Sitecore 10
Software Development

Why upgrade to Sitecore 10

More Improvements to Horizon

Horizon is the next-generation editor in Sitecore Experience Platform. Horizon includes the following features:

  • The page editor, which you use to create and edit web pages. As you edit a page, you can see how it will appear on different devices.
  • Simulator mode, which you use to preview web pages as they will appear on different dates and on different devices.
  • Insights view, which you use to see analytics for your web pages.
  • Horizon integrates with Content Hub, a platform for managing content operations. Such integration opens new opportunities for marketing specialists, including personalization and the usage of intelligent technologies such as AI and ML.

The platform has been the improved Horizon editing experience, a potential long-term successor to the Experience Editor which is arguably entering its twilight years.

Sitecore first introduced Horizon in version 9.3, and it went through some improvements in 10.0. As expected, 10.1 brings further tweaks, including the ability to:

  • Search for content and media items.
  • Edit link fields, number fields, checklists and drop-down menus.
  • Create and edit data source items.
  • Publish sub-items associated with a parent item.
Horizon Editor

A – The left-hand pane displays the content tree. In Content, the content tree contains all content items for the current site. In Pages, the content tree contains the pages for the current site. When you create items in the content tree or add renderings to a page, the left-hand pane displays a panel specific to the current task.

B – When you select a page or item in the content tree, it is displayed in the content area in the middle of the editor.

C – The right-hand pane contains information about the selected item. This can be an item in the content tree, or it can be a field, rendering or placeholder. You use the right-hand pane to carry out actions such as changing the workflow status of an item or applying formatting to rich text fields.

More Power to Sitecore Forms

Sitecore has undergone major improvements to Sitecore forms over the last couple of releases. In Sitecore 10.1 fills some substantial gaps, such as making it much easier to send an email message when a form is submitted. There are also improvements for front-end developers who can now create lists of CSS class options and link them to different elements of a form with auto-complete enabled, reducing the manual effort previously required. This will help better stylings on Sitecore forms and a more consistent approach, thus making the use of Sitecore Forms an attractive option for marketers.

Sitecore 10.1 has come up with custom validation options to make it easier to validate different fields.

Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) Reporting and Management

Sitecore has some major performance issues in Sitecore xDB reporting. Personalization, digital marketing and analytics all involve large amounts of data, prompting occasional performance challenges etc. Sitecore 10.1 helps to minimize the risk of performance issues and gives more control over their data through:

  • Merging standard reporting and content management roles, meaning you don’t need as powerful hardware for Sitecore xDB to run at its optimum level.
  • Making improvements to data encryption.
  • Providing a tool that allows you to clean your analytical data and purge data sets that you don’t need anymore, saving space.

Streamlining Development Processes (Command Line Interface (CLI) for Serialization)

Over recent releases, Sitecore has really taken notice of developer needs and provided support to the various tools they already use.

Sitecore 10 introduces the Command Line Interface (CLI), which opens new capabilities in terms of interacting with Sitecore instances. CLI provides a simplified headless approach for serialization, bringing together the best features of its antecedents, TDS and Unicorn.
Now, you can publish and serialize content items from the command line and synchronize all changes automatically.

More Flexibility for HTML Caching

Another new feature in Sitecore 10.1 allows for more flexibility over HTML caching, an area that has been awaiting improvement for a while. Sitecore admins now have much more granular control over caching policies and how the cache is cleared, right down to the page and component level. Previously there was a ‘one-size fits all’ policy that meant you sometimes had to choose to switch caching off for a whole page. The added flexibility of 10.1 means you can control caching to optimize the experience on every page.

Enhancements to the Email Experience Manager

The Sitecore Email Experience Manager (EXM) also gets a bit of TLC with a small round of improvements. Here, more controls to stop pointless retries of email sends, better support for emails in languages that aren’t currently in the default set supported by Sitecore and new email templates will make a difference across specific use cases.

Value-Adds for the Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA)

The Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) is a framework that comes with a set of components to help you build out your entire site. Companies investing in SXA will welcome features in 10.1 which really add value. In the new release, you can set themes at the component level and establish a template for a series of pages with branching. This latter feature will allow companies to use a template to deliver compelling microsites at short notice. Other improvements include the ability to utilize the Horizon editor on SXA sites, and use HTML to render assets that are not hosted on Sitecore onto a page. 

Tighter Integrations for Sitecore Marketing and Personalisation Professionals

Content Hub

As enterprise organizations grapple with the copious amounts of content assets to manage and increase the use of DAMs, Sitecore 10 moves the dial to improve its Content Hub integrations so you can manage more of your content in “the hub” for better cross-channel and cross-functional team collaboration.

Salesforce

Salesforce – WikipediaSitecore 10 allows for real-time synchronization with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and marketing automation tools enable you to share data of your customer interactions across channels. Synchronized data between the platforms means you can respond to your customer’s needs in real-time and help them move along in their customer journeys.

Content Management in Sitecore

Sitecore 10 has good news!!! The pain of pasting in MS Word content is no longer with the Sitecore 10 upgrade. Content management in Sitecore through its Rich Text Editor is smarter and automatically cleans-up your cut and paste job to leave you with clean, unencumbered content!

Sitecore Experience Analytics

Sitecore improved filtering of Sitecore reports show how segments, content, marketing campaigns, and personalisation are performing. Through Sitecore’s new Audience Filtering capability, you can quickly sort through email segments of users.

Out-of-the-box filtering gives you the power to pull reports that tell you what you need to know to keep your content performing well, as well as identify what content needs a little (or a lot) of TLC (tender loving changes).

Core Headless Experience with ASP.NET Core

Sitecore already supports on the open-source framework ASP.NET Core in some features, such as the publishing service, Sitecore Identity Server, or Sitecore Commerce, but most components depend on the .NET Framework. In Sitecore 10 release, the platform has extended the usage of ASP.NET Core by developing a JSS-based SDK for headless services.

ASP.NET Core is a robust framework that provides powerful and fast performance. Sitecore supports the latest version, .NET Core 3.1.

A headless development approach with .NET Core technology ensures flexibility, omnichannel experience and time-efficiency.
Businesses can get cloud-based cross-platform applications for Windows, macOS and Linux, so they’ll spend less time and money on the adoption.

Support Docker deployment

Using Docker technology, developers can ‘box’ software in containers, making it easier to create/start new instances.  Docker and Kubernetes technology runs the software containers.  This helps developers to easily run vast quantities of Sitecore copies, to run Sitecore production instances and to efficiently test load balancing. There are three deployment options available: Self-managed cloud deployment, Managed cloud deployment and On premises deployment.

Improved Data Privacy (GDPR Compliant)

Some Sitecore 10 updates concern data privacy, which is crucial for many clients. Thus, the process of data collection via Sitecore Forms has become more compliant with GDPR.
The update in Sitecore Forms simplifies the removal and anonymization of personal data while saving the ability for marketing teams to see anonymized reports.
Another update brings new consent management tools. Using these tools, marketers can customize consent requirements for different sites.

New Rules for Marketing Automation

The Marketing Automation tool has redefined rules, which has improved its usability. Moreover, it’s also added new rules focusing on customer birthdays.

Marketing teams can create marketing scenarios around your contacts’ birthdays, e.g. send greetings and offer discounts.

There were also enhancements for more efficient interaction with xConnect.

MongoDB is no longer there

MongoDB providers for session and collection are removed in Sitecore 10.1. We need to migrate data to SQL using XDB Migration tool from Mongo DB.

Conclusion

Here’s a few thoughts for those considering the upgrade.

  • If you are already on version 10.0, then the upgrade process is likely a low-impact one.
  • If you are feeling risk to move to Sitecore 10, now is your time to act. Version 10 is now past the initial shakedown, and you can move forward with confidence.
  • If your website has a lot of work with Sitecore Forms, manages huge xDB data, use ECM or SXA, I think your team ca get a lot in this release.
  • If it has been several years since last upgrade, you must seriously consider this update.
  • And finally, Sitecore 10.1 introduces a much-streamlined upgrade process. Previously it was a painful process to do Sitecore upgrades, but the new process will make future upgrades from 10.1 much simpler.

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