Tagged by 'kentico upgrade'

  • This site has been longing for an overhaul, both visually and especially behind the scenes. As you most likely have noticed, nothing has changed visually at this point in time - still using the home-cooked "Surinder theme". This should suffice in the meantime as it currently meets my basic requirements:

    • Bootstrapped to look good on various devices
    • Simple
    • Function over form - prioritises content first over "snazzy" design

    However, behind the scenes is a different story altogether and this is where I believe matters most. Afterall, half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. Damning statistics!

    The last time I overhauled the site was back in 2014 where I took a more substantial step form to current standards. What has changed since then? I have upgraded to Kentico 10, but this time using ASP.NET Web Forms over MVC.

    Using ASP.NET Web Form approach over MVC was very difficult decision for me. Felt like I was taking a backwards step in making my site better. I'm the kind of developer who gets a kick out of nice clean code output. MVC fulfils this requirement. Unfortunately, new development approach for building MVC sites from Kentico 9 onwards will not work under a free license.

    The need to use Kentico as a platform was too great, even after toying with the idea of moving to a different platform altogether. I love having the flexibility to customise my website to my hearts content. So I had to the option to either refit my site in Kentico 10 or Kentico Cloud. In the end, I chose Kentico 10. I will be writing in another post why I didn't opt for the latter. I'm still a major advocate of Kentico Cloud and started using it on other projects.

    The developers at Kentico weren't lying when they said that Kentico 10 is "better, stronger, faster". It really is! I no longer get the spinning loader for obscene duration of time whilst opening popups in the administration interface or lengthy startup times when the application has to restart.

    Upgrading from Kentico 8.0 to 10 alone was a great start. I have taken some additional steps to keep my site clean as possible:

    1. Disable view state on all pages, components and user controls.
    2. Caching static files, such as CSS, JS and images. You can see how I do this at web.config level from this post.
    3. Maximising Kentico's cache dependencies to cache all data.
    4. Took the extra step to export all site contents into a fresh installation of Kentico 10, resulting in a slightly smaller web project and database size.
    5. Restructured pages in the content tree to be more efficient when storing large number of pages under one section.

    I basically carried out the recommendations on optimising website performance and then some! My cache statatics have never been so high!

    My Kentico 10 Cache Statistics

    One slight improvement (been a long time coming) is better open graph support when sharing pages on Facebook and Twitter. Now my links look pretty within a tweet.

  • There are many things that impress me about Kentico, especially when I compare my experiences to other CMS providers from previous walks of life. But the one thing that impresses me above all is how easy the guys at Kentico make upgrading to newer versions of their CMS platform. So I wasn't daunted when I had the job to upgrade a site from Kentico 5.5 all the way up to 8.2.

    Everything went smoothly. I was in the last leg of the upgrade process where the site had been upgraded to version 7 and was about to make the transition to 8. At this point, I started encoutering issues...

    Upgrading from version 7 to 8 alone is a very big jump and you will find that getting your site fully functional will require more effort than all the previous upgrades combined - depending on the size and complexity of your Kentico instance. Take a look at the "Upgrade Overview" section in the Kentico upgrade documentation for a list of important changes.

    I decided to list some quite important steps based upon information I have collated from issues others have experienced as well as key points covered within the Kentico Upgrade documentation. Following the points listed below resolved my upgrade issues, so it will more than likely help you too.

    1) Clear Browser Cache

    After each upgrade, remember to always clear your browser of all temporary files stored in cache and old cookies prior to logging into the Administration Area. Otherwise you will more than likely see a mish-mash of old/new graphical elements, as well as an Internal Server Error popup.

    Kentico 8 Upgrade - Internal Server Error

    2) Run The Site After Each Upgrade

    This is something I've had a tendency to forget. It is imperative that you run the site after each upgrade before moving onto the next, since Kentico requires code to be executed as well as database tasks.

    3) Update Macro Signatures

    This is an easy one. You'll probably see a bunch of Macro security errors in Kentico's Event Log post upgrade like these:

    Kentico 8 Upgrade - Macro Resolver Error

    Luckily, this is easily resolved by simply updating the macro signatures in the System > Macros > Signatures area of within the CMS Administration.

    Kentico 8 Upgrade - Sign Macros

    The system then resigns all macros. The new security signatures of all macros contain the username of your administrator account.

    4) Re-save All Page Types

    This is a strange one. For some odd reason, I experienced the same Internal Server Error popup message when logged into the CMS as described in point 1. In addition, I found when attempting to navigate directly to the website, I would get an Object not set to an instance of an object.NET error whenever a "DocumentContext.CurrentDocument" call was made.

    So I decided to randomly try something Kentico master Juraj suggested from one of his forum responses, which was to add and then remove a field from a document type. Instead, I just went to the Field section of each Page Type and clicked the "Save" button.

    I have no idea what difference this makes within the Kentico setup but this seems to do the trick.

    5) Custom Modules Created In Version 7

    If you have developed any custom modules, ensure you have marked them as "custom" before upgrading to version 8. I had numerous upgrade failures when Kentico Installation Manager was trying to upgrade the database. The error occurred in the CMS_UIElement table due to duplicated Element Resource ID's.

    You can mark your custom module as "custom" in version 7 by going to: Site Manager > Development > Modules > Your Custom Module > User Interface.

    Kentico 7 - Setting Element Is Custom

    6) Check Data & DB Versions

    After you have run an upgrade for each major version (6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 8.2), make sure you run the following SQL query against your Kentico database:

        KeyName, KeyValue
        KeyName IN ('CMSDBVersion', 'CMSDataVersion')

    If both values for "CMSDBVersion" and "CMSDataVersion" are the same, you know the upgrade has successfully completed and you're on the right track. When I made my first attempt to upgrade a site from 7 to 8, I found the Data Version was 7.0 and the DB Version was 8.2. Not good.

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