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I've some problems in understanding how some technologies should work together in sitecore.

  • When I am right is unicorn only here to sync developer definition items from dev to staging to live and only in this direction

  • but how can I sync content items from dev to staging to live and at the best vicy versa. When I understand @kam Figy right in this answer How to use Unicorn for Content Staging is unicorn not for content staging and I should use sidekick for conent staging?

  • I would like to use my TFS to automate the content Staging with unicorn I know how to deploy my definition items on my server but how could I use it to deploy content items?

some more informations about my local setup:

  • we got some developer pcs with local sitecore installed
  • the first test environment is "Dev" where a XP0 is installed and the TFS deploys sitecore there
  • the second evironment is "Staging" where the ready to use features are deployed and are filled with contnent and get testet. With XP1 CD and CM
  • the third and final environment is "Live" where the XP1 is installed with CD and CM

My Current Setup:

So I've created my Setup and will give it a try.

  • Unicorn to sync the developer items from dev to staging to live
  • sitecore sidekick to sync content between all scopes.
  • 1
    Are you sure you want to sync content from dev to live? This would mean that when you deploy to live again, it would overwrite any changes made to the items you control with unicorn. – Chris Auer Aug 24 '18 at 14:00
  • @ChrisAuer Yes not very often but sometimes you want to update your dev, staging system with the current live content. – squadwuschel Aug 27 '18 at 5:44
  • I have added options for syncing data back to dev/uat from production. – Chris Auer Aug 27 '18 at 12:39
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I'll tell you what I have done a few times and see if maybe it helps you. But you have to balance the user's content and possible template changes with what you are going to overwrite with unicorn yml files.

Dev

In dev I track the following items in Unicorn:

  • Content (/sitecore/content/siteA/*)
  • Foundation, Feature, Project, Layouts, Templates, Settings, etc...

Each one of these are in their own configuration so I can sync/serialize them individually. This allows developers to share content as well as templates and all the normal Sitecore configuration items.

I find this the best use case for Unicorn and I use it all the time. Syncing content between developers is seamless with Unicorn. I recently had to sync 80,000 items several times. Easy as pie.

UAT

In our UAT (pre prod) environment, I keep the same configs. My CI will deploy all code, BUT what I do is put git on my UAT CM server and sync the repo/yml files on the server. What this gives me is that the content that is created on UAT comes back to dev and the content I created in dev gets pushed to UAT.

  1. CI deploy code
  2. Git push changes
  3. Git pull changes
  4. Unicorn sync

Stage

Stage is difficult. As a staging server, this is your chance to test your deployment before it goes to production. But as you will read below, I do not use unicorn in production for the reasons noted.

I think you have three choices 1. Don't deploy unicorn to stage or production 2. Deploy unicorn to just stage and risk your deployment untested 3. Deploy unicorn in stage and production

Whatever choice you make, you should deploy unicorn files with CI to a specific folder and transform your unicorn configurations to use that folder for the datastore. Then you can sync unicorn with PowerShell Sync-UnicornConfiguration.

Production

I never deploy Unicorn content to production. #1 with Unicorn in place, the yml files on disk are the source of data for Sitecore, not SQL. So the speed of disk is now your limiting source for CM server speed. #2 Also the risk of content being archived with a unicorn sync is high if you remove yml files in a deployment.

I also would not deployed Unicorn yml files for templates, layouts. etc.... You are much better off turning them into an installation file and installing the update traditionally.

yml to sitecore install: https://kamsar.net/index.php/2017/02/Unicorn-4-Preview-Part-2-5-Generating-Packages-with-SPE/

Sync live content back to dev

Updating dev with production is very important for proper development/uat testing so you are working with real data and not stubbed out developer content. There are several ways to get that data back. The request here is Unicorn and I will talk about some others.

Unicorn

You can configure unicorn on your CM server, but see performance concerns above. But once you serialize your content tree and media items (use LFS if you are keeping media in git). You can zip up the yml files from CM and bring them back to dev/uat. Unzip then into dev unicorn datastore folders and sync all those items right back into your de/uat environments.

RAZL

This is one of my favorite solutions for this problem. https://www.teamdevelopmentforsitecore.com/Razl RAZL is a tool that uses the built in Sitecore serialization to sync the Sitecore tree from one site to another. It's a really easy tool to you use. And you can create scripts that you can run with automation to automatically sync data from one environment to another. It's not a free tool, valuable.

Sitecore packaging

The simple solution is just to use Sitecore packaging to package up your tree and reinstall into dev/uat. To make it even easier, you can use Sitecore PowerShell extensions. That adds a [right click] > [download tree ] option to Sitecore. This makes it really easy to quickly download Sitecore content.

Database restore

This is kind of the nuclear option since it completely overwrites your dev data. But you can backup production core/master/web databases and restore them over your dev/uat databases.

  • do you have some experiences with sitecore sitekick for content staging? – squadwuschel Aug 28 '18 at 5:29
  • I have only messed with it in dev. it is similar to RAZL. It will sync Sitecore trees. – Chris Auer Aug 28 '18 at 5:39
  • 1
    Sidekick is a great alternative to RAZL plus it can works from console plus it is free, unlike RAZL – Martin Miles Nov 28 '18 at 12:32
  • We all like free. – Chris Auer Nov 28 '18 at 17:22

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