Use Connected Assets to share DAM assets in Experience Manager Sites

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In large enterprises the infrastructure required to create websites may be distributed. At times the website creation capabilities and digital assets used to create these websites may reside in different deployments. One reason can be geographically distributed existing deployments that are required to work together. Another reason can be acquisitions leading to heterogenous infrastructure, including different Experience Manager versions, that the parent company wants to use together.

Connected Assets functionality supports the above use cases by integrating Experience Manager Sites and Experience Manager Assets. Users can create web pages in Sites that use the digital assets from a separate Assets deployments.

NOTE

Configure Connected Assets only when you need to use the assets available on a remote DAM deployment on a separate Sites deployment for authoring web pages.

Overview of Connected Assets

When editing pages in Page Editor as target destination, the authors can seamlessly search, browse, and embed assets from a different Assets deployment that acts as a source of assets. The administrators create a one-time integration of a deployment of Experience Manager with Sites capability with another deployment of Experience Manager with Assets capability. Site authors can also use Dynamic Media images in their site’s web pages through Connected Assets and leverage the Dynamic Media functionalities, such as smart crop and image presets.

For the Sites authors, the remote assets are available as read-only local assets. The functionality supports seamless search and access to remote assets on the Site Editor. For any other use cases that may require the complete asset-corpus to be available on Sites, consider migrating the assets in bulk instead of using Connected Assets. See Experience Manager Assets migration guide.

Prerequisites and supported deployments

Before you use or configure this capability, ensure the following:

  • The users are part of the appropriate user groups on each deployment.

  • For Adobe Experience Manager deployment types, one of the supported criteria is met. Experience Manager 6.5 Assets works with Experience Manager as a Cloud Service. For more information about how this functionality works in Experience Manager as a Cloud Service, see Connected Assets in Experience Manager as a Cloud Service.

    Sites as a Cloud Service Experience Manager 6.5 Sites on AMS Experience Manager 6.5 Sites on-premise
    Experience Manager Assets as a Cloud Service Supported Supported Supported
    Experience Manager 6.5 Assets on AMS Supported Supported Supported
    Experience Manager 6.5 Assets on-premise Not Supported Not Supported Not Supported

Supported file formats

Authors search for images and the following types of documents in Content Finder and drag the searched assets in Page Editor. Documents are added to the Download component and images to the Image component. Authors may also add the remote assets in any custom Experience Manager component that extends the default Download or Image components. The supported formats are:

Users and groups involved

The various roles that are involved to configure and use the capability and their corresponding user groups are described below. Local scope is used for the use case where an author creates a web page. Remote scope is used for the DAM deployment hosting the required assets. The Sites author fetches these remote assets.

Role Scope User group User name in walk-through Descriptions
Sites administrator Local Experience Manager administrators admin Set up Experience Manager and configure integration with the remote Assets deployment.
DAM user Local Authors ksaner Used to view and duplicate the fetched assets at /content/DAM/connectedassets/.
Sites author Local
  • Authors (with read access on the remote DAM and author access on local Sites)
  • dam-users on local Sites
ksaner End users are Sites authors who use this integration to improve their content velocity. The authors search and browse assets in remote DAM using Content Finder and using the required images in local web pages. The credentials of ksaner DAM user are used.
Assets administrator Remote Experience Manager administrators admin on remote Experience Manager Configure Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS).
DAM user Remote Authors ksaner on remote Experience Manager Author role on the remote Experience Manager deployment. Search and browse assets in Connected Assets using the Content Finder.
DAM distributor (technical user) Remote Sites Authors ksaner on remote Experience Manager This user present on the remote deployment is used by Experience Manager local server (not the Sites author role) to fetch the remote assets, on behalf of Sites author. This role is not same as above two ksaner roles and belongs to a different user group.

Connected Assets architecture

Experience Manager allows you to connect a remote DAM deployment as a source to multiple Experience Manager Sites deployments. You can connect a maximum of four Sites deployments to a source remote DAM. However, you can connect a Sites deployment with only one remote DAM deployment.

The following diagrams illustrate the supported scenarios:

Connected Assets architecture

The following diagram illustrates an unsupported scenario:

Connected Assets architecture

Configure a connection between Sites and Assets deployments

An Experience Manager administrator can create this integration. Once created, the permissions that are required to use it are established via user groups. The user groups are defined on the Sites deployment and on the DAM deployment.

To configure Connected Assets and local Sites connectivity, follow these steps:

  1. Access an existing Sites deployment or create a deployment using the following command:

    1. In the folder of the JAR file, execute the following command on a terminal to create each Experience Manager server.
      java -XX:MaxPermSize=768m -Xmx4096m -jar <quickstart jar filepath> -r samplecontent -p 4502 -nofork -gui -nointeractive &

    2. After a few minutes, the Experience Manager server starts successfully. Consider this Sites deployment as the local machine for web page authoring, say at https://[local_sites]:4502.

  2. Ensure that the users and roles with the appropriate scope exist on the Sites deployment and on the Assets deployment on AMS. Create a technical user on Assets deployment and add to the user group mentioned in users and groups involved.

  3. Access the local Sites deployment at https://[local_sites]:4502. Click Tools > Assets > Connected Assets Configuration and provide the following values:

    1. A Title of the configuration.
    2. Remote DAM URL is the URL of the Assets location in the format https://[assets_servername]:[port].
    3. Credentials of a DAM distributor (technical user).
    4. In the Mount Point field, enter the local Experience Manager path where Experience Manager fetches the assets. For example, remoteassets folder. The assets that are fetched from DAM are stored in this folder on the Sites deployment.
    5. Local Sites URL is the location of the Sites deployment. Assets deployment uses this value to maintain references to the digital assets fetched by this Sites deployment.
    6. Credentials of Sites technical user.
    7. The value of Original Binary transfer optimization Threshold field specifies if the original assets (including the renditions) are transferred synchronously or not. Assets with smaller file size can be fetched readily while assets with relatively larger file size are best synchronized asynchronously. The value depends on your network capabilities.
    8. Select Datastore Shared with Connected Assets, if you use a datastore to store your assets and the Datastore is shared between both deployments. In this case, the threshold limit does not matter as actual asset binaries are available on the datastore and are not transferred.

    A typical configuration for Connected Assets functionality

    Figure: A typical configuration for Connected Assets functionality.

  4. The existing digital assets on Assets deployment are already processed and the renditions are generated. These renditions are fetched using this functionality so there is no need to regenerate the renditions. Disable the workflow launchers to prevent regeneration of renditions. Adjust the launcher configurations on the (Sites) deployment to exclude the connectedassets folder (the assets are fetched in this folder).

    1. On Sites deployment, click Tools > Workflow > Launchers.

    2. Search for Launchers with workflows as DAM Update Asset and DAM Metadata Writeback.

    3. Select the workflow launcher and click Properties on the action bar.

    4. In the Properties wizard, change the Path fields as the following mappings to update their regular expressions to exclude the mount point connectedassets.

    Before After
    /content/dam(/((?!/subassets).)*/)renditions/original /content/dam(/((?!/subassets)(?!connectedassets).)*/)renditions/original
    /content/dam(/.*/)renditions/original /content/dam(/((?!connectedassets).)*/)renditions/original
    /content/dam(/.*)/jcr:content/metadata /content/dam(/((?!connectedassets).)*/)jcr:content/metadata
    NOTE

    All renditions that are available on the remote deployment are fetched, when authors fetch an asset. If you want to create more renditions of a fetched asset, skip this configuration step. The DAM Update Asset workflow gets triggered and creates more renditions. These renditions are available only on the local Sites deployment and not on the remote DAM deployment.

  5. Add the Sites deployment as an allowed origin in the CORS configuration on the Assets deployment. For more information, see understand CORS.

  6. Configure same site cookie support.

You can check the connectivity between configured Sites deployments and Assets deployment.

Connection test of Connected Assets configured Sites
Figure: Connection test of Connected Assets configured Sites.

Use Dynamic Media assets

With Connected Assets, you can use image assets processed by Dynamic Media from remote DAM deployment on Sites pages, and leverage Dynamic Media functionalities, such as smart crop and image presets.

To use Dynamic Media with Connected Assets:

  1. Configure Dynamic Media on remote DAM deployment with Sync mode enabled.
  2. Configure Connected Assets.
  3. Configure Dynamic Media on the Sites instance with the same company name as configured on the remote DAM. The Sites deployment must have read-only access to the Dynamic Media account to work with connected assets. Therefore, ensure to disable the Sync mode in Dynamic Media configuration on Sites instance.
CAUTION

With Connected Assets and Dynamic Media configuration, you cannot use Dynamic Media to process local assets available on the Sites deployment.

Configure Dynamic Media

To configure Dynamic Media on Assets and Sites deployments:

  1. Enable and configure Dynamic Media as global configuration on remote Assets author deployment. To configure Dynamic Media, see Configure Dynamic Media.
    On remote Assets deployment, in Dynamic Media sync mode, select Enabled by default.

  2. Create Connected Assets configuration as described in Configure connection between sites and assets deployments. Also, select Fetch Original Rendition for Dynamic Media Connected Assets option.

  3. Configure Dynamic Media on local Sites and remote Assets deployments. Follow the instructions to configure Dynamic Media.

    • Use the same company name in all configurations.
    • On local Sites, in Dynamic Media sync mode, select Disabled by default. The Sites deployment must have read-only access to the Dynamic Media account.
    • On local Sites, in the Publish Assets option, select Selective Publish. Do not select Sync All Content.
  4. Enable Dynamic Media support in Image Core Component. This feature enables the default Image component to display Dynamic Media images when Dynamic Media images are used by authors in webpages on local Sites deployment.

Use remote assets

The website authors use Content Finder to connect to the DAM deployment. The authors can browse, search for, and drag the remote assets in a component. To authenticate to the remote DAM, keep the credentials provided by your administrator (if any) handy.

Authors can use the assets available on the local DAM and the remote DAM deployment, in a single web page. Use the Content Finder to switch between searching the local DAM or searching the remote DAM.

Only those tags of remote assets are fetched that have an exact corresponding tag along with the same taxonomy hierarchy, available on the local Sites deployment. Any other tags are discarded. Authors can search for remote assets using all the tags present on the remote Experience Manager deployment, as it offers a full-text search.

Walk-through of usage

Use the above setup to try the authoring experience to understand how the functionality works. Use documents or images of your choice on the remote DAM deployment.

  1. Navigate to the Assets interface on the remote deployment by accessing Assets > Files from Experience Manager workspace. Alternatively, access https://[assets_servername_ams]:[port]/assets.html/content/dam in a browser. Upload the assets of your choice.

  2. On the Sites deployment, in the profile activator in the upper-right corner, click Impersonate as. Provide ksaner as user name, select the option provided, and click OK.

  3. Open a We.Retail website page at Sites > We.Retail > us > en. Edit the page. Alternatively, access https://[aem_server]:[port]/editor.html/content/we-retail/us/en/men.html in a browser to edit a page.

    Click Toggle Side Panel on upper-left corner of the page.

  4. Open the Assets tab (Remote Content Finder) and click Log in to Connected Assets.

  5. Provide the credentials – ksaner as user name and password as password. This user has authoring permissions on both the Experience Manager deployments.

  6. Search for the asset that you added to DAM. The remote assets are displayed in the left panel. Filter for images or documents and further filter for types of supported documents. Drag the images on an Image component and documents on a Download component.

    The fetched assets are read-only on the local Sites deployment. You can still use the options provided by your Sites components to edit the fetched asset. The editing by components is non-destructive.

    Options to filter document types and images when searching assets on remote DAM

    Figure: Options to filter document types and images when searching assets on remote DAM.

  7. A site author is notified if an asset’s original is fetched asynchronously and if any fetch task fails. While authoring or even after authoring, the authors can see detailed information about fetch tasks and errors in the asynchronous jobs user interface.

    Notification about asynchronous fetching of assets that happens in the background.

    Figure: Notification about asynchronous fetching of assets that happens in the background.

  8. When publishing a page, Experience Manager displays a complete list of assets that are used on the page. Ensure that the remote assets are fetched successfully at the time of publishing. To check the status of each fetched asset, see asynchronous jobs user interface.

    NOTE

    Even if one or more remote assets are not fetched completely, the page is published. The Experience Manager notification area displays a notification for errors that show in asynchronous jobs page.

CAUTION

Once used in a web page, the fetched remote assets are searchable and usable by anyone who has permissions to access the local folder. The fetched assets are stored in the local folder (connectedassets in the above walk-through). The assets are also searchable and visible in the local repository via Content Finder.

The fetched assets can be used as any other local asset, except that the associated metadata cannot be edited.

Check use of an asset across webpages

Experience Manager lets DAM users check all the references to an asset. It helps understand and manage the usage of an asset in remote Sites and in compound assets. Many authors of webpages on Experience Manager Sites deployment can use an asset on a remote Assets in different webpages. To simplify asset management and not lead to broken references, it is important for the DAM users to check use of an asset across local and remote webpages. The References tab in an asset’s Properties page lists the local and remote references of the asset.

To view and manage references on the Assets deployment, follow these steps:

  1. Select an asset in Assets Console and click Properties from the toolbar.

  2. Click References tab. See Local References for use of the asset on the Assets deployment. See **Remote References for use of the asset on Sites deployment where the asset was fetched using Connected Assets functionality.

    Remote references in asset Properties page

  3. The references for Sites pages displays total count of references for each local Sites. It may take some time to find all the references and display the total number of references.

  4. The list of references is interactive and DAM users can click on a reference to open the referencing page. If remote references cannot be fetched for some reason, a notification is displayed informing the user of the failure.

  5. Users can move or delete the asset. When moving or deleting an asset, the total number of references of all the selected assets/folders are displayed in a warning dialog. When deleting an asset for which the references are not yet retrieved, a warning dialog is displayed.

    force delete warning

Manage updates to assets in remote DAM

After configuring a connection between remote DAM and Sites deployments, the assets on remote DAM are made available on the Sites deployment. You can then perform the update, delete, rename, and move operations on the remote DAM assets or folders. The updates, with some delay, are available automatically on the Sites deployment. In addition, if an asset on remote DAM is used on a local Experience Manager Sites page, the updates to the asset on remote DAM are displayed on the Sites page.

While moving an asset from one location to another, ensure that you adjust references so that the asset displays on the Sites page. If you move an asset to a location that is not accessible from the local Sites deployment, the asset fails to display on the Sites deployment.

You can also update the metadata properties for an asset on remote DAM and the changes are available on the local Sites deployment.

Sites authors can preview the available updates on the Sites deployment and then republish the changes to make them available on the Experience Manager publish instance.

Experience Manager displays an expired status visual indicator on assets in Remote Assets Content Finder to stop site authors from using the asset on a Sites page. If you use an asset with an expired status on a Sites page, the asset fails to display on the Experience Manager publish instance.

NOTE

The updates to assets in remote DAM are made available to the Sites deployment only if remote DAM and Sites deployments are on Experience Manager.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Should you configure Connected Assets if you need to use assets available on your Sites deployment?

There is no need to configure Connected Assets in that case. You can use assets available on the Sites deployment.

 When do you need to configure the Connected Assets feature?

Configure the Connected Assets feature only when you need to use the assets available on a remote DAM deployment on a Sites deployment.

 How many Sites deployments can you connect to a remote DAM deployment after configuring Connected Assets?

You can connect a maximum of four Sites deployments to a remote DAM deployment after configuring Connected Assets. For more information, see Connected Assets architecture.

 How many remote DAM deployments can you connect to a Sites deployment after configuring Connected Assets?

You can connect one remote DAM deployment to a Sites deployment after configuring Connected Assets. For more information, see Connected Assets architecture.

 Can you use Dynamic Media assets from your Sites deployment after configuring Connected Assets?

After configuring Connected Assets, Dynamic Media assets are available on Sites deployment in a read-only mode. As a result, you cannot use Dynamic Media to process assets on the Sites deployment. For more information, see Configure a connection between Sites and Dynamic Media deployments.

 Can you use assets of Image and Document format types from the remote DAM deployment on the Sites deployment after configuring Connected Assets?

Yes, you can use assets of Image and Document format types from the remote DAM deployment on the Sites deployment after configuring Connected Assets.

 Can you use content fragments and video assets from the remote DAM deployment on the Sites deployment after configuring Connected Assets?

No, you cannot use content fragments and video assets from the remote DAM deployment on the Sites deployment after configuring Connected Assets.

 Can you use Dynamic Media assets from the remote DAM deployment on the Sites deployment after configuring Connected Assets?

Yes, you can configure and use Dynamic Media image assets from the remote DAM deployment on the Sites deployment after configuring Connected Assets. For more information, see Configure a connection between Sites and Dynamic Media deployments.

 After configuring Connected Assets, can you perform the update, delete, rename, and move operations on the remote DAM assets or folders?

Yes, after configuring Connected Assets, you can perform the update, delete, rename, and move operations on the remote DAM assets or folders. The updates, with some delay, are available automatically on the Sites deployment. For more information, see Manage updates to assets in remote DAM.

 After configuring Connected Assets, can you add or modify assets on your Sites deployment and make them available on remote DAM deployment?

You can add assets to the Sites deployment, however, those assets cannot be made available to the remote DAM deployment.

Limitations and best practices

  • To get insights about asset usage, configure the Assets Insight functionality on the Sites instance.

Permissions and asset management

  • Local assets are read-only copies. Experience Manager components do non-destructive edits to assets. No other edits are allowed.
  • Locally fetched assets are available for authoring purposes only. Asset update workflows cannot be applied and metadata cannot be edited.
  • Only images and the listed document formats are supported. Content Fragments and Experience Fragments are not supported.
  • Experience Manager does not fetch the metadata schemas. It means that all the fetched metadata may not be displayed. If the schema are separately updated on the Sites deployment then all the metadata properties are displayed.
  • All Sites authors have read permissions on the fetched copies, even if authors cannot access the remote DAM deployment.
  • No API support to customize the integration.
  • The functionality supports seamless search and use of remote assets. To make many remote assets available on local deployment in one-go, consider migrating the assets. See Assets migration guide.
  • It is not possible to use a remote asset as a page thumbnail on Page Properties user interface. You can set a thumbnail of a web page in Page Properties user interface from the Thumbnail by clicking Select Image.

Set up and licensing

  • Assets deployment on Adobe Managed Services is supported.
  • Sites can connect to a single Assets deployment at a time.
  • A license of Assets working as remote repository is required.
  • One or more licenses of Sites working as local authoring deployment is required.

Usage

  • Users can search for remote assets and drag those on local page when authoring. No other functionality is supported.
  • Fetch operation times out after 5 seconds. Authors can have issues fetching assets, say if there are network issues. Authors can reattempt by dragging the remote asset from Content Finder to Page Editor.
  • Simple edits that are non-destructive and the edit supported via the Image component, can be done on fetched assets. Assets are read-only.
  • The only method to re-fetch the asset is to drag it on a page. There is no API support or other methods to re-fetch an asset to update it.
  • If assets are decommissioned from the DAM, those continue to be in use on Sites pages.
  • The remote reference entries of an asset are fetched asynchronously. The references and the total count is not real-time and there may be some difference if a Sites author uses the asset while a DAM user is viewing the reference. DAM users can refresh the page and try again in a few minutes to get the total count.

Troubleshoot issues

To troubleshoot common errors, follow these steps:

  • If you are unable to search for remote assets from the Content Finder, then ensure that the required roles and permissions are in place.

  • An asset fetched from the remote DAM may not be published on a web page for one or more reasons. It doesn’t exist on remote server, lack of appropriate permissions to fetch it, or network failure can be the reasons. Ensure that the asset is not removed from the remote DAM. Ensure that appropriate permissions are in place and the prerequisites are met. Retry adding the asset to the page and republish. Check the list of asynchronous jobs for errors in asset fetching.

  • If you are unable to access the remote DAM deployment from the local Sites deployment, ensure that cross-site cookies are allowed and same site cookie support is configured. If cross-site cookies are blocked the deployments of Experience Manager may not authenticate. For example, Google Chrome in Incognito mode may block third-party cookies. To allow cookies in Chrome browser, click the ‘eye’ icon in the address bar, navigate to Site Not Working > Blocked, select the Remote DAM URL, and allow login-token cookie. Alternately, see how to enable third-party cookies.

    Cookie error in Chrome browser in Incognito mode

  • If remote references are not retrieved and results in an error message, check if Sites deployment is available and check for network connectivity issues. Retry later to check. Assets deployment attempts twice to establish connection with Sites deployment and then reports a failure.

    failure to retrieve asset remote references

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