Setup Sitecore 10.2 JSS using next js in secured and connected mode

Sitecore 10.2 uses Sitecore Headless Rendering 19.0.0. See link here

See this blog for prerequisites and setting jss using next js in disconnected mode.

Follow below steps after the steps completed in above blog

Download Sitecore Headless Services for Sitecore XM


Install Sitecore 10.2 XP0 on local development environment. See hte blog here if not already installed

Install downloaded package for Headless Service

Run the next js app in connected mode

Before working on connected mode create API Key

Navigate to – /sitecore/system/Settings/Services/API Keys

Create a new API Key e.g.:- nextjsservice

API key here is Item ID

Create a custom binding-

For this create a self signed certificate with a custom domain name in this case – next-jss-prj.dev.local

New-SelfSignedCertificate -CertStoreLocation C:\certificates -DnsName "next-jss-prj.dev.local" -FriendlyName "My First Next JSS App" -NotAfter (Get-Date).AddYears(10)

Create a new https binding and assign the newly create SSL certificate

Setup JSS

Run the command

jss setup

Provide the path to the Sitecore instance – e.g.:- C:\inetpub\wwwroot\XP0.sc

Provde the host name – e.g.:- https://next-jss-prj.dev.local

Import Service url – e.g.:- https://next-jss-prj.dev.local/sitecore/api/jss/import

Provide the Sitecore API Key – i.e. the Item ID of the key created earlier in my case it is -{8FCF8D4A-8421-4406-B658-800C48796F8E}. See screenshot

Deployment secret– Leave this blank as this will generate new secret key

Deployment secret key is generate and stored in <<jss development folder>>\sitecore\config\next-jss-prj.deploysecret.config

JSS connection settings saved to scjssconfig.json

Connection and the deployment secret is created, now this needs to be deployed to Sitecore instance so the JSS app is able to establish a connection with Sitecoore

To deploy the config setting deploy the config to Sitecore instance-

jss deploy config

Configs are copied to Sitecore instance App_Config\Include\zzz…

Deploy the artifacts to Sitecore instance-

Since we don’t know hte thumbprint use the below command with –acceptCertificate as test

jss deploy app –includeContent –includeDictionary –acceptCertificate test

This will provide the thumbprint. highllighted in red

Copy the certificate and try deploying again-

jss deploy app –includeContent –includeDictionary –acceptCertificate E4:54:12:A0:7E:D5:95:9B:B0:C2:00:17:3A:26:1B:AD:71:73:9F:05

To run the app run following command

jss start:connected

If you receive this error-

Execute following command to get this working on port 3000


Execute JSS start again-

jss start:connected


Connection to your rendering host failed with a Not Found error. Ensure the POST endpoint at URL http://localhost:3000/api/editing/render has been enabled.

Copy the deploy secret and update the – value of setting of JavaScriptServices.ViewEngine.Http.JssEditingSecret in Sitecore.JavaScriptServices.ViewEngine.Http with the deploy secret.

This now work in connected mode. Any content changes in Sitecore should reflect localhost:3000 and Sitecore instance (https://next-jss-prj.dev.local/)

Sitecore next js working in connected mode with SSL


Exception thrown while importing JSS app
Exception: System.UnauthorizedAccessException
Message: The current user does not have write access to this item. User: sitecore\JssImport, Item: ContentBlock ({23CE8001-F405-5E50-AE61-AD3057660BBD})
Source: Sitecore.Kernel




Check if the API key is correct at the location – /sitecore/system/Settings/Services/API Keys

Also check if the CORS and Allowed Controllers are set correctly

For developement environment put * for both the highlighted fields

Setup Sitecore 10.2 JSS using next js with disconnected mode


Install Node js – Download the latest node js from here

Install JSS CLI

npm install -g @sitecore-jss/sitecore-jss-cli

Create a new next js app using JSS CLI

Note the project name should be valid as per below error

next-jss-prj1 is not a valid name; you may use lowercase letters, hyphens, and underscores only.

Numbers not allowed in project name

jss create next-jss-prj nextjs

Installs all the required artifacts in the specified folder

Run the next jss app in desconneted mode-

jss start

The app should listen to port 3000

Sitecore Commerce Business Tools Compatibility Table

Sitecore Commerce installation package comes with Sitecore Business Tools SDK.

If you are planning to custommise Business Tools you might have to setup the development environment for Business Tools. You can find more information on how to setup the development environment here

For each version of Sitecore Commerce you need to install the specific version of Business Tools in you development environment.

See below the compatibility table for Business Tools with Sitecore commerce-

Package for the same can be found here

Sitecore Commerce (XC) VersionSitecore Business Tools VersionDownload Link

Sitecore SXA Series

Sharing my experience on developing and configuring a site using Sitecore SXA.


  1. Creating a SXA tenant and site
  2. Know what is in your installed Tenant and Site
  3. Themes – Create and Assign themes
  4. Create Sitecore SXA module
  5. Create a SXA component form scratch using Scriban
    1. Create data and rendering templates
    2. Setup content and create renderings
    3. Create rendering variants using Scriban
    4. Add rendering to Page (Option 1)
    5. Setup page and partial design
  6. Install module to SXA Site
  7. Add rendering to Page using Toolbox (Option 2) – Coming Soon
  8. Setup custom domain for SXA site – Coming Soon
  9. Debug- Remove div row wrappers when using Sitecore placeholders
  10. Debug- Enable and configure the Asset optimizer
  11. Setup Favicon for your SXA site
  12. Configure settings for Error Handling SXA site- Coming Soon

Setup Favicon for your Sitecore SXA site

To add Favicon to the site, navigate to the site settings-


Select the icon for your site in Favicon field.

Sitecore SXA- Remove div row wrappers when using Sitecore placeholders

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-50.png

Sitecore uses placeholders to render components which allows to dynamically assemble the page layout. This allows the content editors to design specific pages.

When using MVC layout and BootStrap grid, SXA adds additional DIV when a placeholder is used.

For e.g. if you see the views/sxalayout/Bootstrap4Body.cshtml file. If has a placeholders header, main and footer.

Page is rendered with the header, main and footer tags having placeholders within.

These placeholders is wrapped with a div tag when rendered with class row.

Problem– Extra div tag with class row might not be required or if you don’t to have this as part of your markup. How to remove div tag?


The configuration to exclude the placeholder wrappers is in Sitecore.XA.Foundation.Grid.config

Any custom or OOTB placeholders can be added to placeholderWrapper/exlcudedPlaceholders list

Best Practice – Never modify the OOTB config’s as this can be changed in the future releases and upgrades. Patch the config instead.

Patch file should look something like this-

Resulting to the entry added in excludePlaceholders list and the div been not rendered-

Hope this helps

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.

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