Sitecore 9.3 New features and reasons to upgrade

  • By Bryan Archer (CTO)
Bryan Archer (CTO)

At 3chillies we are always (maybe a little too) excited when a new version of Sitecore is announced.  It can be an emotional roller coaster, highs on reading about the new features and opportunities on offer and then the realisation that we need to get all our great customers onto this version.
Like all partners (and customers) we have had some interesting experiences with upgrades, but the effort is without exception, worth it!
This article takes a unashamed high level look at the new features and reasons why existing Sitecore customers should be adding upgrades to their roadmap.
Before we get onto the features, big thanks to the installation team for making it even easier to get Sitecore installed onto a development rig, the Graphical Setup tool (basically install wizard) released as part of Sitecore 9.2 has been updated to include Solr installation and options for the XM Scaled topology. I had a working site up and running in around 30 minutes.

New features of Sitecore 9.3

horizon: New editing experience

Arguably the star of the show? We have grown to love the Ye Olde Experience Editor and the flexibility it offers in building pages and (dare I say) providing an enjoyable experience. That said, it does have some challenges for developers to ensure the page appears exactly like the live page.  Sitting with many Sitecore editors the biggest (and justified) gripe has been performance, especially if (like me) you like to save your hard work often, having to wait for the page to reload can be a cause of frustration! I have hit save about 20 times writing this article!

Sitecore 9.3 has a brand new interface, the Horizon project, which is currently installed separately. The interface is leaner and cleaner and wait for it.....  includes auto save, a killer feature.  It is obviously v1 so does not provide all the functionality of Experience Editor, but for quick editing, submissions and  preview etc. it really is a joy to use. Here's a list of features:

  • Auto save (without page refresh) 
  • Undo and Redo
  • Content tree pane for easily navigating between pages
  • Edit and simulate the page in desktop, tablet and mobile modes
  • Drag and drop components
  • Did I mention auto save?
  • View page insights for the current page
  • Easily create new pages
  • Progress pages through Workflow and Publish
  • It's super fast!!

A couple of things that are not currently included:

  • Upload new files to the Media Library
  • Ability to configure Personalisation and A/B testing

I can honestly say I would have loved to write this article using the new Horizon editor, since we always upgrade our own website first I hopefully will not have to wait long! 

Really looking forward to seeing this new feature mature, here are a few screen grabs to wet your appetite:

Horizon

Horizon

Horizon

Sitecore Forms enhancement

Sitecore continue to add great new features to Forms (some that we might have expected a little earlier IMHO), here are the highlights:

  • File Upload facility with options to limit number, type and size
  • Email confirmation - get visitors to reenter their email address
  • Ability to publish a form from the Forms Editor!

Automated Personalisation (Sitecore AI)

This was a major announcement at Sitecore Symposium this year and got everyone very excited, especially as the first user of this technology is Microsoft and the Microsoft Partner Network site.  The ability to automatically identify visitor trends, create customer segments and auto personalise experiences is an awesome concept.  I personally have not had the opportunity to try this out yet so I'll simply drop a link to the information page for now. We are kicking off an internal project to go deep on this and will be posting a few articles in the future.

New email templates 

Some new templates have been included in EXM, including Announcements, Alternating Columns and Call To Action Focus.

EXM New Templates

Scheduled plan enrollment for marketing automation 

You can now enroll segmented contact lists on a scheduled basis, for example at a certain time of the day, certain day of the week or a specific date.

more...

We have covered some of the big ticket items and over the next few weeks we will be documenting our experiencing with using these and other enhancements. Meanwhile we will be keeping an eye on the known issue list.

Interested in learning more?

A Demo is the best way to learn about Sitecore and its new features. Use the form below to register for free one-to-one Sitecore 9.3 Demo.

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FREE DEMO - Sitecore 9

Use the form below to register your interest in receiving a free Sitecore 9 Demo.

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