What a fantastic week! Sitecore Symposium was this week. There were a lot of announcements about what is coming to Sitecore in the near future. Sitecore 9.3’s release is imminent. This blog post is about what has me the most excited for this release and beyond.
There are three major Sitecore development approaches with Sitecore 9.3: traditional custom Sitecore solutions built on .NET MVC, Sitecore SXA solutions, and Sitecore JSS solutions. So what’s changing in these approaches?
Sitecore .NET MVC Solution Updates
With regards to custom Sitecore solutions build on .NET MVC, obsolete functionality will be stripped out. This means Sitecore 9.3 will be completely devoid of Lucene as a valid search provider. Bring on the Azure Search search provider! The Sitecore.NVelocity package will be removed as well. Experience Editor will have some Quality of Life improvements such as having the Navigation and Control bars enabled by default. There will be a new Page Mode called IsExploring that developers can tap into to customize that experience. Also, xConnect will come with session expiration batching support. Along with those more specific changes, there will be reporting and performance improvements.
Sitecore SXA Solution Updates
Sitecore JSS Solution Updates
For Sitecore JSS solutions, developers will be able to develop and live-debug their JSS App on a Mac by connecting to a remote Sitecore server. A big win for developers working on a Mac!
Use any approach or a combination of approaches to suit your business needs
Before moving forward with other improvements to Sitecore, I would like to make a quick note about the major Sitecore development approaches. Your business is not forced to work in a single approach once you have made one solution in a given approach. You can have a public-facing site built on traditional .NET MVC, a separate multi-site tenant built on SXA, and a JSS app altogether to suit your various needs.
Sitecore Installation Assistant
As we know, Sitecore can sometimes be difficult to set up in your local environment especially for developers new to the platform. Sitecore 9.3 will come equipped with SIA, Sitecore Installation Assistant. It’s a simple GUI that allows you to enter various parameters like the name of your site, SQL admin credentials, the port for Solr to use, etc. After entering all the various info, SIA will setup Sitecore for you.
Horizon – Improving the Content Author Experience
Other major enhancements will be coming to the Content Author experience next year with Horizon. However, Horizon will not be a part of the initial Sitecore 9.3 release. The Experience Editor is a very slow and cumbersome experience at times. It can take a long time to load a page, add new components, and save your changes. Though Experience Editor will still be usable once Horizon releases, I would push Content Authors to use Horizon over Experience Editor based on what I saw. Horizon is essentially the “new” Experience Editor. The page editing interface is much cleaner than the Experience Editor’s interface. Horizon will also come with auto-save capabilities that will save the page for you after changing any piece of content on the page.
What’s more, it will also come equipped with “undo” and “redo” buttons. The feature that Horizon will have that has me most excited is the ability to simulate a phone, tablet, or desktop on any particular date. For example, if you want to see what a special announcement banner will look like on your site on Black Friday on a tablet, you can simulate the page on that date before Black Friday arrives. On top of all of these awesome features, it is very easy for developers to create extensions that will provide Content Authors with customized abilities in Horizon.
Overall, Sitecore Symposium was jam-packed with lots of valuable information this year. I am excited about what’s coming to Sitecore in the coming year, and I am looking forward to attending Sitecore Symposium again next year!