Now the last of the 3 strategy pillars is enhancements and I want to show you how 9.2 will make day-to-day working with Sitecore a lot more comfortable.
You can see a true change in Sitecore as a company, we never have been so focused in enhancing the product. Focusing on making the platform work better for you by fixing bugs and enhancing existing features.
Our work on enhancing our platform is guided by the feedback we get from our customers, partners and analysts. You are not shy to tell us what is missing and what we can improve. We are listening and documenting everything we hear and see.
We have been working hard to enhance the platform as a whole, and we’ve made some great improvements in 9.2. We’re including over 220 customer fixes, and have also implemented over 150 customer requests! We have fixed 80 issues across multiple functionalities including Content Search, Publishing, Indexing, Caching and Security. So that goes to show that we are listening!
We’ve been optimizing the Link database and have introduced abstractions for the Job & schedule features, ensuring that we’re driving up the testability of the platform.
We’ve introduced configuration to allow for SSL offloading.
Next to all these enhancements there are a few key enhancements in 9.2 that I want to dig a little deeper into.
XDB Data purging
With quickly changing and growing data privacy regulations. Brands need the ability to control and purge all their customer data. The API methods will give granular hands-on control of customer record data. This will both meet data privacy regulations while providing the flexibility for organizations to purge data. Purging data will also help lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as you’ll be able to control your database storage size.
- API to allow for maintenance and purging of data within xDB.
- Meet regulatory criteria, such as GDPR.
- Limit and reduce size of xDB.
- Decrease rebuild time.
The next enhancement I want to focus on is another pain point you’ve probably all felt before….. Robot detection.
Bots are getting smarter and are accounting for much more of internet traffic. Sitecore is committed to identifying the bots so marketing teams can focus on traffic that will produce value to the business.
Our Device Detection component is used to detect well-known bots, crawlers, spiders, robots, etc. by user agent based on the 51Degrees database, newly identified bots are added to the database frequently and used for robot detection without a need to restart the servers.
But we’re working on getting things right on our end as well, including improving 30+ Personalization rules related to robot triggering and improving analytics to filter.
- Updating detection to identify new, malicious bots.
- Improved 30+ Personalization rules triggered on robot traffic
- Improve analytics to filter out bot traffic.
Yaml format for serialization
This is another great one, I’m sure we’ve all been through the pain of trying to diff the changes in a serialized Sitecore item, calling it painful is a bit of an understatement. Unicorn changed the format to YAML, which provided a much nicer experience and now with 9.2 we’re going to adopt that as the standard format for Sitecore item serialization.
The next enhancement area I want to talk about it search as we’ve made a few changes there:
We’ve introduced a new Sitecore configuration role to simplify the configuration for Indexing.
I’m sure most people have moved over to Solr by now, but we still have some running Lucene. In order to start to move them of this it is now obsoleted in 9.2 and will be removed completely in the next major version.
Finally, we’ve improved our Azure Search implementation. I’m sure a lot of you have run into the painful 1k field limit that Azure Search imposes. Well, with 9.2 you can now whitelist a certain predefined set of fields which are defined in configuration. This enables the full control over the size of the index and gives the ability to overcome the 1k field limitation.
The final enhancement I want to talk about is with the Tracker.
Here we’ve made a number of improvements, including reducing the number of requests to xConnect by batching the request processing.
We’ve also introduced more control around how session ending is handled. You can now specify the concurrent threads that should be used to handle the session expiration.
On top of that you can also now setup a dedicated server to handle the sessions expiration process all together.
- Reduced number requests to xConnect
- Session:end improvements
- Server role assignments
The enhancements improve how you both manage & search your content and analytics data, along with improvements on tracking how your customers are interacting with the platform. These enhancements make it easier and more comfortable for you to get value out of your data.
Our aim is for Sitecore to be a platform that you prefer to work on, a platform that supports you, a platform that doesn’t block or frustrate you during your day-to-day job.
For me, enhancements are the key to success. Having a comfortable working environment, tools and platform is the foundation for a quicker time-to-market and the enabler of innovation. That will lead to more value and better results for our shared customers.
This article is the last part of the 9.2 blog series.