Last update: 2024-01-25
  • Created for:
  • Intermediate

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Launches in AEM Sites provide a way to create, author, and review web site content for future release. During the creation of the launch the production web site can continue to evolve and change day to day as it normally would.


At the core, launches in AEM sites provide a way to create, author and review content for future releases, while along the production website to continue to evolve and change day to day as it normally would. Website changes that benefit from launches are typically large effecting existing pages and often introduce new pages and often require days, weeks or even months to prepare, author and review, ensuring everything is just right for when the launch happens. To help solidify the notion of launches in AEM, let’s explore how we might launch a new adventure on the weekend site. We’ll introduce a new adventure called experience Iceland that we’ll want to promote across the weekend website, including a brand new adventure page as well as updates to the homepage. During the preparation of the launch of this new adventure, the weekend brand, doesn’t want to stop the usual authoring of the website. So what we’ll do is use AEM launches to create something like a copy of the production website in which we can prepare the new adventure content and changes without affecting the production site or the authoring, until we’re ready to make our new adventure live. So, we can break the use of launches into three main activities. First, we’ll create a launch from existing website pages, then we’ll author the launch content, with all the changes necessary to launch into adventure. And finally promote the launch which moves changes from the launch back into the production websites content tree. Okay, so let’s create a launch for the weekend site. In the site admin, we’ll select the root of the tree that should represent the launch. In this case, since we’ll be adding an adventure and modifying the homepage, we’ll select the top of a homepage as the root of our launch.

Type create, select launch.

And from here pages or sub trees of pages can be selected for the launch. Let’s add the homepage as well as the adventure section.

Next, give the launch a meaningful name. And this is important as there can be multiple launches active at any given time. So, we want to make sure we understand which is which. There’s some advanced feature for how to define the initial content in the launch, but let’s keep it simple and copy down the current content from the production site into the launch. We can specify if new changes to the production site, should be synced into the launch. So our launch content doesn’t get out of date and this is typically a good idea to help ensure that any changes made to the production website, during the launch authoring aren’t lost, especially if we anticipate the launch to span a longer period of time. Lastly, we can optionally pick a date and time to automatically promote our launch content back to the production website, assuming it has passed all of the proper checks, or we can leave the launch date blank, allowing us to manually promote it at any time. I’ll give it manual as it’s a little difficult to illustrate schedule promotion in a short video. So now that we’ve created the launch, the weekend content authors can create new content and adjust existing content in the launch as needed. But before others can do this, they have to able to access the launch content, rather than the production weekend site. There are a few ways to do this. One way is by clicking on page that’s part of the launch in the production website, selecting references from the sidebar and tapping into launches. This shows all the launches this content is subject to. Alternatively, down at the bottom, we see a launches console button, which takes you to a console similar to the AEM sites admin, but specifically for launch content. The same console can be directly accessed via tools, sites, launches as well. And this is often the quickest way for authors to access a launch. This console lists all the launches in AEM. And as a quick aside, remember that we opted not to use schedule promotion of our launch, but if we had picked that we’d want to select the launch and edit its properties. In its properties, we can provide the scope which defines which pages in the launch should be promoted when the schedule promotion time has reached. But since we’re opting for the manual promotion in this video, we’ll be asked for this information when we promote the launch later.

Let’s go ahead and ensure our launch is selected and tap the managed content to explore the launches pages. This view looks quite similar to the AEM sites admin. The key distinguishing element is the launches button in the top right that takes the user back to the launches console.

From here, authors can make changes to any part of the launch, without worrying about, inadvertently affecting the production website. Since launches tend to take several days or weeks to prepare, this allows for authors to continue keeping the production website up-to-date, without stepping on the toes of the launch authors and vice versa.

Okay, let’s jump forward in time to when our new adventure content is built and approved.

Okay, so here we go. We’ve updated the homepage to promote our new Icelandic adventure. And we’ve also created a new adventure page for it as well.

Once the launch is ready to go, it’s promoted. And this simply means it’s merged back into the production website content tree.

To promote a launch, select the launch and tap promote.

This will open up the promote wizard which provides a few options. First, we can specify to delete the launch after promotion and I’ll select this to ensure we keep AEM tidy and then we can select which pages in the launch to promote. For this, I’ll simply select promote all modified pages. The pages for promotion are then listed and we can quickly dip them against the corresponding page on the production site as a quick check.

If everything looks good, we can promote them which pushes these pages in their changes back into the production site content tree.

Now heading back over to the production site and opening up the homepage.

We can see our new Icelandic adventure being promoted.

We can see that the new adventure page for it has been merged in as well.

Once we have all our content here, we are now free to publish these updates to our AEM publish service for the world to see. -

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