Adding HtmlCache Viewing Feature to Sitecore.Rocks Visual Studio Extension.

sitecore-rocks-header-image

After writing an article about viewing Sitecore HTML cache, I thought that it is not convenient to move custom code from one project to another. When, instead, there is ability to extend widely used existing Sitecore development tool Sitecore.Rocks then it should be done. I decided to contribute into it.

First of all, you need to fork Sitecore.Rocks project on GitHub.

Sitecore.Rocks works like server-client application. You have server side (Sitecore.Rocks.Server, connector in other words) that is copied to all Sitecore websites and client side: interface in Visual Studio to display different things from Sitecore. Fortunately, there is already “Data” column for cache viewer to display cache details and we don’t need to modify interface to add something new. But this column shows only path to item, when cache key is Sitecore identifier. In all other cases Data column will be empty. Let’s extend amount of data that could be shown in this column.

Logic that returns data to be displayed in this table located in /src/Sitecore.Rocks.Server/Requests/Caches/GetCacheKeys.cs file. We can modify it and add ability to return cache value when cache type is string or id:

 

using System;

using System.Collections;

using System.Collections.Concurrent;

using System.IO;

using System.Reflection;

using System.Xml;

using Sitecore.Caching;

using Sitecore.Caching.Generics;

using Sitecore.Configuration;

using Sitecore.Data;

using Sitecore.Diagnostics;

using Sitecore.Extensions.StringExtensions;

namespace Sitecore.Rocks.Server.Requests.Caches

{

public class GetCacheKeys

{

[NotNull]

public string Execute([NotNull] string cacheName)

{

Assert.ArgumentNotNull(cacheName, nameof(cacheName));

var writer = new StringWriter();

var output = new XmlTextWriter(writer)

{

Formatting = Formatting.Indented,

Indentation = 2

};

output.WriteStartElement("cacheKeys");

var cache = CacheManager.GetNamedInstance(cacheName, 0, false);

if (cache != null)

{

Write(output, cache);

}

output.WriteEndElement();

return writer.ToString();

}

private void Write([NotNull] XmlTextWriter output, [NotNull] ICache cache)

{

Debug.ArgumentNotNull(output, nameof(output));

Debug.ArgumentNotNull(cache, nameof(cache));

Database database = null;

var n = cache.Name.IndexOf("[", StringComparison.Ordinal);

if (n >= 0)

{

var databaseName = cache.Name.Left(n);

try

{

database = Factory.GetDatabase(databaseName);

}

catch

{

database = null;

}

}

//MethodInfo to gets the entry represented by key

//Parameter: The cache key

//Returns: the entry (or null)

//public ICacheEntry GetEntry(TKey key)

var getEntryMethod = typeof(Cache).GetMethod("GetEntry", new Type[] {typeof(string)});

foreach (var cacheKey in cache.GetCacheKeys())

{

output.WriteStartElement("key");

output.WriteAttributeString("key", cacheKey.ToString());

output.WriteAttributeString("size", string.Empty);

output.WriteAttributeString("lastAccessed", string.Empty);

var pathValue = string.Empty;

if (database != null)

{

pathValue = GetDbPathValue(database, cacheKey);

}

if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(pathValue))

{

output.WriteValue(pathValue);

}

else

{

try

{

var cacheEntry = getEntryMethod.Invoke(cache, new[] {cacheKey});

var cacheValue = cacheEntry.GetType().GetProperty("Data").GetValue(cacheEntry);

var cacheType = cacheEntry.GetType().GetProperty("Data").GetValue(cacheEntry).GetType();

if (cacheType == typeof(string))

{

output.WriteValue(cacheValue);

}

if (cacheType == typeof(ID))

{

output.WriteValue(cacheValue.ToString());

}

catch (Exception ex)

{

Sitecore.Diagnostics.Log.Error("Could not get values for cache: "+ cache.Name, ex);

}

}

output.WriteEndElement();

}

}

///

 

/// Returns path if key is ID and empty string if it is not

///

 

/// Database where item is located

/// Cache key, that could be ID

///

private string GetDbPathValue([NotNull] Database database, [NotNull] object key)

{

Debug.ArgumentNotNull(database, nameof(database));

Debug.ArgumentNotNull(key, nameof(key));

var id = key.ToString().Left(Constants.GuidLength);

if (!ID.IsID(id))

{

return string.Empty;

}

var item = database.GetItem(id);

if (item != null)

{

return item.Paths.Path;

}

return string.Empty;

}

}

}

view raw GetCacheKeys.cs hosted by GitHub

After building a solution, we need copy Sitecore.Rocks.Server.dll to bin folder of our website. Now, you are able to see what it inside cache. If you are interested in viewing other types of cache(not only string and id) then you are able to extend code above with your needs.



sitecore-rocks2

If my pull request is accepted, then this feature will be available in one of next Sitecore.Rocks version.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Anton Tishchenko Thumbnail
Anton Tishchenko
Head of Digital Engineering
Anton has worked as a developer since 2007, he is a highly experienced Sitecore developer who previously worked as a Technical Team Lead at Sitecore. Anton's expertise in the Sitecore platform is formidable; he's definitely one of the world's finest Sitecore ninjas and in 2019 he was recognised as the only Sitecore MVP in the Ukraine when he achieved his Technology MVP Status.
Anton Tishchenko Thumbnail

Anton Tishchenko

29 May 2018 - 8 minute read
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