Sitecore Symposium 2017: A Brief Introduction to xConnect

A couple hours ago, the 2017 Sitecore Symposium officially kicked off with a fantastic keynote by Sitecore CEO Mark Frost. Sitecore 9 is officially here and the entire Sitecore community’s excitement level is at an all time high! (Excitement levels determined by the data collected, sent to Cortex using xConnect.)

I feel like an excited little Superboy, sleepily opening gifts on a wintery Ohio Christmas morning in 1984. Flash forward 33 years, I am now an excited little Sitecore Superman, sleepily opening Sitecore 9 on a hot, Las Vegas afternoon.

Sitecore 9 comes with a lot of new exciting features. With so much to choose from, I decided to take a Pre-Symposium boot camp focusing on xConnect and Data Exchange Framework, I also plan on attending all the xConnect seminars this week.

Yay! I always wanted a Sitecore!

What is xConnect?

xConnect is the service layer that sits in between the xDB and any client, device, or interface that wants to read, write, or search xDB data. Built from the ground up, it follows a modular service oriented architecture and exists as a standalone service.

As a service layer, xConnect exists independently of Sitecore. This means it does not have any dependencies of the Sitecore Kernel. This allows the service to be hosted and scaled separately.

Both locally and in a scaled environment, the client application is only aware of xConnect end point. There is no direct connection to the underlying databases or search indexes.

xConnect also gives you a great set of APIs that allow you to create, read, write, update and search contact and interaction data.

There’s more to the Integration Story than just xConnect

xConnect is built for integration, but you have to integrate it and that’s where the Data Exchange Framework comes into the picture.

The Data Exchange Framework is designed to facilitate the transfer of data between systems. It allows you to define the logic needed to read data from a source system, transform that data into a format that is compatible with a target system, and write the transformed data into a target system. Developers can build connectors that allow 3rd party systems to serve as source and target systems.

Combining these two powerful tools, following the APIs, patterns and best practices, you have everything you need to build integrations. Done properly, the amount of work should be reduced, your components should be more reusable and they should still work after a Sitecore upgrade.

Interested? Don’t Worry! I’m Just Getting Started

I’ve barely covered the scope of xConnect’s super powers. In the days, weeks and months to come, I plan on making xConnect my primary focus. You can look forward to a lot of blog posts, code samples and video tutorials.

I am sure you’ll fall in love with xConnect just as I have, along with every other awesome feature included in Sitecore 9.

Celebrating 11 Years as a Sitecore Certified Developer

What better way to celebrate my 11th year as a Sitecore Certified Developer then doing so at the 2017 Vegas Symposium!

Sitecore has grown so much since I was certified in October 2006 and I am proud that I am a part of this wonderful community. It’s an awesome feeling to LOVE what you do for a living. I wake up each morning and look forward to programming and participating in the Sitecore community.

Thanks to my Arke family!  I love the passion and dedication that each person brings to work every day.

Thanks to the leaders in the Sitecore community who inspire me daily.

These are exciting times to be a Sitecore developer and I am thrilled to see what the next 11 years have to offer!

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