It was said content is the king, but today it's the experience that rules the web. Having said so, content is still a key component of the overall digital experience but its how you distribute content is what that really counts.
Since Sitecore is based on.NET technologies it provides a clear implementation path and one of the great aspects of Sitecore is a robust API that makes its extensibility almost limitless. In any discussion of usability and deployment success, people tend to focus their attention particularly on marketers and business users. And for good reason as, it's important for those users to edit content on the fly without IT intervention. But the longer the development cycle, the easier it is to lose sight of why you began a project. Parameters change. People move on. What you need, in other words, is a developer-friendly Sitecore environment that provides maximum agility with minimal disruption. Given below are few tips to keep in mind for ensuring a developer friendly environment:
- Keep coding overload to a minimum – In an optimized environment, developers shouldn't require heroic efforts from a coding perspective on administrative work rather should be able to spend more time on innovative, interesting programming tasks
- Rely on easy-to-use APIs – An intelligently designed CMS like sitecore will support languages like Cascading Style, Sheets (CSS) and application frameworks like ASP.NET and ASP.NET MVC.
- Support your processes – Insist on compatibility with development techniques used in your organization such as Scrum and continuous integration.
Another critical issue with sitecore implementation is when you implement a custom front end application or framework to deliver site content to end users on top of, or instead of Sitecore. Such implementations will make it impossible for you to leverage some of Sitecore's most compelling new features, like the Online Marketing Suite (OMS), Web Forms for Marketers, analytics and inline editing.
Some other valuable tips on Sitecore Implementation:
- Avoid hard-coded text and images: Always store this sort of information in content items and / or Dictionary items and use the Preview feature to visualize the renderings. This definitely allows for better usability and Internationalization.
- Store data templates in project (and section) specific folders. It also helps keep all the common and reusable templates in one Folder. This definitely simplifies the whole process of managing templates when the site grows over time.
- Of course, practicing all.NET best practices when developing in Sitecore is definitely a plus
The implementation can be broadly categorized into three parts: Development, Content & Training
Development – Developing for Sitecore CMS platform is similar to any other.NET development effort. Using.NET best practices, development isn't much of a difficult task, but the architecture of the platform is extremely important. One needs to thinks about content and IT infrastructure deeply at this point.
Content – Need to start implementing your content architecture plans and filling your Sitecore tree with content. This initial work should be done by a single content team, do not leave this work to the content owners. This is opportunity to reorganize your content as necessary.
Training – In addition to developing out website, applications and content, you've to start introducing Sitecore CMS to your organizations' users. This means lots of meetings, training and discussions of what the CMS is and how it can help them. One of the often overlooked pieces of a CMS implementation is end-user training. Not only do you need to train the organization in the use of the platform, but also in the organizations web & content strategy.
Implementing a CMS platform like Sitecore is quite a large undertaking even for a smaller organization, but with proper planning and knowledge of Sitecore CMS, you'll do fine. Understand the business needs first then find your CMS and implement the proper workflow and content architecture to meet the current and future needs of the organization. This is a common sense stuff, but often overlooked when it comes to CMS projects.