Last week I attended a Sitecore Technical User Group in Liverpool. It was split up into two talks covering a number of different elements about the upcoming version of Sitecore (7.5) and one of the ecommerce options for Sitecore, uCommerce.
I arrived to find pizza and beer available which is a standard for development meet-ups like this so I wasn’t disappointed. There was some networking, talking to other developers who use Sitecore and finding out about the type of projects they work on and getting some insight into their experiences is always useful.
For the first talk we had Anthony Hook, Strategy & Innovation Director for Sitecore UK giving us a sneak peak of super scale analytics on Sitecore 7.5. Due to the incredible amount of data that Sitecore can record as part of the analytics and personalization platform the cost of storing this with current versions of Sitecore can become high due to the licensing for Microsoft SQL Server. For version 7.5 this has been updated so that the analytics database is run on Mongo DB which is a cross-platform document-oriented database, classified as NoSQL or Not Only SQL. It’s high availability and scaling can be provided on open source platforms and as an open source project it can do this at a much lower cost than traditional enterprise database systems.
Anthony took us through some of the changes that are being made in Sitecore 7.5 and these are all round the analytics area, some API’s have changed names but from a user point of view the UI is almost exactly the same. The upgrade path for clients should be straightforward and documentation and scripts are being provided for this.
There was also a brief mention of Sitecore 8 which sounds like it has some interesting features and its codename of Skynet was amusing!
The second talk was by Andrew Thompson, Technical pre-sales Consultant from Sitecore UK on Officecore 4 and demo of the uCommerce integration.
Officecore is the website that Sitecore use to demonstrate the product to prospective clients. It includes many of the features that are unique to Sitecore including a simple to use introduction to personalization and how it works. This latest iteration includes an optional uCommerce integration.
Sitecore have 2 ecommerce platforms, an enterprise one based on Commerce Server which they have recently purchased from Microsoft and a new uCommerce integration for the lower-end of the market. Sitecore have worked directly with the uCommerce developers to ensure that the integration is as good as it can be and that everything works using Sitecore best practices. From the initial demonstration apart from a few minor issues to iron out and is tightly connected to Sitecore allowing simple use of the Sitecore and uCommerce API’s to let developers write custom functionality easily.