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Summary of Episerver Partner Close-Up Event 2019

During this week I visited the Episerver Partner Close-Up Event 2019 in Stockholm, Münchenbryggeriet.

The event is held by Episerver on a regular basis to keep their involved partners updated about what the future holds for innovations, roadmaps and product deliveries within the platform for the coming years. Also, a great opportunity to network and interact with colleagues in the business.

As usual, the event was split into two side tracks - one for the business area and one for the development area during the two days it was held. I participated during the second day when developers all around the world was brought together to have a listen upon all the latest and greatest within Epi.

So what was this year's agenda? 🤔

Episerver have been busy during the last years by completing and maintaining their qualified products they have been integrating within the platform. The maturity of the digital transformation begins to set its mark around the world - something Episerver have notified and realised with a model marked as "crawl, walk, run and fly" for the different maturity phases of corporations initiatives on the web.

The first self acknowledgement Episerver themselves have realised is the promise of a out of the box working implementation when purchasing their products. This is something they will put focus on into the future alongside their partners to give a better picture for the end customer's perception. By giving a better perception with products such as Reach, Social and Campaigns they hope to make a clear distinguish on what is in store and offerings.

A lot of focus was put to collaborate with the partners in terms of opinions and thoughts of Episerver as a whole. For further development they wish to bring their partners closer into functionality and delivery promises and designing these in the best possible way.

This year, Episerver also received a new owner whom in its end spawned a new licens model, again. The on premise licenses will successfully be replaced with a subscription based model for the new product purchases. This will benefit the people choosing the DXC service agreement at Epi which each year gets more focus than traditional on premise setups.

Insight, a relatively new product at Episerver got a lot of attention about how this product could be integrated with Ecommerce solutions and self produced integration at Epi such as Campaigns and Visitor Groups, to deliver an advance and powerful insight collaboration.

Product roadmap to be implemented 🔥

We somehow got an insight of a prepared product roadmap for how Episerver will act in the upcoming years. There were no promised date releases more than Q1 to Q4 release preperations for some releasements.

Product roadmap for Episerver to keep track off in the future. Divided into five different categories.

1. Make Digital Experience Cloud service enterprise class
There is not secret that Episerver choose to move away from traditional on prem setups in favour of scalable infrastructures in the cloud. Azure together with Episerver will deliver more in built environments whom reflects the industry of theis partners even more. Continous Integrations with implementations such as Octopus Deploy and TFS Release Management are some of the keys for implementing this. Epi know how their partners deliver projects and is already today offering lots of these ambitions such as environment setups such as development, preproduction and production environments with a single click to deliver new hotfixes and ferature releases by the partner or client. This is somehow more or less already implemented today.

Octopus and TFS Deployment releases is now defined in the DXC offer. Image from Octopus blog.

2. Innovate Digital Experience Cloud service for agility and efficiency
Microsoft is of today at the .Net Core 3 cycle and with that Episerver have the ambition to run alongside Microsoft's effort to maintain the architecture in a good implementation. It has been about three years since Episerver announced that they were looking into bringing the platform on to .Net Core - promises and expectations Episerver know very well. Therefor, commitments about common goals and collaboration with Microsoft know seem to be a matter of fact and we could expect this generation of framework to be focused on. No release dates or expected year this will be shipped.

Episerver will look into the .Net Core 3 implementation for Episerver in the future.

3. Iterate New Products
AI is getting more and more involved in the industry and our regular daily lifestyle with products such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Home Assistan, there is already well based AI functionality and data collection that keeps updating the products as they are released. Episerver will look into this and keep expanding their product offerings with trends that AI brings and will bring with the future. No dates or expected releases of this however.

Episerver is to invent into new products with AI capacity as key benefit.

4. Enhance Core Services
The DXC services capacity shall be scaled to a more global state with Epi's set of products to choose from. No promises were made more than that Find should be a part of this in a better way.

5. Progress Core Roadmap
The services and products already implemented today will be maintained and enhanced as much as possible. You can find out more about these assurances and delivery features below in the Smaller Features and implementations section.

Content Management Engineering 📚

The journey of content management on a digital level has radically changed during the years of Episervers release since 1994 (it is now 25 years old!!). Different terms and new areas have been expanded ever since and was explained and compared by Deane Barker. He gave his vision upon today's expectations and collaborators within the industry and how well Episerver is keeping up with this.

Smaller Features and implementations 💯

David Knipe held a speech and demoed some of the upcoming features that have been in the backlog at Episerver for a longt time. A lot of them have been blogged about but we can expect the features below to see their daylight in the public within this year already

* New Image UI presentation - all old ImageUI hint references will be updated to a more suitable and user friendly experience

* Translation - ability to translate all children as project translations

* Comments in CMS content

* Brand new UI for Commerce - for better user experience and functionality and to get rid of Commerce Manager

* Permissions on Commerce Catalog items

* Content approvals will be customized for certain areas - example "Review" instead of Publish button in edit mode

* Commerce to Campaign - ability to insert commerce related features as Campaign material

* Configurable Commerce Assets filters - for better user experience and handle content in a more appropriate way

* Forms Dependencies - Episerver Forms will now have the ability to depend on fields that are either selected or not

* Wastebasket enhancements - ability to delete and restore single items in the wastebasket instead of the entire collection

* Retention Policy for Forms

* TinyMCE updated to 2.0 - quite old but the TinyMCE dependency is now updated in Episerver

What about Dojo? Is that still a thing? 🤔

We got some insight info about the Javascript framework Dojo.js, whom Episerver has been built upon since the remake from Episerver 6 to 7 - and it is here to stay.

During that transition it took about two years to completely rewrite everything to this framework. In modern time it would take even longer time for Episerver to update into a more modern and globally used framework such as Vue.js, React.js or Angular.js. Dojo is here to stay as core framework in the Episerver pipeline architecture.

Front end framworks will be more easy integrateable in the future with Episerver.

However, that does not mean Episerver has not been looking into the ability to integrate your Episerver projects with a modern front end solution of any choice. John-Philip Johansson and the crew at Episerver have been working hard to to realise this scenario and made a huge success into that goal.

We were demoed the GitHub project and Musical Festival App in a detailed and architectural perspective on how a SPA built web app or progressive web app could be built upon this technique. During the presentation, JP and the crew had made it to make a single html attribute for Episerver to tell how to handle the edit and preview contextual parts of Episerver. With the customization of a single MVC Controller and your MVC views based upon customized front end framework markup, the demo was a success.

Headless integrations and they way Episerver interacts with content from other systems is something that Episerver will keep track off even more in the future.

Was it worth the visit? 🤔

I would answer that question with a yes.

Even though this year is more or less a landing year for Episerver, they are taking the oppertunity to listen into the customer and partner criticism and enhancemants while taking bigger actions in concern to be scheduled and developed.

The event was as always well planned and executed with an agenda going on in a good pace between business goals and architecture insights of what to come. As always, you tend to find the networking parts of the event the most interesting and I would recommend partners whom have not taken the opportunity to go to do so.