sitecore symposium stage

Oct 29, 2018

I recently returned from (mostly) sunny Orlando where I was attending Sitecore Symposium, the annual user conference and convergence of all things Sitecore. At Symposium, Sitecore announced the release of version 9.1, along with a few other surprises. Here are the new features that caught my eye.

Updates to Forms

Sitecore 9.1 brings some useful (and much asked for) updates to forms including the ability to pre-fill fields. Forms are also gaining the ability to have conditional logic, allowing marketers to build forms that respond to a user’s responses to show only the relevant questions.

Identity and Host

Over the last few releases, Sitecore has been gradually making the shift to a services-based architecture. This continues in 9.1 with the introduction of Sitecore Host, a new runtime that all of these services will be built on moving forward. It promises a standardized way to handle configs and plugins while also being leaner than the standard Sitecore framework.

9.1 also introduces Sitecore Identity, which replaces the old authentication system. Identity is based on a widely used open-source library and provides Single Sign On functionality between all of the services on the platform.


Sitecore JavaScript Services (JSS) offers a new approach to website development, adding new APIs that allow JavaScript-centered Sitecore development. JSS allows a front end developer to build a website without needing a Sitecore instance, and then later hook up a Sitecore instance with ease.


Cortex is Sitecore’s machine learning framework, adding automated content tagging for search both inside and outside the editor. Cortex will be a useful option for those that wish to train a machine learning model for their sites, though this is not required as Cortex comes with the widely used Open Calais model by default. In 9.1, it also adds predictive outcomes as a new option when creating personalization rules to improve your website experience for visitors.

Universal Tracker

Universal Tracker is Sitecore’s answer to collecting interaction data across channels. Designed with fast recording in mind, Universal Tracker adds a new layer on top of xConnect to improve data collection and scalability. Version 1 of the Universal Tracker is for use with mobile apps only, but future releases will add support for other channels.

Bonus round: Horizon

Horizon is not part of the 9.1 release, but was demoed a few times at Symposium and has me really excited for the future. Horizon is the code name for Sitecore’s next-gen UI, combining the content editor and experience editor and adding insights based on analytics right into the editing view. A technical preview has been promised in the near future to let early-adopters test some of the new features; a full release is probably a year or two away, but it can’t come soon enough!

Curious about any of these new features? Get in touch and we’d be happy to help!