Each year, Sitecore Symposium delivers when it comes to big news for developers and marketers alike. This year in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center where more than 2,100 people gathered was no different.
Sitecore’s products are now split into three different clouds: Content Cloud, Engagement Cloud, and Commerce Cloud. In this blog, three of Sitecore’s developer advocates that are responsible for each of those clouds highlight their favorite developer-focused announcements.
Content Cloud highlights
Sitecore is extending the composable stack with great new products. XM Cloud, the new SaaS Enterprise Headless Content Management System, was announced earlier this year in July and is now generally available. That means no hosting efforts for customers and partners, as well as automatic updates of XM Cloud. Yes, no more upgrades!
It allows WYSIWYG editing and embedded personalization using the new “Sitecore Pages” Editor. Marketers can build their own content blocks using “Sitecore Components” and Sites can be created and managed using “Sitecore Sites”.
But XM Cloud is more than that. It provides build and deployment tooling using the “Deploy App” or the Sitecore CLI Cloud plugin. The CLI plugin is especially helpful when the out-of-the-box build and deploy tools do not meet your requirements yet (as showcased by Rob Earlam), even though XM Cloud gets new features every day. Along with that, XM Cloud delivers content fast and headlessly through the GraphQL Edge Endpoint to multiple channels. During a Sitecore Symposium 2022 breakout session, GE Healthcare proved that XM Cloud is enterprise-ready.
With the announcement of Content Hub ONE, Sitecore is additionally offering a headless CMS in its pure meaning. Content modeling and content creation are delivered headlessly through the GraphQL Endpoint of Edge, a geographically distributed CDN. This allows omnichannel delivery of content. Content Hub ONE is now in the Early Access phase and will be generally available toward the end of this year.
Sitecore Search is the new product offering that extends XM Cloud with content search capabilities. Therefore, it’s actually crawling the dedicated website for content to be indexed. Offering search-related components like a search box with an AI-driven “search as you type” feature, it provides search results that you can directly embed to your website. APIs allow you to connect to Sitecore Search and enrich your experiences.
Sebastian Winter (@lovesitecore)
Developer Advocate, Sitecore
Engagement Cloud highlights
For Engagement Cloud, the two large announcements were the general availability release of XM Cloud, which includes a thin layer of personalization. This is an exciting combination for Sitecore customers that are either currently using Sitecore XP only for personalization purposes, or for companies looking to take a slow step-up approach to personalization. There was also a release of the new Sitecore CDP SDK for XM Cloud (available on NPM: www.npmjs.com/package/@sitecore/engage). This SDK, paired with JSS, will allow you to personalize and track analytics data on your website using XM Cloud.
The second big announcement for Engagement Cloud is the introduction of Sitecore Connect, which allows customers using any of the products in the Sitecore ecosystem to connect those products with third-party systems. This previously would have been handled with custom implementations. Eventually, developers will be able to use this product to create their own custom recipes/connectors for their customers.
Dylan Young (@dylanyoung_dev)
Developer Advocate, Sitecore
Commerce Cloud highlights
While the Content and Engagement Clouds made a big splash at Symposium, there were also lots of developer announcements for the Commerce Cloud products as well.
The biggest of those was the unveiling of Project Affinity. This highlighted our intention to expand Sitecore OrderCloud, making it a much broader platform, moving from targeting primarily B2B implementations to being better aligned for B2C implementations as well. This is going to be achieved by leveraging the IP we have in Sitecore Discover and embedding it directly into OrderCloud.
As Sitecore Chief Product Officer Dave O'Flanagan stated in his keynote, this isn’t a link between the products – we’re going to directly enhance the OrderCloud features themselves. This will give us some key benefits from where OrderCloud is today. It will allow us to embed Analytics and AI natively within OrderCloud, and it will enable us to build a new out-of-the-box Administration interface also based on the Discover back-end.
That isn’t all though. The plans of Project Affinity are much broader than that. Another key feature is the plan to develop a Storefront Builder leveraging all the new tooling released with XM Cloud. This would give developers a suite of commerce components provided natively that can be used to build out pages using the new editing interfaces, whilst also giving them the ability to build their own customer-specific components.
A couple of other key developer focused announcements were included in Sitecore VP of Commerce Jake Hookom’s Commerce Cloud roadmap session. Here we highlighted some new Developer Experience items that are available for developers working with OrderCloud today.
First up is OrderCloud Catalyst, which is an extensible .NET-based integration library for OC. It includes examples showing how to integrate with Payment, Shipping & Tax providers. This has been available for a while, but it was announced that there will be a beta release of a JS-based version of the same libraries for users who want to use Node to build out their middleware instead.
There are also new items for Sitecore Discover as well. There is a brand-new Discover JS SDK, which provides access to the Discover API. This gives simple access to things like the user’s context and includes a set of out-of-the-box widgets to get you started.
Finally, there is also an entirely new set of developer-focused documentation for Sitecore Discover designed to get you up and running quicker than ever. You can access that here: doc.sitecore.com/discover/en/developers/discover-developer-guide/index-en.html
Rob Earlam (@RobEarlam)
Senior Developer Advocate, Sitecore