Exclusive Interview on What's Paramount about Sitefinity 10.0
Telerik was founded in 2002 by four graduates of American University in Bulgaria and Technical University of Sofia, launching Telerik Sitefinity a few years later. Progress Software, a global software company, acquired Telerik for over $260 million back in 2014 and renamed the WCM platform Progress Sitefinity.
Since then, the platform has become more agile and robust due to the much-needed enhancements made. In fact, last week, Progress Sitefinity announced the Sitefinity 10.0 beta version release. Hot on the heels of the new release, CMS-Connected reached out to Dale Young, Manager Sitefinity Sales & Channels, to inquire about what is paramount about Sitefinity 10.
Before diving into what’s new with the most recent release, it is worth noting that all the enhancements the vendor made this time were driven by the feedback that came from customers and partners, which is exactly why this release differs from the previous ones, according to Young. “What we did this time was a little different. We went to our core partners and went into our feedback portal to take a look at a lot of things that our customers have been actually requesting for a while,” he said. From my understanding, moving forward, the company will keep listening more to its community as they believe that this will allow them to continue to build the foundation of their core content management system.
Increased Developer and IT Productivity
Young thinks that developers and IT administrators are going to be happy with the complete re-architecture of the way they handle authentication in the new release. Then, let’s discover the happiness together, shall we?
User Authentication Based on OpenID Connect: Due to the simplified API, without custom development, developers can enable social logins or other third-party OAuth and OpenID provider strategies. What does that mean for users? With this feature, website owners will be able to allow their visitors to login with Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Github, and LinkedIn or use just their email to register a new account without a username.
Enterprise Security: IT Administrators can now rely on ADFS or LADP and automatically authorize website users by mapping active directory roles to Sitefinity roles. So the implementation of complex identity management gets easier.
User permissions control: With the new release, managing user access to multiple sites from a single CMS instance is available. This provides users not only better functionality but also agile user experience.
Sitefinity Site Shield: There are times that some departments need to get approval from end clients and legal teams while the content or landing pages are under development. With this feature, users will now be able to invite visitors without having to grant back-end permissions to the secured site and monitor all the details about their activities on the website. The company confirmed that this feature will be available only for Sitefinity licenses that have Multisite Management capability.
Built-In Site Warmup: Each time your system restarts, the first time pages are requested on the frontend, performance may be slowed down. This reason alone is enough to lose your visitors as they will not stick around so long to wait for your site to load. With Sitefinity Warmup tools, you can refrain from such cases as the platform compiles all sitemap pages based on sitemap priority and stores them in the output cache. As a result, your visitors don’t experience any slowdown, lagging, or delay in loading of your site.
Improved Diagnostic Tools: During the interview, Young picked this enhancement as one of the top three items that Sitefinity 10 is addressing with customer and partners’ feedback. The Sitefinity CMS Diagnostics module is a built-in module and designed to support a collection of tools for detecting possible performance issues with your application. For instance, if you ran into an issue such as slow page load or issues with HTTP requests, scheduled tasks, etc., then you can use those diagnostic tools to figure out what might be causing that issue. On top of that, the Diagnostics module also has a suggestion engine that provides tips on how you can improve the performance of the site.
System Health Check: We, here at CMS-Connected, often get asked for help from our clients regarding system health checks, and we believe that routine health checks of your website ensure that the usability of your site and ultimately your customers' web experience is always at its peak performance. Sitefinity must be thinking the same as they added the feature to their platform. With the help of the Health Check service, you can perform an assessment on the basic and vital functions of your Sitefinity CMS site. Once you enable the service, you can run background checks on whether the site is operational, responsive, and set up properly. According to the company, the default checks are:
You can also configure additional checks you run on demand to make sure other key aspects of the web application are properly functioning:
Azure Cloud Support Enhancements: During the interview, Young specifically stressed the importance of the cloud. To deploy Sitefinity websites in the cloud, developers can take advantage of the latest Azure SDK.
Advanced Marketing Features
Although it is said that developers and IT administrators should be most excited about this new release, there are improvements that will excite marketers as well.
Native Support for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG): SVG images help content marketers have better website performance and deliver better digital experiences especially on mobile.
Persona Scoring Improvements: A persona symbols a subset of contacts that share similar behavioral patterns. Within the system, you can define rules to score those patterns. Scores are measured as points that a contact earns when completing a certain activity or interaction within the site. As a result, the data collected can be translated into meaningful insight for marketers.
Here is a good example from Sitefinity’s website; When reading sports articles, contacts earn points for Sports fan persona. On the other hand, while reading articles about art, contacts score points for Art fan persona. Contacts reading sports news score 10 points for each sports article they read. If you set a Sports fan persona threshold of 100 points, contacts must read at least 10 sports articles (each article bringing a score of 10 points) to be associated with the Sports fan persona.
Multisite Data Tracking: Speaking of data, when marketers are working with multiple websites on one CMS, they often need to separate data centers in the Digital Experience Cloud as the irrelevant data can dilute the findings of consumer behavior on a specific website. Sitefinity 10 allows marketers to isolate customer journey data for individual websites.
Knowing that there are a couple of known issues in the beta release, the company is heavily working on beefing up the platform. With the latest release so many bugs have been fixed. As you may remember, we reported on the company’s initiative called Digital Factory which is the personalized digital transformation solution. According to the interview with Young, that project has seemed to take a back seat lately as the company wants to focus more on the original promise of CMS, which is to allow the non-technical professionals like marketers and business users to get in the system and manage their day-to-day activities of their websites without the need of technical support.
On a related note, last month, our Principal Analyst Gary Eisenstein reviewed Sitefinity’s current available version along with the eight other top .net CMS platforms in a thorough article entitled A Fair Review of the Top .NET CMS Platforms. If you are on the lookout for a good content management system comparison, I highly recommend having a look at that piece.