Key new features of Sitecore 9.0

The list of new features and changes introduced in Sitecore 9.0

  • xConnect service which import/exports data from xDB. This is new layer (actually new IIS application + windows services) which connects Sitecore client and 3rd part apps with xDB. Solr (version 6.6.1) is required for xConnect, communication over https on production environment.
  • xDB is no longer on MongoDB only, it can be either SQL Server 2016, SQL Azure, MongoDB, or CosmosDB (CMS databases can be still on SQL Server 2014). There is also new API to read the data stored in xDB (through xConnect), so you don’t need to directly call Mongo to get it.
  • XPF a set of API services around collection models, allowing to extend, with custom Facets not only Contacts, but also Interactions and Events data.
  • Sitecore Cortex – machine learning, real time insight across native and 3rd party customer data, used for automated personalisation.
  • Sitecore JSS – toolkit (Node.js commands for build and deploy) and APIs for Javascript developers for headless CMS and mobile, using OData standard. Mobile or front-end app written with React, Angular communicates with Sitecore only with JSON requests. Full personalization, Experience Editor and cache support. Preview available now, final version in 2018.
  • Sitecore Forms –  completely new SPEAK app for managing web forms. Multiform by default. Usage is similar to WFFM, you add rendering to a placeholder and select the form in data source. Sitecore Forms is MVC only. WFFM is still there and will be supported for some time.
  • SPEAK 3 – new version of framework based on Angular JS. Sitecore will support SPEAK 1 and 2 until they migrate all apps to new version.
  • SXA 1.5: multisite, new themes, new components, allowing to share presentation components between sites.
  • Sitecore Commerce 9 – completely new commerce solution, without Commerce Server. Based on microservices with UI built in SPEAK 3. Will be available in 2018.
  • Experience Editor load times improvements, up to 49% less.
  • New Marketing Automation SPEAK app without Silverlight, integrated with EXM and Forms.
  • Sitecore Experience Cloud on Azure PaaS. Available from Azure Marketplace. Easy deployment to Azure from local environment using azure toolkit and powershell.
  • Federated authentication allowing to authenticate to Sitecore via other systems without writing custom provider
  • SIF – Sitecore Install Framework: new Powershell installation script. There is no longer an .exe file, which installs the platform.
  • Device detection is enabled out-of-the box, but requires updated license.
  • Dynamic placeholders are in Sitecore out-of-the box, usage is very similar to the one available in Sitecore marketplace + some new features like defining placeholder parameters via Rendering Parameters.
  • If you define your own Rendering Parameters inheriting from „Standard Rendering Parameters” templates is not needed any more.
  • New config files structure “Include” folder is just for your custom configuration and patches. Standard Sitecore configuration is placed in different folders inside “App_Config” directory. Order, which file is processed first is also configurable. All config files are enabled by default, the sections in configuration have assigned “role” and “search” rules. Whether something is used, depends on the rules defined for current instance.
  • Switching instance roles (CM, CD, Processing, Reporting) or search (Lucene/Solr) with just a single setting in web.config file.
  • Direct updates from Sitecore 8.1+ to 9.0  and migration tool for older versions. Additional migration tools from MongoDB to SQL and xConnect. Upgrade wizard now analyze your config file changes and creates patches which will go to “App_Config/Include” folder after the upgrade.

New Sitecore Forms Module

New Sitecore Marketing Automation Module