Kentico recently released the latest version of their Digital Experience Platform – Kentico Xperience 13.
Kentico 13 is a landmark release, especially for Kentico developers. Although there are some improvements for content editors and marketers, the biggest changes are behind the scenes – in the core.
A seismic shift in the industry
The web content management industry is in the midst of a seismic shift. One that is affecting businesses of all sizes, across all departments, at all stages of their digital maturity. That shift is three-fold:
- Increasing demands from consumers for more responsibility with their data whilst improving user experience – including improved cross-platform design, lightening-quick speed, and engaging, interactive experiences
- A drive towards meaningful content strategy and creation – where content can be more easily maintained and used across different channels
- Major changes to the underlying core technology – in Microsoft, and Kentico’s, space this is a move to .NET Core
This drive towards ‘Digital Experience Platforms’ (DXP) is resulting in users of traditional content management systems re-evaluating their platforms against a new set of rules. Out of this comes Kentico Xperience 13, Kentico’s flagship DXP.
First launched in 2011, Kentico Xperience (previously known as EMS) is a well-established platform. It’s well known for coming with a lot of features ‘out of the box’, being relatively easy to customise, and having industry-leading support.
So, what's changed in Xperience 13?
There are far too many changes to explain here, so we’ll cover the main ones. If you want to read the full list, there are 17 pages of official release notes on the Kentico blog.
For content editors and marketers
Improved marketing automation
First up for marketers are some big improvements to Xperience's marketing automation and advanced workflow functionality. Kentico has given the interface a major facelift, and under the hood there’s been many improvements to the processing of workflow steps.
Improved WYSIWYG editor
This gives editors the latest, greatest editorial experience available.
Kentico hasn’t overlooked the improvements available in search either, and Xperience 13 comes with added support for Azure Cognitive Search.
Azure Cognitive Search is the only cloud search service with built-in AI capabilities that enrich all types of information to easily identify and explore relevant content at scale.
Outdated features removed
As with any software, as a product matures so too do the features. Michal Kadak (ex-Product lead of Xperience) wrote a blog post which detailed many features due to be deprecated in Xperience 13.
So it was no surprise that when Xperience 13 launched, a lot of old (mostly unused) features were removed, including: Banners, Blogs, Chat, Events, Forums, Message Boards, Polls, and so on. Developers can always add custom features (including those listed) to enhance their websites.
For Kentico developers
.NET Core support
Xperience 13 adds support for .NET Core – Microsoft's latest version of .NET, which is set to replace the .NET Framework in the near future.
Among other benefits, .NET Core delivers large performance increases which can directly translate into faster websites, better user experience and lower hosting costs.
If you’re not already, you should consider using .NET Core for future projects.
Custom dynamic routing
In addition to existing approaches for URL routing, Xperience 13 comes with a new content tree-based URL routing mode so that the system can automatically generate URLs for pages based on their position in the content tree and their page types.
Kentico has also added support for configuring the format of URLs on multilingual sites using the content tree-based routing mode.
These enhancements help ensure the developer community are using consistent, best practice approaches for URL routing with Xperience.
No Portal Engine or ASPX templates
With Xperience 13, MVC has become the only development model, so developers can no longer use older Web Forms approaches using Portal Engine or ASPX templates.
Developers will already know the benefits of MVC which, again, we won’t go into here, but the end result is a more lightweight platform with less technical debt.
So, should I upgrade?
The big question. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a simple one, and although “it depends” feels evasive, it really does depend on your circumstances.
There’s no doubt that Xperience 13 is the best version of Xperience available, and any new projects should absolutely be created using it.
If you’re already using Kentico Xperience/EMS on an earlier version, we encourage you to get in touch for a no-obligation update assessment.