Experience the first refresh of Kentico Xperience 1322/03/2021
Last year, at Kentico Xperience Connection 2020, we learned that Kentico wanted to move towards a more agile product, which has a clear roadmap of new features going forward. Instead of releasing a major version annually, Xperience has now evolved into releasing regular Refresh updates throughout the year.
In 2021, there are plans for quarterly Refresh updates for Kentico Xperience 13. The first quarterly refresh has already been launched last week - bringing new developer and marketer features. 🎉
As you can see in the roadmap above, refreshes have already been pencilled in - keeping the product fresh and up to date with the demands of developers and marketers. You can get an idea of what is currently planned for future refreshes (or even submit new fresh ideas for the team to consider) over at the roadmap product board. At NetConstruct, we've already submitted a number of ideas, it is nice to see one of them progressing quickly - Culture alias support for automatic routing, maybe it will be included in Refresh 2? 🤭
So what's in Refresh 1?
From a developer perspective, one of the most useful tools to return in Refresh 1 has to be the Debug module. Back in Portal Engine, the Debug module was a very useful tool - I'd imagine every Kentico developer has used it at some point to assist in debugging problems! You can quickly view and debug SQL queries, macros, and cache items straight from the administration portal. To learn more about these changes, I'd recommend reading an article by Kentico Xperience MVP Sean G. Wright - Kentico Xperience 13 Refresh 1 brings back the debug module for .NET Core apps.
I feel like there's a growing interest in clients wanting their e-commerce website to make more accurate upsell/cross sell recommendations, advertise the right product or piece of content to a user based on their actions. Sure you can do this yourself, setting up Xperience activities, using content personalisation, and other Xperience features, but why not utilise the power of AI? AI-powered Recombee can help increase conversion rates, increase average basket sizes, and improve general customer experience by providing relevant information. Do you need an agency to help setup Recombee, look no further than NetConstruct - get in touch!
Xperience has also launched integration with Bynder, a highly rated digital asset management platform, check for yourself on the G2 category for Best Digital Asset Management Software. This is one piece of integration I am yet to use, really looking forward to seeing how well it works with Xperience - I am looking forward to using this on a future client project. 😁
The options for local search indexes has been expanded, you can now build a search index which both crawls the HTML output of a page, and indexes the structured content fields against the page type. This is great for MVC sites where you are using a mixture of page builder enabled page types, and content-only page types. Such a small change - but I absolutely love the new attribute for excluding HTML of a page, no more hacking around by a developer to exclude headers and footers (and other areas), they can just be excluded by using the standardised data attribute data-ktc-search-exclude. 😍
With the cache tag helpers provided by ASP.NET Core, you can cache the output of page content (and even page builder widget content), but now Xperience provides an additional cache-dependency tag helper. This gives the developer a lot more power and control over output caching expiration, by setting the right cache keys developers can ensure the most up-to-date information is displayed whilst still utilising output caching. Output caching can help make our .NET Core MVC websites even faster! 🚀
Finally...with how important hotfixes (and refreshes) are becoming with Xperience's agile approach to releases, I'm glad to see that applying a hotfix now logs the start and end of the hotfix procedure. Another small but amazing quality of life improvement for developers.
I am really looking forward to seeing what the next set of refreshes will bring!