Posts tagged "Adobe Summit"

April 19, 2018

Brett Birschbach #AEMRockstar 2018

It’s a wrap! Adobe Summit NA 2018 is done, and we are excited to announce the winner of this year’s #AEMRockstar competition:

 

Brett Birschbach from HS2 Solutions

 

This year brought more outstanding submissions than ever, resulting in a fantastic field of semi-finalists. Congratulations to Brett and our other finalists, Bryan Williams, Joost van Dun, and Conrad Woeltge, who competed in front of an audience of 300 AEM enthusiasts! 

Brett (a previous CM guest blogger) has written a great post about his winning Rockstar Tip & Trick. He is the lead Adobe Marketing Cloud Solutions Architect for HS2 Solutions, a digital transformation company based in Chicago. He is a hands-on problem solver with experience leading large multinational, multi-site platform projects. Read on below: 

 

AEM Remote Assets –

Sync What You Need, When You Need It

 

Have you ever wanted to use AEM Assets on one server from AEM Sites on another? I bet you have, even if you don’t realize it. Until now, options to do so would have been custom and/or manual, so you may have simply blinded yourself to the idea. Here are some common uses cases that you’ve probably run into:

 

Use Case: Enterprise AEM Assets Instance

Ok, I admit this is probably not the most “common” use case, but for large enterprises in the digital age, it’s a critical use case. An enterprise DAM is a key part of an enterprise technology stack, often calling for a dedicated AEM server with DAM as its sole purpose. But then how do you use those assets for your AEM sites?

 

Use Case: Migrating Assets from Production to Non-Production Environments

Does your organization have Dev/QA/Stage AEM environments? Of course, it does. Are those environments consistently up to date with the latest set of assets from production? For almost everyone I talk to, the answer is almost invariably a resounding “No.” How can this be done in a way that is both automated and disk efficient?

 

Use Case: Site Assets for Local Developer Servers (i.e., localhost:4502)

Pulling down a copy of the production site pages to a local server is easy. Pulling down all of the assets associated with that site? Not so much. How can this be done in a way that leaves behind assets that are not applicable to the site?

A simplistic, brute-force solution might be to use AEM’s package manager to bundle up the entire DAM, copy it down to the Sites server, and call it a day, right? Not exactly. Assets are big…and numerous… Last I checked, numerous big things is rarely a simple situation. Copying the entire DAM can be problematic in terms of disk space, network transfer, and effective package sizes. And even if you can do it manually, as soon the first asset on the remote server changes, you’re out of date!

Ok, so why not just reference the assets directly from their remote location? This would be a nightmare for your authors and developers, no longer able to leverage simple OOTB tools like image components, DAM search, and the authoring sidebar. Ultimately, you’d no longer be able to leverage the full power of AEM sites.

In short, you need a solution that achieves all of the following objectives:

  • Access to all remote AEM Assets from the AEM Sites instance
  • Remote AEM Assets stored locally in AEM Sites for seamless authoring w/OOTB features
  • Copies of just the required remote AEM Assets, not the entire DAM
  • All accomplished in an automated fashion

 

Sync What You Need, When You Need It

AEM Remote Assets tackles this tricky problem in a unique way. The seemingly opposed objectives of “Access to all remote AEM Assets” and “Copy of just the required remote AEM Assets” are achieved by a “sync what you need, when you need it” strategy. What this means is the automated asset sync first copies the entire node structure from the remote DAM, pulling in the tags and metadata of all of the remote assets but leaving behind the large binary files in the source DAM. If and when any of these assets are requested for a real use case, only then does Remote Assets copy the binary files “just in time” via a second sync, leaving behind all of the other asset binary files that are not needed.

Let’s see how this works in practice. AEM Remote Assets first syncs in the node structure of the remote AEM Assets, substituting in a small, temporary binary file to keep all unused assets very small compared to their real counterparts.

Admin user viewing folder of remote assets on an AEM Sites instance.

As an admin user on the AEM Sites instance, I can see all of the “remote” assets that have been synchronized from the remote AEM Assets server. And though an asset may say it is 500+ KB in size, in actuality it is far smaller due to the temporary binary file.

Now the true magic begins. Because we have synchronized in all of the remote asset nodes and tags, we have everything we need as an author to search and use those assets, and AEM will take care of pulling over the binary files for the ones I want to use. Say for example I open a browser and search for “Bike” assets. The system finds the two assets, but as the request is being processed it first pulls over the associated binary files from the remote Assets server, making those two assets now “real” on the Sites server.

Right: Author user viewing two searched assets; Left: Admin user viewing folder with searched assets now made “real.”

The same thing happens if I pull up the page authoring sidebar to add an image to my page.

Right: Author user choosing asset from page authoring sidebar; Left: Admin user viewing folder with referenced asset now made “real.”

This is amazing for the “Enterprise Remote AEM Assets” use case, where authoring sites with remote assets is a critical business function. But what about the use cases of “Migrating Assets from Production to Non-Production Environments” and “Site Assets for Local Developer Servers” where largely we just want to be able to browse the site with all assets. Turns out that scenario (and any others you can think of) works as well.

Right: Web page as seen by an author user, all assets being made “real” simply by browsing to the page; Left: Web page with remote assets before access by an author user.

 

This is Awesome! Can I Has AEM Remote Assets Too?

You absolutely can! HS2 Solutions has contributed AEM Remote Assets to ACS AEM Commons, the most prominent open source feature library for AEM in the industry. You’re probably using this library already! We look forward to the community pitching in with their ideas on configuration options, additional functionality, and even direct code contributions!

For more on AEM Remote Assets, including a video demonstration, view my article on hs2solutions.com. You may also contact me via LinkedIn or email at brett.birschbach@hs2solutions.com.

All opinions are Brett Birschbach’s own and are not Adobe’s.

4:31 PM Comments (0) Permalink
January 1, 2018

Are you ready for AEMRockstar 2018?

Its back for another year! Join us at Adobe Summit 2018 for one of the most popular sessions from Summit 2017. It’s one part tips and tricks and one part exciting “Shark Tank” experience where the winners are chosen in real time.

This year we’re focusing on not just presentations but live demos to really show the power of the tips and tricks that our contestants have come up with. Think you have an idea that is good enough to battle it out with other finalists in Las Vegas? Submission closed

If you’re chosen as one of our presenters, you’ll receive a free pass (valued at $1895) to Summit on March 25-29, 2018 in Las Vegas, and the opportunity to win cool prizes like airline tickets, laptop, or who knows what! And don’t forget about the bragging rights. 

 

Submission closed: January 29, 2018


Tips for submission:

  • Multi-Solution items (AEM + Analytics, IO, etc.) present better to the varied audience of Adobe Summit.
  • Think of the value proposition that your tip or trick is solving. Be prepared to defend it.
  • Does it “wow” when demoing?
  • Adobe customers using Experience Cloud or Adobe Partners with a customer co-presenter are highly desired.

To be considered, all you have to do is submit your tip using this online form. We’re looking for all things AEM. Sites, Assets, Mobile, Forms, anything and EVERYTHING! We want tips that you believe will show your fellow AEM marketers and technologists new things about AEM and help them to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, your judges will be the session attendees, including leaders from the AEM Product and Marketing teams, as they vote for their favorite tips. Don’t be on the fence about submitting a tip — you might be surprised how useful things can be to others.

We’ll be screening your tips based on how innovative, practical, and valuable they are as well as how broadly they could be used by AEM marketers and technologists at other companies in different industries. We’ll select up to 5 finalists who will come to Las Vegas and present their tip to one of the largest audiences at the conference. This is a great opportunity to attend Summit and showcase your talents to the world!

We are giving away some swag to everyone who submits an idea as well. Every person who submits an idea gets the new vol 2 AEM Rockstar sticker (subject to availability)!

Eligibility Requirements (the fine print)

  • Adobe employees are not eligible
  • You are responsible for all expenses except the Adobe Summit registration.
  • Finalists from the previous year are not eligible.

2017 Recap

The first ever AEM Rockstar session was a resounding success. We were in the top 10 most attended sessions at Summit last year! As for prizes, last year, in addition to the free Summit pass, we gave away,

  • 1st – DJI Mavic Pro Drone
  • 2nd – $200 Amazon Gift Card
  • 3rd – $100 Amazon Gift Card

To get your creative juices flowing, below are our finalists and their submissions from last year.

Dan Klco, Perficient

“Integrating AEM with other Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions using data layers powered by Sling Models.”

Rima Mittal, Sapient

“Need a script to change existing production content? Sling Pipes to the rescue.”

Robert Langridge, Carphone Warehouse

“How Dixons Carphone gives their authors the ability to generate designs to be used in their AEM Mobile application.”

Ruben Ruesser, headwire, Inc.

“Making sure all your developers generate consistent files during AEM development.” – the AEM Developer Companion

Martin Fitch, Kaiser Permanente

“How Kaiser Permanente achieved their stringent approval requirements using AEM workflows.”

Congratulations to Dan Klco for being our inaugural winner.

 

Submission closed: January 29, 2018

 

 

 

6:57 AM Permalink
March 20, 2017

AEM Rockstar Tips & Tricks Blog Series

Our First AEM Rockstar Tips & Tricks Guest Blog!

Late last year we launched our first AEM Rockstar competition, where we asked for tips & tricks from you, the Rockstar AEM marketers and technologists who create and innovate within Adobe Experience Manager. Winners won a free pass to Summit and will present their tips & tricks to an audience of over 500 attendees and a panel of judges, who will award the best tip & trick winner with a cool prize! 

Thanks again to all the Rockstars who competed this year. If you are at Summit and want to attend the Rockstar session, on Wednesday, March 22, click here:  http://bit.ly/2kbauhJ!   We’ll see you at Summit!

We were rocked by the response to the Rockstar contest, but ultimately we could only choose five finalists to present at the 2017 Adobe Summit. However, we received so many impressive submissions from the AEM community that we decided to feature a series of guest blog posts, written by the runners-up. These tips & tricks range from favorite ways to use Forms, to more technical examples that can help you better synchronize content, use new tools, and much more.

Our first guest post comes from Sagar Sane, who is a Technical Architect at iCiDIGITAL (www.icidigital.com), a digital agency that specializes in AEM. He has over four years of experience working with AEM / CQ5; primarily focused on server-side development and integrations of AEM with other systems, and over five years of web development experience. He is based at the iCiDIGITAL location in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Grabbit – A Rockstar  Tool for Content Sync in AEM

Suppose you have an enterprise-scale AEM implementation with an author and multiple publishers in production. There is a staging environment mirroring closely to production from an infrastructure point of view, and you might even have development and UAT environments used for development and testing, respectively. The business stakeholders of your AEM implementation prefer that you keep the content synchronized as much as possible between these environments. Generally, you would use tools like Package Manager or vlt rcp to achieve this.

However, these tools do not scale well enough for large implementations where your AEM environments are geographically far away, or that have very large amounts of content to be synchronized. At the core, both these tools use the WebDAV protocol. WebDAV uses XML for serialization and deserialization and uses HTTP handshakes for every node that is synchronized between two AEM instances. This means that any latency on the network will hurt the content sync performance, in terms of time and space efficiency.

Grabbit: A Different Approach

The name Grabbit refers to this grabbing of content from one CQ/AEM instance and copying it to another. However, it also refers to Jackrabbit, the reference JCR 283 implementation that the content is being copied to and from. Grabbit is installed as any other AEM application and is available on bintray for anyone to download.

Grabbit takes a different approach to solve the problem of content synchronization. Grabbit’s goal is to make it easier and faster to sync content from one AEM instance (Grabbit Server) to another (Grabbit Client). Grabbit was developed as a content sync solution for one of our clients, with iCiDIGITAL members the primary contributors. Upon the success of the initial releases of the tool, Grabbit was ultimately open sourced by our client couple years ago.

How does it Work?

Unlike the other tools mentioned above that use HTTP handshakes for each node to be synced, Grabbit creates a stream of data over HTTP(s) from the Grabbit Server (source) to the Grabbit Client (destination). For serialization, Grabbit uses Google’s Protocol Buffers. Better than XML- based serialization, Protocol Buffers is extremely space efficient in transferring the data over the network. As its core underlying technology, Grabbit uses Spring Batch. Some of the core features of Spring Batch that Grabbit uses are Chunk-Based processing, Declarative I/O, start/stop a job and job processing statistics.

Grabbit needs to be installed on both the AEM instances; the instance that requests content to be copied to (the Grabbit Client) and the other one from which the content is copied from (the Grabbit Server). You initiate the request to copy content from Grabbit Server to Grabbit Client by providing a Configuration File to the client. For each path in the configuration file that needs to be synced, a new Grabbit Job is created on the Grabbit Client. Each job then opens only one HTTP(s) connection to the server and uses Protocol Buffers for data transfer marshaling / unmarshalling. There are several configuration parameters that can be set in the configuration file. You can find details about that here.

Grabbit also allows you to monitor the jobs on the client. The monitoring API provides basic information like the job start time/end time, current path, the number of nodes written, etc. Under the covers, Grabbit uses Spring Batch’s querying features for this. The job status is represented in JSON format as below:

To summarize, the basic sequence of Grabbit usage can be illustrated as below:

Why Use Grabbit?

Grabbit is supported for most of the newer AEM versions and is under active development. We have already received and continue to receive a lot of feedback to improve Grabbit. In our experience, Grabbit has proved to be 2 to 10 times faster than other content sync alternatives in AEM, depending on the network conditions and the amount of content being synchronized. I encourage the users of Grabbit to submit issues, questions, or comments on GitHub. We hope that you give Grabbit a shot and that it proves to be useful for everyone in the AEM Community. Post a comment if you have any questions!

1:18 PM Permalink
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