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My must-see sessions of Sitecore Symposium 2021

Hi there,

Once again (due to Covid-19) Sitecore Symposium will be an all-digital event. Like last year and due to the Corona pandemic, the world hasn’t fully opened yet. This year however Sitecore Symposium will be for the first time a free event.

Sitecore Symposium 2021 will be held from October 5 until October 7, 2021 and in this blog-post I would like to give an overview if sessions I think every Architect or Sitecore developer should attend. Once again, I miss you all and wish we were able to meet in real-life again, as a 12x Sitecore MVP one of the highlights after a Sitecore Symposium is always the Sitecore MVP Summit. Unfortunately for the 2nd time in a row that won’t happen ;-(.

Besides the opening keynote by Steve Tzikakis, I’ll start with the overall sessions that will give us a look at the roadmap.

Roadmap sessions

Creating Unforgettable Customer Experiences as your Brand Identity: Sitecore’s Plan to Get you There (Dave O’Flanagan, Sitecore)

Brands that successfully compete on customer experience all do one thing extremely well: they create human connections at scale, ensuring each customer feels like the only customer in that moment. For your brand to create, nurture, and optimize these connections, you need the right tools that let you combine content, data, and delivery to create the best experience possible. Your product team at Sitecore has been continuously improving and innovating on the Sitecore Digital Experience Platform while adding new products to our composable architecture including: Sitecore Customer Data Platform, Sitecore OrderCloud, and Sitecore Send.

This session led by Sitecore Chief Product Officer Dave O’Flanagan will review the major product releases of 2021, dive into new product announcements, and look ahead to the next several release cycles as we unveil new capabilities and innovate further in the cloud.

Sitecore Commerce: Roadmap and vision (Jacob Hookom, Chief Product Officer, Sitecore)

Get up to speed on the current state of Sitecore Commerce (OrderCloud) and the ecosystem of commerce capabilities that we’re building.

Attendees will walk away with an understanding of the roles that Boxever, Moosend, and others have in enabling commerce and a better buyer experience.

Headless & DXP sessions

The future of the Sitecore Digital Experience Platform (DXP) will be a composable one. Here are some great sessions that are on my list to watch.

A developer’s look into Sitecore Experience Edge (Alistair Deneys, System Architect, Sitecore Australia Training)

Sitecore Experience Edge has been in the market for many months now. But what does it take to get started on this new SaaS offering? How can I leverage this new platform as a developer? Where does it fit into my existing toolbox? These are the questions we aim to answer in this presentation, where we take a developer’s look into the new platform. We will explore the various APIs and learn how and when to use each one.

Render here, render there, render everywhere (Thomas Desmond, Technical Evangelist, Sitecore USA Inc)

Web development is a complicated space. There are so many decisions to make: rendering options, frameworks, languages, etc. Let’s break down these complications and focus on the rendering options: Server Side Rendering (SSR), Client Side Rendering (CSR), and Static Site Generation (SSG). You’ll learn about SEO, delivering fast maintainable sites, and how each option aligns with your architecture.

This talk will incorporate Next.js, a front-end React framework, to show how you can do it all.

Approaching the edge: Pathways to headless and the Sitecore composable stack (Eric Stoll, Chief Executive Officer, Arke Systems  & Andy Uzick, VP, Martech Innovation, Arke Systems)

A year of social and physical distancing has really heightened expectations for quality digital experiences. The pace of digital evolution is leaping yet again, with consumers demanding more, faster, and richer experiences. In this session, we’ll examine how to leverage transformational technologies like Sitecore’s Experience Edge, Headless SDKs, and composable SaaS technologies, to craft an ecosystem that delivers those experiences with lower TCO and faster time to value.

Enterprise headless commerce with Four51 OrderCloud and Next.JS (Árvai Mihály, Wunderman Thompson (Budapest) & Nick Allen, Practice Lead, Think Fresh Studio)

With the addition of Four51 to the Sitecore product family, more organisations will embrace the composable DXP model. This creates a paradigm shift for Sitecore platform developers toward methodologies such as MACH and JAMStack. In this session, we focus on the development experience with Four51 OrderCloud alongside Next.JS and how these frameworks and their respective SDKs allow us to build commerce solutions that scale to complex business problems and deliver fast user experiences.

Paradigm shift: How the future of Sitecore will shape your digital marketing organization (Richard Bauer, Solutions Architect, Perficient Inc. & Richard Seal, Senior Solution Architect, Perficient Inc.)

Join architect Richard Seal and strategist Rick Bauer as they push toward 100% Google Lighthouse scores for a site built on the emerging combination of Sitecore Experience Edge, Content Hub, Boxever, and Four51, on a Jamstack headless front end using NEXT.js.

Container sessions

Sitecore is shifting to a container-first approach. Here are some great architecture sessions that are a must-see in my opinion.

From Azure Web Apps to Sitecore on AKS (Rob Habraken, CTO, We Are You BV)

Sitecore is shifting toward a container-first approach, migrating from an Azure App Services Cloud architecture to a more universal recommended cloud infrastructure. While running on K8s adds the possibility of running on the platform of your choice, for Azure-oriented customers and DevOps teams, this transition logically means migrating from Azure Web Apps to running Sitecore on AKS.

In this session, we will zoom in on this transition and explain the new CI/CD process from an Azure perspective.

Save time and money with stateful Sitecore deployments to Kubernetes using a true gitops workflow (Bas Lijten, Architect, Achmea Interne Diensten NV)

“Push code, not containers.” Software and infrastructure go hand-in-hand, so why not treat them alike? Learn how to describe your entire desired state in git, which enables you to deploy, update and heal your environments at a glance, and in a fully automated way. Using this practice, it is easy to create and delete entire environments to test out your feature branches within minutes, which saves you time and money in the end.

Looking forward to 2022

As you can see I’m more focused on the technical and architectural sessions. So I do hope my selection of sessions will help you pick the right ones for yourself. Sitecore of course has a massive list of other interesting sessions as well (62 in total), so check out the website agenda and start planning for your own ‘must-see sessions’.

Looking forward seeing the Sitecore Community in real-life again in 2022!

(image from Symposium 2017)

Happy Sitecore-ing!

–Robbert