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Highlights from Kentico Connections 2018

Oct 11, 2018
 

The Future of the EMS Development Platform

Kentico is continuing with its plan to prioritize MVC development over Portals Engine development.

Kentico 12, codename Raptor, is the first version of Kentico created with an MVC-first approach.

Over the next 4 years, Kentico plans to transition from the Portals Engine (written in WebForms) to MVC 5 and then MVC Core.

Despite this significant architectural change, they already have a Page Builder interface ready for content managers and editors to use.

The admin interface of a website that a marketer will utilize is termed “The Mother”.

Developers are responsible for creating most of the widgets on the page builder interface to be utilized by marketers. In other words, the 400+ webparts and widgets currently supported and included with Kentico’s Portal Engine will no longer be available.

Kentico encourages a KIS approach for creating widgets, a trend seen in other component frameworks like Angular and React.

The KIS approach, along with the proprietary structure and content that organizations have for their content, is likely the rationalization for not converting the hundreds of Portals Engine webparts to MVC. That makes sense, since the best practices and standards currently established with MVC and component-focused development encourages developers to create their own controls, which would lead the out-of-the-box webparts to be underutilized.

All in all, Kentico is certainly looking ahead to align itself with current and future technologies and practices, and our web team is excited to see how well they've done so far.
 

Content Recommendations in Kentico Cloud

Personalized content allows marketers to target their audiences with more relevant content. The greatest challenge for this feature, according to Kentico’s survey respondents, is that the creation and configuration of personalized content has too many manual steps.

That's what prompted Kentico to create a domain-independent and AI-powered personalized content recommendation API for Kentico Cloud.
 
kentico connection

These are the high-level steps for how the API works:
 
  1. Your team adds items to the Kentico Cloud content repository
  2. Your app utilizes the API to log user interactions and information
  3. Your app requests recommended content asynchronously
  4. The API returns the personalized content to the app

The API determines its content recommendations based on information related to content the user is consuming and information related to the user themselves. In addition to determining what info you want to send to the API, you can prioritize what content recommendations are sent back from the API through the Kentico Cloud interface.

Kentico plans to create its own analytics tools and dashboards to show what personalizations are successful. But, in the meantime, you can utilize the tool "Recombee" to accomplish this.

Tools are already available for developers to start utilizing the personalization features of Kentico Cloud such as webhooks, a .NET SDK for user/activity tracking, advanced configurations to boost and filter content, A/B testing, and more.

With this and its other features, Kentico Cloud is continually becoming a useful and powerful tool that allows organizations to streamline the creation of content and improve their consumers’ experience.
 

Landing Page Creation in Kentico 12

Landing pages are typically unstructured pieces of (sometimes experimental) content with variances in layout.

In prior versions of Kentico, creating landing pages could be time consuming due to the heavy use of WYSIWYG editors and nuanced HTML formatting.

Landing pages in Kentico 12 using MVC are created with custom-developed widgets organized into sections.

Developers can add flexibility *and* restrictions to the format and use of widgets.

Configuration of widgets can be done in two ways:
 
  1. Dialog method: the same familiar popup used to configure widgets and webparts in Kentico 11
  2. Inline method: controls displayed directly on the page builder interface either on top of or to the side of the widget's contents.

For developers, projects will likely have their own set of widgets since organizations will have proprietary requirements for the format, structure, and configurations for their content.

A WYSIWYG editor is still available though Kentico recommends reserving its use for content that needs a large amount of flexibility. This reduces the amount of HTML and CSS expertise required of content editors to add formatted and specially stylized content.

In addition to the time-consuming nature of creating and formatting personalized content, the macro rule builder that allows you to configure how content is personalized can be cumbersome when stacking rules. To address this, Kentico recreated the way content editors configure personalized content. Variants can easily be added and configured for each widget on the page by selecting a type of rule to apply (e.g. persona related) and selecting an option from a drop-down menu.