for the same item

Sitecore 7.5

2014

Introduces the Experience Database (xDB)
Experience Profile (xProfile)
The Sitecore Tag Management client library

Sitecore 7.2

2014

Improvement in publishing, SPEAK, Item Bucket, Sitecore.ContentSearch
DMS Improvements
Support for IE 11, ASP.NET 5.1

Sitecore 7.1

2013

Browser enhancements, IE Compatibility view mode support removed
SPEAK UI, SPEAK Dialogs
Sitecore Item Web API, Supports ASP.NET MVC 4
Rules Engine Improvements

Sitecore 7.0

2013

Data Sources Improvements, Support for running Sitecore on Windows Server 2013 and Windows 8
Buckets
Search screens in the Content Editor, Page Editor and in many dialog boxes
Sitecore.ContentSearch namespace
Content Tagging/ Faceting

Sitecore 6.6

2012

Device Simulator Page Preview service, Native MVC Support
Page Editor Improvements, RTE Upgraded
Sitecore Now using Lucene.NET 2.9.4
Support for SQL Server database mirroring
Improved Executive Insight Dashboard

Sitecore 6.5

2011

Efficient marketing and engagement automation, Measures value and efficiency, Improves real-time personalisation
Provides dashboards and improves report readability
Automatically classifies visit origins
Increases performance and Scalability
Foundation for CEP, Supports DMS == OMS2

Sitecore 6.4

2010

RTE Upgraded, .NET4, ASP.NET MVC Compatible
Clones and Notification Engine
Page Editor and its extensibility improved
Layout deltas
Cross-Browser support

Sitecore 6.3

2010

Supports load-balancing content management
Eliminations the staging module
Improves horizontal scalability
Sitecore Azure

Sitecore 6.2

2009

WebDAV and the File Drop Area field type
Word Document field type
Public and Sitecore Client RSS Feeds

Sitecore 6.1

2009

Added Rules Engine, Fields Editor, Edit Frames
Foundations for OM (DMS)
Rendering parameters templates

Sitecore 6.0

2008

Replaces masters with standard values
Replaces Web Edit with Page Editor
Eliminates the Security, Extranet, Arhieve and Recycle Bin Databases
A Proprietary security implementation is replaced with the ASP.NET membership model
Improvements to the Content Editor

Sitecore 5.0

2007

Added extranet, security, core, archive, recycle bin databases
Workflow
Layout grouped with devices
Sitecore Desktop and Sheet UI Technology
Single API for CM and CD

                                                                                         

                                                                                                               

 


Richard Brisley

Lead Server-Side Developer

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Search Session Exists: False