Sunday, 2 December 2018

Unicorn - disabling automatic items serialization

I've come across a problem with Unicorn last time. We deployed to QA environment and a couple days later testers started to see issues like this:

Unicorn: You cannot have a sparse serialized tree

It was appearing when they were saving edited content. I've decided that we don't really need automatic items serialization on QA and other environments, so it will be best to just switch it off. I took a look into Unicorn.DataProvider.config and the comment there states:

This file configures the Unicorn data provider. The data provider writes updated serialized items to disk when they are changed.
This file should be removed in ANY deployed instance (CE or CD) that does not act as a source for serialized item updates.
Generally speaking that's anywhere other than a developer workstation, so your CI process (you have one, right?) should remove this file during the build.
IMPORTANT EXCEPTION: If you are using Transparent Sync as a deployment mechanism, this file must remain on your CE environment.

That's exactly why it should be turned off on any non-development environments.

As we are using Sitecore 9, we have set localenv variable to Local on our dev instances Web.config

<add key="localenv:define" value="Local" />

Instead of removing Unicorn.DataProvider.config config file after deployment, I have added localenv:require="Local" to root element there:

<sitecore localenv:require="Local">
  <dataProviders>
    <!--
      Register the Unicorn data provider for use. If a database hooks to the Unicorn data provider it will
      automatically write changes to the database that match any configured predicate into the serialization provider.
 
      Changes that only affect Revision, Modified, or any fields ignored by FieldPredicates will be ignored.
    -->
    <unicorn type="Unicorn.Data.DataProvider.Unicorn$(database)DataProvider, Unicorn">
      <param connectionStringName="$(1)"/>
      <Name>$(1)</Name>
    </unicorn>
  </dataProviders>
 
  <!--
    Hook the Unicorn Data Provider into the master and core databases. If you're not
    syncing anything in core you can safely unregister it from here. If you want to
    sync something to another database register it here.
 
    It's safe to remove this config section on any environment where you are not
    collecting item changes, which may mean anywhere other than local development
    sites. This will avoid any performance hit from writing unused serialized files.
  -->
  <databases>
    <database id="master">
      <dataProviders>
        <dataProvider ref="dataProviders/main">
          <patch:attribute name="ref">dataProviders/unicorn</patch:attribute>
        </dataProvider>
      </dataProviders>
    </database>
    <database id="core">
      <dataProviders>
        <dataProvider ref="dataProviders/main">
          <patch:attribute name="ref">dataProviders/unicorn</patch:attribute>
        </dataProvider>
      </dataProviders>
    </database>
  </databases>
</sitecore>

That makes sure the changes made by editors won't be serialized.

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Radosław Kozłowski - Senior Sitecore Developer Radoslaw Kozlowski

Author & Editor

Sitecore MVP, passionate Sitecore & .NET developer and architect. Sitecore Community evangelist.

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