Julian Wraith

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The SDL Tridion Reference Implementation

htmlRecently, SDL released the Tridion Reference Implementation, or TRI, to the community. The first edition of the TRI is based on .NET and aims to provide a reference for customers and partners on a preferred approach to an implementation.

Traditionally, Tridion has had an open architecture where a delivery implementation (e.g. an MVC framework) was not supplied with the product. This allowed customers to choose the delivery architecture which suited their needs. As a result we see variations from a simple ASP.NET/ JSP page based site to a fully dynamic MVC based implementation. With the release of the TRI, nothing changes in that regard but should you wish, there is an implementation that you can start from.

The TRI is an MVC based application that uses common elements and approaches with the community MVC application, DD4T. This means that customers using DD4T are compatible with the TRI from a Content Management point of view and so long as the TRI is getting content from something in the right format it can be independent of the content provider though support for semantic web (but by default, Tridion is the content provider). The templates are managed in the application and not in content management and the supplied templates follow a RESS approach and are re-brandable using bootstrap / LESS. The approach means that you can rapidly rebrand the application to another design and this can support a wide variety of devices using one site rather than separate websites for different devices.

The current release, version 1, will be replaced with the upcoming version 2 which will add new features – implementing more SDL product features – will have a java version and will become part of the SDL product stack and available with the installation of Tridion. Right now, you can contribute to the release by going ahead and using it.

You can download it from SDL Tridion World and look at the sources on github.

SDL Tridion Whiteboarding: Basic Publishing Flow

In the next of my video series I am going to cover the basic publishing flow from Content Management to Content Delivery. Last time we looked at connecting the server types and this time we are diving into what flows within.


Using Splunk with SDL Tridion

I’ve been recently playing with Splunk and I wanted to share the experience I am having so that you too can play with this cool tool.

What is Splunk?
I think the chaps from Splunk explain that the best…

Splunk is the engine for machine data. Use Splunk to collect, index and harness the fast moving machine data generated by all your applications, servers and devices — physical, virtual and in the cloud. Search and analyze all your real-time and historical data from one place.
Splunking your machine data lets you troubleshoot problems and investigate security incidents in minutes, not hours or days. Monitor your end-to-end infrastructure to avoid service degradation or outages. Meet compliance mandates at lower cost. Correlate and analyze complex events spanning multiple systems. Gain new levels of operational visibility and intelligence for IT and the Business.

Cool… but then why is this nice?
Traditional support organizations supporting large web farms often have monitoring in place and then when something goes wrong they go to the server and search the logs until they have the reason for the failure. At the bare minimum, which is where I am at, Splunk aggregates all the logs from your entire web farm and presents is as one complete picture. From this I can see trends and machines with difficulties (problematic to spot when you have alot of servers). I am sure Splunk does a lot more, but I am not yet there. When I have discovered them, I will share them but so far I am a happy camper.

Adding SDL Tridion (of course) as a data source
Splunk takes multiple sources of log data and the usual list of candidates are web server (in my case, IIS) logs and Windows Event Logs. I want my Content Delivery logs integrated and so I set about doing this.

For this I will leverage SDL Tridion 2011’s updated logging (LOGBack) and with this I am able to configure logging to output logs to Syslog. Syslog is a standard way of logging application messages that separates the software application and the system logging the messages. In essence, the messages can be pushed out much like a network broadcast and a logging system, Splunk, captures that.
SO I want to configure the logging in SDL Tridion Content Delivery to push the messages to Syslog. For this we need two things: 1) an Appender and 2) a reference to that appender for my log. The Appender configures my log output and looks like:

<appender name="SYSLOG">
     <suffixPattern>[%thread] %-5level %logger %msg</suffixPattern>

This is the example from the LOGBack help documentation (http://logback.qos.ch/manual/appenders.html) with the addition of the logging level (“%-5level” which captures “ERROR”, “INFO” etc.). Then I can set a given log to push it’s messages to my Syslog appender:

<logger name="com.tridion.deployer">
     <appender-ref ref="rollingDeployerLog"/>
     <appender-ref ref="SYSLOG"/>

I’ve kept in the original logging (“rollingDeployerLog”) just for testing and validation.

In Splunk I need to add a data source to listen to this output. So I add a new local Syslog data source specifying the (standard) port. I don’t need to specify a hostname because I did that in my logging configuration on Tridion. I told it to push the messages to “localhost” but that could be any server.

After that, once Tridion logs messages, Splunk will pick them up and store them.

SDL Tridion Content Delivery Caching

I’ve recently written two articles for SDL Tridion World, SDL Tridion’s Community Website on the subject of the Object Cache. SDL Tridion’s Object Cache is a Content Delivery side component that caches frequently used objects in memory for greater performance. Both articles provide a simple overview into the functionality of the Object Cache itself and how to use it and the other on using JMS to invalidate remote caches, a feature available since the R5.3 GA release.

You can view these articles on SDL Tridion World and they are:

What is the SDL Tridion Object Cache?


Using SDL Tridion Object Caching With Apache Active MQ

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