Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What to look forward to with Sitecore 9.1


We all heard about it. We all read about it. We are all excited about it! No, I am not talking about a reason why Ariana Grande broke up with her boyfriend. I am talking about a long awaited Sitecore 9.1’s SIF overhaul! Is it going to be a one-click install? No. But close. SIF 2.0 will install most of the required prerequisites automatically. Imagine that!


SIF 2.0 is only one of the features Sitecore community has been waiting for. Data Exchange Framework, even though not a brand-new addition, has seen expansion and improvements between earlier versions and 9.1. For instance, integration with Salesforce Marketing Cloud will support bi-directional exchange of experience data such as persona information and click events. This data can now be used, for example, to trigger email campaigns within Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Sitecore headless solves a major problem for Front End developers. They can now develop and deploy their code to any platform in a headless configuration using their own languages and frameworks of choices. Their solution can be fully disconnected from Sitecore and be self-contained which allows easy management and deployment. Front End developers can have access to pure content without all the overhead that comes with a Sitecore installation. API only approach to web content management is utilized in Commerce where services are supported through the API and delivered vis JSS.


Universal Tracker is a new player in the headless innovation. It is a tracking service based on Web/Rest API technology allowing to build headless applications without sacrificing Sitecore’s personalization, analytics, and A/B testing features.


If you are looking for a quicker way to launch a Sitecore website you are of course familiar with  Sitecore Experience Accelerator or SXA. In 9.1 SXA offers WCAG 2.0 compliant websites creation along with wireframes and gray scale modes.


In Sitecore 9.1 authentication has had a major refactor. All authentication in Sitecore 9.1 is handled by a separate standalone .NET Core application. This .NET core app is based on the IdentityServer4 framework and supports Single Sign-On with OpenID.


9.1 brings expansion of deployment options for your xDB. Deploy it on Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SQL Azure as well as MongoDB if you are on the schema-less side.


Various  Sitecore Forms enhancements also became available with 9.1 For example, you can add conditions to form elements. Which means you can create a conditional logic based on user’s inputs on the form and hide/show components based on user’s interactions.


Last but not least is long-awaited  Machine Learning. Architected via integration with Microsoft Machine Learning Server it allows flexible integration with other ML engines and algorithms such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Einstein, or IBM Watson. One of the latest features in Sitecore Machine Learning is Content Tagging that creates information taxonomies used in automated personalization recommendations.


Sitecore 9.1 also delivers miscellaneous improvements in Content Search, Core architectural changes, scalability and infrastructure improvements. So much to look forward to!

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