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Common Challenges with Sitefinity and How to Solve Them

Robyn Oglesby
October 22, 2020

The Sitefinity content management system (CMS) offers a host of features to optimize digital experiences to maximize the customer journey for increased conversions as well as reduced operational costs. But like any piece of technology, some challenges require technical know-how to solve. 

Here are some common challenges clients face with Sitefinity and how InGen developers work to solve them.

Inline editing is disabled.

Some marketers find Sitefinity’s inline page editing experience helpful for fixing small errors or typos they come across while browsing their enterprise website. However, many Sitefinity implementors disable the inline editing function because they can’t get it to work properly. The feature works through javascript, so the developers working on implementation and deployment need to work with that expectation in mind. If they don’t, they could end up breaking the site. 

You should also know that your data can be structured in a way that you won’t really need inline editing because of how easy it is to update in the back end. A development team like InGen can help you make the content management experience smooth sailing. 

Features from an old version don’t work after upgrade.

Angry crazy modern designer in glasses with beard yelling and crumpling paper on his workplace

If Sitefinity features that don’t work after you’ve gone through an upgrade, you could be facing one of these common issues.

  • Depending on the upgrade, custom code may need to be rewritten for some Sitefinity features to work properly. 
  • Alternatively, Progress may have phased out features to help optimize the platform. 
  • An API may have been depreciated.

For these challenges, you’ll want a development team with Sitefinity expertise to diagnose the issue and update all the old code or APIs.

Updates made in the back-end don’t appear on the live site.

If you don’t see changes or updates on the live site, you likely have issues with cache invalidation. Here, the servers that need to “talk” to each other are missing the messages. The server that houses the authoring system doesn’t tell another server that it needs to make that change on the live site. 

Utilizing new distributed cache technology solves this problem by centralizing all the messaging. The servers can talk to each much easier because there is one hub where they all go to get messages. Using Sitefinity's Redis integration makes front-end node communication a snap, and bonus, scaling to any number of front-end nodes is effortless.

Errors when running Sitefinity as a developer.

If you’re coming up against Sitefinity errors as a developer, try these solutions:

  1. Run Visual Studio as an administrator. 
  2. Start Sitefinity without debugging when running locally and attach the debugger only when needed. Startup times are far faster when doing this. Consider using IIS instead of IIS Express for development.
  3. Take advantage of ASPX CodeFile pages that can be modified without restarting to test Sitefinity API code.
  4. Turn off unused modules to reduce startup time.

A custom widget won’t display.

Sometimes creating a custom MVC-based widget is like casting a spell. If you don’t know the magic words, you won’t get the desired outcome. When Sitefinity tries to display the widget you created, it looks for specific file and folder names, but nothing will happen if it doesn’t recognize them. Lucky for you, Sitefinity offers their spellbook in the form of naming conventions.

So, if your custom widgets aren’t displaying, double-check your file and folder names for any typos or misspellings. 

Design changes or updates are a headache.

Shocked young business woman using laptop looking at computer screen blown away in stupor sitting outside corporate office. Human face expression, emotion, feeling, perception, body language, reactionIf you find that changing your enterprise website page design requires layout file deployment or a whole new layout file (even if there are common design elements), that often means that the original developers overdid the layouts in resource packages. Developers who aren’t Sitefinity experts often define page design using Bootstrap as opposed to using Sitefinity layout widgets.

Sitefinity was made so that non-developers can design pages using drag-and-drop layout widgets. So if you need code deployments every time you want to make a design change, it defeats the purpose of using a marketer-friendly CMS. 

Custom developers who are Sitefinity experts know to start with a basic layout file, importing assets, and defining only the HTML basic structure and content placeholders. Then they create page templates based on that layout file, using Sitefinity's inheritance capability to base templates on one another. 

If all this sounds overwhelming, then InGen is your solution. Our web professionals can solve each of these challenges. Teaming up with Sitefinity experts with a complete understanding of the platform means they can mold it into the perfect fit for you and your end-users.

If you’re using Sitefinity, but you can’t seem to get it to work for you instead of against you, we can help simplify your world through a proven, time-tested process that optimizes your software, leading to clarity and measurable improvements in team efficiencies and business growth. 

Get a free site assessment today to get actionable insights.

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