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Sitecore community: news from SUGCON 2017

Sitecore community: news from SUGCON 2017

Kagoolies share news from SUGCON 2017 and what it means for the Sitecore community

The team here at Kagool are buzzing with enthusiasm. After two days exploring the Sitecore community at SUGCON 2017 in Amsterdam, we’ve got loads to share. Our intrepid reporters; Dave Moore, Matt Neil, Martin Davies and Ian Graham have collected their thoughts into this consumable mini-series of blogs.

We’ll discuss the themes and highlights of the event. Plus, what we learnt about the current platform, Sitecore vNext and the future. There were some real showstopper moments. So, we hope you share our excitement about the platform and the direction it’s headed.

User Groups

If you’re unfamiliar with SUGCON, it’s the annual get together for the Sitecore developer community. The great and the good from the Sitecore community assemble to share success stories and ideas about the capabilities of the platform. While Symposium showcases the potential of Sitecore, SUGCON is where we look what’s already being achieved.

One of the main reasons for Sitecore’s success is the strength of its developer community. The MVP (Most Valued Professional) program recognises developers who contribute to the knowledge base and feature set of the platform. We’re proud to have two current Sitecore MVP’s and a total of four who’ve achieved the status with Kagool.

SUGCON is a celebration of the strength of the community. The presentations are provided by the community and the Sitecore product team. This year there were over 35 different talks, including demos using robots and augmented reality headsets.

Themes

Looking at the schedule we were like kids in a sweet shop. There were four simultaneous sessions that we had to divvy between us. Luckily, we were able to cover them all. The breadth of topics was impressive. But even so, we picked out a few key themes:

  • Sitecore Cloud – Azure and PaaS
  • HELIX – the art of Sitecore Development
  • SXA & Commerce – game changing Sitecore modules
  • Headless Sitecore – omni-channel and the future

Sitecore in the cloud

Running Sitecore on Azure is nothing new. It’s been possible to spin up virtual servers and networks on Azure and run Sitecore, pretty much since day one. Some features, like xDB, have even been available as a service since the release of Sitecore 8. But as of 8.2.1, the game has changed.

We heard how Microsoft and Sitecore are working together to add dedicated Sitecore functionality to the Azure core platform. It’s now possible to spin up entire Sitecore production setup from the Azure portal, without a developer in sight! *

When we throw ARM templates (bits of code that do the above) into the mix, we have a truly configurable setup that’s very easy to maintain. The next post will go into a little more detail. But it’s safe to say we’re excited by Sitecore on Azure and happy to be using it for our clients.

*We definitely don’t recommend doing this without the help of a properly trained and accredited Sitecore developer. Fortunately, we have loads of them so if you’d like help, get in touch.

Helix

Building good Sitecore sites is hard. Not because the platform is difficult to work with, but because it’s so powerful. Its amazing flexibility has a downside: It can be built so many different ways. Building a Sitecore platform that’ll stand up to the demands of a rapidly evolving digital landscape requires solid foundations and strict adherence to best practice.

Fortunately, Sitecore have made this easier by publishing a living recommended practice guide called HELIX. One level of abstraction higher than a user manual, it’s a set of architectural and coding design principles specific to Sitecore.

HELIX is influenced by legends of the development community like “Uncle Bob Martin” and so are we. We’ve been designing our solutions to be component-oriented with clear direction of dependency for years. And we love that the community shares our enthusiasm. We saw some great talks on building the HELIX way and its influence in all Sitecore’s core features.

New Modules

We love shiny new things. SXA and Commerce were the two main attractions on show at SUGCON. And we can’t wait to get working with them. We’ll go into a little more detail on what was presented in an upcoming blog post.

The Future

Us developers like to show off and play with the latest technologies. Some of the demonstrations on show at SUGCON were mind blowing – even if the demo gods were a little unkind.

We saw a robot use facial recognition and language interpretation to personalise responses to questions. We saw a spoof Netflix give recommendations to a user based on the facial expression of their profile photo. We got a glimpse at some of the capabilities of Sitecore as a headless CMS, personalising content and integrating with IoT devices like Holo Lenses, Alexa, Machine Learning and AI. It was truly impressive and left us buzzing with ideas.

So now that we’re finally down to earth, we can get on with putting this into practice. Be sure to check out the next post coming soon where we’ll look in more detail at the talks concerning Sitecore 8.

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