SUGCON2018 India! Highlights

Recently, SUGCON 2018 was held in Bangalore (Bengaluru), India, which was very first major user group conference in South East Asia. I am lucky that I was part of this SUGCON.

First of all, I would like to thank the sponsors of this event, because of whom this event was possible to be organized with grand success.

Event Sponsor: Sitecore

Strategic Sponsor: Microsoft

Diamond Sponsor: Horizontal Integration

I would also like to thank Akshay Sura (Sitecore MVP), Pieter Brinkman (Senior Director Technical Marketing at Sitecore), Rob Earlam (Technical Evangelist at Sitecore), Maxim Savelyev (Senior Team Manager -Sitecore Malaysia), and other speakers who added the charm to the event.

I feel proud that I am now Sitecore Certified Platform Associate Developer (Sitecore 9 Certified), which I cleared during this SUGCON.

Here, I would like to give some highlights about the sessions I attended during these 2 days which we full of knowledge.

Day 1

On the day 1, Mr. Sabin Ephrem, CEO, Horizontal Integration delivered a very inspirational speech addressing all the Sitecore enthusiast by appraising what they are currently doing for the Sitecore community. He also added that “From wherever you are and which ever company you are, keep sharing your knowledge to build a very strong and rich community for Sitecore.

The very first session about TAKING SITECORE HEADLESS WITH SITECORE JSS, by Mr. Chaturanga Ranatunga, Sitecore MVP, Co-founder SUGSL, Freelance Consultant, was amazing. By explaining the JSS with an on screen demo he amazed everyone what JSS can do for the front-end developers who are not familiar with back-end server side coding and want to develop applications in Sitecore. The JSS can take you to the level where you don’t need write a single line of C# code, no need to configure templates and rendering in Sitecore. All you have to do is setup and JSS application, customize according to your requirements, test it without actually deploying to Sitecore. Once you are done with that deploy to Sitecore. All the templates, rendering, components, items, media files will be automatically created in Sitecore during deployment. Mr. Ranatunga explained and put a mark saying that, JSS is not bidirectional. Means, if you deploy your JSS app in Sitecore and modify any item in content tree it will not sync back to JSS application yml or JSON files. And on your next deployment, Sitecore item changes will be lost if those are not done in the JSS app files. Following are other points which I’ve collected:

  • Sitecore JSS works in disconnected mode – means you do not require Sitecore for developing and testing your JSS code
  • Sitecore JSS development can be done through VSCode, you do not require full featured Visual Studio
  • Sitecore JSS app should be setup and configured through PowerShell
  • LayoutServiceAPI is responsible for providing data to the JSS app
  • LayoutServiceAPI is on top of the Sitecore Presentation Layout, it means all the features like inline editing and analytics are available in JSS app

Thanks to Mr. Ranatunga for sharing such great and useful information with SUGCON members.

The session for THE REVENUE ENGINE – OPTIMIZING MARTECH INVESTMENTS TO DRIVE REVENUE by Mr. Vivek Mehra, Chief Digital Officer at edynamic, was very useful to the marketers and the business persons who wants to invest in Sitecore for their unified customer experience. Mr. Mehra explained how to sustain in the age of customers where their voice and choice get priority over the your voice. He also explained how B2B marketing needs are no different than the B2C and how to be relevant to the personalized experience, SEO friendly and omni-channel capable for not to lose the customers. With all these requirements he also very well explained how Sitecore meets all these requirements and how much mature it is. Here are some of the glimpse I’ve collected during the session.

The third session I attended was on SITECORE 9 FORM CUSTOMISATION by Mr. Vikas Kumar, Practice Head – WCM CXM Solutions at Espire infolabs. The well known forms, Web Forms For Marketers, are now integrated in Sitecore 9 and known as Sitecore Forms. Mr. Vikas Kumar explained the purpose of forms, comparison between WFFM and Sitecore Forms, when to use WFFM and Sitecore Forms very well. Following are the features of Sitecore Forms which are explained during the session:

  • Create forms from templates
  • Create new forms by dragging custom elements from the Form elements pane onto the form designer
  • Apply form validation, we can also implement custom validations and apply to the fields
  • Forms branding according to UX requirements
  • Customization of the form by adding custom field

Day 2

On the day 2, I was little late to join the session and I missed starting part of the session, AN INTRODUCTION TO SITECORE EXPERIENCE COMMERCE, by Mr. Rob Earlam, Technical Evangelist at Sitecore. So, following are the points I have collected during the session:

  • OOTB commerce renderings are available with CX
  • Drag and drop functionality to build the product page. Actually that’s the power of SXA behind the scene
  • You can build product catalog very quickly in CX. Rob built a product pricing page in no more than 10 minutes.
  • Integration with analytics and marketing automation

Second session was on SITECORE INSTALLATION FRAMEWORK (SIF) QUICKSTART, by Mr. Hardeep Bhamra, DevOps Engineer, Horizontal Integration. So, SIF is the Powershell module for installation and configuration of Sitecore 9 instances on-premises. Using SIF we can install and configure Sitecore topology according to our/client requirements. Following are the SIF features and advantages:

  • SIF is PowerShell module for installing and configuring Sitecore 9 on-premises
  • Built on top of PowerShell
  • Installs web instances, windows services, databases, search engine configuration, certificates and other artefacts
  • Fast and same installation across all platforms

The third session, SITECORE ON THE WAY TO CLOUD, by Mr. Victor Kucherov, Senior Software Engineer – Sitecore Malaysia, was very informative about friendship of Sitecore and Microsoft Azure. Sitecore provides ARM templates to install different Sitecore topologies on Microsoft Azure. Using Microsoft Azure, we can have

  • robust deployment strategies for Sitecore where we can gain 99.9% up time
  • real time scale out and scale in based on the load on the website
  • pay-as-you-go model to save money
  • discard the infrastructure cost

Sitecore also provides Sitecore managed cloud where we have additional support from Sitecore.

The fourth session and I think very important for every developer is, TROUBLESHOOT SITECORE LIKE A NINJA, by Mr. Kiran Patil, Sitecore MVP (India’s first Sitecore MVP and co-founder for SUGIN), Horizontal Integration

Who is Sitecore NINJA? – According to Mr. Patil, anyone how helps other developers to troubleshoot and fix their development/staging/production issues/bugs, makes the developer’s weekend happy are real Sitecore NINJA.

Anyone can troubleshoot the issue if he runs through following steps:

  • Check Sitecore logs
  • Use Database Browser page for any CE loading issue to check default load time of an item
  • Go through Sitecore config and check any custom commands, pipelines implemented, disable them one by one to find the culprit of the slowness in CE
  • For caching related issues, use Cache page to clear the Sitecore cache
  • Use Sitecore Rocks to find specific cache entry to find the culprit of the issue and kill it
  • Contact different Sitecore chanels to seek help
  • Contact Sitecore support to seek help
  • Use Debug Diagnostic tool for critical issues like IIS application pool crash

These Sitecore NINJAs are active on different channels like Sitecore Slack Chat, Sitecore StockExchange, Sitecore community site.

The last session I attended was, INTERACTING WITH SUPPORT AND COMMON IMPLEMENTATION MISTAKES, by Mr. Maxim Savelyev, Senior Team Manager – Sitecore Malaysia. He mentioned different way to reach the Sitecore support through right channel. Following is the image I have gathered for Sitecore support best practices.

That is it from me.

I seek help from other attendees to put information for other sessions on my article. Anyone interested can write me details with images on jatin@jprajapati.in.

Once again thanks to Sitecore, sponsors and speakers of SUGCON2018, India.