Structured programming: Sitecore Development Street

A commercial word nowadays: Development Street. You can even ride it into another company(like in Hollywoord with the sets). It is an old, very old, concept, we give it some new colors when new technics are released(for example, take ASP.NET 2.0)… So we’re talking about a product? Which means you can buy it, together with a manual, some support and can touch it? Yes. No. No. No. You can buy it, but it isn’t touchable, you can’t support it and a manual? You have to write it on your own, which is the best exercise. We’re talking about a development street.

At the office, we’re structuring our software development process more and more. You’ve got the quick and easily taken steps like Code Guidelines and the more advanced steps like never using queries again without Typed DataSets. Then you’re actually touching the programmers hand. You can do it, but in a later stadium. First you have to take the small steps, marking some irritations, solving them and making the work of the engineer more confortable.

Some others don’t think this is the Development Street. For them the environment is more the Development Street. For example, there ETAP-enviroment(Engineering, Testing, Acceptation and Production Environment) is there street. Well no problem, but for me, the development street is our main process: Software Engineering. This process has to be so easy as possible. If we can do that by bringing in some servers, faster machines of software, my manager says: No problem. But when I ask him how we can decrease the development-time by 5%, his answer will be: aren”t there any other companies which have the same problems? And actually there are. The audience of my blog are actually people who are working with the CMS Sitecore. Are creating custom solutions for internal usage or for their customers. So I want to ask you all, if you have some feedback for me, some ideas you want to share(you can also ask my opinion), please post a comment!

We all know that the devlopment on top of another system is never easy. Work from scratch ios always easier, on top of the CMS development is often getting nasty-er and nasty-er.
Maybe development isn’t the right word. Maybe the full project is a mess…. ETAP-environments are very tough to create and manage, you are working for the web which gives another look on the final product, etc.

As you didn’t mention it already, I’m actually going to start with the specific Sitecore Development Process Optimalisation. The following steps are taken first. These steps are just a way to help me and my collegues to focus ourself more and more on software engineering instead of everything around us.

Simple workflow for support@sc questions
Longer then 1 week calls are registred in a ticket system incl TicketID so it can be tracked. Updated periodly by one person.
Questions, where Support explains something or provides some exampel code, will be saved in a small Wiki /Knowledge Base.
Question which aren’t closed or answered after the expected time aren’t anymore the responsibility of one software engineer. A team-member, will be responsible for handling these questions. He’ll alert Sitecore, open their eyes and speeds up this.

Quickstart: How to begin your project
Making a Sitecore-version based document which allows other to easily start a project. Configure everything right and clean up unused mess. Maybe an Visual Studio 2005 Sitecore Project? Etc.

Deployment
Sitecore deployment is a tough one as the distribution is quite big and installing script aren’t available.
We’re going to make a strict format so our Support and Maintenance team will be able to do the deployment without us.

Internal release management
Make simple, but clear, lists about releases of the core or modules, changes, features, etc.

Training
Looking for a way in which the developer is minimally involved in the training process of the customers.

In my opinion, everything above should be ready around half Juni. Maybe earlier. At that moment, we should be able to focus us more on stuff like Visual Studio Team System, Nightly Builds, Contious Intergartion, etc. Maybe some strict Sitecore development rules will appear. Can’t tell it now. First the stuff above. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Structured programming: Sitecore Development Street”

  1. Great entry Alex,

    I understand your problems and i’m sure w’ll create a great solution for all of them.

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