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[C2I] Countdown to Ignition Day 6 – Helix, Habitat and SXA

I’m @stephentynes, the Sitecore Practice Director here at Perficient.  I get the joy of closing out this very cool blog series called [C2I] Countdown to Ignition.  You’ve heard from many of the minds involved in the creation of the Ignition framework including Jon, George, Corey and Chris as well as getting the marketer’s perspective from Rick.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the series as much as I have.
While it’s always interesting to read about the point of view that another organization has, one of the things that’s always on our minds is, how does that vision align with Sitecore’s vision?  And in the past couple of weeks, with the release of Sitecore 8.2, you’ve probably heard a lot about things like Helix, Habitat and SXA.  While I think a lot of people are still digesting exactly what those things are and how they can be used, we’ve been looking at them for a while as part of our MVP-only advance release of Sitecore 8.2.  And we’ve tried to make sure that Ignition is a well mannered framework that plays well with others and aligns well to the bold vision that Sitecore puts out there with the new release.

What about Helix, Habitat and SXA? Is Ignition competing with those???

Well, the short answer is no.  Not at all.  But before answering the question, let’s make sure we all understand what some of these newer items are.  Helix is a collection of design principles and conventions that Sitecore is now advocating as a starter set of best practices.  Habitat is starter set of code – templates and layouts – designed to aid in the rapid creation of websites.  Habitat is built on the principles outlined in Helix but is not necessarily intended to enforce these best practices.  It’s just an example of how they may be used.  Habitat can give you a great start for building a demo website or perhaps a small campaign landing page to be used for a short time but likely isn’t something you’re going to build your new website on.  That’s just not what it’s designed to be.
And last but not least, SXA or Sitecore Experience Accelerator, is a set of toolings and processes to allow the rapid creation of websites by increasing the amount of work that can be done in parallel. Historically visual design was started and development didn’t start until those activities were nearing completion.  SXA uses Sitecore’s separation of presentation and content that allows the creation of data templates, an information architecture, and essentially the building of a skeleton website to be done while visual design is still in process.  Once the visual design is completed, it can then be used to complete the visual renderings.  Additionally, the SXA process supports the proper structuring of content so that personalization and other features can be easily applied to the completed website.
So, back to that question.  Does Ignition seek to complete with Helix, Habitat and SXA?  No.  Not at all.  Our expectation is that many developers will choose to use both Helix and Ignition as both are design principles and best practices conventions.  And Habitat and SXA can be stacked on top of either and both seamlessly.  So while Ignition provides some tools to help developers enhance their productivity in things like the Experience Editor, Ignition is NOT an Experience Accelerator. It is a development accelerator. We keep Ignition focused on the areas we believe we do very well and let other smart people do what they do best! Ignition doesn’t lock you into any specific approach, it just enables you to do things well. You can easily take what you want and ignore what you don’t unlike a lot of other products. So, Ignition won’t get in the way of getting things done no matter how you approach things or what tools you use!
It is advantageous to use Ignition even with these and other tools simply because what we provide is simple to use, very easy to learn, and easy to extend and maintain. Sure, you can bake a cake from scratch, but a cake mix will taste every bit as good and save you a LOT of time! You’re likely to make use of many of the same tools we’ve compiled as part of Ignition and will likely find things we’ve created are just as useful!

Meet the Ignition Team

If you’re in New Orleans this week for #SitecoreSYM, please stop by booth #217 in the Partner Pavilion on Thursday and Friday. Talk to the team that built Ignition and learn more about how your team can have a best-practice head start with the Ignition Framework. We’re also giving away some cool stuff and holding a raffle; be sure to stop by!
George Chang (@sitecoregeorge) from the Ignition team will be speaking at Symposium with Tim McCarthy on Friday, don’t miss the session!
Sitecore DevOps Goodness on Azure: Visual Studio Team Services
Speakers: George Chang and Tim McCarthy
Friday, September 16, 2016
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

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Stephen Tynes, Principal, Microsoft CX Platforms

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