Shared Sitecore builds

Part 5 - Keep your items tidy

Item tidiness is not something that is restricted to multi-agency deployments in Sitecore. A consistent item naming and structure can make the difference between a project being a success or unmanageable ball of mud.

A key thing to keep in mind is that the item structure is for the client not the developers. What makes sense to a developer might not be quite so intuitive for a content manager. It is the content managers who will be working with the content tree well into the future.

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Know thy Data in the press

The CodeKiwi is pleased to announce our data quality tool Know thy Data has been featured in the October issue of Research news magazine. In addition to Research News we are also featured on Quirk's, the market research blog. Many thanks to Scott MacLean for taking a keen interest in our little data science tool. He also sounds like a bit of a fan of New Zealand which we can't fault.

A lot of good things come from New Zealand: Bungee jumping; EasiYo make-your-own yogurt; the All Blacks; Begaand Mainland cheese; good sauvignon blanc wines; Crowded House; and Russell Crowe (well, maybe not the last one).

New Zealand also produces creative and competitive ideas pursued by skilled and knowledgeable market researchers.

He then goes on to provide a comprehensive review of our tool and possible applications. Be sure to check out the full article at

If you haven't done so yet, please do head over to knowthydata and tell us what you think.

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Machine Learning for developers

Following on from my recent post stats for hackers introducing statistics and non-deterministic programming concepts, if you feel you want to take the next step, Mike de Waard has provided a very accessible guide to some of the high level topics of Machine Learning. In his own words;

Most developers these days have heard of machine learning, but when trying to find an 'easy' way into this technique, most people find themselves getting scared off by the abstractness of the concept of Machine Learning and terms as regression, unsupervised learning, Probability Density Function and many other definitions. If one switches to books there are books such as An Introduction to Statistical Learning with Applications in R and Machine Learning for Hackers who use programming language R for their examples.

That said, I am not convinced about using Java as the Lingua Franca for the topic. Java is not exactly known for its succinct, concise representations of concepts (just my personal thoughts).

Check out the full article here

If you really want to push the boat out and gain a deeper understanding of the subject then I can recommend highly enough, Andrew Ng's Stanford/Coursera Machine Learning course. Andrew is one of the pioneers of the field and understands it at even the deepest levels however still manages to make the subject accessible.

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Stats for Hackers

I found this awesome slide deck from Jake VanderPlas. This follows a concept that took me many years to finally understand and even longer to identify. The field of Mathematics is simply a system of codified syntax for unambiguously expressing structure, just like all programming languages. However unlike programming languages the syntax and structure of Mathematics is resistant to change;

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Shared Sitecore builds

Part 4 - Configuration collisions

The web.config file has always been a complex beast, Sitecore takes this to the next level. Sitecore needs to be everything to everyone, which means it needs to be infinitely configurable. This is great for customers but makes the configuration large, complex and fraught with danger. Lucky for us Sitecore also has a powerful configuration management framework that allows separation of configuration into 'include' files that are patched in at runtime.

The separation of these configuration files is great for multi-agency, multi-site implementations but it can also mean danger. Since the end result of all these transformations is a single Web.config (and with the includes function a single Sitecore element), developers need to be aware of the implications of making changes to the global configuration.

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