Sitecore 10 SXA- Improve site performance by enabling Asset Optimizer

Asset optimizer helps improve the performance in production site by compressing/minifying the CSS and JS.

Minification of assets helps to cut the unnecessary portions of code and reduce the size of file to boost the performance by reducing amount of data over the internet.

Sitecore administrators can enable/disable optimizer globally of to a specific site.

Enable/Disable the Asset Optimizer globally

Enabling or disabling optimizer globally affects all the sites configured in the Sitecore instance.

To change the optimiser settings navigate to following location. This is accessible to Administrators-

/sitecore/system/Settings/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Theming/Optimiser

You can also search “optimiser”-

If you can’t find this you may have to re-index master.

Select Scripts or Styles to change the settings

Modes of Optimizations

Concatenate And Minify Mode

When this option is selected. Sitecore will concatenate and minify the OOTB and Custom Scripts and Styles.

Example:- If you have a custom theme you can add the css files in your extension theme

This is in master database

Highlighted CSS is a extension to the base theme.

Web database when the page is first requested Sitecore will concat and minify all css in extension theme folder and create a optimised-min.css file

Styles loaded from the extension theme is concatenated and minified version with timestamp in query parameter (optimised-min.css)

Notice that the file name is optimised-min.css

Size of the optimized version is 367 KB
Concatenate and minified. Loads without comments

Concatenate Mode

Change the mode of optimization to “Concatenate”.

Web database now has optimized file created in extension theme

Styles loaded from the extension theme is concatenated version with timestamp in query parameter (optimised.css)

Notice that the reference to file is changed to optimised.css

Size of the optimized version is 381 KB
Concatenate but not minified. CSS loads with comments

Disabled Mode

Change the mode to “Disabled” and should see all the files loaded separately. Disabled mode is good for debugging but should not be used for production as it will give a performance hit.

CSS files are loaded separately and not concatenated nor minified

Best Practice – Enable Asset Optimizer in production environments

The same can be applied to the Scripts.

You have set the optimizer to concatenate and minify globally to your Sitecore instance but still don’t see the site been optimized.

Install and use custom Sitecore SXA module

Previous post I described how to create a new module

In this blog lets install and use the newly created module

Right click on Site and select option Scripts and “Add Site Module

Overlay to select modules is displayed-

Select the newly created module and click Ok

Create a new Sitecore 10 SXA module

Sitecore SXA module contains templates, Renderings, Layouts, Placeholder Settings, branch etc. It helps structure the SXA site by scaffolding items required to setup the component.

In this blog post I will walkthrough the steps to create a module manually to have a better understanding and helps specially to debug when there are issues with the existing modules.

Create Module (Part 1)

Navigate to – /sitecore/system/Settings/Feature

Right click Featur folder to create module

Create new module overlay will open.

  1. Provide a Module name – i.e. Custom Image Block
  2. Choose the location where this module to be created.
  3. Select the system areas the module folders to be created
  4. Choose the module should be applied to tenant or site

When module is created should be able to see the folder with the Site Setup Root item

Once the Site Setup Root is created you should be able to see folders with name “Custom Image Block” will be created in Branch, Template, Renderings, Placeholder Settings, Layouts and Media Library or the system areas selected.

Create template required for creating Branch

For creating a branch you will need a template and rendering. Create a template in “Custom Image Block” folder. For now you don’t have to add fields. See blog the fields that were created for component.

Create “Image Block Folder” Template

Create rendering required for creating Branch

Create controller rendering with name “Image Block” in – /sitecore/layout/Renderings/Feature/Wits/Custom Image Block.

For now don’t setup anything in rendering. See blog for the configuration required in rendering-

Create Branch

Navigate to /sitecore/templates/Branches/Feature

Create a new branch. Right click on the folder “Custom Image Block” and insert new branch option

Select the template earlier created-

Branch with name “Image Block” will be created.

Delete $name item in the branch

Rename the Image Block to “Available Image Block Renderings”.

Right click branch and insert item from template-

/sitecore/templates/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Presentation/Available Renderings/Available Renderings

Give it a name $name as this will create a item in “Available Renderings” folder in site with the component name

Select $name and select the newly created rendering-

Create or Copy the existing branch and name it as “Image Block Variant”

Create a variant, name it as “$name” from template – /sitecore/templates/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Rendering Variants/Variants

Create Variant Definition under Variant name it as “Default” from template

Path of the variant definition- /sitecore/templates/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Rendering Variants/Variant Definition

Create Scriban Variant named “Scriban” from template – /sitecore/templates/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Scriban/Scriban

Add markup in template field or the same can be added when the module is installed on the site – if the markup is specific to the site.

Branch structure should like this-

Create Module (Part 2)

Add Site Item to add Available rendering to the site module is installed

Name it “Add Available Renderings”

Select the Location from the Site>>Presentation>>Available Renderings

In Template field select the “Available Image Block Renderings” from the newly created branch.

Provide the Name

Add Site Item to add rendering variant to the site module is installed

Add another site item, name it “Add Image Block Variant”

Select “Rendering Variant” in Location and “Image Block Variant” created in branch

This will create a “Image Block” in the “Rendering Variant” folder in the site where the module will be installed

Add Site Item to add data folder to the site module is installed

Add another site item, name it “Add Image Block Data Item”

This will create a “Image Block Folder” in “Data” folder in the site where the module will be installed

That’s it you are good to install “Image Block” module.

Create a custom Sitecore SXA component using Scriban from scratch

Often you see examples for creating a new Sitecore SXA component is suggested to be cloned from the Promo component which helps developers to quick start the development.

But its always good to know the process and supporting items that are created to support he component.

In this blog post I will walk through the steps required to create a SXA component using Scriban from scratch. This post is not about how to use Scriban, will cover that in another post.

This post assumes the SXA Site is configured with the custom theme. See links to create Tenants/Sites/Themes –

  1. Create Tenant and SXA Site
  2. Configure Theme to the SXA Site
  3. Assign Theme to the SXA Site

The component contains images and text and should look like this-

Step 1 – Create Templates –

Lets start creating a template first. Lets give it a name ImageBlock

Template Name – Image Block

Template Name – Image Block Folder

Set the Image Block as Insert Options so Image Blocks can be created under Image Block Folder

Template Name- Image Block (Rendering Parameter)

The below inheritance is required to style, cache and attach a rendering variant.

This template should inherit following-

Inherited template paths-

Template structure for Image Block component looks like this-

Step 2 – Create Rendering for Image Block component

Before you could start creating rendering, its good to have content as the rendering will require the Datasource location and the view.


IMPORTANT– Data folders for component can be configured using modules. For this post will create it manually.

Navigate to the Site -Data folder and create a Image Block Folder

Example at this location-

/sitecore/content/Wits Recruitment/Wits/Site Regions/Wits UK Recruitment/Data

I have named it Image Blocks and enter content for the template-


Create a view. Place following markup in cshtml. Place this in your custom folder in Sitecore instance view folder

@using Sitecore.XA.Foundation.RenderingVariants.Extensions
@using Sitecore.XA.Foundation.SitecoreExtensions.Extensions
@using Sitecore.XA.Foundation.Variants.Abstractions.Fields
@model Sitecore.XA.Foundation.Variants.Abstractions.Models.VariantsRenderingModel

@if (Model.DataSourceItem != null || Html.Sxa().IsEdit)
    if (Model.DataSourceItem == null)
        foreach (BaseVariantField variantField in Model.VariantFields)
            @Html.RenderingVariants().RenderVariant(variantField, Model.Item, Model.RenderingWebEditingParams, Model)


Create controller rendering for Image Block Controller

Controller– Sitecore.XA.Foundation.RenderingVariants.Controllers.VariantsController, Sitecore.XA.Foundation.RenderingVariants

Controller Action- Index

Parameter Templates – Select the Rendering Parameter template created in previous step.

Example – /sitecore/templates/Feature/Wits/PageContent/Rendering Parameters/Image Block

Datasource Location – Query to the Site data location. You may also have to consider same for shared sites

Sample- query:$site/[@@name=’Data’]/[@@templatename=’Image Block Folder’] | query:$sharedSites/[@@name=’Data’]/ [@@templatename=’Image Block Folder’]

Datasource Template– Location of the template (Image Block)

Example- /sitecore/templates/Feature/Wits/PageContent/Image Block

Rendering view path– provide the path of your custom view

Example- ~/Views/Wits/ImageBlock.cshtml

Step 3 – Create Rendering Variant

Create a rendering variant i.e. items from templates-

/sitecore/templates/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Rendering Variants/Variants

/sitecore/templates/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Rendering Variants/Variant Definition

/sitecore/templates/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Scriban/Scriban

Paste the markup to render

Step 4 – Add rendering to Page

Add rendering to the page. Ideally this can be done by creating a Branch and create a module which should allow to drag and drop the SXA component to the page using experience editor.

Select Home page and select option Presentation ==> Details

Add the rendering “Image Block” in the placeholder “main”

Edit the control and select the Variant “Default” in Styling section.

Remember we created a Rendering Variant “Image Block” in step Step 3 and the name of the variant was “Default”. This variant is listed in dropdown for selection. Also select the datasource

Select rendering variant-

Select the datasource-

Save and Publish and should be able to see the newly created component in Home page

Step 5- Update rendering variant to display content from Image Block item

In step-3 we added a static markup in rendering variant.

Use the following scriban changes to get the content from selected datasource. See BlockTitle, Heading and Description1 and Description2 to pull the content from item-

Example- {{sc_raw i_datasource ‘Description2’ }}

<div class="support-company-area support-padding fix">
            <div class="container">
                <div class="row align-items-center">
                    <div class="col-xl-6 col-lg-6">
                        <div class="right-caption">
                            <!-- Section Tittle -->
                            <div class="section-tittle section-tittle2">
                                <span>{{sc_raw i_datasource 'BlockTitle' }} </span>
                                <h2>{{sc_raw i_datasource 'Heading' }}</h2>
                            <div class="support-caption">
                                <p class="pera-top">{{sc_raw i_datasource 'Description1' }}</p>
                                <p>{{sc_raw i_datasource 'Description2' }}</p>
                                <a href="about.html" class="btn post-btn">Post a job</a>
                    <div class="col-xl-6 col-lg-6">
                        <div class="support-location-img">
                            <img src="assets/img/service/support-img.jpg" alt="">
                            <div class="support-img-cap text-center">

Finally we have component been rendered and content pulled from item-

Hope this helps.

Different approaches to assign Sitecore SXA theme to a site

Once a tenant and site are created and/or a theme is manually created you may want to assign a theme to a site. A theme is automatically assigned when during a site creation but what if you want to assign a theme to already created site.

See this blog to create a tenant and site and different approaches of creating a theme.

Experience Editor

Select any Partial design and open experience editor select Experience Accelerator option.

Select Theme option. Change the theme.

This will also the change the theme in the selected site – /sitecore/content/<<tenant folder>>/<<tenant>>/<<site folder>>/<<site>>/Presentation/Page Designs

Content Editor

To change the theme for a specific site. Navigate to the site/Presentation/Page Designs

for e.g.:- /sitecore/content/<<tenant folder>>/<<tenant>>/<<site folder>>/<<site>>/Presentation/Page Designs

In the Styling section change the Theme field

Hope this helps.

Different approaches of creating Sitecore SXA themes

Themes define the look and feel of a site and makes it flexible to change the layout and design of the website.

Themes help to customize the appearance of the site which includes layout, typography, color and other design elements.

SXA come with two types of themes- Site and Base themes. To add own/custom classes and assets, such as styles, scripts, images and fonts use Site theme.

There are multiple ways site theme cane be created-

Option 1 – Add custom theme when creating a Site

Check out this blog post for adding a theme when creating a site

Option 2 – Add theme to existing Site (create theme manually)

Right click on your site- click Scripts and click New Site Theme option

Provide the theme name and location.

Click OK and a theme should be created on specified location

Option 3 – Add a theme using SXA CLI

Will add the details shortly.

Hope this helps!

Sitecore 10 SXA Site Structure

Previous blog shows how to create Tenant and SXA Site.

In this blog lets see what does the installation script adds to the SXA site.

Following is the site content structure-

1. Site

SXA site is a container to the content that will be used as a output of the site. Site contains the settings to select the Site Media Library, Theme Folder and Modules.

2. Home Page

This is the home page of the site. All other pages in the site must be stored under the Home item.

3. Media Folder

Media Folder helps scope the part of media library is available to content editors on the images selection dialog.

You can change the scope by adding or removing the folder in “Virtual” section “Additional Children” field.

Media Folder “Additional Children” field
Scoped item in media folder from Media Library
Scoped to the selected folders configured in “Additional Children” field

Best Practice – Do not put media items directly under the Media folder. Form SXA 1.7 and higher uploading items to media folder in the Site is not allowed.

4. Data Folder

Data Folder is the repository for storing all the data sources. These data sources can be reused across many pages scoped inside the Site. Data folder had component type folder and can be created manually or when the module is installed.

Data for each component can be created manually from the content tree or from experience editor by using the “Associated Content” option. Data folder is used as a source configured in rendering’s Data Source field in a form of query or directly mapped to the component folder.

Best Practice – Clean up unused data sources

Best Practice – Give Site data sources meaningful names

Best Practice – Organize site data sources in folders

Best Practice –Run source field reports to help set the data source context

5. Presentation

The presentation folder contains all the presentation related details and settings for the components selected while creating the site.

Presentation folder has list of components based on the modules selected while creating the site.

Presentation folder contains Page and Partial Designs, Layout Service , Available Renderings, Rendering Variants and Styles.

Rendering variant contains list of components on the site and can be customized using Variant Definition and Variant Fields. Also can use template based Variant like Scriban and Template

6. Settings

Settings folder contains site specific configuration. Site Grouping contains the Site Settings like site name, host name, database etc.

Settings also contains the Redirects, HTML snippets and Item Queries. Settings Folder contains options to select the Fav icon, error handling and other SEO related settings.

Sitecore 10 SXA-Create a tenant and Site

Tenant Folder

Sitecore supports multitenancy, which means you can have multiple sites running on a single Sitecore instance.

Tenant folder is just a container to hold multiple tenants you may have as a part of site structure. Inherited from _Base Tenant Folder. You may create a tenant folder to hold the multiple tenants of a Company.

A folder with provide tenant folder name is create here – /sitecore/templates/Project/<Tenant Folder Name>

Template Path – /sitecore/templates/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Multisite/Tenant Folder


Tenant is a top-level container for the Sites underneath. Site in same tenant are related, that means they are able to share data and layouts. Creation of tenants comes with optional modules.

Template/sitecore/templates/Project/<<Tenant Folder>>/<<Tenant>>/Tenant

Tenant been created successfully.

Creating Site

Site is a collection of content and output with a common overall business objective sharing a common set of assets

To create site right click on Tenant and select an option to create Site or Site Folder

Site Folder –

Site folder is a container for multiple sites.

Template – /sitecore/templates/Foundation/Experience Accelerator/Multisite/Site Folder


General tab- Provide Site name, host name and Virtual folder. You may keep this as default and change later based on the requirements.

Select the required modules as a part of Site creation.

Create a new theme or select existing. This will e your site theme and can be changed from Page Design –

Template – /sitecore/content/<<tenant folder>>/<<tenant>>/<<site folder>>/<<site>>/Presentation/Page Designs

Select a grid mainly Bootstrap 4

At this point we have SXA site been created-

Remove Site

To remove Site, right click on site, select scripts and Remove Site option.

Sitecore Commerce 10 Create a custom plugin project

If you want to get started and create a custom plugin for XC 9.3 here is the post for same First Steps | Sitecore Commerce Development | Create a Custom Plugin

There are few updates on how the plugins are created in XC 10.

Sitecore Commerce 10 SDK does not include Visual Studio Extension (VSIX) package for creating a plugin project.

Let’s get started and look into the steps to create a new plugin in Sitecore Commerce 10. If you have already set up your commerce development environment, please skip to step 2

Step 1 – Setup developer environment

Create a developer environment for Sitecore Commerce to run the engine from Visual Studio, can be either VS 2017 or 2019. Follow this blog post for same Setup development environment for Sitecore Commerce 10 Engine

Step 2: Download Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.Template from Nuget Feed

  • Navigate to Official Sitecore Commerce Nuget Feed
  • Search for Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.Template
  • Download the package for Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.Template 6.0.4. Copy to file Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.Template.6.0.4.nupkg desired folder.

3. Install Sitecore Commerce Plugin Template Nuget Package

  • Open Powershell in admin mode and navigate to the folder nupkg file is copied and execute following command to install package
dotnet new -i .\Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.Template.6.0.4.nupkg
  • Run the dotnet new command and should be able to see Sitecore Commerce Sample Plugin template

4. Create a new Sitecore Commerce Plugin Project

As we have a plugin project template we should be able create a new plugin project.

Execute following command in Powershell. Navigate to the solution src folder-

dotnet new pluginsample -o Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.SampleTest

New plugin project is created with the project name specified in command.

Include the project in Customer.Sample.Solution and compile.

Notice even though the command has project name “Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.SampleTest” the actual project is created as “Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.Sample”. You will have to rename this unfortunately as per your requirement.

Sharding Custom Entity in Sitecore Commerce 10

Sharding is horizontal partitioning of data in database. It is the process of breaking up large tables into smaller chunks.

Storing rows of the same table in multiple database nodes

In this blog post will see how to split the Commerce Entities table having same structure but store custom entity data in a separate table that helps to split the load that a CommerceEntities table might take if the horizontal partition is not done.

Why partioning of tables is required?

Sitecore Commerce entity data are store in following tables-

  • CommerceEntities
  • CommerceEntity
  • CommerceLists

Any custom entity been created without sharding will store data by default in tables mentioned above.

What if that data increases, there might be a performance hit once the data start expanding over months and years.

Also it wont be good idea to put the multiple custom entity data into a single table. As this might give a performance hit whilst indexing table. So, if you know data might increase over the time it is better to have it saved in a separate table as it can be a boon to high-volume data.

Partitioning data using sharding policy

I assume you know how extend Sitecore Commerce entities. Consider we have a “Organization” entity. Business Tools helps in capturing details of Organization i.e. CRUD operations. When the entity is been saved it has to be saved in different table.

This driven by the sharding policies in Commerce.

Follow these steps to enable sharding of custom entity-

Sharding Policies

The Commerce Engine implements database sharding for Commerce entity and list tables, and provides 2 types of sharding policies. One is for the operation against Commerce entities i.e. EntityShardingPolicy, and other on the Commerce lists i.e. ListShardingPolicy.

Configuration for sharding policy is kept in PlugIn.SQL.Sharding.PolicySet-1.0.0.json file and can be found in data\Environments folder of the Authoring and Shops instance.

As per Sitecore documentation sharding policies has expressions and multiple expression values can be configured based on this the table of the entity is identified to read and perform write operations. This is a bit contrary statement as the table name defined in policies are passed to the stored procedure based on this the data in table is written and read.

Below sharding policy mentions 2 tables-

OrganizationsLists for managing and reading lists of Organizations

OrganizationsEntities for managing and reading Organization entities

"$type": "Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.SQL.ListShardingPolicy, Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.SQL",
"Expressions": {
"$type": "System.Collections.Generic.List1[[System.String, mscorlib]], mscorlib",
"TableName": "OrganizationsLists"
"$type": "Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.SQL.EntityShardingPolicy, Sitecore.Commerce.Plugin.SQL",
"Expressions": {
"$type": "System.Collections.Generic.List1[[System.String, mscorlib]], mscorlib",
"TableName": "OrganizationsEntities"


To save data in different tables create Entities, Entity and Lists table prefixed with entity name in SitecoreCommerce_SharedEnvironments database

  1. Right click CommerceEntities table select Script Table as option, Create to and then New Query Editor Window. Create script for CommerceEntities table will be generated.
  2. Change the name of table to e.g.:- OrganizationsEntities. Also change the table name to set Default value to EntityVersion and Published fields
  3. Pasrse and check if you are creating a table in correct Database
  4. Execute the script. New table will be created.

Follow same for CommerceEntity table to create OrganizationsEntity and CommerceLists to create OrganizationsLists

So there are 3 tables created so far-

  • OrganizationsEntities
  • OrganizationsEntity
  • OrganizationsLists

Once you have your plugin to perform CRUD operations on Organizations entity you should be able to see the data been inserted in OrganizationEntities, OrganizationLists and OrganizationsEntity table instead of CommerceEntities and there related tables.

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