Wow, what a great couple of days at Sitecore’s Dreamcore 2011 in Boston, where many great topics were discussed, new features were unveiled and great conversations were had.
As Deb alluded to in a previous post, Sitecore’s new Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) will take how you interact with your site visitors to a whole new level. There are some very exciting things on the horizon!
From a technical perspective, the new Digital Marketing System (DMS)( also known as OMS 2.0), made some vast improvements on how visitor information is tracked and logged to the analytics database. A new API has been developed, which will make DMS much more scalable by logging fewer fields to the database and by writing an aggregated session to the database as opposed to writing information throughout the visitor’s session. By incorporating this new model, robot traffic (which makes up upwards of 90% of all site traffic) will inherently be eliminated from getting written to the analytics database. Also by incorporating asynchronous database calls, the loss of visitor data will be minimized. Another great improvement comes on the reporting side. The reporting database is separate from the runtime analytics database; running reports will become much more efficient and timely.
Another unveiling came with the technical preview release of Sitecore 6.5. As you may be aware, Sitecore 6.4 made some great improvements with the consolidation of Page Editor and Page Designer into one interface and these improvements carried through to Sitecore 6.5 which make developers lives less hectic and will make using the design features more realistic. The current version of Sitecore now allows for content editors to add and remove controls from placeholders without breaking the underlying inherency of the standard values. By simply keeping track of presentation deltas, developers can continue to make global site presentation changes and not have to worry about going to the item specific level to also add these changes to pages that were modified using the page editor.
Improvements to the underlying page editor code was greatly improved in Sitecore 6.5 through the elimination of some of the wrappers around the rendered code, which make the page editor render more true. The addition of JQuery in no-conflict mode will allow for using JQuery as normal, and developers will not have to worry about prototype conflicts. A simple yet huge improvement comes with the ability to now manage your personalization settings from directly within the page editor. This will eliminate some of the confusion that content authors may have had when trying to implement personalized controls onto the site. Another fun yet very practical use of personalization was also discussed. Personalization can not only be used to personalize content based on user personas, but controls can be managed based on the device type coming to the site. By leveraging the built-in rules engine, developers can control which controls should be shown or hidden by simply assigning a rule to specific controls.
These were just a few of the many new and exciting features Sitecore unveiled over the past few days. Check back soon for additional posts covering some of these topics in more detail. It is great to see that Sitecore is a leader in the industry and continues to listen to their client’s needs and their partner channel feedback. Thank you to Sitecore for a successful Dreamcore 2011.