Getting ready for the upgrade

The Tridion 2009 upgrade is a low-risk upgrade that provides significant benefits for templating development, tagging content with keywords, and more efficient Broker queries. Anyone using Tridion 5.3 today can gain many benefits with little effort.

Step 1: Confirm server hardware requirements

Read the manual. Login to and download the Tridion 2009 Upgrade guide.  Pay attention to the supported platforms information and confirm your servers meet the minimum requirements.

Most likely your support agreement includes upgrading to the latest version, including Tridion 2009

Step 2: Prepare workstations for developing using Visual Studio

Software: Visual Studio 2008 / 2010 – I prefer VS 2010 with features such as intellisense (matching a word anywhere the function contains it, not just at the beginning), jQuery debugging, and great MVC support.  It also supports compiling to 2.0, 3.5, and 4.0.

Version control – I prefer Subversion but have heard great things about GIT.  SVN has a free plugin to Visual Studio called Ankh, allowing commits and updates from VS.  TortoiseSVN provides tight Subversion integration with Windows Explorer

Hardware – If running Visual Studio 2010 then 2GB Ram is essential.  For Event System development and workflow I suggest to run a local instance of Tridion inside a VMWare image.  This works really well on Macs too!  Otherwise, it might be possible to remote into a development server, but sharing connections is less than ideal in a development team, and installing workstation tools on a server is not ideal.

Questions and Answers

Templates– Will my existing .NET, VBScript, and XSLT templates work?  Yes,   Tridion is notoriously good about supporting legacy methods (there are still some version 4.4 methods in the API!).  No worries here.

Compound Templates– Do I need to re-write my templates?  No, all 5.3 templates will work, and you can use the new Compound Templating features side-by-side with the older VBScript templates.

Template Functions:  What are template functions?  Tridion 2009 provides the ability to write custom functions in .NET and call them from your HTML DWT templates.  This brings a lot of possibilities to DWT templates.

Broker– Will my Broker queries still run?  The answer is yes, and they may even be improved due to refactoring of the SQL generated to the Broker.  

SiteEdit– Which version of SiteEdit does Tridion 2009 work with? Do I need to upgrade to SiteEdit 2009?

Tridion 2009 works with SiteEdit 1.3 as well as SiteEdit 2009.  Please make sure to get all the hotfixes for SiteEdit 1.3.  However, SiteEdit 2009 SP2 provides great customization features, including adding items to the toolbar.  It also works with both VBScript templates and Compound Templates.  New browser support is added and editing pages in Chrome and Firefox never felt better.  SiteEdit 2009 SP2 is definitely worth the upgrade.

GUI– Will my Tridion users be OK with the new GUI?  Yes, the GUI now offers more options for keywords, but otherwise the other features work as they do in 5.3.  

Outbound Email– Is Outbound Email compatible?  Yes, and there is a new version of Outbound Email, Outbound Email 2009, that provides better email campaign and contacts management and continues to promote content re-use for all mailings.

Part 2 will cover upgrading the CMS, Database, and Broker. Part 3 will cover the first steps in working with Compound Templating.

Book: Design of Design

June 2nd, 2010 | Posted by Robert Curlette in Book review - (0 Comments)

Fred Brooks of Mythical Man Month fame is back and brings all of his insights together in one book.  The short chapters in the book are refreshing and bring pointed insights gained from years of experience as both a software architect and a traditional building architect.  Going into challenges such as remote teams and communicating the book approaches current issues facing many organizations.

I really enjoyed his discussion of using prototypes and iterations to achieve software success.  He is a ‘dyed-wool empiricist’ meaning that in his view all people will make mistakes and it is impossible to write a perfect software program that addresses all user requirements and without bugs the first time.  This is a refreshing view and relieves the pressure of the waterfall model where there are no iterations or going back to previous steps for refactoring the solution based on new information gathered while building the software.  He mentions that in other fields the designer or architect often reworks the solution to take advantage of a constraint that has disappeared during the project.  Often in the waterfall model there is no time to do this because the project team is living inside a time box where everyone is rushing to finish the deliverable to hand the ‘final’ version to the customer.

I am looking forward to incorporating more prototypes and iterative approaches in my next projects.  Hopefully the customer will be happy and have the right expectations set before seeing the final product.