Switching away from serializable cart mode

If you are using Optimizely Customized Commerce, the common wisdom is that you should be using serializable cart mode. It’s not perfect (we discussed the drawbacks in, um, my book), but generally it has performance benefits. But for any reason that you need to use the legacy cart mode, there is a switch you can use – IFeatureSwitch which can be used to change between those modes

It is important to remember that IFeatureSwitch only switch between to modes, it does not migrate any carts between those two. there is a one time cart migration job but that’s it.

To change the cart mode, it is simply as this

GetInstance<IFeatureSwitch>().DisableFeature(SerializedCarts.FeatureSerializedCarts);

However, there is a catch here.

To let IOrderRepository use the correct cart system, there is an ICartProvider which will be either CartProvider or SerializableCartProvider . The problem is that happens much earlier in the pipeline than IInitializationModule. In fact it is determined in IConfigurableModule.ConfigureContainer , which means before any IInitializationModule.Initialize. Even if we call DisableFeatures in another ConfigureContainer, there is no warranty that our code will be called before the framework code (the order of ConfigureContainer execution is indeterministic )

But fortunately, we can do that inside Startup.Configure. Due to how the feature switch data structure, it’s not as simple as adding a setting in appsettings.json, but it can be done easily in code:

            services.Configure<ApplicationOptions>(x =>
            {
                x.Features[SerializedCarts.FeatureSerializedCarts] = new ApplicationFeature
                {
                    Feature = "SerializedCarts",
                    State = FeatureState.Disabled,
                    Type = "Mediachase.Commerce.Core.Features.SerializedCarts, Mediachase.Commerce"
                };
            });

Of course, this is a workaround. The feature switch should be done as documented. It will be fixed in the future.

Command timeout for Commerce 14

While we always want to have fast database queries, it is not doable all the time. Sometimes we need to run slow queries, and we need to tell the underlying framework that this query can take some time to complete, and we’re fine with it. Otherwise, it will try to terminate the query after 30 seconds (the default time out limit)

There is a different between connection timeout and command timeout. Connection timeout is the time .NET will try to connect to the database before giving up. Command timeout is the time .NET will try to execute a command before giving up.

With Commerce 13, we have a setting added in 9.23.1, as we talked here Episerver Commerce commandTimeout configuration – Quan Mai’s blog (vimvq1987.com) , however, in Commerce 14, it’s … different.

Things are a bit complicated when it comes to command timeout with .NET 5 and up. With later versions of Microsoft.Data.SqlClient, it is possible to set command timeout directly using connection string. It is indeed a simple way to do it, but with a caveat.

The new setting is not recognized by Entity Framework/Entity Framework Core, and it will throw exception if you try to access a connection string with command timeout setting. It has another way to set the command timeout itself by each DbContext , but it does not accept the setting via Connection string. It will throw “Keyword not supported: ‘command timeout'” if such setting is present.

The workaround is to configure the command timeout for EcfSqlConnection connection string, and another different connection string without command timeout just for Entity Framework.

However, that’s with a caveat: using command timeout in connection string means that value applies to all database queries. As we discussed in the previous post above, doing so is not without drawbacks – it hides slow queries rather than let it fails. A failed query might not bring down your website, but an overloaded database will likely do.

In Commerce 14.15.6 which should be released shortly, we introduce a new setting SqlDataProviderOptions.CommandTimeout which let you set the command timeout for queries that are using SqlDataProvider – most notably the MetaDataPlus system like orders.

The important advantage of the new setting is that you can set it on the fly. If you know that some operation will be slow, you can set the command timeout to a higher value just for that operation, then set it back to default value. In most cases, you can leave it to default value (30 seconds), and do optimization on application level (reduce batch size for example) or database layer (rewrite the query, adding/optimizing indexes etc.). But sometimes you know the query would be slow and you acknowledge that – this is the tool.

Building a better wish list – part 1

If you have been using Optimized Customized Commerce, you probably know that, by default, wish list is just a cart with a special name. Can you guess the name? Surprise, surprise, it’s “Wishlist”. It’s been there since forever, from the early day of Mediachase, and then carried over to the new serializable cart. I have been “fine” with it – i.e. I accept the approach unconsciously. But until very recently I realized there are several problems with the approach.

How come it is not a very good idea?

First of all, it shares same table as the normal cart. To search for abandoned carts, you would have to skip the carts with “wishlist” name. There are only a few cart names and they are not evenly distributed, you will have hard time filtering carts by their names.

But there is more. As most customers are using the serializable cart mode now, ever growing wishlists also pose a another problem – each operation on the wishlist – adding or removing item, will result in a big write to the SerializableCart table. If you have just a few items, it might be fine, but a simple test on Commerce shows that with only 9 items in wishlist, the Data column is more than 2700 characters. And wishlists are meant to be kept forever – they will only grow in size.

My saved for later on Amazon – which is the closet thing to a “wish list”. Imagine having that on Optimizely Customized Commerce.

As wishlists are carts, they have to be in same format even though a lot of them are redundant/unnessary.

The biggest benefit, and I think it triumphs all other disadvantages we have listed, of the default wishlist implementation is it’s built-in. You can start using it without almost no additional effort. Get a cart with the predefined name and you are good to go. Building a different wish list definitely costs time and resource, a luxury not everyone can afford.

For that, I have been starting building a wish list service on my free time. I plan to make it open source when the time is right, but we’ll see about that.

Moral of the story

  • It is critical to take a step back, from time to time, to think about what you have done. Things might make less senses when you see it from a different perspective.
  • You can almost always do better.

Performance optimization – the hardcore series – part 1

Hi again every body. New day – new thing to write about. today we will talk about memory allocation, and effect it has on your website performance. With .NET, memory allocations are usually overlooked because CLR handles that for you. Except in rare cases that you need to handle unmanaged resources, that you have to be conscious about releasing that said resources yourself, it’s usually fire and forget approach.

Truth is, it is more complicated than that. The more objects you created, the more memory you need, and the more time CLR needs to clean it up after you. When you might have written code that is executed blazing fast in your benchmarks, in reality, your website might still struggle to perform well in long run – and that’s because of Garbage collection. Occasional GC is not of a concern – because it’s nature of .NET CLR, but frequent GC, especially Gen 2 GC, is definitely something you should look into and should fix, because it natively affects your website performance.

The follow up question – how do you fix that.

Of course, the first step is always measuring the memory allocations of your app. Locally you can use something like Jetbrains dotMemory to profile your website, but that has a big caveat – you can’t really mimic the actual traffic to your website. Sure, it is very helpful to profile something like a scheduled job, but it is less than optimal to see how your website performs in reality. To do that, we need another tool, and I’ve found nothing better than Application Insights Profiler trace on Azure. It will sample your website periodically, taking ETL ( event trace log) files in 220 seconds (Note, depends on your .NET version, you might download a .diagsession or a .netperf.zip file from Application Insights, but they are essentially the same inside (zipped .ETL)). Those files are extremely informative, they contains whole load of information which might be overwhelming if you’re new, but take small steps, you’ll be there.

To open a ETL file, common tool is Perfview (microsoft/perfview: PerfView is a CPU and memory performance-analysis tool (github.com)). Yes it has certain 2000 look like other analysis tool (remember Windbg), but it is fast, efficient, and gets the job done

Note that once extracted ETL can be very big – in 1GB or more range often. Perfview has to go through all that event log so it’s extremely memory hungry as well, especially if you open multiple ETL files at once. My perfview kept crashing when I had a 16GB RAM machine (I had several Visual Studio instances open), and that was solved when I switched to 32GB RAM

The first step is to confirm the allocation problems with GCStats (this is one of the extreme ones, but it does happen)

Two main things to look into – Total Allocs, i.e. the total size of objects allocated, and then the time spent in Garbage collection. They are naturally closely related, but not always. Total allocation might not be high but time for GC might be – in case of large objects allocation (we will talk about it in a later post). Then for the purpose of memory allocation analysis, this is where you should look at

What you find in there, might surprise you. And that’s the purpose of this series, point out possible unexpected allocations that are easy – or fairly easy – to fix.

In this first post, we will talk about a somewhat popular feature – Injected<T>.

We all know that in Optimizely Content/Commerce, the preferred way of dependency injection is constructor injection. I.e. if your class has a dependency on a certain type, that dependency should be declared as a parameter of the constructor. That’s nice and all, but not always possible. For example you might have a static class (used for extension methods) so no constructor is available. Or in some rare cases, that you can’t added a new parameter to the constructor because it is a breaking change.

Adding Injected<T> as a hidden dependency in your class is at least working, so can you forget about it?

Not quite!

This is how the uses of Injected<T> result in allocation of Structuremap objects – yes every time you call Injected<T>.Service the whole dependency tree must be built again.

And that’s not everything, during that process, other objects need to be created as well. You can right click on a path and select “Include item”. The allocations below are for anything that were created by `module episerver.framework episerver.framework!EPiServer.ServiceLocation.Injected1[System.__Canon].get_Service() i.e. all object allocations, related to Injected<T>

You can expand further to see what Injected<T>(s) have the most allocations, and therefore, are the ones should be fixed.

How can one fix a Injected<T> then? The best fix is to make it constructor dependency, but that might not always be possible. Alternative fix is to use ServiceLocator.GetInstance, but to make that variable static if possible. That way you won’t have to call Injected<T>.Service every time you need the instance.

There are cases that you indeed need a new instance every time, then the fix might be more complicated, and you might want to check if you need the whole dependency tree, or just a data object.

Moral of the story

  • Performance can’t be guessed, it must be measured
  • Injected<T> is not your good friend. You can use it if you have no other choice, but definitely avoid it in hot paths.

The do nothing SearchProvider

With Find-backed IEntrySearchService in the previous post , we can now put SearchProvider to rest. There are, however, parts of the framework that still rely on SearchManager, and it expects a configured, working SearchProvider. The Full search index job, and the Incremental search index job are two examples. To make sure we don’t break the system, we might want to give SearchManager something to chew on. A do nothing SearchProvider that is!

And we need a DoNothingSearchProvider

    public class DoNothingSearchProvider : SearchProvider
    {
        public override string QueryBuilderType => GetType().ToString();

        public override void Close(string applicationName, string scope) { }
        public override void Commit(string applicationName) { }
        public override void Index(string applicationName, string scope, ISearchDocument document) { }
        public override int Remove(string applicationName, string scope, string key, string value)
        { return 42; }

        public override void RemoveAll(string applicationName, string scope)
        {
        }
        public override ISearchResults Search(string applicationName, ISearchCriteria criteria)
        {
            return new SearchResults(new SearchDocuments(), new CatalogEntrySearchCriteria());
        }
    }

    

And a DoNothingIndexBuilder

public class DoNothingIndexBuiler : ISearchIndexBuilder
    {
        public SearchManager Manager { get; set; }
        public IndexBuilder Indexer { get; set; }

        public event SearchIndexHandler SearchIndexMessage;

        public void BuildIndex(bool rebuild) { }
        public bool UpdateIndex(IEnumerable<int> itemIds) { return true; }
    }

What remains is simply register them in your appsettings.json

                                       "SearchOptions":  {
                                                             "DefaultSearchProvider":  "DoNothingSearchProvider",
                                                             "MaxHitsForSearchResults":  1000,
                                                             "IndexerBasePath":  "[appDataPath]/Quicksilver/SearchIndex",
                                                             "IndexerConnectionString":  "",
                                                             "SearchProviders":  [
                                                              {
                                                                "Name": "DoNothingSearchProvider",
                                                                "Type": "EPiServer.Reference.Commerce.Site.Infrastructure.Indexing.DoNothingSearchProvider, EPiServer.Reference.Commerce.Site",
                                                                "Parameters": {
                                                                  "queryBuilderType": "EPiServer.Reference.Commerce.Site.Infrastructure.Indexing.DoNothingSearchProvider, EPiServer.Reference.Commerce.Site",
                                                                  "storage": "[appDataPath]/Quicksilver/SearchIndex",
                                                                  "simulateFaceting": "true"
                                                                }
                                                              }
                                                                                 ],
                                                             "Indexers":  [
                                                                              {
                                                                                  "Name":  "catalog",
                                                                                  "Type":  "EPiServer.Reference.Commerce.Site.Infrastructure.Indexing.DoNothingIndexBuilder, EPiServer.Reference.Commerce.Site"
                                                                              }
                                                                          ]
                                                         },

And that’s it.

Use Find for CSR UI

If you have been using Find, you might be surprised to find that CSR UI uses the SearchProvider internally. This is a bit unfortunate because you likely are using Find, and that creates unnecessary complexity. For starter, you need to configure a SearchProvider, then you need to index the entries, separately from the Find index. If you install EPiServer.CloudPlatform.Commerce, it will setup the DXPLucenceSearchProvider for you, which is basically a wrapper of LuceneSearchProvider to let it work on DXP (i.e. Azure storage). But even with that, you have to index your entries anyway. You can use FindSearchProvider, but that actually just creates another problem – it uses a different index compared to Find, so you double your index count, yet you have still make sure to index your content. Is there a better way – to use the existing Find indexed content?

Yes, there is

Searches for entries in CSR is done by IEntrySearchService which the default implementation uses the configured SearchProvider internally . Fortunately for us, as with most thing in Commerce, we can create our own implementation and inject it. Now that’s with a caveat – IEntrySearchService is marked as BETA remark, so prepare for some breaking changes without prior notice. However it has not changed much since its inception (funny thing, when I checked for its history, I was the one who created it 6 years ago, in 2017. Feeling old now), and if it is changed, it would be quite easy to adapt for such changes.

IEntrySearchService is a simple with just one method:


IEnumerable<int> Search(string keyword, MarketId marketId, Currency currency, string siteId);

It is a bit weird to return an IEnumerable<int> (what was I thinking ? ), but it was likely created as a scaffolding of SearchManager.Search which returns an IEnumerable<int>, and was not updated later. Anyway, an implementation using Find should look like this:

    public class FindEntrySearchService : IEntrySearchService
    {
        private EPiServer.Find.IClient _searchClient;

        public FindEntrySearchService(EPiServer.Find.IClient searchClient) => _searchClient = searchClient;

        public IEnumerable<int> Search(string keyword, MarketId marketId, Currency currency, string siteId)
        {
            return _searchClient.Search<EntryContentBase>()
                 .For(keyword)
                 .Filter(x => x.MatchMarketId(marketId))
                 .Filter(x => x.SiteId().Match(siteId))
                 .Filter(x => FilterPriceAvailableForCurrency<IPricing>(y => y.Prices(), currency))
                 .GetResult()
                 .Select(x => x.ContentLink.ID);
        }

        public FilterExpression<Price> FilterPriceAvailableForCurrency<T>(Expression<Func<T, IEnumerable<Price>>> prices, Currency currency)
        {
            var currencyCode = currency != null ? currency.CurrencyCode : string.Empty;

            return new NestedFilterExpression<T, Price>(prices, price => price.UnitPrice.Currency.CurrencyCode.Match(currencyCode), _searchClient.Conventions);
        }
    }

Note that I am not an expert on Find, especially on NestedFilterExpression, so my FilterPriceAvailableForCurrency might be wrong. Feel free to correct it, the code is not copyrighted and is provided as-is.

As always, you need to register this implementation for IEntrySearchService. You can add it anywhere you like as long as it’s after .AddCommerce.

_services.AddSingleton<IEntrySearchService, FindEntrySearchService>();

Optimizing an interesting query

It’s not a secret, I love optimizing things. In a sense, I am both an Optimizer (literally) and an optimizer. And today we will be back to basic – optimizing a tricky SQL query.

The query in question is this particular stored procedure ecf_CatalogNode_GetAllChildNodes, this is used to get all children nodes of specific nodes. It is used in between to find all entries that are direct, or indirect children of specific nodes. Why, you might ask, because when you change the url segment of the node, you want to make sure that all entries that are under that node, will have their indexed object refreshed.

Let’s take a look at this stored procedure, this is how it looks like

CREATE PROCEDURE [dbo].[ecf_CatalogNode_GetAllChildNodes]
    @catalogNodeIds udttCatalogNodeList readonly
AS
BEGIN
    WITH all_node_relations AS 
    (
        SELECT ParentNodeId, CatalogNodeId AS ChildNodeId FROM CatalogNode
        WHERE ParentNodeId > 0
        UNION
        SELECT ParentNodeId, ChildNodeId FROM CatalogNodeRelation
    ),
    hierarchy AS
    (
        SELECT 
            n.CatalogNodeId,
            '|' + CAST(n.CatalogNodeId AS nvarchar(4000)) + '|' AS CyclePrevention
        FROM @catalogNodeIds n
        UNION ALL
        SELECT
            children.ChildNodeId AS CatalogNodeId,
            parent.CyclePrevention + CAST(children.ChildNodeId AS nvarchar(4000)) + '|' AS CyclePrevention
        FROM hierarchy parent
        JOIN all_node_relations children ON parent.CatalogNodeId = children.ParentNodeId
        WHERE CHARINDEX('|' + CAST(children.ChildNodeId AS nvarchar(4000)) + '|', parent.CyclePrevention) = 0
    )
    SELECT CatalogNodeId FROM hierarchy
END

I previously wrote about the relations between entities in Commerce catalog, here Commerce relation(ship), a story – Quan Mai’s blog (vimvq1987.com) , so relations between nodes can be a bit complicated – a node can have one true parent defined in CatalogNode table, and then other “linked” nodes in CatalogNodeRelation . So to find all children – and grand children of a node, you need to get from both.

Getting children of a node from CatalogNode or CatalogNodeRelation is simple, but things become more complicated when you have to get grandchildren, then great-grandchildren, and so on, and so forth. with that, CTE needs to be used in a recursive way. But then there is a problem arises – there is a chance, small, but still, that the data was added in a correct way, so circular reference is possible. i.e. A is a parent of B, which is a parent of C, and itself is a parent of A. To stop the SP from running forever, a check needs to be added to make sure any circular reference is cut short.

This brings back memory as the first ever support case I worked on at Optimizely (then Episerver) was with a circular reference. The site would crash whenever someone visited the catalog management in Commerce Manager. That was around June, 2012 (feeling old now?). My “boss” at that time involuntarily volunteered me for the case. See what you made me do, boss.

Now you can grasp the basic of what the SP does – let’s get back to the original problem. it’s slow to run especially with big catalog and complex node structure. As always, to optimize everything you need to find the bottleneck – time to fire up SQL Server Management Studio and turn on the Actual Execution Plan

I decided to go with 66, the “root” catalog node. this query yield around 18k rows

declare @Nodes udttCatalogNodeList 

insert into @Nodes (CatalogNodeId) select 66

exec ecf_CatalogNode_GetAllChildNodes @Nodes

and also 18s of execution.

Mind you, this is on my machine with pretty powerful CPU (AMD Ryzen 7 5800x, 8 cores 16 threads), and a very fast nvme PCIe SSD (Western Digital Black SN850 2TB). If this was executed on Azure Sql database for example, a timeout is almost certainly guaranteed. So time of execution should only be compared relatively with each other.

If we look at the execution plan, it is quite obvious where the bottleneck is. A scan on CatalogNode table is heavy (it read 79M rows on that operation). As suggest by Anders from Timeout when deleting CatalogNodes from a large catalog (optimizely.com), adding a non clustered index on ParentNodeId column would improve it quite a lot. And indeed it does. The execution time is reduced to 5 second.

And the number of rows read on CatalogNode reduced to just 17k

This is of course a very nice improvement. But the customer reported that it is not enough and the SP is still giving timeout, i.e. further optimization is needed.

Naturally, the next step would be to see if we can skip the circular check. It was added as a safe measure to avoid bad data. It should not be there, as the check should be performed at data modification. But it is there for historical reasons and we can’t just change it, not trivially. So let’s try it for our curiousity.

The modified query looks like this (basically just commented out any code related to the CyclePrevention

ALTER PROCEDURE [dbo].[ecf_CatalogNode_GetAllChildNodes]
    @catalogNodeIds udttCatalogNodeList readonly
AS
BEGIN
    WITH all_node_relations AS 
    (
        SELECT ParentNodeId, CatalogNodeId AS ChildNodeId FROM CatalogNode
        WHERE ParentNodeId > 0
        UNION
        SELECT ParentNodeId, ChildNodeId FROM CatalogNodeRelation
    ),
    hierarchy AS
    (
        SELECT 
            n.CatalogNodeId
			--, '|' + CAST(n.CatalogNodeId AS nvarchar(4000)) + '|' AS CyclePrevention
        FROM @catalogNodeIds n
        UNION ALL
        SELECT
            children.ChildNodeId AS CatalogNodeId
			--, parent.CyclePrevention + CAST(children.ChildNodeId AS nvarchar(4000)) + '|' AS CyclePrevention
        FROM hierarchy parent
        JOIN all_node_relations children ON parent.CatalogNodeId = children.ParentNodeId
        --WHERE CHARINDEX('|' + CAST(children.ChildNodeId AS nvarchar(4000)) + '|', parent.CyclePrevention) = 0
    )
    SELECT CatalogNodeId FROM hierarchy
END

And the improvement is quite impressive (more than I expected), the query completes almost instantly (less than 1s). The read on CatalogNodeRelation significantly reduced

A word of warning here, execution plan can’t be simply compared as-is. If I run two versions side by side, it gives quite misleading comparison

Even though the top one (without the circular reference check) is much faster than the original (the bottom one), SQL Server estimates that the first is slower (almost 2x slower than the second). So execution plan should be used to see what has been done and what is likely the bottleneck inside a query, it should not be used as comparison between queries. In most cases, comparing statistics using set statistics io on is the best way to compare.

If not for the fact that we are changing the behavior of the stored procedure, I would be happy with this approach. The chance of running into circular reference is small, but it is not zero. As we said, we can in theory gating the relation during insert/updating, but that would be too big a change to start with. This is one of constraint as we work at framework level – we have to step carefully to not break anything. A breaking change is bad, but a data corruption is simply unacceptable. I spent a few hours (probably more than I should) trying to optimize the circular reference check, but no better solution is found.

The next approach would be – as we can guess, to make sure that we get rid of the Clustered Index Scan happened on the CatalogNodeRelation table. The solution would be quite simple, a non clustered index on the `ParentNodeId should be enough.

Great success. The performance is comparable with the “non circular reference check” approach.

As adding an index is a non breaking change (and albeit in some cases it can cause performance regression, like in A curious case of SQL execution plan – Quan Mai’s blog (vimvq1987.com) , but it is rare, also, in this case the cardinality of the ParentNodeId is most likely quite well distributed).

That is all for today. Hopefully you learn one thing or two about optimizing queries in your daily works.

Delete orphaned assets

I was asked this question: we have about 3TB of assets, any way to clean it up.

These days, storage is cheap, but still not free. and big storage means you need space for back up. and with that, bandwidth and time.

Is there away to clean up things you no longer need?

Yes!

Optimizely Content already has a scheduled job named Remove Abandoned BLOBs, but this job only removes the blobs that have no content associated. I.e. the content is deleted by IContentRepository.Delete but the blob was left behind. The job uses the log to find out which content were deleted, then find those blobs.

How’s about the assets that still have contents associated with them, but not used anywhere? Time to get your hands dirty!

Due to the nature of this task, it is best to make it a scheduled job.

All of the assets are children under the global asset root. By iterating over them, we can check if each of them is being used by another content. If not, we will add them to a list for later delete. Before deleting the content, we will find the blob and then delete it as well. Easy, right?

To get the content recursively we use this little piece of code

        public virtual IEnumerable<T> GetAssetRecursive<T>(ContentReference parentLink, CultureInfo defaultCulture) where T : MediaData
        {
            foreach (var folder in LoadChildrenBatched<ContentFolder>(parentLink, defaultCulture))
            {
                foreach (var entry in GetAssetRecursive<T>(folder.ContentLink, defaultCulture))
                {
                    yield return entry;
                }
            }

            foreach (var entry in LoadChildrenBatched<T>(parentLink, defaultCulture))
            {
                yield return entry;
            }
        }

        private IEnumerable<T> LoadChildrenBatched<T>(ContentReference parentLink, CultureInfo defaultCulture) where T : IContent
        {
            var start = 0;

            while (!_isStopped)
            {
                var batch = _contentRepository.GetChildren<T>(parentLink, defaultCulture, start, 50);
                if (!batch.Any())
                {
                    yield break;
                }
                foreach (var content in batch)
                {
                    // Don't include linked products to avoid including them multiple times when traversing the catalog
                    if (!parentLink.CompareToIgnoreWorkID(content.ParentLink))
                    {
                        continue;
                    }

                    yield return content;
                }
                start += 50;
            }
        }

And we will start from SiteDefinition.Current.GlobalAssetsRoot, and use IContentRepository.GetReferencesToContent to see if it is used in any content (both CMS and Catalog). If not, we add it to a list. Later, we use IPermanentLinkMapper to see if it has any blob associated, and delete that as well

            foreach (var asset in GetAssetRecursive<MediaData>(SiteDefinition.Current.GlobalAssetsRoot, CultureInfo.InvariantCulture))
            {
                totalAsset++;
                if (!_contentRepository.GetReferencesToContent(asset.ContentLink, false).Any())
                {
                    toDelete.Add(asset.ContentLink.ToReferenceWithoutVersion());
                }

                if (toDelete.Count % 50 == 0)
                {
                    var maps = _permanentLinkMapper.Find(toDelete);
                    foreach (var map in maps)
                    {
                        deletedAsset++;
                        _contentRepository.Delete(map.ContentReference, true, EPiServer.Security.AccessLevel.NoAccess);
                        var container = Blob.GetContainerIdentifier(map.Guid);
                        //Probably redundency, can just delete directly
                        var blob = _blobFactory.GetBlob(container);
                        if (blob != null)
                        {
                            _blobFactory.Delete(container);
                        }
                        OnStatusChanged($"Deleting asset with id {map.ContentReference}");
                    }
                    toDelete.Clear();
                }
            }

We need another round of delete after the while loop to clean up the left over (or if we have less than 50 abandoned assets)

And we’re done!

Testing this job is simple – uploading a few assets to your cms and do not use it anywhere, then run the job. it should delete those assets.

Things to improve: we might want to make sure only assets that created more than a certain number of days ago are deleted. This allows editors to upload assets for later uses without having to use them immediately.

The code has been open sourced at vimvq1987/DeleteUnusedAssets: Delete unused assets from an Optimizely/Episerver site (github.com) , and I have uploaded a nuget package to Packages (optimizely.com) to be reviewed.

Skip validating carts

Carts are meant to be validated. Prices changed, customers add more quantity than allowed, promotions expired, stock ran out, etc.. All kinds of stuffs that make the items in carts need validation to make sure they up to date, and be ready to be converted to an order.

However, there are cases when you don’t want your carts to be validated. The most common case is of course, wish list – a special cart that allows customer to add items to, just to keep track of. You certainly don’t want to touch it. Another example is quote – when you give a specific item at specific price for a customer, and you don’t want it to be automatically changed to the public prices, which is different from that said price.

By default, when it is called to validate a cart, these things will be done:

  • Remove items that no longer available (either deleted or end of line)
  • Update prices of the items to the latest applicable prices, or remove items that have no prices.
  • Update quantity of the items (to comply with the settings or in stock quantity), or remove items that are out of stock
  • Apply promotions
  • Update quantity again (As promotions could do things like adding free items to the cart)

There are two ways you can avoid carts being validated, let’s see what we can do.

The “Wish list names” route

With OrderOptions you can set certain wishlist names to be exempted from the validation, using WishListCartNames. By default, it’s only “Wishlist”, but you can set several using the comma separator, like this

orderOptions.WishListCartNames = "Wishlist,Quote";

However there is a caveat, with this approach, carts in those names will not be shown in the Order Management (If you want, you can change that, however it is not an easy or quick one)

The OrderValidationService route

The validation of carts (or rather, order types in general) is done by OrderValidationService. And that class is meant to be extended if necessary. Here is how you would avoid validation carts with name “Quote”, using OrderValidationService

    public class CustomOrderValidationService : OrderValidationService
    {
        public CustomOrderValidationService(ILineItemValidator lineItemValidator, IPlacedPriceProcessor placedPriceProcessor, IPromotionEngine promotionEngine, IInventoryProcessor inventoryProcessor, OrderOptions orderOptions) : base(lineItemValidator, placedPriceProcessor, promotionEngine, inventoryProcessor, orderOptions)
        {
        }

        public override IDictionary<ILineItem, IList<ValidationIssue>> ValidateOrder(IOrderGroup orderGroup)
        {
            if (orderGroup.Name.Equals("Quote", System.StringComparison.OrdinalIgnoreCase))
            {
                return new Dictionary<ILineItem, IList<ValidationIssue>>();
            }
            return base.ValidateOrder(orderGroup);
        }
    }

And as OrderValidationService is registered by ServiceConfiguration attribute, you can register yours by

services.AddTransient<OrderValidationService, CustomOrderValidationService>();

One caveat though, making changes to OrderValidationService means those changes will apply to the entire website, so make sure the changes are actually the ones you want site-wide, not just in specific places.

Index only Catalog content

If you are using Find to index your content, you likely have used the Find Indexing job – which would index everything in one go. Today I stumped upon this question – A way to run indexing job for Commerce only | Optimizely Develope – and it is a good one – if you have many of content in CMS side, and they don’t change that often, if at all – you certain don’t want to waste time and resource in trying to reindex them again. Is there away to just index catalog content?

Yes, there is. It is a bit hacky solution, but it can certain work. But first, let’s dive in on how Find indexing job does it work. It relies on IIndexingJobService , which itself relies on ContentIndexer to do the job. In its turn, ContentIndexer uses a list of IReindexInformation to know which content to index, and in which languages. Here’s what it looks like

    public interface IReindexInformation
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// Content links to be reindexed.
        /// </summary>
        IEnumerable<ReindexTarget> ReindexTargets { get; }

        /// <summary>
        /// Gets the root to index.
        /// </summary>
        ContentReference Root { get; }
    }

It has one Root, and multiple ReindexTarget, which contains

    public class ReindexTarget
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// The content references.
        /// </summary>
        public IEnumerable<ContentReference> ContentLinks { get; set; }

        /// <summary>
        /// The languages the collection of <see cref="ContentReference"/> are enabled on.
        /// </summary>
        public IEnumerable<CultureInfo> Languages { get; set; }

        /// <summary>
        /// The site that the collection of <see cref="ContentReference"/> appears on
        /// or <c>null</c> if unknown.
        /// </summary>
        public SiteDefinition SiteDefinition { get; set; }
    }

As you might have guessed, Commerce has its own IReindexInformation to index catalog content. If we can only use that to run our job. This is how our “hack” begins

The interface IContentIndexer has no method to control the IReindexInformation`, but the default implementation ContentIndexer does. We set it to the only one we need, so here it is

        List<IReindexInformation> targets;
        var contentIndexer = _contentIndexer as ContentIndexer;
        if (contentIndexer != null)
        {
            targets = contentIndexer.ReindexInformation.ToList();
            var commerceReIndexInformation = targets.FirstOrDefault(x => x.GetType() == typeof(CommerceReIndexInformation));
            contentIndexer.ReindexInformation = new List<IReindexInformation>() { commerceReIndexInformation };
            _indexingJobService.Start(OnStatusChanged);

            contentIndexer.ReindexInformation = targets;
        }

A note is that you will still see the “Indexing Global assets and other data” message, because IIndexingJobService implementation will go through all SiteDefinition regardless and show that message, but the internal ContentIndexer will skip if the SiteDefinition passed to it does not match the SiteDefinition in the IReindexInformation (and for CommerceReIndexInformation it’s SiteDefinition.Empty

As I mentioned in the beginning, this is a bit hacky solution, as you have to cast IContentIndexer to its concrete implementation. The proper solution would be implement IContentIndexer yourself. Given that’s not a trivial job, I’ll leave at that.