What is SDL Web 8?

You may have heard people mention SDL Web 8 recently and been wondering what it is. In simple terms, SDL Web 8 is the upcoming release of a suite of products, bundled together to provide customers with everything they need for the modern web. The suite gives you the tools required to create a contextual, personalised web experience for your customers.

The ‘8’ part of the explanation is easy - it’s the version number of the upcoming release. The ‘SDL Web’ bit takes a bit longer to explain....

What is SDL Web?

SDL Web covers four main core functional areas of the modern web:

  • Web Content Management
  • Experience Optimisation (including personalisation & mobile)
  • Digital Media
  • Localisation

These four functional areas map quite easily to products you may be more familiar with:

  • Web Content Management = SDL Tridion
  • Experience Optimisation = SDL SmartTarget & SDL Mobile
  • Digital Media = SDL Media Manager
  • Localisation = Translation Manager (SDL WorldServer subscription required)

What are the objectives?

As SDL Web is a suite of software designed to work together, the focus and its features are quite broad. Below I have highlighted the key focus areas for the suite and wider SDL product range:

Cloud compatibility
SDL products are already cloud friendly, but SDL is planning to further optimise them. Some of the notable optimisations will include cloud database support (e.g. AWS RDS,) and an improved licensing model.

Time to market
By introducing initiatives like the Digital Experience Accelerator (DXA), SDL aims to have customers up and running quickly, whilst ensuring implementation best practices are still followed.

Total cost of ownership (TCO)
Cloud databases, DXA and optimisations throughout the suite all weigh in to reduce the overhead of running an enterprise-ready ecosystem.

Let’s dig a little deeper

The high level objectives are all well and good, but what enhancements can we expect? Here’s a rundown:

Content Manager UI & Experience Manager Performance

  • Site Wizard
    A new interface to allow quick creation of marketing web sites, for example seasonal microsites.
  • Optimsed LDAP Support
    No more waiting for the user directory to load.
  • Microsoft Edge Support
    Replacement for Internet Explorer
  • Experience Manager optimisations

Content Manager Core

  • Stability and Performance improvements – the mainstay of any release
  • Extensibility improvements
  • Cloud Database Support including Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure
  • Bulk Loading improvements
  • Privilege Elevation from Code – useful in Event System and Workflow
  • Core Service improvements including Connection Disposal
  • Approval Status improvements – making the “Ready to Publish” status more useful
  • Translation Manager Events added to Core Event System
  • Improved Publisher resilience – it will now re-try if for any reason it fails mid-publish
  • .Net 4.5.2 Support
  • BluePrinting Promote & Demote – potentially a great addition; I can’t wait to test it out
  • Translation Manager and Content Manager Databases Combined to allow Removal of MSDTC
  • Topology Manager – a new approach to what is currently referred to as Publishing Management

Content Delivery

  • Content Delivery as a Service
    This is one of the biggest changes in the new version, exposing Content Delivery functionality as a RESTful web service. The Content Delivery function will be exposed as a collection of micro-services.
  • Java 8 Support
  • MySQL Support
  • Cloud Database Support

Audience Manager

  • Remove Configuration Files from the Content Manager Server
  • Column Designer – allowing custom fields without editing the database table
  • Audience Manager Contacts Visible in “Where Used” Feature

When will SDL Web be released?

The release date for SDL Web 8 is expected to be during the fourth quarter of 2015. Soon after SDL Web 8, DXA 2.0 will be released.

I'll be blogging further about both SDL Web 8 and DXA 2.0 over the coming months, so check back soon!

Any questions?

If you need more information or have any questions just get in touch and we'd be happy to answer them for you.