.NET, Documentation, New releases, Sitecore

Sitecore learning portal launched

My cooworker Jimmi Lyhne Andersen and I are glad to announce that we have finally finished a project we have been working on for quite a while now; a complete learning site for Sitecore. Check it out at http://learnsitecore.cmsuniverse.net/


So what is it all about? Well we have been working with Sitecore for quite a while now, and we found that documentation was somewhat limited. Documentation revolves around SDN which is great as a reference (especially if the search functionality worked probably) and blog post by enthusiastic Sitecore developers. This leaves quite a gap, as there are no in depth article base and nowhere to go, if you want to start learning about Sitecore. Further there is only limited documentation for editors, server administrators and architects.

Therefore our vision was to create a site, which matches these target groups and goes in depth with the topics. Our mission is not to compete with SDN, as it is quite resourceful for snippets and references. Our mission is neither to compete with the blogs, as these are quite resourceful when you want biased opinions on Sitecore or new and interesting tweaks.

So in short learnsitecore.com is the place to go if you want to learn Sitecore or read in depth articles on different technologies which Sitecore uses. Right now there are a limited number of articles, but we hope to get some contributors and of cause write a lot of articles our self.


We hope you’ll find it resourceful and that you might be motivated to write an article or two.


Sitecores Lucene integration

I have always been fond of Sitecores use of Lucene to index. I often use Lucene to relational operations avoiding iterating over the complete content tree etc.

The way Sitecore uses Lucene to index, hasn’t been all that well documented, but earlier this year Sitecore released some documentation describing how items are indexed. The guide is ok and it describes how indexes are configured and how the indexing is performed in an understandable way.

However I often find that I need some documentation on how to extract data from the indexes. Even Lucene’s own online documentation on this, is somewhat limited. A couple of weeks ago I found and skimmed the book “Lucene in action”. It is a recommendable book and describes the different queries and analyzers really well.

Still there is a lack of Sitecore documentation on how to extract data through the Sitecore wrapper API to Lucene. In particular I could use some documentation on the Sitecore.Data.Indexing namespace, which seems to hold a lot of functionality – also when one wants to extract data. The documentation is limited to a few snippets and blog entries.


However the lack of documentation hasn’t been an issue until Sitecore 6, as it was possible to use the tool Luke. With Luke it was possible to browse indexes, try out query strings etc. When developing something that uses Lucene, this tool has been essential.

In Sitecore 6 the indexing uses compression, resulting in Luke failing whenever you browse or search through an index – as .net compression isn’t compatible with Java compression. Whether or not to use compression for the indexes, hasn’t been implemented as a setting in the web.config, but is hardcoded into the IndexData class, so it is not possible to disable. L

I have asked Sitecore Support to register a change request for implementing a setting – but until then developing functionality, which uses the indexes, are based on guessing and use of the reflector… So Sitecore please hurry!