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Sitefinity DX 14...Is It Worth the Hype?

Sitefinity DX 14.0 - is it worth the hype?
By Steve Mallory   |   September 23, 2021

Senior Developer Steve Mallory breaks down what’s new, what’s good, and why you might really like Sitefinity DX 14.

What’s New?

Sitefinity released version 14.0 amid fanfare (a live-streamed webinar) last week. This is the most substantive release in many years, with significant changes in how the CMS is purchased, and introducing new features for integrations, improvements in current features, and new functionality.

  • Sitefinity is now offering a base package with a lot of flexibility in purchasing additional functionality as add-ons. This will allow companies to purchase the modules they need, instead of jumping in to the whole site license. This is a substantial difference in how Sitefinity is purchased and should lead to lower licensing fees.
  • Importantly, the personalization module is part of the base license, which can help get companies started fine tuning their Customer Experience (CX).
  • Progress then offers additional modules to go further in user tracking, marketing, and managing the complete user journey. Now CRM/Marketing connectors can be purchased separately, greatly reducing the cost of using those modules. These connectors include ones for Salesforce, HubSpot, and other products.

Service Hooks Make Integrations Easier

Integrations between the CMS and a company’s other digital services is always a critical part of the implementations we complete. Progress has now delivered a new approach to these 3rd party integrations with Service Hooks, which replace the Webhooks module. This will allow implementers to take a much more structured approach to integrations. It will also make it easier to address the situation in which a 3rd party service changes. Depending on the integration, this may just mean a configuration change, without changing or writing custom code. The backend for Service Hooks also has a log of successful/unsuccessful triggers, which will be critical for troubleshooting.

We have noticed over time that companies are starting to utilize iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service). IPaaS is generally used to give companies flexibility in the digital services they employ. The Service Hooks module seems to be designed to work specifically with iPaaS systems.

Sitefinity as a Headless CMS

There have been continued improvements in Progress’s march to make Sitefinity a suitable backend for a headless CMS. A headless CMS allows you to deliver CMS content across multiple channels by using APIs to access data. Sitefinity comes with many OData based APIs out of the box, but custom ones can be created, allowing implementers to control access by content type and expand APIs to include related data. These APIs are used internally by Sitefinity and are very secure and robust.

Chatbots Enhance the User Experience

To further enhance the customer journey, Sitefinity now has an automated Chatbot available as an add-on.

  • The Chatbot interacts with site visitors using natural language.
  • Chatbots are “trained” to process many different inputs to provide users with specific answers. They are great for things that can be broken up into simple steps (such as setting up a call) and to automate handling of frequent support issues.
  • If your staff is repeatedly handling the same issue, you can create a Chatbot to handle it, and leave staff to handle difficult or unique issues.

What Else?

Sitefinity 14.0 offers improvements in SiteSync, authentication, WebP image support, responsive image support, many bug fixes, and improvements in support for .Net Core.

The .Net Core support has been a feature in ongoing development that is nearing release (it’s still Beta for 14.0). When ready, this will allow sites to run in two modes: as a backend and a separate frontend, with the frontend running using the newer .Net Core technologies from Microsoft. This has the advantage of being able to run the frontend completely separately from the backend, generally on less expensive Linux-based servers. Sitefinity has always been strong on the separation of content and presentation, and the .Net Core rendering will take this to a whole new level.

Progress has a handy breakdown of features and functionality added to Sitefinity over time at its Timeline page.

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