Understanding Sitecore as a Code Less Platform

Jason Sindel Jason Sindel
September 01, 2015
Sitecore , Web Development , Web Strategy

One of the many reasons why Sitecore remains a leader in the WCM/CMS/CXM space is because of its foundation as a .NET framework. In the development industry, Sitecore is known as a codeless platform, not to be confused with a platform requiring no code, such as Squarespace or other SaaS for website creation. Instead, think of Sitecore as a platform that can be used to standardize your approach, simplify MVC architecture, separate design from content and code-behind from mark-up. It can also provide a single point of application integration and speed-up both development and deployment efforts.

What is code less?

In a nutshell, a code less platform is any software that allows developers to:

  • Template their code
  • Create a layer controlled by content managers or admins of flexible business logic
  • Allow for automated builds, testing and deployment procedures
  • Integrate with external systems
  • Configure application(s) for Security and Database Connection Strings, URLs and URIs
  • Scale to the enterprise level
  • Manage risk
  • Manage user permissions and workflow
  • Automate jobs
  • Use tools for debug and testing
  • Allow for updates to the software for new functionality
  • Access support for product bugs and fixes

In addition to these features of a codeless platform, Sitecore provides many other advanced tools and capabilities, such as Sitecore Experience Marketing.

The code less solution: Sitecore Data Templates

The real power in Sitecore lies with its data templates which are constructed by atomistic items. An item can be a something as simple as it’s Name and a UID. It is, according to Sitecore: “An addressable unit of content made up of fields that contain information”. Items and their nesting functions in the content tree are how Sitecore associates content with other content, establishing for example a Parent:Child relationship or a Sibling:Sibling one. Once items are defined by a Sitecore architect, data templates can be used to combine them and define their attributes and most importantly their field/data inheritance. Once these are defined, simple code-behind can use the inherent nested relationship of the content tree, i.e. the organizational structure of items based on reusable templates, to execute website functionality such as making queries of the Sitecore database for a particular field value, pulling items in a list format by a category parent item, or rendering a certain way based on conditions. All of this can be done using the code less framework exposed by the Sitecore API. APIs provide us with powerful tools to access applications on the server, but a framework like Sitecore provides a truly object-oriented interface for any website functionality imaginable.

The code less ecosystem

Code less applications don’t arise on their own. They require an ecosystem of developers, users and organizations invested in the ongoing development of the software. Sitecore has the benefit of an existing Microsoft .NET ecosystem with the emergence of a devoted group of users and developers focused on the software itself. At the core of Sitecore’s ecosystem is their partner program, which is arguably one of the most committed communities in the space today. If you do a Google search for “Sitecore”, your results will be filled with: blogs listing thousands of lines of code, marketplace apps, Sitecore add-ons and software upgrades. When you Google “Sitecore developers”, you will find that there are hundreds of development agencies with a Sitecore focus. Sitecore’s consistent growth and innovation combined by an abundance of quality documentation makes the platform one of the safest bets for a long term CXM platform on the market today.

Building a code less environment on Sitecore

Of course, the real power of Sitecore is in how you use it. Are you using it as a fully integrated platform? Have you invested in the fundamentals of your application lifecycle management to take advantage of Sitecore’s packaged deployments and a three-tiered environment infrastructure? At Roundedcube, we build enterprise websites that integrate CRM, social, analytics, and marketing automation. We also implement ALM for our corporate, government and association clients. We standardize our development process with best-practices from Sitecore and those we’ve established ourselves. We reuse code where possible and update code as required. We train our developers, hold Lunch n’ Learns, read and contribute to Sitecore blogs, run Sitecore meetups and attend Sitecore conferences. As a Gold Implementation Partner, we’ve been recognized among the industry’s elite. If you’d like a Code less approach for your next web dev project based on the powerful Sitecore platform, contact us today.

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