Sunday, January 16, 2011

Improving Ektron eSync

For a feature with so much upside as eSync, why do I always dread having to use it?


I mean, who wouldn’t want an easy way to push your development changes seamlessly into production? Or easily recreate the client’s bug report by pulling down all the production content?

In order of priority, I think the following would make eSync better-

  • Better error messages – The errors messages are arcane. There seem to be a couple of common causes of problems - license, certificates, web service path - yet there are not standard errors for these causes.
  • Better tooling/support – The current tooling is sufficient, but could be much, much better. The tools should automate as much of setup process as possible, and do some simple checks of common problems.
  • Support for or integration with source control systemsI’ve learnt the hard way that eSync and Subversion don’t play nicely together. My current method is to keep the two apart as much as possible. There is a lack of documentation on best practises with eSync and source control.
  • More fine-grained control – The main problem we get is with the users being synchronised. It would be able to bring across the content but keep the users. Or just eSync certain folders (there are filters, which, as mentioned above, I’ve never had much luck with).
  • More than just master/slave – eSync relationships are limited to two parties, and anything complicated must be modelled as a series of two party relationships. Support for many slaves to one master would be nice for a multi-developer, single UAT server environment.
  • Support for continuous integration – This is partly mitigated by the ability to set a schedule. It would still be nice to be able to kick off an eSync from the command line.
  • Ability to change port used – I’m a little concerned about this, if a vulnerability is found, then attackers know exactly which port to knock on.

Lastly, no eSync blog post is complete without a link to Martin’s eSync Trouble Shooting Guide. Whenever I have to set up eSync, this page gets opened up before I even start, and takes away just a little of that aforementioned dread.


(the eSync that prompted this post went rather painlessly, with only 1 (firewall-related) error)

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