Recap day 2 Sitecore symposium Europe

After getting settled in Barcelona and getting a good night sleep, we are ready for SymEU sessions to start. First up is Michael Seifert who give us his view on what an experience is an how important the context is to determine whether an experience is good or bad. Together with Darren Guarnaccia and Mark Floisand Michael showed us some of the new features that will be in the new Sitecore 8 version. At the end everyone was excited to hear what the other sessions would be.

Developer track

As a developer I focus on the developer track and there Lars Nielsen takes us back to when it all started. He explains how Sitecore still makes decisions to implement changes and new features from a technical perspective. Lars is followed by Pieter Brinkman who freshens up our memory about the high level architecture of Sitecore. This is especially useful since 7.5 has some architectural changes because xDb is now the new database that stores all customer data. After a session about Sitecore Commerce connect which allows almost any third party Ecommerce system to connect to Sitecore by Ciaran McAuliffe, there are two session presented by guys I love to hear talking about sitecore: Stephen Pope on Federal Experience Manager and Tim Ward on Skynet.

Federal Experience Manager

Stephen Pope tells an entertaining story about the Federal Experience Manager or FxM for short. FxM allows for a site that is not in Sitecore to be tracked as if it was a normal Sitecore site. All you have to do is register the site in Sitecore and put one javascript tag in the source of the external site. That’s it…just put one script tag in the externals site source code and you’re all set. FxM does not stop at tracking page views. FxM allows you to track events that are fired on the external site and register goals based on those events. With FxM you will also have the possibility to alter the content of the external site in a way that is really close to the native Sitecore way we know from the Page Experience Editor. This will also be a nice feature to use on Sitecore websites that are fully served through a CDN.

Skynet

Tim Ward takes us on a journey along the wonders of testing everything and machine learning. With Skynet there is no excuse not to test changes done in Sitecore. Be it content changes, presentation changes or whatever. Sitecore now make it easy to setup tests and also puts in a gamification element where you can try to predict what effect changes will have. Even though it is hard to keep up with all the info Tim is throwing at us in this short time, some of the main features that stuck with me are versioned layouts and suggested tests.

Sitecore will have presentation settings versioned per language/version. The skynet software is well trained so it can suggest tests/personalization rules based on the clusters, collections and the trends it finds in those.

Can’t wait to learn new stuff tomorrow on the third and final day.

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