What’s new in Sitecore 9.1: Experience Platform

This post is part of the What’s new in Sitecore 9.1 series, Sitecore 9.1 has a lot of exciting innovation and value that will help our customers get to market faster, and ongoing refinements and enhancements to existing functionality.

In previous posted we focused on the What’s new in Sitecore 9.1 Content Management. In this post we will look at all the marketing innovations, features and enhancements within the Experience Platform. Before we dive in I want to provide context around Sitecore, this will help to understand the unique opportunity we have with Sitecore.

Starting with some history, as we all know Sitecore originally was a Content Management System. Being well known of the central hub for serving all the managed and integrated content. Over the years Sitecore evolved from web and to additional channels; including email, mobile and any other marketing channel.

The main driver was the introduction the Online Marketing Suite back in 2009. One of the first Experience Marketing solutions in the industry. Now Sitecore is a full Experience Marketing platform and the Sitecore Experience Cloud allows customers to personalize both online and offline experiences while capturing all the data; including all interactions, conversions, test results, patterns and basically any user information online and offline.

Now the great thing about Sitecore is that it’s all one native platform, both CMS and the Experience Platforms are closely tight together, it’s a truly unified platform.

Sitecore’s unified platform is one of the reasons why Sitecore is loved by developers and marketers.

The true power of Sitecore is in combining the analytics data with the content.  The platform provides you with the opportunity to create relevant personalized experiences in real-time.

Sitecore Content and Analytics

Continue reading “What’s new in Sitecore 9.1: Experience Platform”

What’s new in Sitecore 9.1: Content Management

During Sitecore Symposium I presented the Overview of 9.1 together with Mark Groves, Senior Director Product Management. This blogpost will cover the highlights of Sitecore 9.1 Experience Management (XM).

As addressed in the first blogpost of the What’s new in Sitecore 9.1 series, Sitecore 9.1 has a lot of exciting innovation and value that will help our customers get to market faster, and ongoing refinements and enhancements to existing functionality.

The most important headlines for Sitecore 9.1 Content management are; Headless, Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SxA), platform enhancements and the new UI – Horizon.

Continue reading “What’s new in Sitecore 9.1: Content Management”

What’s new in Sitecore 9.1: a technical overview

I just returned home from a great Sitecore Symposium and an MVP summit. I had the honors to present the Overview of 9.1 together with Mark Groves, Senior Director Product Management. During the days that followed I received a lot of requests to share the deck and the details. To address these questions I started a blog series on our 9.1 release.

So, version 9.1 has a lot of exciting innovation and value that will help our customers get to market faster, and also ongoing refinements and enhancements to existing functionality.

sitecore 9 focus areas

Continue reading “What’s new in Sitecore 9.1: a technical overview”

The first Sitecore User Group Conference in India

Sitecore’s first major User Group conference in Asia, was held in Bangalore, India, on May 16-17 2018. Originally the event was intended to accommodate 150 people, but interest exceeded expectations and the event reached more than 200 attendees.

Before the event we hosted a v9 Developer Certifications standalone exam. SUGCON India 2018 consisted of 18 sessions, put together by both Sitecore staff and elite community members, with Cloud and Commerce receiving the most emphasis. Continue reading “The first Sitecore User Group Conference in India”

Five reasons why Microsoft Azure Web Apps and Sitecore are a match made in heaven

Why Sitecore and Azure

As you probably know by now, the release of Sitecore 8.2 update 1 included full Sitecore Azure Web Apps support. I, along with the entire Sitecore community, am very excited about this release.

This release provides a number of benefits for all Sitecore developers, partners, and customers. Here are my top five reasons why Azure Web Apps and Sitecore together are a very good match. Continue reading “Five reasons why Microsoft Azure Web Apps and Sitecore are a match made in heaven”

Want to help your business user? Create a custom Macro

When talking to business users (people that actually work with Sitecore on a day to day base) I created a small list of minor custom changes that would help the business users with there day to day work.

One of the items on this list is the condition for User Profile fields, by default the input of this field is a manual typed String. Which is a painful process for the business user They are not sure of the fieldname and go to the usermanager to verify the name. And even when they know the fieldname they surely can make a typo. After all even a business user is just human.

Typo and human errors

So after a small thought I started coding. My solution for this problem is simple. Create  a custom Macro with a tree selection and return the item name! Let’s do this!

Create the custom Macro class

Open VS, and create a class called UserProfileFieldMacro that inherits from the IRuleMacro class.

Override the Execute method, in this method we need to define the custom Macro. Please read the code comments for explanation.

The UserProfileFieldMacro class has the following code


public class UserProfileFieldMacro : IRuleMacro
{
    public UserProfileFieldMacro() { }

    public void Execute(XElement element, string name, UrlString parameters, string value)
    {
        Database coreDatabase = Sitecore.Configuration.Factory.GetDatabase("core");

        //Define default path to profile template
        string profilePath = "/sitecore/templates/System/Security/User";

        //Check if custom path is set in Macro parameters
        if (parameters.HasPath)
            profilePath = parameters.Path;

        Item userProfileRootItem = coreDatabase.GetItem(profilePath);

        //The path isn't correct, we want to log this error and send the user to the system administrator
        if (userProfileRootItem == null)
        {
            string error = string.Format("The path ({0}) set in the user profile field condition doesn't exist", profilePath);
            Sitecore.Diagnostics.Log.Error(error, this);
            SheerResponse.ShowError(error + "  Please contact your system administrator", string.Empty);
            return;
        }

        SelectItemOptions options = new SelectItemOptions();

        //Set and hide the root of the tree in the dialog window
        options.Root = userProfileRootItem;
        options.ShowRoot = false;

        //User can only select Templatefields
        options.IncludeTemplatesForSelection = new List { TemplateManager.GetTemplate(TemplateIDs.TemplateField, coreDatabase) };

        //Return the item name to the public property
        options.ResultType = SelectItemOptions.DialogResultType.Name;

        //Set dialog window info
        options.Title = "Select User profile field";
        options.Text = "Select the user profile field to use in this rule.";
        options.Icon = "applications/32x32/media_stop.png";

        //Trigger the dialog window
        SheerResponse.ShowModalDialog(options.ToUrlString().ToString(), true);
    }
}

Compile your code.

Create the Items in Sitecore

Login to Sitecore and open the content editor.

Create the macro item

Go to  the /sitecore/system/Settings/Rules/Common/Macros folder and create a new Macro item called UserProfileFieldMacro. Set the Type field to match your custom Macro class and assembly.

image

Create the condition item

Go to the /sitecore/system/Settings/Rules/Common/Conditions/Security folder and duplicate the User Profile Condition Item, name the duplicated itemUser Profile Field Selection Condition.

Now we need to change the Text field so it will use the custom create Macro instead of the default string input. Go to the Text field, I highlighted the part that we are changing

where user profile [FieldName,,,specific] field [operatorid,StringOperator,,compares to] [Value,,,value]

What you see is a four column seperated string. The four columns are representing the following functionatily:

  1. the public property in the condition that will be set.
  2. the macro used to get the user input (blank is string input)
  3. optional parameters to pass to the macro
  4. the text value that appears to the business user when the value is not set

Now change this to use the custom created Macro

where user profile [FieldName,ProfileFieldOperator,,specific] field  [operatorid,StringOperator,,compares to] [Value,,,value]

If you look at the Macro code you will see that if no parameters are passed we use the path to the default user profile. If you have custom user profile you can pass the path as a parameter. For example;

where user profile [FieldName,ProfileFieldOperator,/sitecore/templates/System/Security/Jetstream User,select] field [operatorid,StringOperator,,compares to] [Value,,,value]

Now where all set to test the new condition!

Activate and test the condition

Open the page editor and select a presentation component you want to personalize. Click the personalize button and create a new rule.

Select the for the where user profile select field compares to value  condition and click the red select link. The custom Macro will now fire the dialog window where all the profile fields are available for selection.

image

And the best thing is if the business user selects a Field section the a message will appear. No more humon errors here 🙂

So for my example I configured the following rule for a component called Summer sun.

image

Test the conditional rendering rule

If I visit the website as a logged-in user with the firsts name Pieter the Summer sun component will appear. Otherwise the component will be hidden.

Let’s visit the website as a anonymous visitor.

image

Now after I login with my account (and yes my first name is Pieter) the control will appear.

image

Wrap up!

This solution is specifically created for user profile fields, you could also create a more generic Macro with more custom parameters. For me the most important part is that I showed you how easy it is to create a custom Macro. The next time the business user confront you with their problems, don’t just tell them this is the way Sitecore works. Tell them that you can easily change the behavior of Sitecore within a few hours. And of course share your customizations with us!

Don’t forget to hide the old user profile field condition. Read the article about removing conditions and actions for you business user based on Security.

If you have any questions, comments or own customizations you want to share? Please leave a comment.

Happy coding!

Sitecore Symposium: DMS Datamodel explained slides

For my presentation about the DMS datamodel I created a great amount of slides. I didn’t have time to show all the slides because I only had about 60 minutes to do the talk. I uploaded the complete slidedeck to Slideshare including additional slides about Profiling and Automation.

The complete session has been recorded and will be shared after the Symposium.

Thanks for attending the session and for the great questions. Hope you have enjoyed the session. If you have any feedback or questions about the slides or the session you can leave a comment below.

——————————————————————-
UPDATE
——————————————————————-

The video is available here.

Also read the following reviews and summary of the session: