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Sitecore XP 10.4, released today, shows Sitecore’s enduring commitment to its DXP product line. Sitecore’s new CEO, Dave O’Flanagan, recently acknowledged at the Dublin SUGCON EU keynote, that its SaaS product portfolio, and especially XM Cloud, has been the focus of Sitecore’s marketing message for the last few years, but he stressed that Sitecore has a long-term commitment to its platform products, “I don’t think I can say it enough, XP and XM are going nowhere!”

Three themes he focused on in his keynote were bringing the Sitecore user experience (UX) up to the level of its new SaaS offerings, including new lessons learned with performance, stability, and security, and bringing xDB into the larger data fold, “connecting xConnect to Connect,” a mouthful, but a very important development.

The release of Sitecore Experience Platform/Experience Manager (XP/XM) 10.4 brings these commitments into sharper focus. The release notes list 200 improvements and fixes, but there are a few I’d like to focus on.

An Accessible Content Editor

The Content Editor in 10.4 doesn’t look noticeably different from that in earlier versions but it feels different. Tab key navigation is fully supported through the ribbons and content tree, so that full Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) operations are available, without a mouse. As the release notes state:

  • Improved accessibility - enabling content authors with poor vision to better manage content in the Content Editor. For example, you can now:
    • Navigate the ribbon and use these actions: create, rename, move, and delete items.
    • Navigate and expand items in the content tree.
    • Navigate and select various types of fields in the content area.
    • Listen to information about UI elements through assistive third-party technology.

Although I didn’t have a chance to dig deep into these assistive features, the ability to interact with items in a mouse-free way gave the UX a much more modern feel. The insert, rename, and delete operations in this animation were all done without my fingers leaving the keyboard.

An animated image that shows renaming and deleting a page in Sitecore using solely the keyboard.

New Functionality for xDB

Sitecore XP’s complete flexibility to instrument and capture visitor behavior is a unique feature of the platform and received quite a bit of attention in Dublin and with this release. First, there’s a subtle but significant addition to the Marketing Control Panel, the ability to trigger campaigns or goals based on rules, and the ability to bulk assign marketing definitions in xDB. As the release notes state:

  • Added the ability to trigger campaigns or goals based on rules. This is relevant, for example, if you want to display content from a campaign when certain pages are visited.
  • Added the ability to bulk assign marketing definitions in xDB to content, improving the usability and efficiency in associating a marketing campaign to multiple content items at the same time.

I believe these two items in the release notes refer to the same feature, a new capability to associate items by tree location, template, depth, or name to a specific goal or campaign. This could be useful, for example, to show a call to action when visitors have navigated to any content in the News Release or Resources section of a website.

The new rules can be added to the following location in the Marketing Control Panel:

A screenshot of the Marketing Control Panel in Sitecore where a test rule has been added under "Marketing Definition Mapping" in the item tree.

With these rules, you can identify pages by name, path, or template, or by associated tag, and bulk assign goal triggers using the Content Editor search. You could add goals in bulk before version 10.4, but the addition of the tag capability allows much more fine-grained logic. For example, a set of featured products could be tagged with “March”, and another set with “April”. A personalization rule could be modified to change which tags were associated with a campaign or goal, from just “March” to “March” and “April” to just “April”. In the past, a goal had to be associated directly with the items involved, allowing for much less traceability or control.

A screenshot of a Rule in Sitecore where you can apply complex rules to specific goals.

In addition to functionality improvements, Sitecore added significant new integration capabilities to version 10.4. Notably, these integrations are done with modules that support older versions of the platform. Not requiring customers to upgrade to take advantage of new capabilities was an important theme at SUGCON EU in Dublin, and you can see that with the following modules:

  • Codeless Schema Extensions, a module coming in May 2024 that allows new data types to be captured via Forms and available for segmentation and personalization, with no developer involvement. This module is promised to support XP 10.2 and above.
  • Connect for xConnect and xDB to CDP integrations, available for XP 9.0 and above. At Dublin, this was mentioned as a way to integrate xDB data with external systems and lessen the system burden on xDB as data is migrated off to a customer data platform (CDP) for long-tail use.
  • An Analytics Extractor that can export data from xConnect for analysis in business intelligence (BI) tools, either via CSV or MSSQL extracts, available for XP 10.0 and above.

Want to know more about Sitecore 10.4’s exciting new features?

Our Sitecore MVPs and Sitecore experts can share more about how Sitecore 10.4 can benefit your organization, and help you upgrade to it so you can start taking advantage of its features as soon as possible. 

More Flexible Language Handling

The Sitecore XP 10.4 release notes call out that it’s now possible to add a language for any region and language combination, such as en-EU (English in the European Union). Although it was possible to add that language in earlier versions of Sitecore, it didn’t show up as an available option on items. This is fixed with 10.4, allowing for fine-grained control of regional content.

A screenshot from Sitecore that shows the ability to add alternate language versions like en-EU on an item level.

A Read-Only Content Role

“I’d like a log on, but make sure I don’t break anything.” We’ve all heard that request, usually from someone very senior, and now Sitecore provides out-of-the-box support for that story, with the “Sitecore Client Content Reader” role.

Other Stability and Performance Improvements

A few other points are worth mentioning to round out the discussion about Sitecore XP 10.4:

  • Solr interactions have been optimized, using “Soft Commits” and “Delete by ID” for faster index updates.
  • Updated JavaScript libraries throughout SXP components.
  • A dozen “Improved performance” details in the release notes, touching on the Link Database, the Media.ResizeProcessor, index rebuilds, the Workbox, and so forth.
  • Enhanced security and supportability across the product and in third-party libraries, to reduce potential vulnerabilities, and to reduce the likelihood of requiring security updates in the future.

This release shows that, far from being forgotten, the XP product is benefiting from technical investments Sitecore is making throughout its product line. With them, Sitecore is integrating XP even deeper into its portfolio of products.

Want to learn more about Sitecore 10.4 and how it can benefit your organization? Reach out. Our Sitecore MVPs and Sitecore experts would be happy to walk you through its new features and talk to you about how you can upgrade to the latest version of Sitecore so you can take advantage of them as soon as possible.


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