Last month we’ve hosted another SUGNL meetup at Colours. This year we had both a developer track and a marketing track, with over 70 visitors in total. It was a very cool gathering of Sitecore enthusiastics, and as I tweeted:
— Rob Habraken (@rhabraken) October 28, 2015
We covered the following topics:
- Azure Active Directory & Sitecore authentication
- Looking for the best WebForms MVC transition for existing projects
- Flexible content management powered by Atomic Design
and had two guest speakers over, both Sitecore MVP, hosting the following sessions:
- Managing your user data with Sitecore xDB
by Ruud van Falier (ParTech IT)
- Agile marketing and the adoption of Sitecore
by Sebastiaan Bode (eFocus)
Azure AD & Sitecore authentication
Early this year we have built a customer portal for one of our clients, which is completely hosted in and targeted on Azure technology. The platform has about 10.000 potential users and we wanted to use a safe and future ready Identity & Access Management, preferably based on Azure Active Directory. Setting up Azure AD and connecting it to the Sitecore Membership Provider turned out to be a little bit of a challenging task, but it runs smoothly in production ever since and we wanted to share our gathered experiences.
However, the fast evolving Cloud technologies brought in some new factors and while preparing for our session and while presenting our case, we came to new insights, combining things we’ve developed and heard from the community. This proves the value of such a User Group and it’s great to be part of that!
I will blog about our AD presentation and the resources we’ve used shortly.
Looking for the best WebForms MVC transition for existing projects
When suggesting this topic to the SUGNL organization, we had a little discussion that this wouldn’t be relevant anymore. Everyone uses MVC nowadays, isn’t it? Well, this is not about using MVC and Sitecore MVC in general, but what about those large websites you’ve developed, with a great and large container of re-usable components, that started development in early Sitecore 6? We do not want to start all over again (at least our clients wouldn’t want to), but still, we want to leverage the potential of MVC while still using those ‘legacy’ components.
But everyone uses MVC
already nowadays, isn’t it?
Surprisingly few SUGNL members encountered the same issue. Most would work on either an old WebForms project, or a new MVC project. We’ve seen some integrations before, but those were mainly targeted at specific modules like the Web Forms for Marketeers that needed converting when MVC was new in the game.
We may not have the definite answer yet, but we took everyone with us on the road to finding the best solution. And I think, or hope, we have sparked some initiatives to not only build using MVC in greenfield situations, but start converting running projects as well.
Flexible content management powered by Atomic Design
At Colours we’re fan of the Atomic Design principle. And we’re not only building up our front-end (or client side) code based on this principle, but we try to extend this philosophy towards our hierarchical component structure in MVC. This influences content management within Sitecore in a great way. It creates more flexibility and enhances the maintainability of the code. Our front-end developers use PatternLab to implement this. If you want to know more about PatternLab or Atomic Design, check http://patternlab.io/.
With great power comes great responsibility
This session was given by Joost, Sitecore developer, and Mark, front-end developer, and showed the flexibility this techniques gives you in the Page Editor of Sitecore (I know, it should say Experience Editor, but the showcase was still a Sitecore 7.2 project). But we’ve also discussed pitfalls and downsides, as this technique requires a higher abstraction level for content editors and leaves more room for error or deviating from the prescribed style guide. With great power comes great responsibility :-). It turned out to be a very interesting discussion for marketers and content editors.
The drinks afterwards were an inspiration for new articles and modules as well, so it’s likely a follow up will appear on my blog shortly. I will share the contents of the sessions as well and I’m looking forward to the next SUGNL meetup already!