Sitecore Admin Pages Cheat Sheet – New Tools

There have been a few posts which list and explains the various Sitecore Admin Pages and what they do, such as this post by fellow MVP Nikola Gocev, this post by Bjørn Klinggaard and numerous other posts as well.

I won’t repeat the useful info already in those posts. But did you know there are a few new tools in the admin pages?

Wondering how you missed them? The release notes for Sitecore 8.1 Update-2 states the following:

The main highlights of this update:
– Includes all relevant fixes from Sitecore 7.2 update-6

Like you, most of us probably skipped over that line for our Sitecore 8.1 upgrades, but there was some useful info in those release notes.

Administration Tools Index Page

URL: /sitecore/admin/

(or more specifically /sitecore/admin/default.aspx)

First off, a very simple addition: an index page listing the administration tools.

Tools 01. Admin Index Page

It’s worth noting that not all the admin pages are listed, and it will not include any custom tools you may have installed, i.e. it is a static list of pages and it does not loop through the file system. The list is generated by the repeater on Default.aspx and populated from Sitecore.ExperienceContentManagement.Administration.Default in Sitecore.ExperienceContentManagement.Administration.dll

Database Cleanup

URL: /sitecore/admin/DbCleanup.aspx

The database cleanup tools allow you to perform various cleanup operations on specific databases. This is similar to the Clean up Databases tool accessible through the Control Panel but allow you to select the tasks to run at a much more granular level (it is missing the “Clear Caches” step, but you can do that already from /sitecore/admin/cache.aspx).

Tools 02. Database Cleanup Tool

EventQueue Statistics

URL: /sitecore/admin/EventQueueStats.aspx

The Event Queue Statistics queue provides an overview of Event Queue processing from the table in SQL Server. It includes details about the number of events in the table, the last processed timestamp and the last timestamp. The tool is useful for verifying that cleanup tasks are running correctly so that large Event Queue does not cause performance issues. There is also a handy tool on the page allowing you to delete events older than a specified time period.

Note the refresh settings on the top of the page, which will cause the page to reload every X seconds with updated statistics.

Tools 03. EventQueue Statistics

Jobs Viewer

URL: /sitecore/admin/Jobs.aspx

The Jobs Viewer displays a list of jobs which are currently running, are queued to be run or have recently run. This is useful to figure out “why is the system running slowly”, or “why has my publish been queued”.

The default “after life” that information is maintained about a job is 1 minute and unfortunately this is set using the JobOptions when the Job is run, so it can’t be controlled via config as far as I am aware.

Note the refresh settings on the top of the page, which will cause the page to reload every X seconds with updated job information.

Tools 04. Jobs

Non-Secure Page Disabled

URL: /sitecore/admin/NonSecurePageDisabled.aspx

This page is not a Tool as such, but you may encounter it if you visit a page which could unleash some havoc, such as the Sql Shell page below. Unless you have added a file called “enabled” in the /sitecore/admin/ folder then you may be redirected to this page.

To fix the error simply create an empty file called enabled and make sure there is no file called disabled. You can create the file with any text editor, but make sure there is no extension.

Tools 05. Non-Secure Page Disabled

Package Item

URL: /sitecore/admin/PackageItem.aspx

The Package Item tools can be used to generate packages of items with their dependencies. Unlike the Package Designer Wizard accessible from through the Desktop though, the UI here is much more limited but the tool will package the dependencies of an item as well: all item references, presentation items if you’re using Webforms, custom assemblies, workflow items and templates. Very useful for creating packages of pages for distribution.

Tools 06. Package Item

Publish Queue Statistics

URL: /sitecore/admin/PublishQueueStats.aspx

The Publish Queue Statistics Tool is similar to the Event Queue Statistics which was listed earlier, and provides an overview of the Publish Queue table from SQL Server. The tool provides an overview of the last publish and the current number of changes that are in the publish queue table for that publish target.

Again, similar to Event Queue statistics, there is also a handy tool on the page allowing you to cleanup the publish queue of entries older than a specified time period.

Tools 07. PublishQueue Statistics

Raw Search

URL: /sitecore/admin/RawSearch.aspx

The Raw Search Tools allows you to search for a specific string in database or on the file system. This can you useful if you need to locate where a specific piece of text is defined either in your own site or maybe default labels or settings in Sitecore! You can even conduct a wildcard search but beware of performance implications!

The search can be carried out against all attached Sitecore databases (core, master, web) as well as the file system. Yes, it will even scan through the contents of the files on disk and (rather unexpectedly) provide a link to /sitecore/shell/Applications/Layouts/IDE.aspx?fi=%2f{1} to the matched result. The Developer IDE lives on!

Tools 08. Raw Search

Rebuild Key Behaviour Cache

URL: /sitecore/admin/RebuildKeyBehaviorCache.aspx

The Rebuild Key Behaviour Cache tool is not listed on the admin index page, but this tool allows you to do exactly as the name suggests.

The Sitecore Documentation states that

The Key Behavior Cache stores information in the Experience Database (xDB) about a contact’s recent activities across all channels in the content delivery environment. The cache is the part of the contact entity that is stored in the shared session state and is read-only.

You can find more information about this cache in the Key Cache Behaviour article on the Sitecore Documentation site.

Please note that to run this tool you must have xDB enabled (for obvious reasons), you will be shown a warning about this if analytics is disabled.

Tools 09. Key Behaviour Cache Rebuild

Security Tools

URL: /sitecore/admin/SecurityTools.aspx

The Security Tools allow you to perform various login and user management features. There are 4 tools presented:

  • Log In User: Allows you to log into the admin tools as any user. This may then be useful to see details about the user (see user Info tool below). You cannot browse to the Sitecore Admin Interface afterwards logged in as this as this user (which is a good thing)
  • ASP.NET Login Form: Same as above, but you must provide the password as well. Useful if you want to check passwords of users without having to log in and out again of the CMS interface.
  • Reset User Password: Simple tools to reset user password without having to generate a random password first if you do not know the existing ones.
  • Create New User: Another simple tool to create users this time. You can create the user as an administrator as well as assign roles.

Tools 10. Security Tools

Sql Shell

URL: /sitecore/admin/SqlShell.aspx

The Sql Shell tool allows you to execute arbitrary sql scripts using the specific connection strings. Yes, you read that right, you can run any sql statement you like against the Sitecore database. Be very very careful with this one, you could cause a lot of damage with this one or cause your site performance to come to a grind while the script executes. Probably best not to mess with one, but it’s there if for some reason you need it… a “great” way to bypass any access restrictions to the database that may have been put in place!

This tools requires the enabled file to be present, otherwise you will be redirected to non-secure page disabled as mentioned earlier.

Tools 11. SQL Shell

User Info

URL: /sitecore/admin/UserInfo.aspx

The User Info tool provides details about the currently logged in user (i.e. you!). This includes basic information such as the roles a user belongs to but also a lot more extended information about custom profile properties and the options which a user has selected in the interface, e.g. last used publish options, content editor options, application options etc.

Tools 12. User Info

All in all, there are some very useful tools included in this release pack, albeit some extremely dangerous ones as well!

New Tools in Sitecore 8.2

With the recent release of Sitecofre 8.2, three new additional tools were added.

Logs

URL: /sitecore/admin/logs.aspx

Everyone can imagine what this does, it’s not too dissimilar to the Log Viewer accessible through the desktop. After having selected the type of log you wish to browse, you will be presented with a list of all the logs that have been collected, as well as the simple option to view the last file, view the last 10kb or to download. No more “scrolling scrolling scrolling, wait I missed it, back up, which one is the correct timestamp…”

Tools 13.1 Logs

Tools 13.2 Logs Options

Tools 13.3 Logs Last 10kb

Dependency Injection Configuration

URL: /sitecore/admin/ShowServicesConfig.aspx

Sitecore 8.2 includes built in dependency injection. That can get pretty confusing when stuff can be registered from lots of different places. This admin page is the one stop listing of all the dependencies that have been registered and their scope. You can read more about Sitecore’s new Dependency Injection in this blog post by Kamsar 😛

Tools 14 ShowServices

Support Package Generator

URL: /sitecore/admin/supportpackage.aspx

If you have ever needed to contact Sitecore Support, then you have probably been asked to provide further details about your particular installation. The easiest way to do this is to use the Sitecore Support Package Generator from the Marketplace. But what if you don’t have log in access to the server? This support package admin allows you to generate a package, provide details about your case and upload directly to the Sitecore FTP server.

Tools 15.1 SupportPackage

Tools 15.2 SupportPackage

Tools 15.3 SupportPackage Upload

Support team, you can ignore my support package :p

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6 comments

  1. Oliver · August 24, 2016

    Great summary, thanks a lot! Also great to know they introduced the index-page for Admin Tools in 8.1 Update-3 😀

  2. Pingback: In the eyes of authority - and maybe rightly so - nothing looks more like a link than the ordinary man. - Agamben - Magnus Udbjørg
  3. ryantucknz · September 8, 2016

    Great work jam, these tools are going to be so helpful! Cheers, Ryan

  4. Mark Gurevich · September 11, 2016

    Great overview of new and some old admin pages.

  5. Chris Auer · November 3

    Awesome cheat sheet jam.

  6. Pingback: My favourite utilities / tools for Sitecore development – Walking on clouds

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