We knew to keep an eye out. For years, our team has worked with the Sitefinity Content Management System (CMS). We’ve witnessed many changes. This month, we knew to expect Sitefinity 9.0. As a certified partner, we receive advanced notice and access to changes. This way, we can familiarize ourselves with the updates and help our clients understand.
Each of Sitefinity’s iterations improves the experience and the development process. This year’s changes seem to follow the direction of Progress Telerik (the maker of Sitefinity software) and the entire industry of website management.
Trend 1: Internationalization
Today’s world is flat – especially for enterprise. Companies work across the globe, and so Sitefinity continues to improve the international experience. They now allow content managers to create multilingual versions of a single file based on the location of the user.
Before, content managers may have a document, like a user manual. Multiple translations of the metadata would appear in different languages based on the location of the viewer. However, the actual file would remain in the same language. The content manager would need to duplicate the file in another language. Not only did this create redundancy, but the user ended up with a large data footprint. Now, they can have multilingual versions of a single file. For our clients, this makes a big difference.
Trend 2: User Experience
Most marketers measure engagement on their site. Some areas, like forms, contain highly valuable information for the business but can be a common drop-off point for visitors. Sitefinity added to their form-building functionality to address this challenge. You can now create multiple pages for one form. Visitors can complete contact info on one page, order info on another page, and continue until the process is complete. Many companies embrace this basic principle, so Sitefinity is creating a more comprehensive system for their customers.
After this announcement, we’ve heard additional requests to save data throughout the form process (and not just when someone reaches the end to submit). Sitefinity representatives said that they would continue to update the multi-form functionality in upcoming releases.
Trend 3: Data Sharing Instead of Duplication
A huge component of the digital world is the use of application program interfaces (APIs) to share information. Some of today’s most powerful systems use APIs to share data between software and systems. It’s how you can see a company’s Twitter feed right on their website. APIs connect our world because as a user, you don’t have to move from one system to another, and as developers, we don’t have to build duplicate functionality.
With the new API updates, Sitefinity will allow multiple sessions at once, using a new token based authentication process. This change makes a big difference for anyone who is accessing Sitefinity data via Web Services.
Trend 4: Continuous Delivery Improvements
In modern web development, you want to publish and refine quickly. Generally, a server would automate deployments. With Sitefinity 9.0, more updates can be bundled together to publish. For developers, this is a benefit to simplify the Dynamic Modules and reduce the size of their configuration files. While the tactics of this new feature are developer-centric, it actually improves overall business goals. When our work is more efficient, our clients can see results faster.
You can anticipate another update, Sitefinity 9.1, in several months to continue on these capabilities. Clients often ask if they should make the updates now or wait until they need a major change. Almost always, it will be less time-consuming (i.e. less costly) to update with these small steps every few months because it reduces the “catch up” work when you feel ready to update the functionality.
As we continue to work with this latest version of Sitefinity (it was officially released last week), we will learn and share how our clients are taking advantage of the new features.