SUGCON 2018 – Highlights

The Sitecore User Group Conference (SUGCON) was held in Berlin on the 23th and 24th of April. This community driven conference is the biggest event in Europe for developers who use Sitecore products and technology. With over 600 attendees from all over the world and more than 50 sessions, this fifth edition of the conference was the biggest SUGCON event so far.

Mirabeau was one of the proud sponsors of the event and Ivan Lieckens (Sitecore MVP at Cognizant) had a session about VSTS & NuGet with a pinch of HELIX. SUGCON was an excellent opportunity to meet and great with a lot of people that are all part of the amazing Sitecore community.

The pillars of the online Sitecore Community are:

  • Discuss anything at the Sitecore Community site,
  • Join the conversation at Sitecore Slack channels,
  • Ask and answer questions at Sitecore Stack Exchange,

Sitecore has an amazing community with a lot people that are always willing to help each other and share knowledge.

Sitecore release cadence

The conference started off with a keynote session from Pieter Brinkman. In this session, Sitecore announced their new software release cadence. Major or dot releases will be released every 6 months in spring and fall. These releases will contain new features and new functionality. Updates and patches will be released as needed. These releases will only contain fixes and do not contain any breaking changes.

Headless with JSS and GraphQL

One of the major topics of this year was Headless. With Sitecore 9 it is now possible to create headless appications by using Sitecore Javascript Services (JSS) or by using the new “Uber-modern API’s”.

JSS is currently in Tech Preview. You can use JSS if you want to create an application that runs on one of the supported Javascript frameworks: React, Angular and Vue. With JSS, the developer will get a complete Javascript SDK for getting personalized content. But it also supports more advanced features such as the experience editor, A/B testing and Sitecore Analytics.

Kam Figy showed us one of the latest additions to the framework, a new API that supports the query language GraphQL. This feature adds a complete GraphQL server on top of Sitecore. It is designed to be a generic GraphQL service, not simply a content API, and can serve or aggregate any data that you can access from the Sitecore server and present it via GraphQL queries. The API supports real-time data using GraphQL subscriptions. In essence, without a developer having to create an API, you can get exactly the data you need, where you would otherwise need multiple queries and get too much data back. This saves bandwidth and can make your page faster.

As a proof of concept, Kam showed us a demo of a realtime Sitecore Database browser, that was powered by GraphQL subscriptions and websockets. Watch this to see the power of the GraphQL API.

Installation and Deployment. SIF, VSTS

There were multiple sessions about Sitecore installation framework or Visual Studio Team Services. This are the current popular topics. With Sitecore 9 the installation is changed quite a bit and it is no longer as easy as clicking the next button in the installation wizard a few times.

SIF is an Installation Framework for Sitecore 9 with many possibilities for expansion and customize the installation. Snippets and scripts are shared within the Sitecore community. VSTS is for many the new best way to build and deploy Sitecore in the cloud.

Sitecore, xDB & GDPR applied

On the 28th of May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation will be implemented. A lot of companies are struggling to make sure that their applications are compliant with these regulation. Rob Habraken choose this topic because he wanted to show the impact of the regulation on a Sitecore application.

With Sitecore 9 it is now possible to offer a Forget Me option to visitors of your website. This function will make sure that all the data that is marked as Personal Information is removed from the database. Sensitive data can be marked with the [PIISensitive] attribute on Facets and properties.


Dmytro Shevchenko held an excellent presentation about the evolution of xDB and xConnect: the Underlying Mechanics of Sitecore's new Scalable Architecture. Over the past releases this architecture has changed a lot so it was very interesting to see a recap of all these changes. With the migration from MongoDB to SQL Server, it is now possible to run Sitecore completely on Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) technology.

Dmytro also explained the differences in the locking mechanism in xConnect, this means that the developer is now responsible for resolving conflicts when writing data to xConnect. Dmytro managed to explain all of this complex information in a very understandable way. If you want to learn more about xConnect it is recommended to watch this presentation when it available online. Dmytro also presented last year at SUGCON 2017 about this subject in xDB in a very technical presentation.

Leprechauns, Rainbows, and Synthesis (oh my!)

This session, with a rather special name, was all about a new tool that was created by Ben Lipson and Kam Figy (creator of Unicorn). Leprechaun is an API for automatic code generation based on the Rainbow files, which is the serialization format used by Unicorn. This tool makes it possible to convert Sitecore templates to code and can save you a lot of development time. Leprechaun is highly customizable via C# script files. If you are using Unicorn already I would highly recommend to try out Leprechaun.!

We had a great conference and looking forward to the 2019 edition!

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