Sitecore for Techies


Does Sitecore have API’s for Integrations into other systems?

The API in Sitecore can plug in to virtually any system, typically SAP, MS SharePoint, MS Dynamics or Salesforce. Sitecore is incredibly flexible, the CMS is fully customisable and extendable. Connectors make it very easy to extend as required into other systems.

Sitecore fully supports Active Directory integration and LDAP integration via the pre-built Sitecore Active Directory module. Sitecore uses the .NET security model which makes it extremely easy for a .NET developer to integrate custom .NET security membership services such as non-Microsoft based LDAP directories or identity services.

Sitecore’s integration capabilities are unique in the marketplace. Sitecore itself is an integration platform; every component and juncture in the Sitecore Experience Platform allows external systems to be connected.

Sitecore is therefore designed to perform more than a single function such as web content management. It is a platform for creating experience environments that solve business problems.

With Sitecore, integration is everywhere, not just at a few predefined integration points. Sitecore components connect to the platform the same way integrated components do.

This attribute can be thought of as a tautology: in Sitecore there is no integration because everything is integration.

Sitecore has a layered approach to integration, which can accommodate Java or Microsoft .NET applications with equal ease. There are four layers in Sitecore, each with a specific purpose:

  • APIs give developers low-level access to system resources.
  • Tools comprise the user interfaces available for business users.
  • Frameworks represent solutions to business problems.
  • Connectors implement frameworks, using specific technology.

How would the data capture work from a technical viewpoint?

All contact and interaction data is collected and stored in the MongoDB collection database. This is then added to the processing layer for use by a reporting database.

All marketing data is stored in Sitecore in the Master database (goals, campaigns, engagement plans etc.) MongoDB stores the IDs of these marketing entities so it can track them. It does not store the definition items themselves.

Using Sitecore, is it possible to publish content to multiple sites and platforms?

The Sitecore architecture fully appreciates the power in separating content items and fields from the presentation strategy of that content. Mechanisms such as the publishing engine, RSS features throughout and a rich RESTful web services API provide countless options to leverage the “create once / use everywhere” strategy that Sitecore uniquely makes possible.

The RSS module is a simple way to create two-way syndication features in Sitecore, either presenting external feeds within Sitecore rendered pages or creating available feeds for consumption by external clients. Since customers have full control over the .NET Solution / Visual Studio project, any web service consumer is also easily created to make calls from within a Sitecore rendered page, and Sitecore itself provides SOAP based and RESTful web service methods for bidirectional access to content within the system.

How does Sitecore tackle search?

With Sitecore, clients can fully model their own content types, content structure and metadata system. The content authoring user interfaces provide all features necessary to fully describe content types using a field typing system (HTML fields, droplist fields, checkbox fields, etc.). Any field in Sitecore may define metadata for the content item that contains it. In addition, Sitecore has a specific tagging feature dedicated to allowing authors to easily associate a search-focused metadata field.

Sitecore’s indexing system automatically catalogues this metadata and provides the capability to search by it. Any field in the content type may also serve to become a specific search facet, allowing authors to more effectively drill-down to the exact desired search result.

How does Sitecore Social Media Connector work?

Sitecore’s Social Connected module provides features and connectivity related to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. This includes publishing features for these networks, authentication sharing, common tasks (Like, Tweet) and more.

A summary of features found in Sitecore Social Connected:

  • Authentication with social networks - This allows your site to accept social network login credentials for your visitor with their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ accounts. Once authenticated, now you may use the visitor’s external profile information (Likes for instance) as criteria for site personalisation.
  • Publishing to social networks - Along with publishing Sitecore content for your site itself, publishing is now possible to all the social networks mentioned. With a new press release, product page, etc., the announcement of the content’s availability can be posted to the community.
  • Like and Tweet buttons for your site - The module contains the controls for you to easily add this functionality to any page.

What level of Accessibility compliance does Sitecore have?

Sitecore sites achieve a high level of W3C and accessibility compliance. Sitecore features built-in, unique accessibility tools including patent-pending usability validation abilities addressing accessibility, content compliance and quality enforcement concerns. These built-in capabilities meet many mandated goals and standards, such as ADA 508 and WCAG, which provide guidelines for the creation of websites that are accessible to people with disabilities. They also enable brand and content consistency enforcement for organisations that have large numbers of website contributors.

The accessibility validator shows clear indicators when content does not meet standards, and in many cases, can fix the problem automatically.

What would Sitecore Recommend for Hosting and Security?

Sitecore would recommend Azure cloud hosting, as Azure environment is quick and easy to publish content to. Azure cloud hosting also has an administrative database designed to work with Sitecore.

Azure Cloud hosting will allow administrators incredible flexibility to add capacity.

Is Microsoft Azure the only hosting option available for Sitecore?

Sitecore can be hosted in any hosting environment, for example, Amazon AWS, Rackspace, Sentia.

If clients have their own in-house hosting environment, this can be managed by the client in their own environment.

What is the cost to set the Sitecore system up?

Sitecore is a completely scalable enterprise solution. There are two types of licence, perpetual and consumption.

With a perpetual licence Sitecore is priced by the number of software installations in your environment on a perpetual licence. If your budget is required to be an up-front expense, then this will be the best solution.

With a consumption based licence the licencing is related to how much traffic you are expecting on your web solution. If you have your own private cloud environment, volatile traffic levels or budget for software as an annual expense.

Find out more about how Sitecore can transform your business