With Thanksgiving just a day away, it’s hard for me not to reflect upon all that I’m personally thankful for in my life. I’m most thankful for my awesome Son who just turned 1 last weekend, and my beautiful wife who is making a superb mother. I’m thankful that we all have our health, and that we live close enough to family and good friends to see them on a regular basis. I’m thankful not just for having a job, but that I have a job I truly enjoy. Part of that enjoyment comes from working with Sitecore, so I thought this would be a great time to list some of the features / concepts of Sitecore (both the software and the company) that I’m thankful for!
First, something that was said in the Keynote speech of this year’s Sitecore Symposium: Sitecore is focused on providing software that will help create lifetime customers for Sitecore’s clients (and in turn most likely making some lifetime customers of their own). To me, that should be the goal of every company, after all, if you can create lifetime customers, you are probably assured of a healthy long-term business venture. Yet, it seems like so many of today’s social, casual trends and fads are simply about making a large, short-term impact and then fading into oblivion. I’m thankful that Sitecore is working towards a long term goal, and I hope to remain an implementation partner right along with them for the foreseeable future.
I’m also thankful that Sitecore has been built in a manner that allows developers so much freedom when it comes to extending the base product. By being built on the .NET platform, nearly any developer with good .NET skills can learn Sitecore, understand it, and work to customizing it to their specific needs. “The sky is the limit” is probably a bit of a cliché at this point, yet it’s really an accurate statement when it comes to .NET. As I’ve written before, we’re often asked things like “Can Sitecore do [this] or [that]?”, and I don’t see that as the accurate phrasing of the question. Out of the Box Sitecore can certainly do a lot – and more features are being added all the time – but that doesn’t mean that what Out of the Box Sitecore can’t do isn’t possible. Whether it’s through Shared Source Modules that are freely available, inheriting and extending a Sitecore Pipeline to do some custom processing, or just creating completely new .NET classes, “Sitecore” can be made to do anything that can be done in .NET! That’s not even to start speaking of the technology partners of Sitecore that provide amazing software of their own – whether it’s TDS, or Brightcove or Kapow or Insite or Coveo or any of the other awesome offerings that are fully integrated into Sitecore. That’s an amazingly powerful weapon at the hands of competent developers – so yes, the sky is the limit when working with Sitecore.
Speaking of new features being added all the time – I’m thankful for the Device Simulators that Sitecore 6.6 has introduced. Testing mobile devices has always been an issue, whether it be the (lack of) availability of a particular device to do the testing on, or that you can’t connect to a local / firewalled dev site from your mobile device. With the new Device Simulators, Sitecore has taken those burdens away from the developer, so now it’s easy to test out specific devices on any environment, even without that physical device at your disposal! Another new feature I’m thankful about is the official support of MVC. To be honest though, I’m more experienced and comfortable as a web forms developer, so the part about MVC support that I’m most excited about is that Sitecore not only allows, but promotes a mixture of web forms / MVC development. Methodology should not only be up to the individual client / developer, but each page, control, widget should be allowed to be coded in the methodology that best fits it. Sitecore 6.6 allows this inherently, so sites built on the product can really be the most optimized they can be!
Finally, I’m thankful that all the Sitecore employees I’ve ever met are so friendly, knowledgeable and eager to help partners and clients alike. I’ve encountered a lot of employees from Sitecore, and I’ve been impressed by all them, whether they be official support, business / sales people (Peter F, Eric B, Steve S, Adam M, Michelle W to name a few), marketers (Kim M and Peter K especially) or developers and engineers (Derek R, Kevin B, Tim W). Their collective enthusiasm is definitely infectious, and I think they will be the major driving factor that allows Sitecore to achieve their goal of creating lifetime customers.
In conclusion, the above is just a small sampling of what I’m thankful for regarding Sitecore. There’s easily more things that could written about here – easy multi-device support, easy multi-language support, workflows and versioning, role-based security – you get the point! The truth is, it all boils down to one base point to me: I’m thankful for a bright future working with Sitecore! I hope the readers of this are as excited as I am – please feel free to comment on what you’re thankful for regarding Sitecore on this post too.