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Sitecore Symposium 2017: Sessions Review

Sitecore Symposium 2017 has come and gone. I’ve been able to get caught up on work and review my notes. So it’s time to share.
First of all, I want to thank and commend the Mirage for being such a great host. The staff was all very friendly and helpful. The conference area is spacious with plenty of rooms for all the sessions and enough chairs for all the attendees in each session. The food was great! Lots of variety and options that took into account different dietary needs. They had a great system for getting the 2900 attendees fed in an hour.
This was my first time attending Symposium, and I must say, it was a great experience! It is nice in our digital, online world to interact with our community face-to-face. There were so many breakout sessions, it was difficult to choose which to attend. I learned so much. I’ll by typing up my notes (yes, I still take notes on actual paper) and sharing them here over the next few weeks. But here is a quick overview of the sessions I attended.
What’s New In Azure? – This session showed off several of the new features recently added to Azure. The two that stood out for me were: the improved performance of Azure Search especially for Sitecore; Azure Cloud Shell which gives bash shell and Powershell access to virtual machines and lets you browse resources like a file system.
Getting Started: Commerce – This session showed the Sitecore Commerece tool, but also talked about the user journey of buying. Putting a “Buy Now” button (or multiple buttons on most websites), won’t actually increase your conversions. We need to leverage the capabilities of Sitecore such as analytics, user paths, history, and personalization to give the user the experience they want.
Implementing Sitecore on Azure at Incredible Scale – This session was very interesting. The team works for a popular makeup brand that maintains 1000 websites in 100 countries and 50 languages across 15 brands! They talked about how you actually manage that much infrastructure and content in Sitecore and Azure.
Deploying Sitecore to Microsoft Azure – This session demonstrated how to stand up a Sitecore instance in Azure using the Azure Marketplace, the Sitecore Azure Toolkit and Azure Powershell Commandlets.
Sizing Sitecore Deployments on Azure – This session gave details on the different costs associated with running a site in Azure and how one might optimize to reduce unnecessary spending.
The Brand New Sitecore Forms – This session was packed! Standing room only! The Sitecore team showed off the UI for the new Sitcore forms and talked about where they want to go in the future. Sitecore 9 will still support Web Forms For Marketers, but this new module is included by default.
Functional/Non-Functional Testing in Sitecore – This session was my favorite breakout session. It had a direct impact on my current project work. It showed the typical way in which code moves from the developer to integration to QA to production and how it was possible to end-up with a release branch that was unstable. They proposed an alternate solution where QA tests before a features moves to integration.

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Eric Sanner, Solutions Architect

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