CMS

Sitecore Experience Accelerator

Overview:

Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SxA) is a set of tools and processes to allow the rapid creation of websites by increasing the amount of work that can be done in parallel and deploy and maintain multiple sites quickly and cost effectively.

One of the goals of SXA is to create a set of best practices that can be reused across many different websites. This accelerates development and minimizes risk for the implementation of a single website.

SxA can be used to create:

  • Microsites
  • Smaller sites looking to take advantage of the marketing/experience features of Sitecore
  • Teams lacking time and resources to undertake large development efforts
  • Teams that want to work in parallel with content entry and can bring in visual design and branding later in the development chain

 

Features and Benefits:

  1. Drag and drop page assembly: Using Tool Box
  2. Dynamic wireframes: Exporting and importing the wireframes in the form of static HTML, JavaScript and CSS
  3. Best practice by default:  Following Helix best practices around the page structure
  4. Extensible and customizable toolset: Create new components and add them to the toolbox as well as customize existing ones. Page layouts are flexible and page templates are extensible
  5. Mobile first: Responsive page layouts help the content authors to make all pages friendly for a broad range of devices

 

How does SXA work?

  • SxA released with the Sitecore 8.2 version
  • It is compatible with both Sitecore 8.1 and 8.2 versions
  • It is a Packaged Module where once you have the Sitecore instance you can download the module and install it as a package
  • The module requires Sitecore PowerShell extensions
  • SxA uses helix practices by default
  • Accessible directly from the Experience Editor.
  • It has an additional cost and requires a separate license

 

Installation and Configuration:

  • Install Sitecore Experience Platform 8.2 rev. 160729 (8.2 Initial release)
  • Sitecore PowerShell extensions (full 4.1 for Sitecore 8) which comes as a package
  • Install Sitecore Experience Accelerator 1.1 rev. 161004 for 8.2 package in sitecore
  • Check for the required license(Siteore SXA) in Sitecore installed licenses

 

Implementing a Website and a Webpage using SXA:

The SXA content architecture includes tenants and sites. SXA supports multi-tenancy, which means that you can run multiple sites on a single instance of Sitecore. Each tenant can include multiple related sites.

Creating a Tenant and a Site:

  • While creating a tenant you will get the list of the features to be selected, which will be available when a new site is created

 

  • Multiple sites can be created under a single tenant

 

  • While creating a new site a list of options will be provided in three tabs
  1.   General: Where we can provide the site name, host name along with the language option.
  2.   Features: Where we can select the list of features to be included in the new site.
  3.   Theme:  Where we will have the option to create a new theme or choose an existing one. By default Sitecore     Experience Accelerator provides a deafult theme called “Wireframe” .

  •  These are the basic settings that are required to configure a site in Sitecore Experience Accelerator.

 

Site Structure:

By default SXA provides few options when a new site is created.

  1. Home: Which consists of all the pages of the site.
  2. Media: Will contain all the required media items for the site.
  3. Data: To keep the datasource for the list of features selected.
  4. Presentation: Will consist of set of predefined renderings based on the features selected while creating the site.

 

Utilization of Tool Box:

The SxA toolbox has approximately 100 pre-built  reusable renderings that you can drag and drop to build any page. The renderings vary from simple text and images, to videos, and social media plugins

Theming:

SXA comes with the default site theme named Wireframe to help you setup your site quickly

You can create a new theme by copying the base theme and adding your own classes, styles and adding assets such as images, fonts, and files

Working with Asset Optimizer:

The Asset Optimizer helps in improving the end user experience by optimizing CSS styles and JavaScript, and reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred

The asset optimizer has to be enabled in the production environment in order to avoid performance to deteriorate issues in older browsers

By doing so the assets from each group are concatenated into one asset theme file  and cached on the server.

 

Export and Import Site Design:

SxA provides an option to Export the Wireframe site to static HTML/JS/CSS allowing parallel work by the visual designers

Completed design can be imported as a Theme

Multiple designs can be imported and themes can be switched easily at anytime

 

Challenges Faced:

  • Not feasible for creating large websites
  • No supportive way to remove SxA once it is installed

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