In this blog post, I will list out the features and enhancements which are part of the recent release of Sitecore version 9.2.
As usual, a number of bug fixes and improvements have been made, thanks to the Sitecore partner community for providing feedback and recommendations on the previous version.
Sitecore focuses on this version was on below three key areas:
- Time to market
XDB Data purging : With quickly changing and growing data privacy regulations, Brands need the ability to control and purge all their customer data. API methods are introduced which will give granular hands-on control of customer record data. Using the API methods, we can purge the data and reduce size of xDB, thus Decrease rebuild time and save cost.
Robot Detection : Sitecore is committed to identifying the bots so marketing teams can focus on traffic that will produce value to the business. Device Detection component is used to detect well-known bots, crawlers, spiders, robots, etc. by user agent. With Improved 30+ Personalization rules triggered on robot traffic.
YAML format for serialization : Serialization is going to become easier now instead of the current Sitecore serialization format, a well-known Rainbow library is used. Thus, item data will be YAML-formatted by default.
- Unicorn also changed the format to YAML
- In 9.2, It is adopted as the standard format for Sitecore item serialization
Search Improvements : A new Indexing sub-role has been added to the Sitecore server roles to simplify the configuration of content indexing. When you assign the Indexing sub-role to a server role, that role manages content indexing automatically and the other server roles that have not been assigned this sub-role do not index content. You configure the Indexing sub-role in the web.config file and can combine it with the CM and CD roles, for example, ContentManagement, 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. Also Azure Search implementation has been improved by overcoming the 1000 field limitation.
Tracker improvements : Reduced the number of requests to xConnect by batching the request processing. Also introduced more control around how session ending is handled. We can now specify the concurrent threads that should be used to handle the session expiration. On top of that we can also now setup a dedicated server to handle the sessions expiration process altogether which can lower the load on content delivery servers and improve their performance and stability.
Time to Market Highlights
Sitecore Install Assistant (SIA) : With the release of Sitecore 9, they’ve introduced Sitecore Installation Framework (SIF), a new way of installing Sitecore. SIF has been great for IT and DevOps, to automate the installation of Sitecore. But they received feedback that they needed to provide an easier installation experience for local development and the option to quickly spin-up an instance for less technical users.
In Sitecore 9.2 they have released the Sitecore Install Assistant (SIA). SIA will be a User Interface that will help you install Sitecore, the current version is XP0 only. And it is targeted at non-technical users and casual developers to get them started more quickly. It is a wrapper around SIF so it still uses all the power of JSON configuration + SIF Tasks.
Helix improvements : With 9.2 we’ve done serious mutations on it, including a new set of examples that include visual and UX changes. The updates include a simpler VS project structure and guidance on how to structure a Commerce and an xConnect solution.
Active Personalization Report : Personalization is great, but how do you track all the personalization rules on your solution? How do you preview your rules? Maintenance of personalization on big solutions can be hard. Not anymore with the Active personalization report. The Active personalization report will be the single place to find all the personalization running on your sites. It provides easy access to setup new personalization, and also preview and edit existing personalization.
Sitecore JSS : Sitecore developers have been wondering if JSS and SXA will be able to collaborate. Eventually, we got the answer now!
- Version 9.2 will allow developers to use SXA and JSS together
- JSS client sites and Sitecore Forms will be fully integrated
Sitecore Host : It was introduced in the release 9.1, is a cross-platform (.NET Core) service that is isolated from Sitecore CM or CD and is freely and easily expanded.
- The Sitecore Identity service was the first service that was launched running on Sitecore Host, back in 9.1 and they’ve got a few new improvements for 9.2. They’ve implemented single-sign out, so if you log out of one of our systems then you’ll be logged out of all of them. We have implemented token invalidation to ensure that access tokens will expire when users log out.
- Finally, they’ve also added persistent storage of users and access tokens to ensure that users aren’t logged out if the Identity service is restarted.
- Migration of existing Microservices – They’ve mentioned how not only future services will run against the Host, but also that they want to move our existing Microservices over to the Host as well.
- As of 9.2 the publishing engine will also be based on the Host. This means that it greatly improves the installation and maintenance of this service moving forward. Also, this better aligns the service with the rest of the platform.
Horizon : A new user interface Horizon was announced at the latest Sitecore Symposium. The Sitecore MVPs have access to Horizon and share their feedback with the community, offering new ideas and features. I believe that Horizon is entering its active Phase 2 and will later become part of the platform (but still not in 9.2).