SitecorePatched The post is related to the image resize vulnerability fix introduced in Sitecore 7.5. To read more about the Sitecore fix go to the Release notes page and search for “Media request protection”. While I was holding off for a number of months on the publication of the post as it puts the attack vector in plainer sight that I would like it to be (while the community figured out how to work with Media Resizing in a neat way) – but recently I’ve seen voices raised considering turning the Media Request protection off which I hope you will not be doing after reading this post. The post will also tell you how to enable such security on your older versions of Sitecore.

So here’s the story…. At some point in Cognifide we have performed a research around Sitecore security and one of my colleagues (Marek)  found out that you could easily kill any Sitecore instance by performing an image resize attack on it. While the CMS did some rudimentary checks and limited the values of height and width you could still perform an attack by harvesting the images from the site and perform multiple parallel & iterative size increase or just plain use the scale parameter to achieve any image size. A result of such attack would be a a denial of service due to 100% CPU & memory usage and would potentially allow for filling the server drive by creating the endless number of scaling calls.

Marek was even kind enough to provide a proof of concept code that confirmed the hypothesis by performing attack on a few of our internal servers. The program would load the home page; parse to find images linked from it and perform resizing of the images in a number threads.

Psst… Mike made me add the image – supposedly without it I’m not as cool as Stephen!

Following the discovery I’ve attempted to remedy the problem and as a consequence came up with the solution which I have recently put on GitHub – ImageGuard which signs the rendered media links that use any of the resizing/scaling capabilities and filters all request that try to resize/scale, allowing the sizing only when the hash matches and provided it to Sitecore.

This solution is nowhere as complete as the one that was later provided by Sitecore – starting from version 7.5 – still I think it’s still worth making it public to allows for older versions of Sitecore to be guarded against this type of attacks. Read the rest of this article »

Sitecore PowerShell Extensions in numbers

graph_on_grid_400_clr_9636Recently the Sitecore PowerShell Team has been reflecting on the progress of the Sitecore PowerShell Extensions (SPE) module. We appreciate all the feedback and contributions from the community. Without the many great people in the community, the module just wouldn’t be where it is today. The team is proud of the accomplishments for a module developed purely by the community with no formal Sitecore support.

The new year has revealed some exciting news out on the Marketplace for SPE.

  • 30 recommendations as of March 1st, 2015.
  • Appears on the Most Recommended list on the Marketplace home page.
  • Just last night it has also appeared on the Most Downloaded list on the Marketplace!
  • 16 ratings – average 5 stars!

The community is vocal!

If there is anything worth mentioning about the module it IS the amazing community!

From what we could find between all of us we have created over 90 articles and videos about the Sitecore PowerShell Extensions.

Together we’ve talked about he module at least at 3 conferences (both times times Sitecore Virtual User Summit was organized and again on Sitecore SUGCON)  and a number of  times on various Sitecore User Groups. There is plenty of material on YouTube when you search for Sitecore PowerShell. Especially interesting is the 9 episodes mini series on the module usage by Michael West and a comprehensive summary of the module capability by Michael Reynolds. The number of YouTube entries about SPE is now round 15 videos.

And you’re hungry for content!

Our community content reference page have been visited 9722 times over the past year with the number gradually growing to 1343 page views last month alone.

image

You’re visiting us mostly from United States, United Kingdom and India. Read the rest of this article »

join_the_puzzle_crowd_400_clr_10889Since we’ve seen some interest from developers wanting to join the Sitecore PowerShell Extensions team, I thought it might be worth documenting how my development environment is put together to allow for easier on-boarding of new members (Yes, we’re hiring! No, we can’t pay you ;) ). Maybe you just want to compile it yourself to make sure we’re not up to no good, or just plain see inside and play with it…

First of all you need to have Sitecore installed somewhere (obviously). For the purpose of examples I’ll assume your instance is located at C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Sitecore8\ and has the 3 standard folders Data, Databases and Website in them as it normally has. For that very same reason I’ll also assume that your Sitecore PowerShell Extensions project folder is located at C:\Projects\SitecorePowerShell\

1) Seed your Sitecore instance

First step that I always perform when I setup a new environment is to seed the Sitecore instance with the items required which is best done by installing the latest release of PowerShell Extensions.

2) Set up Sitecore SPE folders to use the latest files you’re working on

Since we’re likely to modify the assets like JavaScript, styles or XML Controls I want those to be automatically synchronized with changes I do in C:\Projects\SitecorePowerShell\ for this purpose I set up junction points in my Sitecore instance folder to point at my repository folder. To do this I delete the folders that were created by the install package and perform the Junction creation. Assuming the folders as they were specified before you can write a short batch file that would look like this: Read the rest of this article »

It’s been a while since my last summary on April 2012 but finally getting to update the Reference page with the latest community summary for Sitecore PowerShell Extensions.

book_open_light_shine_out_800_clr_9090

Following are the updates I will be pushing onto the reference page I’m trying to keep up to date and failing miserably most of the time. Read the rest of this article »

React to Sitecore events with PowerShell scripts

PsRocket Kieranties must be the biggest PowerShell nerd (together with yours truly) I’ve had a privilege to chat with (I guess this implies I talk to myself?). So it shouldn’t be a surprise when the two started talking PowerShell/Sitecore pixie dust started sparkling.

This time – events integration.

What does it take to integrate PowerShell with Sitecore events?

This is a fairly easy task that Sitecore pretty thoroughly describes in the “Using Events” SDN article. So there is little point for me to reiterate it here.

The integration requires to add some entries to the include files. I’ve added definitions for most of the item related events to the Cognifide.PowerShell.config file, but commented them out, because I don’t want you to have any performance penalty associated with the PowerShell Console installation and by default it has some scripts defined for you to try out.. All you need to do to enable it is to uncomment the <events> section of the config file and scripts will start firing up.

Implementation is pretty straightforward – the console has well defined place within its script libraries where your scripts should be placed:

Read the rest of this article »

PS_detectiveRecently I’ve been asked to audit a site for one of our clients. Overall for a fairly seasoned Sitecore developer it’s rather obvious what to look for in a site and get a feel for whether an a solution is thoroughly thought through or just put together using brute-force development. You can usually tell if the implementation is sloppy or excellent, but how do you quantify that feeling to give the objective view to the person reading your report? Looking at the Sitecore Developer Network I’ve found the following set of recommendations. This is a great help with codifying how a proper Sitecore implementation should look like, what should we pay attention to and most importantly it’s a great reference when you’re trying to prove that your feeling is something more than just nitpicking but rather an industry standard that the developers should adhere to. I recommend strongly that you look at it and think how closely your practices match those that Sitecore recommends.

There is a small problem though. Not all of them are easy to asses, at least not without some clever tools in your toolbox. for example what do I do with a statement like:

Use TreelistEx instead of Treelist when showing very big trees — like the Home node and its descendants — or have lots of Treelist fields in one single item. TreelistEx only computes the tree when you click Edit whereas a Treelist will compute it every time it is rendered.

It might be fine in a small site to verify in a few data templates that it’s not violated, but  In my case I was dealing with a multisite platform that can potentially host tens or even hundreds of sites? Going manually over the hundreds of fields in nearly 300 data templates, bah even finding them – would not be fun or easy thing to do. But hey… we have PowerShell why should I look there if I can whip up a one liner for it? Let’s try it then.

Read the rest of this article »

Posted in Best Practices, C#, CMS UX, PowerShell, Sitecore, Software Development, Solution, Uncategorized
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All of the PowerShell blog posts so far were about using the console. Being the developer however, you probably think – well that’s good for admins, but what’s in it for me? How can I benefit from it in my code? Well you can. With the latest update you can run the PowerShell environment in your application and take advantage of its scripting power, by getting the results out of it and pulling them into your app.

PowerShellPlug

So How do I tap into the PowerShell goodness?

Read the rest of this article »

Your own PowerShell commandlets

swiss-chocThere is a lot of new stuff in the imminent 2.0 release of the PowerShell Console for Sitecore. Some of it is fairly obvious like the improved console window, some of it not so much. The aim of the console has always be to enable Sitecore developers to extend the CMS in new exciting ways. For this to happen it had to become a mini-platform on its own. So far you could use it to add scripts to ribbons and menus, write scripted tasks and execute scripts just by launching them from a URL call.

That’s extending Sitecore with PowerShell but what about PowerShell itself?

One of the coolest features introduced in 2.0 is the ability to write your own commandlets. Sure you could always use PowerShell to do it and write commandlets in script. But then the caveat was that you had to attach such commandlets to your own scripts (or put them in the initial script that would have to execute prior to the console). Now I’m talking about writing the real commandlets, just like those that come with the PowerShell console itself. Starting from 2.0 the console does not default to only attach commandlets that come with it, but can also scan other assemblies to attach your commandlets. To add your own all you have to do is well.. write them but then… all you have to do is to use the standard Sitecore include mechanism to enable the console to find them.

Including my own commandlets into Sitecore PowerShell Console

<configuration xmlns:patch="http://www.sitecore.net/xmlconfig/">
  <sitecore>
    <powershell>
      <commandlets>
	<add type="*, Cognifide.PowerShell" name="Cognifide_PowerShell_Commandlets" />
      </commandlets>
    </powershell>
  </sitecore>
</configuration>

Where the type parameter is just a regular Sitecore type reference with a slight twist – you can use wildcards in it. So with the above example, the console will scan the Cognifide.PowerShell assembly and allow you to use all the commandlet classes that are tagged appropriately.

How to write a commandlet?

Read the rest of this article »

Posted in .Net Framework, ASP.NET, C#, PowerShell, Sitecore, Software, Software Development, Solution, Web applications
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Continuous deployment in Sitecore with PowerShell

A few days back a budy from our Sitecore team has alerted me to this interesting question on StackOverflow which asks for automation of content promotion from one Sitecore instance to another. He suggested – and rightly so – that the PowerShell Console could be used in that scenario. While this was always possible by simply writing it as a PowerShell code the latest version of the console added a few commandlets making building packages much easier.

The easiest approach is to build the package visually in the package designer, save it and then simply use the console to read it and generate the installation zip like:

get-package "powershell console.xml" `
  | Export-Package -FileName "PowerShell Console.zip" -Zip

That’s fine in most cases but if you have some more complex scenarios or want to generate some custom packages – you might want to generate packages directly in PowerShell.

To Create a Package you simply use:

$package = new-package "Test Package";

Now that you have that package you might want to add some files and items to it.

Let’s add for example our item templates by querying the master database and creating a dynamic item source:

$TemplatesSource = get-childitem "master:/templates/Cognifide" `
  | New-ItemSource "Cognifide Templates";

And subsequently add it to our new package:

$package.Sources.Add($TemplatesSource);

While that by itself is fairly useful, the really cool part is that you have a full flexibility of PowerShell at your disposal when you create a source with static items. Let’s say you want to add all items of template “Article Template” that reside anywhere under your “home” node … now that would require quite a bit of clicking in the Package Designer, but is trivial with the PowerShell Console:

$ArticlesSource = get-childitem master:/content/home/about-us/* -recurse `
  | where-object { $_.TemplateName -match "ArticleTemplate" } `
  | New-ExplicitItemSource "Cognifide Articles";

$package.Sources.Add($ArticlesSource);

You can specify any automation or filter you can think of to your Get-ChildItem, and you really don’t have to skimp on the number of data sources – after all you can re-generate your package at any time!

Similarly you can do this to the files on disk. Let’s say – you want to add all .aspx, .ascx and .ashx files, just to make sure your deployment features all the latest code and for the sake of this example let’s assume your UI elements are located in the Layouts folder under your web application:

$LayoutsPath = $AppPath+"layouts\*"
$Layouts = get-childitem $LayoutsPath -include "*.as?x" -recurse -force `
  | New-ExplicitFileSource "My Layouts";
$package.Sources.Add($Layouts);

Easy enough… now let’s add everything that is within the bin folder as a dynamic file source:

$BinFolder = New-FileSource "Bin Folder" -Root "/bin"
$package.Sources.Add($BinFolder);

That is it really… you may want to specify your package metadata which you would do like:

$package.Metadata.Author = "Auto generated " + `
  [DateTime]::Now.ToShortDateString();
$package.Metadata.Comment = "Isn't it cool?!";
$package.Metadata.Publisher = "Cognifide";

and then save it for later opening in package designer:

$package | Export-Package -FileName "test package.xml"

alternatively you can open such package as specified earlier

get-package "test package.xml"

if you ever wanted to add more sources to it or export as a zip file to be imported with the assets in your target environment:

$package | Export-Package -FileName "test package.zip" -Zip

… now on your target machine you need to upload your package to the Data\Packages folder. But then to install it all it takes is:

Import-Package "test package.zip"

Obviously all of it can be hooked to ribbon, context items, or be scheduled… but I get ahead of myself…

So how does it all relate to continuous deployment?

All of this can be completely automated, all you need to do is create a Script item as described in one of my previous posts and call the PowerShell execution URL referencing your script from your CruiseControl server or whichever continuous integration product you use in a fashion similar to:

http://myhost/Console/Layouts/PowerShellResults.aspx?scriptId={1680E211-BD28-49BE-82FB-DA7232814C62}&scriptDb=web

You need to deal with the fact that you are most probably not logged in with your continuous delivery environment – in this case probably best approach is to use the web database or the script item my turn out to be unavailable to you and the script will not execute.

Now in your source environment your script will create the package and upload it to an FTP server (there is plenty of ways to do this from PowerShell… you can find a couple of samples on Stack Overflow) and subsequently call a second part of the script on the target server.

On the Target server – a complementary script will be executed in the similar fashion – by the originating server and if you don’t have direct access to the file on the FTP server you’ve just uploaded – you can download it and import the package.

Now if you integrate the script with a ribbon in Content Editor on the source server (like described in the previous post) you can have a one-click-deployment solution on your dev machine, but then the REALLY cool part would be to integrate it with the context menu (as described in this post) and be able to push parts of the site to production with a single click! Not to mention your nightlies can really be nightlies if you do it using the scheduled tasks integration.

Extending Sitecore ribbon with PowerShell scripts

Sitecore is built from the grounds up with extendibility in mind. Be that plugging into any place in its internal pipelines or any aspect of its User eXperience, therefore when I’ve managed to extend it’s context menu, I expected to have no problems whatsoever doing the same to its ribbon. Mind you I was right…

Using the PowerShell Console Module it took me less than 10 minutes total to add a nice piece of functionality that I thought was missing – Publish items I have modified.

ContextScriptsRibbon

Similarly to extending context menu – first I’ve created the script I wanted to execute that will take the current item and it’s sub-items and publish them by adding a new script item using the /sitecore/templates/Cognifide/PowerShell Script template in the core database. I’ve put it in the same place I store all my my scripts – in the /sitecore/content/Applications/PowerShell Console/Scripts branch but feel free to store them anywhere in the tree.

  • Filled in the Script body part with my script.
  • I decided I want to see the publishing results as I want to verify if the items I expected got published.

ContextScriptRibbonBody

Now the UI integration bits…

Since I wanted it nicely integrated with the publish button – I’ve created a Publish My Items item of template /sitecore/templates/System/Menus/Menu item within the /sitecore/content/Applications/Content Editor/Menues/Publish/ branch in the core database, set it’s icon and reference the script item in the Message field using the following pattern:

item:executescript(id=$Target,script={0937769B-998D-4580-B9FE-730C4CDABECD},scriptDb=core)

where the script guid is the ID of your script and the scriptDb is the database the script is located in.

ContextScriptsRibbonBinding

That’s it really. You can download the solution but I would strongly recommend you try the manual approach – it’s really exciting to see the puzzles click in.

The solution requires the Sitecore PowerShell Console from Cognifide, available for free from Sitecore Shared Source site.