SXA: You have seen it, read about it and now...

Published on March 20, 2017

You have seen the presentations, read a few articles on it and talked to some others. In general, you know what the new Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) can do for you. You have seen it, understand it, but have not touched it. Besides adding more value to our core platform, the one thing that differentiates SXA from all of our other products is this: SXA redefines the way everybody works with the platform. It not only puts the end-user in more control of their website(s), it also makes an impact on how Sitecore sites are build.

At first glance, this could scare you. How is this different then building Sitecore websites in the past? Is the training I took last year still of any value? Let me assure you, yes all your knowledge is still valuable. Nevertheless, remember all those times you as a developer created yet another tell a friend component or an article page. Do you remember all those repetitive things you did for each and each site again? That is where SXA comes in. By using this accelerator framework you as a developer can focus on the custom features that a specific for your client. Perhaps an insurance calculator or a chat with a helpdesk employee.

How? When the basic installation and configuration of SXA is done, UX experts can take over the whole process of defining the UI. Using the Sitecore Experience Editor they can setup the wire-frames of all the different page types and even create a basic sitemap. In those wire-frames, they can drag and drop functionality. Out of the box, SXA comes with 70 components that they can use and simply drop anywhere on the page.

After defining the global UI, a visual designer can create the designs needed for all the different page types. These will be the starting point for the frontend developers to translate the designs into the appropriate CSS. Typically, front-end developers needs to start from scratch and create the HTML themselves. Using SXA’s Creative Exchange feature it is possible to export the wire-frames created by the UX experts into pure HTML, Stylesheets and JavaScript. This saves the front-end developer a lot of time and all he needs to do is alter the exported stylesheets. Using Creative Exchange this can be imported back and all the styling is directly applied to the website.

People with a limited to no knowledge of Sitecore can do all of this. The Sitecore developer will focus on functionality that cannot be created using the default components.