Sitecore Experience Platform 9.1 has a lot of exciting capabilities, refinements and enhancements to the existing functionalities. It has got many innovations and values that will help customers get to the market faster.
In addition to key platforms and infrastructure enhancements, Sitecore 9.1 focuses on five key areas:
- Sitecore Identity
- Sitecore Host
- Sitecore Cortex
- Sitecore Accelerator Framework (SxA)
Federated authentication service is the most exciting feature in Sitecore 9.1 version. There is a new login screen, enabling Single Sign-On (SSO) with Sitecore Experience Manager, Sitecore Commerce, and Horizon. This is the new UI released along with this version.
In all the earlier versions of Sitecore, authentication of a user has always been done using form authentication in ASP.NET Membership with a simple implementation. With Sitecore 9.1, a new module has been launched which contains active directory integration.
Federated authentication is widely used across the industry, and Sitecore 9.1 has finally adopted this feature which provides user authentication and authorization through a centralized federation service. This feature runs as a separate application and provides single login access.
This is an in-built module which comes with Sitecore 9.1 and reduces the efforts of developers in integrating or installing different third-party modules to support different login systems.
The Sitecore host which is based on .Net care framework is the base for services, and it takes care of a number of concerns. Sitecore host handles those aspects of services or apps which are not directly linked like application logging, configuration management, Database access, etc. The advantages of running a service built on Sitecore Host are:
- The experience is consistent on all Sitecore host applications.
- The experience of installation is constant.
- Lean common runtime for Sitecore.Net core Services/Apps
- It is possible to configure applications on the command line, without the need for UI.
- It is possible to extend features using the host plugin.
- The behavior of the host is the same on cloud and on-premise.
Sitecore Cortex is a machine learning program for Sitecore. This feature was already present in the earlier versions, but the new Sitecore 9.1 version brings the next level of machine learning innovations with customizable and extensible data processing engine to process data and train models accordingly.
Sitecore Cortex is a combination of advanced machine learning algorithms and processing engine enabling rapid implementation of ML/AI based technology. It provides personalization recommendations and offers automatic content tagging capabilities for any product or customer. This feature helps in improving SEO results; the company can get better ROI and reduce guesswork from testing and optimization. It enables advanced search and highly-refined personalization with proper training and extension
Cortex also provides plugged architecture which supports other ML which means other ML engines can also be utilized.
Sitecore Accelerator Framework (SxA)
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a set of web standards that enable web and related content to be accessible to users of all backgrounds. Sitecore 9.1 accelerator framework supports industry standard WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines. This framework will allow customers to easily build solutions using experience accelerator which complies with accessibility guidelines, thus enhancing the reach of experience accelerator to regulated industries such as public sector and healthcare.
There are many other updates introduced in Sitecore 9.1 like:
- Enhancements in experience analytics
- Enhancements in email experience manager – New content for e-commerce and marketing automation
- Project Horizon new UI
- XM-only platform deployments for simpler CMS needs
- Support for Solr 7.2.1
All these changes in Sitecore 9.1 helps in better implementation of Sitecore solution by developers and expands the capabilities of the platform for businesses.