In the 3rd and final part of the recap of the Symposium we'll go through some minor announcements/changes to Sitecore 9 and the Horizon / Zenith announcement.

Role based configuration

In Sitecore 9 your config files are now ROLE based!
In the past you had to disable/enable several configuration files. Making it difficult to configure Sitecore for a specific environment.
But the role based configuration makes it a lot easier to define configurations for a certain server.

All you have to do is specify the role of the server in your web.config.
This blog post by jammykam already goes deeper into this subject and shows code examples. So it is a must read!

The following roles are ready to be used:

  • ContentDelivery
  • ContentManagement
  • Processing
  • Reporting
  • Standalone (perform all roles)

Dynamic Placeholders

I think every Sitecore developer knows about the different possibilities to implement Dynamic Placeholders for Sitecore. The marketplace contains several solutions and a lot has been written on this subject before.

And now it if finally available OOTB in Sitecore 9.
Define your Placeholder like this:
@Html.Sitecore().DynamicPlaceholder("content"/*, optional parameters*/)

Best thing is, there is documentation available. And do read the section 'Known Limitations'.

Sitecore Commerce 9

I could not write nothing about Commerce 9. This was also one of the major topic that was discussed on the Symposium.
Sitecore really put a lot of effort into the new Commerce version. With a big focus on the Commerce Experience. Making it easier for marketers to actually design the commerce experience. Which should create room for the developers to do more advanced development.

Sitecore 9 Commerce

Things to remember:

  • It will be launched in Q1 of 2018
  • Fully built on .NET CORE (modern, legacy free platform) and pluggable with Nuget Packages.
    They do expect companies to develop their own integrations off course. So development in several areas is still needed.
  • Will be able to be deployed to Azure PAAS.
  • SXA Storefront will be available as an example and kickstart Commerce project!

Sitecore Express Migration Tool

This tool allows you to easily upgrade from an older version of Sitecore to the new Sitecore 9.
The Express Migration Tool version 3.0 has been released specifically for Sitecore 9.

From the download page:

The Express Migration Tool Migrates:

  • Content items and media
  • All users, roles and security permissions
  • Assists with configuration migrations
  • Web Forms For Marketers 2.4 items and data

Note that if you need to migrate xDB data, you have to use the xDB Data Migration Tool 2.0.

Sitecore Installation Framework

Federated authentication

Federated authentication makes it possible to use OWIN authentication providers. For example OpenId Connect (AzureAD, identity server), Facebook, Google, Twitter, OAuth.
So your not bound to the default ASP.NET membership anymore.

Horizon & Zenith

We're going to look a little bit further into the future now. At the Sitecore Symposium an announcement was made about Horizon and Zenith.

Sitecore Zenith and Horizon
Horizon is all about creating a new designing experience that is powered by insights on your websites' pages.
Key area's Horizon
One of the features is proposing improvements to the Sitecore user. Giving them the ability to see key pages that are underperforming. And allowing them to take actions.
Horizon suggest improvements
Page overview:
Horizon page overview
Did I mention that it has a brand new slick/sexy look & feel?
Horizon sexy design
Zenith on the other hand is all about managing and delivering content anywhere.
It’s a UI for headless content management. Centered around the content and not the visual experience.
Nothing was really shown about Zenith on the Symposium. My guess is that this is the area that Sitecore needs to work on the most.
Key area's Zenith