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Effective AEM Development and Management


Welcome to this article where we'll share valuable insights on optimizing your AEM experience. Drawing from our learning and experience, we'll guide you through efficient development, administration, and usage of AEM, while highlighting essential best practices.

DoD - definition of Done

Maintaining a thorough workflow is paramount to ensure that a user story aligns seamlessly with the predefined criteria before it can be officially accepted. This precise process encompasses multiple checkpoints, including but not limited to:

  • Code Review and Formatting:
    Every code segment undergoes a comprehensive review, with particular attention to adherence to coding standards and consistent formatting.

  • Comments and Javadoc:
    Thorough documentation in the form of comments and Javadoc is added to enhance code readability and comprehension.

  • Test Coverage:
    A comprehensive suite of tests is executed to validate the functionality and robustness of the code, ensuring maximum test coverage.

  • Screenshots for Unit Tests:
    Visual verification in the form of screenshots is employed to validate the expected outcomes of unit tests.

  • Validation in the QA Environment:
    The code is rigorously tested in a dedicated Quality Assurance (QA) environment to identify and rectify any potential issues or discrepancies.

Furthermore, it is imperative that the system remains available for business demos at the conclusion of each iteration. This allows stakeholders to interact with and evaluate the ongoing progress, fostering transparency and alignment between development efforts and business objectives

Streamline Continuous Integration

Graphical presentation of three key continuous integration strategies by Havedevs: Minimized Manual Work, Stability and Predictability, and Shorter Build Times.

To optimize your software development process, it's highly recommended to implement a CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment) pipeline. This approach minimizes manual intervention and significantly simplifies and enhances the reliability of your deployment procedures. Here's why it's crucial:

  • Minimized Manual Work

CI/CD automates various aspects of your software development lifecycle, reducing the need for manual interventions such as building, testing, and deployment. This not only saves time but also minimizes the risk of human errors.

  • Stability and Predictability

CI/CD pipelines ensure that your environments remain stable and predictable during deployments. This is achieved by consistently running automated tests and validations at each stage of development, guaranteeing that changes are thoroughly verified before reaching production.

  • Shorter Build Times

Prioritizing shorter build times is essential. It ensures that the time and effort invested in creating comprehensive test coverage and a robust CI infrastructure translate into increased team productivity. Faster builds mean quicker feedback, enabling developers to identify and address issues promptly.

By implementing CI/CD, you create a development environment that is not only more efficient but also more reliable and adaptable to changes. It streamlines your development process, reduces risks, and ultimately enhances the quality of your software

Optimize your development process

Stylized representation of development tools and user interfaces by havedevs, featuring a speedometer and tool icons.

Implement Code Analysis Tools and Plugins

Code analysis tools and IDE (Integrated Development Environment) plugins play a pivotal role in elevating the quality and maintainability of your software projects. They offer valuable insights and automation to enhance your coding process. Here's a comprehensive breakdown of their importance:

  1. Enhanced Code Quality:
    Tools like Sonar and other coding standards enable you to establish consistent coding practices across your team. By standardizing code formatting, naming conventions, and other coding practices, you ensure that the codebase is not only more readable but also less error-prone.

  1. Continuous Improvement:
    Adhering to the principle of 'Leave it better than you found it' encourages developers to proactively address code quality issues. When encountering messy or suboptimal code, developers are prompted to refactor and optimize, resulting in an ongoing improvement cycle.

  1. YAGNI (You Aren't Gonna Need It):
    This principle advises against implementing features prematurely. It encourages developers to focus on current requirements rather than overengineering for hypothetical future needs. By following YAGNI, you prevent unnecessary complexity and bloat in your codebase.

  1. Adaptive Architecture:
    To ensure the long-term viability of your software, it's essential to plan for architectural evolution. Your system's architecture should be designed to accommodate changing requirements and emerging technologies. This proactive approach ensures that your software remains agile and adaptable over time.

In summary, code analysis tools and adherence to coding standards lead to higher code quality and consistency. Following the 'Leave it better than you found it' rule fosters continuous improvement, while the YAGNI principle encourages lean and efficient development. Planning for an evolving architecture ensures that your software can flexibly adapt to future needs and challenges.

Embrace Test-Driven Development (TDD)

It is advisable for developers to adopt Test-Driven Development (TDD) practices, which involve writing failing unit tests before implementing production code to meet specified requirements. Additionally, an automated suite of acceptance tests can be established to verify the system's behavior against user expectations.

By embracing TDD, developers ensure that their code is thoroughly tested from the outset, leading to greater reliability and robustness. Writing failing tests first allows developers to precisely define the functionality they aim to achieve, guiding the implementation process and promoting clearer code design.

Automating acceptance tests further enhances the efficiency of quality assurance (QA) processes. Once these tests are automated and integrated into the development pipeline, the time required for manual QA efforts can be significantly reduced. This enables teams to focus more on delivering features and addressing critical issues, thereby streamlining the development cycle and improving overall productivity.

In summary, adopting TDD and automating acceptance tests are crucial steps in building high-quality software. These practices not only ensure code correctness and reliability but also optimize QA processes, allowing teams to deliver software more efficiently and effectively.

Utilize ResourceType Servlets

Adhering to Adobe's recommendation, servlets should be defined based on resourceTypes rather than paths. This approach offers several advantages:

  • Enhanced Security:
    By implementing JCR access controls, security is bolstered, ensuring that resource access is governed by defined permissions.

  • REST Compliance:
    Aligning with REST principles promotes standardized web service development, facilitating interoperability with other systems and APIs.

  • Efficient Resource Utilization:
    Leveraging the provided resource and resource resolver streamlines development efforts and enhances application responsiveness.

  • Flexible URL Management:
    Modifying server-side script rendering URLs without altering client-side URLs is simplified, allowing for agile URL structure adjustments.

  • Improved Security:
    Concealing server-side implementation details from clients enhances security by reducing exposure to potential exploitation and unauthorized access.

Naming Conventions in the JCR

Node names and components should be in all lowercase letters, with word separation achieved through hyphens. Property names, on the other hand, should follow the camel case, beginning with a lowercase letter.

Stay Prepared for Upgrades

When extending out-of-the-box (OOTB) functionalities, it's important  to stay aware of future upgrades. Consistently opting for the proxy component approach when overlaying core components ensures smoother integration and facilitates seamless updates, ultimately enhancing the long-term maintainability and scalability of the system.

Optimize Template and Component Reuse

This helps ensure that all sites have the same look and feel, making them consistent. It also makes it easier to manage the code. Whenever we require a new component, we should always check if we can build upon an existing one.

Address Unique Requirements with Spikes and Enabler User Stories

Enablers are stories that often cannot be tested directly, while spikes are stories that require further information and may involve discussions to clarify. It's essential to ensure that neither enablers nor spikes are incorporated into the final codebase without appropriate oversight. Doing so helps maintain the quality and reliability of the software.

Efficient AEM Management

Desk calendar displaying various project deadlines and completion marks with a Havedevs logo, emphasizing organized project management.

Manage Data Migration with Dedicated Scripts

As these scripts are executed solely during the site's initial launch, they fulfill their purpose and become redundant after, turning into what is commonly referred to as "dead code." 

By identifying and removing such inactive code immediately after the launch, we ensure a cleaner and more efficient system. This proactive approach not only enhances the system's performance and maintainability but also reduces the risk of potential issues arising from unused or obsolete code lingering within the system.

Apply Best Practices for Templates in Projects

It recommended having a few templates that work for different kinds of pages on websites. Make your custom components more flexible by adding settings you can change. Use the AEM paragraph system to make the most of its features and make it easier to create and manage content.

Minimize Clientlibs for Better Performance

To improve performance, it's recommended to minify clientlibs. Minification involves removing unnecessary data like white spaces from JavaScript and CSS resources without changing how the browser processes them. This reduces the size of the resources, making them load faster. In AEM, you have the option to switch from the YUI engine to GCC for minification.

Making Informed Choices Between JCR Queries

JCR Queries are incredibly useful but should be used judiciously. They're ideal for real end-user queries, like full-text searches or locating structured content throughout the repository. However, avoid using them for pure rendering requests, such as creating a "top 10 latest article items" or counting content items. The Query Builder automatically generates JCR Queries. It's crucial to ensure that JCR queries are always indexed, especially for complex or resource-intensive queries.


In summary, effective AEM development and management encompass a multitude of techniques and best practices aimed at 

  • optimizing workflows, 
  • enhancing performance,
  • and ensuring the longevity of digital assets. 

By delving into the intricacies of managing data migration scripts, optimizing template configurations, and implementing efficient logging practices, organizations can navigate the complexities of AEM environments with confidence.

  1. With meticulous management of data migration scripts, organizations can ensure a smooth transition during the initial launch phase while mitigating the risks associated with redundant or outdated code, commonly referred to as "dead code." By promptly identifying and removing inactive code, organizations can enhance system performance, maintainability, and overall reliability.

  2. The strategic utilization of template configurations plays a pivotal role in fostering consistency and scalability across websites. By adopting a flexible approach to template design and component reuse, organizations can streamline content creation processes and ensure a cohesive user experience across all digital touchpoints.

  3. The optimization of client libraries emerges as a critical component in enhancing website performance. By minifying clientlibs and reducing unnecessary data, organizations can significantly improve load times and overall responsiveness, ultimately enhancing user satisfaction and engagement.

  4. Making informed choices between different query methodologies, such as JCR queries and Query Builder, is essential for optimizing search functionality and minimizing resource-intensive operations. By leveraging the capabilities of these tools judiciously and ensuring proper indexing, organizations can maximize query efficiency and minimize performance bottlenecks.

  5. The implementation of robust logging practices, such as closing service resource resolvers after use and leveraging try-with-resources for newer versions of Sling, is crucial for maintaining system integrity and performance. By proactively managing open connections and adhering to recommended logging protocols, organizations can mitigate the risks of performance degradation and potential security vulnerabilities.

In essence, effective AEM development and management require a holistic approach that encompasses various facets of system configuration, code optimization, and performance tuning. By embracing best practices, leveraging automation, and staying abreast of emerging trends and technologies, organizations can unlock the full potential of their AEM environments and deliver exceptional digital experiences to their users.

Maryna Pashchenko
Tech Writer
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