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Sitecore 10: What’s new for developers and IT teams

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

If you’re a Sitecore customer or developer, you may know that Sitecore 10 was released over the Summer. For the 3chillies team, a new release is always exciting and naturally appeals to our inner geekiness. We also know that, in time, it will have a huge positive impact on our clients.

We’ve worked with Sitecore for over a decade now, and one of reasons we love working with the platform is that it continues to evolve and broaden - Sitecore has never rested on its laurels and continues to invest.

As with all Sitecore releases, we’re having a thorough look under the bonnet and trying to work out what it means for our customers. What are the implications for upgrades? What are the new features and how will they help our customers? Are capabilities ready to deploy?

As 3chillies’ CTO, I spend time installing Sitecore, analysing how it will work in practice and then discussing with the rest of the team. We also talk to Sitecore to really get under the skin of the new release. There then follows a pretty intense process to ensure everybody gets up to speed with the new features.

New features in Sitecore 10

Sitecore 10 has plenty of new features and capabilities which will interest both developers and marketers. In the first of two posts, I’m going to walk you through the main new features that will be of interest to your coders. In the second article, I’ll cover the changes of interest to digital marketing teams.

Overall, the new features in Sitecore 10 offer improvements to the development and deployment process, drive efficiencies, and support agile and DevOps approaches. Let’s take a look at the three main advances which will be of interest to IT teams.

Official container support

Sitecore 10 brings official support for containerisation. Over the past few years, containerisation has tended to be driven by the Sitecore community, but now, Sitecore themselves are officially supporting and maintaining it. For teams less confident in using containerisation, or risk-averse organisations who may see some risk involved in using non-official tools, this is a very welcome step. The official Sitecore documentation and help channels that offer full support will boost confidence.

Support for containers is great news for development teams and supports more agile and responsive approaches for both agencies and IT functions, particularly in a project development scenario where you may need to ramp up development resources quickly. It will also support faster deployments at scale, driving efficiencies and minimising risk across the board. The container support means developers can get up and running far more swiftly, avoiding the rigmarole of having to spend one or two days setting up a local development environment.  It also helps to ensure the environment is right. When a developer has seven versions of Solr on their machine, there is always the risk of conflicts and confusion - containerisation means it is much easier to move between environments in a more stable way.

Additional benefits including better monitoring of resources within containers, so we’re pleased to see this backed by Sitecore in the new release. 

Content serialisation

Up to now, developers have had various options in serialising Sitecore content across different environments, including using Unicorn and TDS. Following Sitecore’s acquisition of Hedgehog, Sitecore 10 brings a standard and fully supported method of content serialisation into the core platform. We think this is good news for development teams, and avoids the extra effort required when using an additional product, as well as reducing costs.

Sitecore has taken on some of the strongest elements of Unicorn and Hedgehog, offering serialisation through Visual Studio (via a plug-in), as well as through a Command Line Interface (CLI). The former is really easy to use and brings standardisation and support to serialisation. Like the official container support, most of our customers on the marketing side will not feel any impact here, but it contributes to better development and deployment overall.

Headless development support for ASP.NET Core

Sitecore has been making more noise about headless development capabilities for a while now, and the release of Sitecore JSS was a major step in that direction. In Sitecore 10, there is now a Software Development Kit (SDK) and support for ASP.NET Core development which will open up the platform for developers with less experience in Sitecore.

Here at 3chillies, where we live and breathe Sitecore every day (and sometimes we even dream about it at night), a headless approach can support really rapid deployment. This is particularly useful for urgent front-end changes when you need to tweak a bit of HTML, JavaScript or CSS, and you want to avoid a lengthy deployment process.

The new SDK means a front-end developer can more confidently handle such processes without having to involve a Sitecore back-end developer, and also may provide more options for in-house IT functions who are currently wholly reliant on their agency.  Ultimately, this means front-end developers can take the lead more quickly and with more confidence, especially with their added ability to work on elements such as personalisation that may have previously required more back-end involvement.

The changes in Sitecore 10 relevant to IT teams help move the platform forward and offer more options around development and deployment. If you have any questions about the new features in Sitecore 10 or whether to upgrade, then why not get in touch?

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