Brian McKeiver's Blog

How Compare For Kentico Works - Part 3


This is the third part of the How Compare For Kentico Works blog post series. Make sure that read part 2 first before reading this post. In this third post I show you how to use the final output of the comparison and give you examples of how my team at BizStream uses the tool.

Keep reading to find out how you can cut your deployment time, be more confident that the deployment actually worked, and keep some of your own sanity intact when it comes to moving changes from one environment to the next.


Generating a Deployment Plan

Once you have got your project comparison running and have the filters setup to hone in on the differences that matter, the next step is to use Compare for Kentico to help you create a deployment plan. That's where all of the checkboxes next to each grid row come into play. If you identify a difference that you want to actually sync from the source to the target you can simply click the checkbox to include the object in a deployment plan. If you are viewing the details of a difference (using the green view action button) you can also mark that difference to include in the deployment plus add notes on why you might want to include or change that object).


Compare for Kentico - Include in Deployment


For instance in the screen below I have marked as difference as include in the deployment, and added a note that mentions this object is important to include because it relates to a certain previous sprint feature that fixes a bug found in QA.


Compare for Kentico - Deployment Notes


You can select as many differences as you want from the 3 major results grids. Once you have finished reviewing each difference you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click the green Generate Report button. This action will create an on screen report (that is also print friendly) that you can use to show you only the objects you need to change. This deployment report eliminates the need to manually track Kentico database object changes, or sort through thousands of rows in the Content Staging queue.  You can download and save the report for your scheduled deployment time or use it immediately.


Compare for Kentico - Deployment Report


For version 1.0 of Compare for Kentico this is where the project stops. You can view differences in real time and generate a report of which differences you need to deploy to complete your feature. For version 2.0 of the tool we plan to include a synchronize button that piggy backs on Kentico's built in CI and/or Content Staging tools. Keep an eye on our product roadmap to know when version 2.0 is released.


How BizStream Utilizes Compare for Kentico

We use Compare for Kentico in most of deployments now at BizStream. Basically the workflow happens like this:

  • We register our sites (local dev, qa, staging, and even production sometimes) in one master installation of Compare for Kentico running locally in our office.
    • Remember as of writing this post, you do need a Kentico 8.2 instance to host the main tool.
    • You can still easily add agents and compare Kentico 9.0 sites there though.
    • During the registration of the site we create the project to link the sites together, and setup a few base custom settings for the right filer.
  • As a deployment needs to happen, the developer opens up the main comparison page for that project, and runs a compare.
  • The developer marks the differences to include in deployment that only relate to the feature that developer is responsible for.
  • The developer then generates a deployment report and leaves the report open in one browser tab.
  • The developer opens up Content Staging and uses the itemized deployment report to stage the differences.
  • The developer than looks back at the original browser tab and re-runs the project comparison. The second run of the comparison shows that the deployment worked and all of the objects are in sync, or it shows that the developer forgot to push out a change.


The Future for Compare for Kentico

We feel that the future is bright for our product. According to this one of the most requested product additions that Kentico developers have been asking for.  We do have a planned roadmap to keep supporting more and more objects as Kentico adds support into the API in versions 10 and beyond. Our very next focus is going to be fully supporting Kentico 9 for housing the main tool, creating a NuGet package installation method, and improving the user interface and overall comparison speed.

We also consider Compare for Kentico as the first tool inside of a suite of tools that we have named the BizStream Toolkit. The next tool, Search, is right around the corner and very soon will be publicly released. Search will allow you to find an item in a Kentico installation and report back where it is being used or originates from.

For example if you are having an issue with broken JavaScript, and you can't remember which JavaScript file in the filesystem, JavaScript web part, web part container, or inline WYSWYG area (GASP) that the JavaScript it is being included on the page, Search will find it for you.

Kentico has also heavily supported us in the development of the product and its architecture. We want to specifically thank their product owners and marketing team for working together with us, and are very thankful to be part of the Kentico Technology Partner reboot.

So what are you waiting for? Go Sign-up for your free 30-day trial of Compare for Kentico right now.