I have just returned from a wonderful vacation, but I would like to write about something I did just before my holiday. A few weeks ago, I participated in the Sitecore XM Cloud for Developers ILT beta course. This was the first time this course was offered, and it was exclusive to Sitecore MVPs so that we could provide feedback. The demand for Sitecore XM Cloud remains unprecedentedly high. So, I found it an honor to be one of the first to be able to work with this Instructor-Led Training beta course.
I learned many new things during the training. Here are some of my highlights:
- Content editors work in XM Cloud Pages. Pages is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that allows you to easily make changes to items that are visible on a page such as text, graphics, logos, and so on. It is also possible to manage your content in the Content tab without a presentation layer. So it seems like a combination of the Experience Editor and the standard content editor of Sitecore XP/XM.
- It is very easy to build components yourself. XM Cloud Components is a Front End as a Service application that lets you create your brand’s style guide and build visual components in a WYSIWYG editor. With XM Cloud Components, content authors, UX designers, and marketers can work in parallel to speed up the process of creating on-brand digital experiences for their customers.
- The XM Cloud starter template uses headless SXA. It has improved page layouting concepts using page designs, partial designs, and page branches.
- You can easily deploy a site to Vercel via the Vercel connector. There is hardly any DevOps knowledge needed to do this. Everything is already set up and automated.
- The entire architecture is headless. Sitecore XM Cloud is fully Jamstack ready.
Sitecore XP/XM similarities
Besides many new things, there are also enough similarities if you have already followed a Sitecore XP/XM training. For example, the following:
- If you want to add a language, it still happens through the familiar Sitecore environment as we already know it.
- Inviting a user does happen through a new portal, but the user permissions still work the same way.
- The workflow part is also as it has been taught in earlier trainings.
- Page designs were not in every training because it is part of SXA, but the concept is unchanged.
- And finally, template management is still exactly the same as what you were used to.
As part of the training, you must also be able to run your Sitecore XM Cloud instance locally so that you can do your development on it. During the training, you will receive a VM that is already fully set up.
Docker is used for local development. This has been made as simple as possible by using PowerShell scripts. First, you run
init.ps1 and then
up.ps1, and then you can get started. You immediately have the Sitecore CLI available that you can use to make content from a live environment available locally.
Although Sitecore is a .NET CMS, it is not used during the training. You no longer create Controller Rendering or View Rendering, but only Json Rendering. That, of course, is because everything is headless.
All components are written in Next.js. As a Sitecore developer, it takes some getting used to not using Razor anymore, but once you are accustomed to Next.js, it is truly very powerful and pleasant to work with.
It was very fun and educational to participate in the Sitecore XM Cloud for Developers ILT beta course. If you have not worked with Sitecore XM Cloud before, you will learn many new things. The future of Sitecore XM Cloud looks promising, and I can't wait to use it for a new project.