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A guide to EPiServer CMS Scheduled Job

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A guide to EPiServer CMS Scheduled Jobs with JSON and DotNetZIp for compression

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A guide to EPiServer CMS Scheduled Job

  1. 1. EPiServer Scheduled Jobs In my previous entry on Creating a episerver package I turned some EPiServer reports into a nugget package. Now I want to allow the export this data in a format that can be reused, in this case JSON. To do this I’m going to create a Scheduled Jobs, which are simple classes that inherit from JobBase and are decorated with the ScheduledPlugIn attribute. [ScheduledPlugIn(DisplayName = "Usage Report Collection Job", Description = "A exports of usage reports in Json”. SortIndex = 10001)] public class UsageReportCollectionJob : JobBase { public override string Execute() { Once we’ve create out class we can place code we wish to execute inside the overridden Execute method.
  2. 2. Create JSON Before we can create the JSON, we need to install a serialize. However while we do have multiple options, Newtonsoft’s Json.Net is the sensible choice as it’s already used in EPiServer. However, we do need to be careful what version we install. For CMS 7.5 and we can use anything from version 6 but less that version 8. Install-Package Newtonsoft.Json -Version 6.0.1 Previously I refactor all my reports into a separate service layer, which give me the ability to call these reports without separately from the ASPX page. var contentUsage = UsageReportsService.GetContentTypesUsage(); var contentUsageJson = JsonConvert.SerializeObject(contentUsage, Formatting.Indented) This means I can call GetContentTypesUsage and retrieve a list of objects, which can be passed to Json.Net for serialization into JSON. I’ve also chosen to include the Formatting.Indented, this will increase the readability but at expense of size.
  3. 3. Compressing JSON files While JSON is a more efficient than XML bu it will still benefit from compression. Additional it will act as a container for multiple files. Again I’ve chosen to use the same compression library as EPiServer, in this case DotNetZip. PM> Install-Package DotNetZip -Version DotNetZip allows you to directly add content, with the AddEntry method, allowing us to avoid the creation a temporary file. ZipFile loanZip = new ZipFile(); loanZip.AddEntry("content-usage-report.json", contentUsage); It’s also possible to combine previous steps into one, this is the preferred approach as we’re no longer creating unnecessary objects. loanZip.AddEntry("content-usage-report.json", JsonConvert.SerializeObject(contentUsage, Formatting.Indented), Encoding.UTF8);
  4. 4. Zip Content Data Before we can save our file we need to create a new MediaData object, the base class for any file type stored inside EPiServer. However, it’s our responsibility to create new class for each file type we wish to store. [ContentType(GUID = "{1BDDB51F-83AA-4D4B-8664-E40AE58DF2C6}")] [MediaDescriptor(ExtensionString = ".zip")] public class ZippedFile : MediaData { public virtual string Description { get; set; } } The instance of ZippedFile class we’ve created is used an associate with our physical zip file and can also contain metadata. var report = contentRepository.GetDefault<ZippedFile>(assetRoot); report.Name = "content-usage-report.json"; report.Description = "A zipped collection of usage reports"; This approach is similar to that used to store Pages and Blocks and provides a useful abstraction over the under lying technology.
  5. 5. Save the Zip Now we have the content reference we can write our zip file to it. This is done by creating a BLOB or Binary Large Object. The blob can then be passes to our zip library via a stream. The advantage of using BLOB’s is we’re no longer tied to a file system. We could for instance use Microsoft Azure or Amazon S3 Storage. var blob = blobFactory.CreateBlob(report.BinaryDataContainer, ".zip"); var stream = blob.OpenWrite(); loanZip.Save(stream); The final step is to associate the saved Blob with our zip content and then save publish. Finally, I’m return a message to say the reports has been created and included a URL. newReport.BinaryData = blob; var reference = contentRepository.Save(newReport, SaveAction.Publish); return $"Report Completed <a href='{urlResolver.GetUrl(reference)}'>Usage Report</a>"; My finial code does differ slightly, for instance I’ve introduced some feature, like name the report by date and replace previous versions. However these changes don’t alter anything fundamental, but fill free to check out my code at
  6. 6. Update Nuspec The next setup is add the additional dependencies, into the package.nuspec, for JSON.Net and DotNetZip. <dependencies> <group targetFramework="net40 <dependency id="Newtonsoft.Json" version="[6.0.1,8)" /> <dependency id="DotNetZip" version="[, 2)"/> <dependency id="log4net" version="1.2.10" /> <dependency id="EPiServer.CMS.Core" version="[7.6,9)" /> </group> </dependencies> While this step isn’t strictly necessary as we know the EPiServer use these packages, it’s good practise to included them. As it’s possible that in future release they may be replaced. Update this package, is a simple as it’s versioned, however it’s vital to check against the different version of EPiServer. As major release will introduce breaking changes.
  7. 7. Run Job Manually Currently I’m running version 8, but compiling against version 7.6, so this is a real test. So all I need to do is run this Job it manual. This is possible via the admin screen. Unfortunately, I’m seeing a error. Which after some research I’ve found is due to changes to the IContentRepository in version 8. The change was to replace the ILanguageSelector with a CultureInfo as the methods for selecting the preferred language branch.
  8. 8. Fix Error The solution is simple to release multiple packages targeting at the different versions of EPiServer. First I’ll create a new branch for each version I require. Then update the EPiServer to packge, whilst not forgetting to update the nuspec as well. PM> Update-Package EPiServer.CMS.UI.Core -Version 8.0.0
  9. 9. Conclusion Scheduled Jobs are the first resort for any long running or repeating tasks. With full access to EPiServer like page, blocks and files. Alternatively, you can use execute other services like email or even micro services. Finally, you have fine grain control over when this Job executes from seconds to years. Next I’ll be bringing this series of entries to a close buy creating something useful with the JSON. Additional Resources CMS/75/Scheduled-jobs/Scheduled-jobs/ CMS/8/BLOB-providers/BLOB-storage-and-BLOB-providers/