Monday, April 11, 2022

Sitecore Publishing Service - Using Sitecore PowerShell Extensions To Move Publishing Jobs To The Top Of The Queue



In my previous post, I provided a way to get a job queue report using PowerShell Extensions (SPE). In this post, I am going to show how you can use the output from the report to promote publishing jobs to the top of the queue using SPE.

Large Publishing Queue

You may ask, well why? Sitecore's Publishing Service is a great improvement over the out-of-the-box publishing mechanism, and is pretty fast at publishing items.

That is indeed true, however when working with extremely large sites with several hundred content authors and multiple publishing targets, the queue can become extremely long. I have seen it grow to upwards of several thousands items, and publishing taking several hours.

This is problematic if you have something urgent that needs to be published, as the job could be sitting in the queue for hours!

The Solution

As you saw in my last post, it is pretty simple to access the SQL publishing queue database table using SPE. As the operations of a queue make it a first-in-first-out (FIFO) data structure based on the "Queued" datetime field,  I discovered that simply updating target job's datetime field to a smaller value, would instantly move the job higher in the queue.

So, my final logic was this:

  • Get smallest Queued datetime of the jobs sitting in the queue that still needed to be published
  • Subtract 2 minutes from the value
  • Update the queued datetime of job that I want to promote to the top of the queue with this new smaller datetime value
  • Done! My job was popped to the top!

Now, this is the perfect pairing with the job queue report from my previous post. You can use the report to find the job and its id that you want to promote, and then use the id to run the script to promote the job!

I recommend following this guide to convert this into your own SPE custom module for your solution: Modules - Sitecore PowerShell Extensions


I hope you find this script another useful add to your PowerShell toolbox.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Sitecore Publishing Service - Publishing Job Queue Report Using Sitecore PowerShell Extensions



Sitecore's Publishing Service only allows you to see a maximum of 10 items at a time within the Queued or Recent jobs reports within the dashboard.

This is not ideal if you need to see how many total items are in the queue, need to get an estimate of how long it will take to get your publish live or quite simply need to do any type of analysis or troubleshooting.

Usually, you will have to talk to a DevOps person who has access to your Sitecore Master database, and get them to write a somewhat complex SQL query against your Publishing_JobQueue table to get you the information that you need.

It is a bit complex due to the fact that most of the key information is stored in an XML field called "Options" within this particular table.

PowerShell For The Win

After spending a bit of time formulating a decent SQL query that would get the key information that we were after, I decided to take it one step further by incorporating it into a PowerShell script that could be generated on demand from within the Sitecore console, and also output a searchable and downloadable report.

A clear win for our Authoring Admins and DevOps teams!

I hope you find this script a useful add to your PowerShell toolbox.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Sitecore Content Hub - Set up SAML-based SSO in Azure AD using an App Registration



In this post, I will show you how to create and configure an Azure Application Registration in your tenant to allow Sitecore Content Hub users to successfully authenticate against your Azure Active Directory.


The Content Hub team's preferred set up option is to create an Enterprise application within your Azure AD, but unfortunately for us, our DevOps would not allow this due to very strict security constraints that we had to abide by. This is the main reason that we had to go the App Registration route.

We initially tried to get the App Registration working using Microsoft Provider SSO, but could not get the proper Group claims working correctly.

As a result, we focused on configuring SAML Auth within our App Registration, and were able to get all the claims needed to successfully get SSO authentication working with this approach.

Set up within Azure

Within your Azure Portal, find App registrations and click on the New Registration button. Give it a name, and leave the default options selected, and click Register.

Within the newly created registration, go to the Authentication menu option within the Manage section.

Click "Add a platform", and then select "Web".

Set your Redirect URIs to be the Content Hub portal url. You will be able to add additional URIs after the initial set up. For now, I will use a default one.

Make sure you check the Access tokens and ID tokens boxes within the Implicit grant and hybrid flows section.

After this, click the Configure button.

Next, go to the Token configuration menu option within the Manage section.

Click Add group claim, and check the Security group box. Confirm that the Group ID radio option is selected within the ID, Access and SAML options.

Click the Add button.

Next, click Add optional claim.

Within Token type, select SAML, and check the email Claim box. Click Add.

When prompted, check the "Turn on the Microsoft Graph email permission" box to allow the claims to appear in the token. Click Add.

Next, go to the Expose an API menu option within the Manage section. Click Add a scope, and it will generate an Application ID URI for you. 

Make note of this, as you will need it for the Content Hub side.

Click Save and continue.

After is has been created, you can click the Cancel button.

Go to the Overview menu option, and click Endpoints. Go to the Federation metadata document XML url and make note of it

Then, copy and past it into a new browser tab.

Make note of the entityID.

Your set of notes should look similar to this:

Set up within Content Hub

Log into your Content Hub portal. Click on Manage, and then go to Settings.

Within Settings, go to PortalConfiguration, and select the Authentication menu option. Change the view to Text as it's easier to work with.

Within the ExternalAuthenticationProviders, saml XML config, set the key values to what you saved in your notes. Make sure you set the provider_name and add some basic messages.

 ExternalAuthenticationProviders": {  
   "global_username_claim_type": "",  
   "global_email_claim_type": "",  
   "google": [],  
   "Microsoft": [],  
   "saml": [  
     "metadata_location": "",  
     "sp_entity_id": "api://c8696890-1d5f-479b-9df1-154e8f315165",  
     "idp_entity_id": "",  
     "password": null,  
     "certificate": null,  
     "binding": "HttpRedirect",  
     "authn_request_protocol_binding": null,  
     "is_enabled": true,  
     "provider_name": "martinSamlNewLocal",  
     "messages": {  
      "signIn": "Martin SAML SSO Test"  
     "authentication_mode": "Passive"  
   "sitecore": [],  
   "ws_federation": [],  
   "yandex": []  

Click Save, and you are done!

You are now ready to test out your authentication using your shiny, new authentication button.

Users with more than 200 groups

We found a limitation with SSO authentication group claims in Azure AD wherein if there are more than 200 groups associated to a user, then the SSO authentication will provide a graph link instead of passing in the group claims. 

There is currently no solution for this problem. We are handling these handful of users via manual security set up.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Fix Email Campaign Pausing: Sitecore Email Experience Manager 3.x Retry Data Provider



My company uses Email Experience Manager (EXM) to send several million emails a day, and we have been facing issues where our large campaigns would pause mid-send.

We have a scaled EXM environment with 2 dedicated dispatch servers, and a separate SQL Server, all with appropriate resources so the hardware was not an issue. We also ensured that databases were kept in tiptop condition (proper maintenance plans with stats being updated), and configurations where optimal for our environment.

The causing of the pausing

After digging in, I discovered that the pausing was caused by SQL deadlocks due to the massive amount of records and CRUD activity on the EXM SQL databases.

Sample Exception:

 ERROR Transaction (Process ID 116) was deadlocked on lock | communication buffer resources with another process and has been chosen as the deadlock victim. Rerun the transaction.  
 Exception: System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException  
 Message: Transaction (Process ID 116) was deadlocked on lock | communication buffer resources with another process and has been chosen as the deadlock victim. Rerun the transaction.  
 Source: .Net SqlClient Data Provider  
   at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection.OnError(SqlException exception, Boolean breakConnection, Action`1 wrapCloseInAction)  
   at System.Data.SqlClient.TdsParser.ThrowExceptionAndWarning(TdsParserStateObject stateObj, Boolean callerHasConnectionLock, Boolean asyncClose)  
   at System.Data.SqlClient.TdsParser.TryRun(RunBehavior runBehavior, SqlCommand cmdHandler, SqlDataReader dataStream, BulkCopySimpleResultSet bulkCopyHandler, TdsParserStateObject stateObj, Boolean& dataReady)  
   at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlDataReader.TryHasMoreRows(Boolean& moreRows)  
   at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlDataReader.TryReadInternal(Boolean setTimeout, Boolean& more)  
   at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlDataReader.Read()  
   at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand.CompleteExecuteScalar(SqlDataReader ds, Boolean returnSqlValue)  
   at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand.ExecuteScalar()  
   at Sitecore.Modules.EmailCampaign.Core.Data.SqlDbEcmDataProvider.CountRecipientsInDispatchQueue(Guid messageId, RecipientQueue[] queueStates)  
   at Sitecore.Modules.EmailCampaign.Core.Gateways.DefaultEcmDataGateway.CountRecipientsInDispatchQueue(Guid messageId, RecipientQueue[] queueStates)  
   at Sitecore.Modules.EmailCampaign.Core.Analytics.MessageStatistics.get_Unprocessed()  
   at Sitecore.Modules.EmailCampaign.Core.Analytics.MessageStatistics.get_Processed()  
   at Sitecore.Modules.EmailCampaign.Core.MessageStateInfo.InitializeSendingState()  
   at Sitecore.Modules.EmailCampaign.Core.MessageStateInfo.InitializeMessageStateInfo()  
   at Sitecore.Modules.EmailCampaign.Factory.GetMessageStateInfo(String messageItemId, String contextLanguage)  
   at Sitecore.EmailCampaign.Server.Services.MessageInfoService.Get(String messageId, String contextLanguage)  
   at Sitecore.EmailCampaign.Server.Controllers.MessageInfo.MessageInfoController.MessageInfo(MessageInfoContext data)  

How does this new data provider fix the problem?

The new data provider introduces efficient SQL deadlock handling. When a deadlock is detected, it will wait 5 seconds and then retry the transaction. The code will try to execute a deadlocked transaction 3 times.


Defaults are set to wait 5 seconds for the retry, and the max retry attempts is 3. The DelaySeconds and RetryCount settings can be modified to suit your needs.

 <configuration xmlns:patch="">  
   <ecmDataProvider defaultProvider="sqlretry">  
     <add name="sqlretry" type="Sitecore.EmailCampaign.RetryDataProvider.RetrySqlDbEcmDataProvider, Sitecore.EmailCampaign.RetryDataProvider" connectionStringName="exm.master">  
      <Logger type="Sitecore.ExM.Framework.Diagnostics.Logger, Sitecore.ExM.Framework" factoryMethod="get_Instance"/>  
     <add name="sqlbase" type="Sitecore.Modules.EmailCampaign.Core.Data.SqlDbEcmDataProvider, Sitecore.EmailCampaign" connectionStringName="exm.master">  
      <Logger type="Sitecore.ExM.Framework.Diagnostics.Logger, Sitecore.ExM.Framework" factoryMethod="get_Instance"/>  

Source Code and Documentation

Full source code, documentation and package download is available from my GitHub repository: