Evolve ’14: How Adobe Experience Manager’s Platform Is Evolving – Part 1
I attended Evolve ’14, 3|Share’s second annual AEM/CQ conference and community summit, which is billed as one of the world’s largest non-Adobe AEM user events. In this post, and the one that follows, I will share a few takeaways from the conference, and a few suggestions for Adobe that are intended to improve the user community’s overall experience with Adobe Experience Manager 6.0.
So let’s get to it.
Feature Packs Introduced
History has shown that having just one major release per year simply doesn’t expose users to the many helpful updates and features that are introduced throughout the year.
Recognizing this, Adobe has introduced downloadable “feature packs” to provide access to improved functionality as it becomes available.
Strategically, introducing feature packs is a smart move for Adobe, as feature packs focus on eliminating a key pain point of today’s content authors–namely, writing better, higher ranking content.
2013 Scalability Issue Addressed
At last year’s conference, many attendees expressed concerns about AEM’s scalability with JCR 2.0. The good news is that Adobe appears to have addressed these worries with their use of Oak vs. JCR. To help facilitate a smoother transition from 5.6, AEM 6.0 supports both JCR and Oak repositories. AEM 6.0 also allows for a MongoDB backend, which should further enhance scalability and allow for efficient utilization of MongoDB’s native large-scale data crunching and read-write optimization capabilities. We believe that any lingering scalability concerns have truly been put to rest.
Sightly, Security and Coding Efficiency – Slightly
One of the other sessions I attended covered the use of Sightly for server side HTML templating system. Sightly started as a side project among a few maverick developers but has quickly become one of Adobe’s preferred markup languages. What I like about Sightly is how it eliminates ugly markup code written in JSP’s and ESP’s, and how, by default, it builds with strong security features and server-side validations. Developers like Sightly too, because it eliminates their concerns about writing extra code for security, and improves readability if it’s been a while since they’ve coded with it.
Achieving 99.99 Percent Uptime
On day two, one of the interesting presentations I attended was “AEM for High Availability,” by Anshul Chhabra & Akhil Aggrawal from Cisco.
Anshul and Akhil discussed the key drivers behind maintaining 99.99 percent uptime for an AEM environment while delivering content in less than five seconds globally in 40+ countries and 100+ languages. They described how they achieved this notable feat by leveraging the combined functionality of AEM dispatcher, Akamai, Client Browser, and eh-caching at four levels.
The duo also spoke at length about the tradeoffs of using multiple caching levels and touched upon challenges surrounding managing/invalidating cache at several levels. Proper integration of coding standards to optimize caching at each level was also discussed.
As Anshul and Akhil spoke, I could see how their solution might work for the predominantly static content or basic personalization-centered sites. In these cases, Akamai can redirect based on user cookie and type. However, with more dynamic sites, I believe there is still a need to hit the server.
As I said, there were numerous interesting and relevant presentations at Evolve 14, and thus, many more impressions to share. Please check back soon for my concluding post about this important AEM community event.
If you have thoughts or opinions about Evolve 14, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.
Images credit: @EVOLVE_14
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