Having worked on numerous Sitecore projects as both an architect and developer, I have always been surprised about the hours that get eaten up simply getting content on to the page. Granted, Sitecore is a hugely flexible platform and traditionally OOTB, it’s a blank slate that allows you to design and implement the content construct that suits your business. However, I have often seen this “freedom” end up with the wheel being re-invented over and over, but at the end of the day, navigation is navigation and will generally follow a well-established code pattern, the visual overlay being the only true differentiator. Yet again and again, I see projects building this kind of functionality from scratch. The good news is this game has been changed by the Sitecore SXA toolbox. Sitecore SXA - Speed to Market – No Code Solutions 1 I think it’s fair to say that the renderings and OOTB content types included in SXA cover pretty much all the common scenarios you will find in most web sites including:
  • Banners
  • Calls to action
  • Navigation
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Generic Pages
  • Tabs
  • Accordions
  • Maps
  • Events
  • Forms
  • And much much more.
So why is this so important? Simply put the heavy lifting has all been done for you. Since everything follows standard grid layouts (including the ability to roll your own) your front-end team really just need to apply their design and you are done. And there is also another few layers that allow you to get to market super quick.

Rendering Variants

Within the Sitecore Content Editor there is the ability to create nested constructs that wrap your rendering with whatever code you wish to use, effectively overwriting the default classes, and allowing you to insert custom elements, fields, queries and even use NVelocity templates to give you fine granular control over the HTML being generated. I highly recommend you explore this functionality.

Component Cloning

Now if you cant get what you want with rendering variants, there is yet another cool option. Cloning a component can create not only a custom view which you can then bend to your design, but also separate rendering parameter templates, allowing you to easily extend the editor experience.

Creative Exchange

SXA includes the functionality to build a site very quickly using the built-in wire frame theme. This is great for wire framing a site up including the ability to add sticky notes to elements. And once you have your wire framed site ready to go, you can export it as a fully self-contained HTML website with all styles elements, including CSS, JS etc. included. This has a few advantages; site design and build can happen concurrently, avoiding the usual waterfall roadblock of waiting for hi-fidelity for arrive. Your front end guys can be working on standardized grid frameworks such as Bootstrap while development continues. And when they have finished making it look pretty, you can re-import the theme assets and bingo, you are all done.

In Summary

The fun with SXA really doesn’t end, page designs, partial designs, snippets and a lot more tools allow you to work and deliver at an unbelievable pace, what used to take months can be done in a week, allowing your team to focus on what is the core Sitecore value proposition – Customer Experience Management          

Author Bruce Davis-Goff

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