I've been anticipating that event for so long, and finally, I was there! So let's take a look at what's new have been presented.
Sitecore 9 and xConnect brought a new era of Sitecore development. Starting from principally different installation approach, Sitecore brings multiple changes, the most significant of which are changes developers used to work with xDB (which now moved to SQL Server) and content search (which is now Solr by default). Now instead of calling xDB directly, we will be using xConnect API, which is very well documented, thanks to Martina Welander and her team.
CRM connectors have been announced - for both Dynamics and Salesforce.
Zenith and Horizon - two Sitecore projects currently in development, but both are very promising. It will change the way we work with the platform, but as for now, there is no way too much information about.
Marketing Automation has been re-worked to the best. Brimit, a Sitecore partner, has arranged a perfect demonstration stand of xConnect and marketing Automation working together on Sitecore 9, identifying contact's (visitor's) parameters from both online and offline channels and assigning them to certain profile pattern card, with sending them personalised email afterwards.
Sitecore Cortex will be a new machine-learning technology to be used along with Sitecore xDB in order to increase personalisation and data analysis.
I spent decent time talking to guys from the team that builds the core of the platform and Express Upgrade Tool. The last one became a mature intelligent tool allowing do controlled upgrades from almost any recent version of Sitecore to version 9, with identifying all the potential issues and configuration breaking changes. I proud that have suggested few valuable ideas for the product about identifying any customises pipeline changes for the instance.
Thursday morning Symposium finished, but not for the 250+ lucky to be announced Sitecore MVPs of 2017. We have had 2 more thrilling days of MVP Summit.
Almost everything we have been told or presented there has a "non-disclosure" label, so there's not too much to share. Summit was held at much faster pace, comparing to Symposium itself - longer up to 1 hour long deep presentations, with short 5-10 minutes breaks. We were given a great opportunity to challenge new Sitecore 9 training exam, so that whoever passes that test - becomes Sitecore 9 certified already (as I did!). We also took part in Round Table, where various Sitecore teams were presented at round tables, so MVPs were travelling from one interested table to another, raising questions, suggesting ideas and providing feedback.