The Fiscal Times
Launch Site

The Fiscal Times is a news source with a cast of known bloggers that bring the heat with respect to content. The site wasn't even that old but the owners wanted to do a re-skin of the design and updating some of the technology. The site was suffering under the strains of growth and searching was returning results in too great a period of time. The inital discovery for the project identified a solution by using lucene search which was an indexed file-system search that's built into Sitecore. It was currently using a custom .NET sort and search on lists of data items. This approach is fine with smaller data sets but with the volume of content now on the site it needed to be replaced.

Since I'm the first person everyone looks at when it comes to exploring unknown tech I was tasked with the setup and integration of the advanced database crawler built by none other than legendary Sitecore developer and all around good guy, Alex Shyba. Usually I spend a lot of time learning the ins and outs of something new but I'd fooled around with the old Lucene implementation for research sake so this time around it was quicker. I was very impressed with the new framework and its API since it really took the implementation work out of using Lucene. It redefined how all the data was stored by Lucene and allowed you to really take advantage of more powerful functions such as searching on template names and delimited field relationships. Magnifique! 

Since I was sitting second fiddle to Mark Ursino on this project, since he was lead, I was only tasked with slicing the HTML into layouts/sublayout for integration into Sitecore. Mark handled all the data design and integration. The design was clean and unusually uncomplicated. The page was broken up into a lot of small modules but there weren't very many different page which can complicate things in a hurry. Overall it only took a few days to that and I was finished. 

The last major hurdle was as is often the case, the ever important data importing. Now the site was already live so I had to port the data over and although I would usually just package up the data using Sitecore packaging tool, this time around the data model changed so I had to import Sitecore data from the same Sitecore instance in another part of the tree. This complexity would be compounded since I would have to import the data not only at the start of development but again right before launch due to the content drift. The content authors weren't exactly going to go on haitus while we built the site so the import would have to be done on the fly. I would compare this to changing a tire while driving the car. Thankfully I had already created a data import tool that stores all your import settings so that you can delete the imported data and re-import it very quickly. Some of the the imports could take in the range of an hour but waiting was the easy part.

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