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7 highlights of Sitecore XP 10

by Ethel Crosby, Mike Skutta September 4, 2020
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Sitecore recently released its latest major version update, Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) 10, which shows Sitecore’s innovation to adapt to development trends and efficiencies, resulting in successful customer experiences and loyalty. Although most of the new features are heavily developer-focused, there are important benefits when upgrading to this latest version.

This release includes new functionality that we were excited hear about at last year’s Sitecore Symposium and Sitecore MVP Summit.

Sitecore MVP Summit 2019 – Sitecore Product Team Panel
Sitecore MVP Summit 2019 – Sitecore Product Team Panel

 

Sitecore 10 Highlights

  1. Implementation efficiencies and quality improvements with Sitecore containers support and Sitecore CLI development tools
  2. New back-end user interface improvements for Horizon
  3. Additional GDPR features–PII anonymization and consent management
  4. Sitecore XM (CMS-only mode) now includes basic personalization features
  5. Salesforce Connect for Salesforce Marketing Cloud real-time updates
  6. Additional Sitecore headless framework support
  7. Easier content workflow from Microsoft Word

 

Implementation efficiencies and quality improvements–Sitecore containers support and Sitecore CLI

 

New containers support 

Sitecore officially released support for containers, which has developers cheering. What are containers, and why are they important?

Containers solve the problem of how to get software to run reliably across different computing environments and across a team of developers. This helps deliver solutions faster that are of higher quality and contain less bugs. There is also time savings from a software support perspective.

Wikipedia provides a good non-technical explanation of a container: 

“A container is any receptacle or enclosure for holding a product used in storage, packaging, and shipping. Things kept inside of a container are protected by being inside of its structure.” 

The same definition applies to containers in software. Sitecore defines a container as: 

“An executable unit of software in which code is packaged, along with its libraries and dependencies, in common ways so that it can be run anywhere–whether it be on a developers’ workstation, on-prem servers, or the cloud–and deployed easily and consistently, regardless of the target environment.” 

From a development perspective, this will allow developers to quickly get a Sitecore instance spun up to do development work. If a developer needs to support many clients or Sitecore sites, it will be much easier and quicker to get the Sitecore site running locally for development or bug fixes. This should lower development costs for short tasks and bug fixes.

Entire production environments can be hosted via containers. Scaling of environments based on containers is easier. Containers also allow moving environments easily. A production environment can be cloned to development for easier problem solving and bug fixing. 

Official Sitecore containers documentation

 

Command line interface 

For the first time, a command line interface was released in Sitecore 10. Sitecore’s command line interface is primarily a development or dev ops tool. Developers can enter commands and execute them against Sitecore to accomplish various tasks. The initial set of supported commands handle the movement and comparison of content tree items between different Sitecore instances. 

From a content management perspective, this makes it easier for a developer to compare and move content between 2 different environments. This could be used to move a subset of content from a production environment to a lower environment for testing. A QA team could use this technology to track test data they added to the site and then ensure it has been fully cleaned up. 

Official Sitecore command line interface documentation

 

New back-end user interface improvements for Horizon

Sitecore Horizon is Sitecore’s next generation of the Experience Editor and Content Editor with a data-first focus. It combines the best of both editors, providing a faster and more intuitive editing experience. Two editing tools make up Horizon, Pages and Content.   

Horizon Pages allows users to edit content and components within the context of the page, similar to the Experience Editor. It is very much a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor.  

  • Content that is visible on the page is editable.  
  • There is a field editor that allows editing fields that are not visible on the page.
  • The content tree is available for navigation within pages. Only items that have a presentation layer are visible within the Pages content tree. 
  • Preview is supported in pages. Preview allows one to simulate how the page would look on different dates and devices.
  • Page analytics are also available within Horizon Pages. 

Horizon Content allows managing content that does not have a presentation layer. This is similar to the Content editor within the back end of Sitecore; the full content tree is available within the Horizon user interface. 

Sitecore Experience Platform screenshotImage source: https://doc.sitecore.com/users/100/sitecore-experience-platform/en/horizon.html 

Sitecore-Horizon-Example-1-ScreenshotImage source: https://doc.sitecore.com/users/100/sitecore-experience-platform/en/add-a-component-to-a-page-in-horizon.html

Sitecore-Horizon-Example-2-Screenshot
Image source: https://doc.sitecore.com/users/100/sitecore-experience-platform/en/horizon-content.html

Although Horizon itself isn’t new to this release, Sitecore 10 brings additional improvements, including support for multisite and multilingual sites, and the ability to leverage your Content Hub DAM within the editor.

The Horizon editor is well on its way to becoming the future of editing content within Sitecore, once it gains full feature parity with the other editing options of Experience Editor and Content Editor. Horizon is a separate install and is not present in a standard Sitecore installation. If you would like to preview and use Horizon, it needs to be installed. 

Sitecore Horizon documentation

 

Additional GDPR features–PII anonymization and consent management

Sitecore 10 includes additional feature improvements to help companies more easily meet compliance and customer data privacy requirements, including the ability to anonymize personally identifiable data on Sitecore forms and redact submission values. There are now also new visitor consent management tools that enable you to require explicit consent before activity is tracked. 

Sitecore privacy guide (GDPR) documentation 

 

Sitecore XM (CMS-only mode) now includes basic personalization features

For Sitecore customers with the lower licensing tier Sitecore Experience Manager (Sitecore XM) license, sometimes referred to as the CMS-only mode, Sitecore 10 now allows you to run basic personalization features previously reserved for the Sitecore Experience Platform (Sitecore XP) license. This is a great feature enhancement if you have the Sitecore XM license and allows you to get more advanced marketing features out of your existing Sitecore investment. 

Here are the new Sitecore XM basic personalization features included in Sitecore 10: 

  • Personalization: You can implement some in-session personalization rules, such as ones based on device detection, to provide personalized content to your contacts. You cannot, however, implement any personalization rules that are based on historical data, such as outcomes or past goals triggered.
  • Device detection: The device database exists on the instance, and it is possible to use the API for custom development.
  • IP Geolocation detection: The IP Geolocation service can be enabled using the API, but personalization rules are not available.
  • Sitecore forms: runs without any analytics functionality.

Sitecore 10 personalization conditions documentation

Sitecore Experience Manager documentation 

 

Salesforce Connect for Salesforce Marketing Cloud real-time updates

For companies that rely on other marketing automation software to integrate with their Sitecore instance, Sitecore’s updates to the Sitecore Connect for Salesforce Marketing Cloud now has a tighter integration with Salesforce to provide real-time connections.  

This improves the speed at which a company’s marketing team can respond to activity from their customers or prospects by eliminating delays from nightly data loads. There are new capabilities to immediately send xDB data, which can trigger Salesforce Marketing Cloud plans. 

Official Sitecore Connect for Salesforce Marketing Cloud 5.0 downloads 

Sitecore Connect for Salesforce Marketing Cloud 5.0 documentation

 

Additional Sitecore headless framework support

Sitecore’s headless CMS support has been around since Sitecore 9.0. A headless CMS stores content separately from the code that drives the presentation. This means that the presentation layer (the front-end) can be hosted on a separate plaftorm from the CMS. The code that drives the presentation layer is no longer restricted by the technologies of the CMS.

From a marketing perspective, this allows for more creativity in front-end design, as the design is no longer limited to the technologies of the CMS. The boundaries of front-end design and interactivity can be pushed further. Performance of the front-end is also generally improved due to additional scalability options for headless architectures. 

Sitecore 10 brings additional framework support to its headless offering. It not only supports the most popular JavaScript frameworks, but now it supports ASP.NET Core. ASP.NET Core is the latest .NET technology from Microsoft that will allow teams to build applications faster on top of headless Sitecore. 

Sitecore headless development diagramImage source: https://doc.sitecore.com/developers/100/developer-tools/en/sitecore-headless-development-conceptual-overview.html

 

Easier content workflow from Microsoft Word

Sitecore 10 brings better support for pasting content from Microsoft Word into Sitecore’s rich text fields. This improvement allows content editors to better utilize Word to create content offline. The content pasted into rich text fields from Word is cleaned, the styling is removed and just the content is kept, preserving the overall styling of the webpage. 

Sitecore Microsoft Word paste content documentation

 

Additional Sitecore 10 resources

Another highlight of the release is the comprehensive documentation and supplemental material provided by Sitecore. There is more detail and quantity of resources than we have seen in past releases, which is a welcome change. Key downloads and documentation include: 

 

If you’re looking for additional guidance on Sitecore 10 and upgrading to this latest release, we can help. Contact us to learn more, and be sure to check out our Sitecore glossary, which breaks down all the popular Sitecore terms you should know. 

Ethel Crosby

As Director of Technology Operations and Offerings at One North, Ethel is responsible for the management and execution of leading digital technology solutions and product management, continuously identifying new strategic technology opportunities for One North and its clients. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Ethel once zip-lined, upside down, in a rain forest in Costa Rica.

Favorite movie quote: “With great power comes great responsibility.” – Spiderman

Favorite hobby: I love to cook. Delicious food makes everything better!

Mike Skutta

As an Architect within the Technology Labs group at One North, Mike works to research, test and integrate new technologies for both One North and its clients. He is also a Sitecore Technology MVP – a distinction received by only 217 people worldwide – and holds more than 14 years of experience architecting, designing, developing software and leading technology teams. Based in Florida, Mike is often seen wheeling around the office via our robot.

Favorite vending machine snack: Doritos

Most unusual job: Working as a Serf at Medieval Times

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