Sitecore 7 Now THIS Makes Sense

Recently, I was put on site redesign project where the client’s requirements included the site be built with Sitecore 7. This is my first look at Sitecore 7; after compiling the solution and setting up a local instance of the site, I took a look around.  After just a few days, I have to admit, I’m impressed.  I, like many Sitecore developers, have had minor gripes with the otherwise powerful CMS.  I am happy to report many of my gripes have been resolved with this release. Here are the top three enhancements that I have stumbled upon in my first experience with Sitecore7.

  1. Data Source is linked by Sitecore Id, not content path. Over the years I have had content editors come back to me and ask why certain things no longer work. The problem usually had something to do with a content editor cleaning up  or rearranging their content structure. This would result in broken links.
  2. Data Source – Build Query.  No longer does a content editor depend on a developer to build a query in the code behind in order to get a group of content as the data source. The content editor has an easy to use, powerful search-like tool that allows them to build a query. This added feature wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does without the addition of the labels to Sitecore7.
  3. Tagging, searching, and Item Buckets. Most companies / organizations have some sort of taxonomy in place. In the past Sitecore content had to be organized to loosely reflect that taxonomy in order to make any sense. This left huge gaps and room for user error. With the introduction of tags, Sitecore has made it possible for users to fully utilize their taxonomy. Template types tagged with certain data gives the Content Editor the ability to make sure all content is being displayed. As an example, let’s say you had a book sales page. The user has drilled down to Fiction > Ages 10 – 35 > Vampires. The Content Editor can create a Data Source Query that is of the Template type “Book Search Results” with content that is tagged with “Fiction”, “Ages 10 – 35”, and “Vampires.” Making it easy for your content editor to display the desired results to the sad lonely women looking for books that might relate to Twilight.

Honorable mention. Data Source validation – it never made sense to me that the Data Source options for Sublayouts only applied to page editor (Such as Data Source Template), Sitecore has taken a step in the right direction by only allowing templates assigned by the developer to be selected as the Data Source for a Sublayout. Of course there are more features introduced in Sitecore 7 and as I experience them I’ll be sure and comment on them here. If you are looking for a more comprehensive guide to Sitecore 7, you can check this out.