Sitecore Roundtable Recap

Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 10:10

By: Josh Jenkins, Lead Consultant

Sitecore 7

Q. How easy will the upgrade be?

A. Sitecore upgrades are generally pretty straightforward and manageable. The Sitecore 7 upgrade looks to be the same.

Q. If I am looking to buy Sitecore for a new project, should I wait for 7?

A. Unless your project is going to heavily leverage the new Sitecore 7 features like item buckets, you could start development with Sitecore 6.6 and upgrade when Sitecore 7 becomes available.

Q. One of the big enhancements to Sitecore 7 is item buckets.  Why is this so significant?

A. Item Buckets provide a new way to handle large amounts of content within Sitecore that is easy to use, easy to search and highly scalable. Prior to item buckets, if your site had a resource repository of thousands of items in Sitecore, you would have needed to arrange them into many subfolders so you can find a specific resource and to ensure the site will perform well. With item buckets you could manage all of resources in one place, be able to easily find and edit resources with a wealth of advanced searching options, and the Sitecore administrative interface as well as the public facing site will still perform well, even when you have hundreds of thousands of resources.

Q. I understand that Sitecore has the Lucene search engine.  Why would I need Coveo?

A. Lucene is an open source search technology that is built into Sitecore and used for normal searches and is also the foundation for the new item buckets functionality.

Coveo offers a number of enterprise class search products ranging from advanced website search to complete enterprise search solutions. These solutions are extra cost, but include many features that are not out of the box for a Lucene search such as deep search analytics, searching across many external data sources such as SharePoint or Salesforce.com, automatic determination of related content and search facets, and audio-video transcribing and indexing.

Q. How does the upgrade improve search?

A. Item Buckets and the associated APIs make it much easier to build sites that scale into the millions or items. There are also a number of improvements to the Lucene search engine and improved search within the Sitecore.

Mobile

Q. How do I approach a responsive design project? It seems daunting.

A. Responsive design is definitely more work than just doing a mobile site, but pays a lot of dividends. Start a responsive design project by designing for the extremes. Start by determining how the smallest mobile version, typically 320 pixels wide, will work and then determine how the full size desktop version would be handled. From there identify at which resolutions you will make visual changes to your website, like changing from a compact navigation to the full size fly-out navigation. It’s often useful to think of what will be different at each increment of 100 pixels, for example, 320 pixels, 400, 500, 600, 700, etc.  Because this process is extensive, we recommend thinking through how you’d like the site to generally behave and capture those ideas in PPT or a written document. Once you have some basic ideas about how the size behaves in responsive, it’s often a good idea to partner with a firm that can help you take your written summary and turn it into comprehensive wireframes and technical requirements that will guide the front and back-end programmers to build your site.

Q. Do I need to start over to do responsive design?

A. No. You do not need to start over to do a responsive design project. However, if you are starting a responsive project with a website that already exists, you do need to re-think how each page layout will be viewed at different sizes. Depending on how well the CSS on your site was originally constructed, you may have to make significant CSS updates to support the changes necessary to implement a responsive design.

Email

Q. Difference between other email providers and Sitecore?

A. Sitecore’s Email Campaign Manager (ECM) offers many of the same features of other enterprise Email Service Providers (ESPs). These include features such as sending your emails through separate, highly scalable mail servers, spam detection filters, and advanced tracking and reporting.  It’s the complete integration of ECM with Sitecore that is the real game changer for your email campaigns. All of the emails is created and managed in the same place as your content using the same assets. You can leverage all of the personalization, A/B testing, and rules based options of the Digital Marketing System that you use in the site in your emails as well. And with Engagement Automation you can have your site automatically send emails based on customized flowcharts that you can create yourself.  So if you want to create a flow that sends an email after it sees you visited a product page, wait one week to see if you return to the site, and send a follow-up email with a coupon to encourage the purchase, you can do so and it won’t require any programming.

Other Roundtable Blog Recaps
December 2013
July 2013

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