AEM Basics: Runmodes

Today I want to discuss a feature, which is very basic and widely used. I want to discuss “runmodes“. You might already encountered it when you deployed an authoring instance and a publishing instance. Basically both can be deployed from the very same installation package, but just because of a magic string at the right place during installation the behaviour changes dramatically, one instance becomes an authoring instance, the other instance becomes a publishing instance. It’s because of the runmode you configured.

You can think of runmodes as labels or roles you attach to instances, and “author” and “publish” are just special ones. On runtime you can check for these labels and react accordingly (the SlingSettingsService is your friend here). A more sophisticated usecase is the OSGI configuration. Based on the location they config is placed, this config might be active or not, depending on the runmodes (see the AEM docs on this topic).

But the runmodes are not limited only to “author” or “publish”, but you can attach as many runmodes to an instance as you like. For example you can create labels indicating the environments of development (for example “integration” or “preproduction”), and you can have special configuration for these environments.This makes it a lot easier, if you want your application to behave differently on these environments as on production.

The best of all: When you use runmodes to differentiate your environments from each other, you can easily have all configurations for all environments in a single content package, and deploy this package to all environments, no matter if it’s the production or integration environments. If the runmode don’t match, it is just not getting active.