Are you as excited as I am for the release of Sitecore’s XM Cloud? Sitecore has come a long way from being just a CMS that hosted websites. To a full IaaS/PaaS marketing platform. And now a complete SaaS solution. So, what does that mean for Website and Content Search? In order to peel back those layers, first we need to understand what XM Cloud is and isn’t and how other products available in the Sitecore ecosystem play a role. Let’s dig in deeper!
What Is Sitecore XM Cloud?
XM Cloud is Sitecore’s completely revamped Content Management service rebuilt on a true SaaS platform. What you get out of the box is the same Content Management systems we’ve grown to enjoy over the past 15 years. It contains the Content Editor, the Experience Editor, as well as a new SaaS product called Sitecore Pages where layout and personalization is managed, and last but not least the media library.
What About the Other Roles?
Did I mention that XM Cloud is just Content Management? Well, if you’re like me with many years of Sitecore experience, you’re immediately going to ask about Content Delivery, Process, and Reporting. And that’s not even mentioning XConnect!
The bottom line is that in going true SaaS, Sitecore had to break down the monolithic architecture. And they did just that! XM Cloud is now Sitecore CMS broken down into composable pieces that can work with other composable pieces in order to create a scalable framework of products working in symphonic harmony with each other.
In Sitecore terms, we’re used to XM and XP terminology. It’s based on whether the implementation contains just enough for content management (XM or Experience Management) or all of the elements of the marketing platform, including personalization, analytics, and marketing automation (aka XP or Experience Platform).
With XM Cloud, we know that this is just Experience Management, which we know as two different roles: Content Management and Content Delivery.
The Content Management role is what you get in XM Cloud and is the SaaS tool for where we manage content.
Content Delivery Role in XM Cloud Is Gone
The Content Delivery role has gone away. In fact, Sitecore XM Cloud no longer hosts your website. Instead, XM Cloud publishes content to an end point called Experience Edge. Edge exposes a collection of API endpoints that allow you to use GraphQL and RESTful calls to gain access to content through the Delivery API. Additionally, the Layout Service provides access to the rendering engine that allows you to manage the presentation layers of your content within the XM Cloud.
Developers are now building completely headless websites that can be hosted on many other platforms, like Vercel.
Processing, Reporting, and XConnect
What about the other XP roles? For now, they do not exist, and might not exist in the future. As an example, Sitecore Personalize is a separate component for building personalized content in a headless way.
What About Search in XM Cloud?
Glad you asked! In traditional Sitecore, we’re used to having a Solr Sitecore Web Index that was kept up-to-date on publish and exposed through Sitecore’s ContentSearch API via .NET/C#/MVC.
None of that exists anymore in XM Cloud.
Tell Me More About How Search Will Work
XM Cloud uses the publishing context in order to push content to a queryable content archive on Experience Edge that allows you to use GraphQL to query content. There’s no sitecore_web_index and there’s no Web Database for developers to query against. This also means there is no ContentSearch API, and no other RESTful Search API’s. In fact, you don’t even need to host a Solr indexing farm with XM Cloud. Website search results in XM Cloud must be built manually. Search functionality is not included. Sitecore has mentioned that they are working on future products which will provide website search functionality, but those products aren’t available currently.
How SearchStax Addresses Search for XM Cloud
But wait there’s more…
SearchStax also has a Sitecore SXA template that can be used in more traditional Sitecore solutions. And for an even more customized look and feel you can use our Search API’s to really drive a customized website search experience for your visitors.
How Do I See SearchStax Studio in Action?
As of the writing of this post, Sitecore XM Cloud is not available to the general public, but that doesn’t mean you can’t check out SearchStax Studio on Sitecore. SearchStax offers a free, 14-day trial of SearchStax Studio that you can use to quickly and easily integrate a website search experience into your local development solutions.
Are you headed to Sitecore Symposium 2022 in Chicago in October? Come see our sponsor breakout session to see how SearchStudio and XM Cloud work together or visit our booth in the Sitecore Pavilion to talk with one of our search experts.