Sitecore released the new Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) 8.2 product recently, containing new feature functionality.
With many types of tech updates, it can be hard to decide whether to postpone or embrace an upgrade. Luckily, this blog breaks down the Sitecore XP 8.2 highlights to help inform your upgrade decision.
What is it?
In August 2016, Sitecore released Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) 8.2 (rev. 160729), with features like improved user experience. platform improvements and more. Below are the main highlights of Sitecore XP 8.2:
- Next-generation publishing service. Publishing has been improved and is significantly faster using a publishing service based on Microsoft .NET core technologies.
- Support for the latest technology platforms. Support for Microsoft’s recently released .NET Framework 4.6, MongoDB 3.2 (including the ability to encrypt data-at-rest), and SOLR 5.1.
- Path Analyzer. The analyzer was re-written in 8.2, using latest technologies to make it easier to read the maps through the addition of Horizontal, Vertical and Table views.
- Sitecore Services Client. The SSC API has been extended to provide a uniform REST service across the experience management feature-set, now featuring OData support and Token authentication.
- Platform improvements. The update created platform improvements, focusing on high traffic and large data set scenarios. With revamped cold startup times and support for SQL Always-On, along with standardized dependency injection based upon the .NET Core DI container, users will notice a general upgrade in the platform’s performance.
- User experience improvements. Standard UX improvements were made for Experience Optimization, Experience Analytics, Experience Profile and Experience Editor.
- Express Migrations. The new module Express Migration tool allows customers to migrate their data from Sitecore 7.2 directly to Sitecore 8.2.*
- Sitecore Experience Accelerator. This new product feature is an alternative way for front-end developers or technical content authors to build certain types of site designs. If you don’t have existing sites on Sitecore in a non-traditional developer coding way, this addition can be applied by using a drag-and-drop wireframe toolset and pre-built components. This feature does require a separate licensing and additional cost from your Sitecore XP license. Interested, but not sure about the update? Sitecore 8.1 users can also access this feature.
- Data Exchange Framework. This update helps integrate Sitecore contacts into customer's external sources (i.e. Read contacts from a CRM and create contacts in xDB, or update a contact in CRM using information from a contact in xDB).
So, should I make the upgrade?
With helpful new features like advanced publishing, improved Experience Editor usability, and the latest MongoDB version support, it may seem like a no-brainer to make the update to Sitecore 8.2.
However, since this is an initial release, don't feel pressured to make the update immediately. You may want to consider waiting until Sitecore releases the next update for Sitecore 8.2, unless there is specific functionality you need for a project.
If you plan on using the latest EXM (Email Experience Manager) version 3.3, you'll definitely want to wait until the next Sitecore update that fits your needs. While it's true Sitecore is working on this, XP 8.2 doesn't support the latest version of EXM, so you'll need to prioritize project functionality before making the change.
It is also more efficient to time a Sitecore upgrade with another site enhancement project in order to maximize a site regression testing effort.
You can also find Sitecore’s guidance on the release on their website.
When examining your technology ecosystem, it’s important to consider your tools, update availabilities and business strategies before making changes. Sitecore 8.2 has many exciting features, so when you are ready to make the switch, know your goals and expectations to better plan as you move forward.
*One North has been using a similar upgrade technique to migrate data to a new install when upgrading from older Sitecore 6.6 versions to 8.1. Reach out if you want to learn more.