The Danish Sitecore partner conference 2013 was held yesterday in Copenhagen at Kosmopol, Oxygen Software sent a team of three “wise men” to follow the sessions. It was split into a business track and a technical track. This will be a short telling of what were presented.
1. Session – Keynote by Lars F. Nielsen
The first session was by none other than Lars F. Nielsen. The keynote was on the future of the platform, and what to expect. Lars talked a lot about what Sitecore is thinking will be important for the future, and how to solve those problems using the platform. One of the most exciting things to look at was the roadmap for Sitecore. Two things I found very interesting for the CEP(CMS+DMS) platform was;
Sitecore 7.1 and SPEAK
- SPEAK will replace SheerUI as a framework for developing internal Sitecore application. In the past you had to use SheerUI, which is a XAML based markup language, to implement a custom application in Sitecore. The idea is by itself great, but it got too complicated, as you will get no support in Visual Studio, and the documentation is also lagging.
- Also most Sitecore developers are web developers, which means that they aren’t familiar with the XAML conventions.
- SPEAK will be a HTML5 based framework, this is great as Sitecore developers will be able to pick it up just as an extension to their existing ASP.NET and HTML5 skills.
Next version of Sitecore. Unfortunately, there were no pointers at what this release will focus on. Sitecore choose to call it .NEXT, trying to make it similar to Microsoft and their vNext
On the other platforms that Lars was showing roadmaps for where “Social and Mobile”, where Sitecore will be developing standard controls that integrates into iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 SDK’s. This should mean that developing native apps on the tree biggest mobile platforms would be made easy. “Adaptive Print Studio” will be giving an even better integration to InDesign, and the interfaces will be rewritten in SPEAK.
In “Foundry and SIP” are two that I’m looking much forward to, SIP 4.1 which will be Sitecore 7.1 based, is planned for Q4 2013, and SIP Employee Engagement in Q1 2014, which will bring the DMS to SIP. In my current work, we are implementing many SIP installations, and we have until now not integrated the DMS. I hope that this release will open op for some cool integrations.
As always, the roadmap was what is in their plans now, and marked with a disclaimer that stuff might not go as planned :-)
2. Session – Sitecore 7, by Tim Ward
Tim Ward was at the conference telling about Sitecore 7 and the searching possibilities. I thought this would be a boring session, as we have heard about Sitecore 7 search a million times.
Tim surprised us. His session was based on a demo, where he starts by saying, “I’ll show you how to build Amazon.com on Sitecore 7”. This was a bald statement, but by going through the search capabilities in Sitecore 7, you ended up believing that it could be possible. In addition, the session was focused on SOLR as your indexer. The thing about SOLR is that it can be scaled across multiple SOLR instances, making it very effective for huge indexes.
He also talked a bit about different indexes for different purposes, i.e. in memory indexes, small indexes with few fields and large indexes with more fields.
I would like to give Tim a big applause for being to take something as boring and technical as SOLR and indexes, and actually making an existing presentation of it.
3. Session – Sitecore Experience Explorer
This session went a little over my head, but in short, Sitecore is releasing a tool that will make it easy for you as a developer to simulate different personas on you website. The tool will enable you to change score in different areas, and edit the goals the current user has reached.
The tool looks like a must have for marketers, that are trying to utilize the DMS to its fullest.
4. Session – Email Campaign Manager v. 2.1, by Abdullah, Product Manager of ECM
I went to this session thinking that ECM was just a newsletter system. I found that it is MUCH more. It’s the seamless integration to the DMS, giving you a chance to reach back to the customers that has visited your site.
The ECM will give you analytics data on your visitors, but also on the emails you sent, where it’s able to track reading of emails, but also if you clicked a link in the email, and if your click actually ended up in a deal being made. It is also giving you the possibility to do A/B testing on mails, seeing which will generate more profit over another. It looks very powerful, but I don’t think I would recommend it, if all you need were a simple newsletter module, to send some simple mails to your customers. You really need the DMS installed to get the full power of the ECM.
5. Session – uCommerce for Sitecore, by Søren Spelling Lund, founder of uCommerce
The 5th session this day was done by uCommerce. uCommerce is known for its present in other CMS’s like Umbraco. What it essential does is integrating into Sitecore, so that you can manage your shop, almost just like you would manage normal items in Sitecore.
This e-commerce platform is one of the best examples I’ve seen yet, for implementing e-commerce into Sitecore. Many other integrations will utilize an iframe that just shows their product inside Sitecore, or not let you into Sitecore at all.
One of the coolest features is that everything is module based, and can be changed. This means that if you don’t like the default way of calculating VAT or prices, you can simply write you own implementation.
The module looks very interesting, and I would love to try to implement it in the future, if we get a new e-commerce customer. Also, Sitecore is prepping their e-commerce platform v. 2, where they are redoing their existing module, to make it “usable”. This could be a big contender with modules like uCommerce, this will be exiting to follow, which will be better.
That’s it, the conference was held at Kosmopol in Copenhagen, which had a cool place for presenting with great sound and a nice big screen, so no one missed the slides/live demos.
Thanks Sitecore for a great conference.