September 15, 2023

The Evolution of Sitecore Development: Embracing SaaS, Front-End Expertise, and Cheese!

By: Craig Taylor
September 15, 2023

The Evolution of Sitecore Development: Embracing SaaS, Front-End Expertise, and Cheese!

Who Moved My Cheese?!

In the ever-evolving landscape of web development, platforms like Sitecore have played a pivotal role in shaping digital experiences. Traditionally, Sitecore development has relied heavily on backend (usually C#) developers to craft Sitecore solutions. However, with the advent of Sitecore XM Cloud and the shift towards a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, the dynamics of Sitecore development are undergoing a significant transformation. 

I often introduce myself as an architect that has a background in Microsoft technologies, specifically C# and Sitecore.  Moving the focus of Sitecore development towards frond-end technologies sounds like I'm putting myself and other backend devs out of work, but fear not, it doesn't have to be that way. I remember a time where people thought that the introduction of Visual Studio meant that the days were numbered for developers.  You may be thinking now that the same is true when we talk about the evolution of Sitecore development. (well, if you're a backend developer, that is)    

What does this shift mean for traditional, backend Sitecore developers, the increasing importance of frontend developers, and the shift towards a more collaborative, product-focused approach?  I'm glad you asked.

The Shift to Sitecore XM Cloud

  1. Embrace Cheese, I mean, SaaS for Scalability
    Sitecore XM Cloud represents a shift towards a cloud-based, scalable architecture. This move not only simplifies infrastructure management (aint nobody got time for that) but also opens new doors for collaboration between backend and frontend developers. The emphasis on SaaS allows for quicker deployment, reduced maintenance overhead, and a more seamless development process.

  2. The Rise of Front-End Development in Sitecore
    • React and Next.js Integration
      We are flipping staffing models from staffing a 'bunch' of backend developers along with a 'few' frontend developers on its head. As Sitecore (and partners) embrace a more API-first approach, the need for proficient frontend developers has become more pronounced. React and Next.js have become integral components in the Sitecore development toolkit and frontend developers now play a crucial role in shaping the user interface and optimizing the overall user experience.  We aren't forgetting about the backend devs as you will see below.

    • Enhanced Content Delivery
      With a focus on content delivery to the frontend, Sitecore developers are transitioning from being solely backend experts to becoming well-versed in frontend technologies. This shift not only empowers developers to create more interactive and dynamic user interfaces but also facilitates a more collaborative development environment.

The Changing Role of Sitecore Developers

  1. From Code-Centric to Product-Centric
    • Configuring Sitecore for Frontend Integration
      Sitecore developers are no longer just coders; they are becoming product experts who understand the intricacies of configuring Sitecore to seamlessly integrate with frontend technologies. This involves mastering the art of content organization, personalization, and API configurations to ensure a smooth flow of data between the backend and frontend.

    • Collaboration with Frontend Teams
      The lines between backend and frontend development are blurring, and collaboration is key. Sitecore developers now work hand-in-hand with frontend teams, providing them with the necessary tools and data structures to bring digital experiences to life. We can move away from 'The front-end devs have to understand and run Sitecore on their machines' fallacy.  Let's let front-end devs do what they do best.  Let's let Sitecore experts do what they do best.  Let's let them collaborate so they can build build great Sitecore sites. This collaboration fosters a more holistic approach to Sitecore development.

Embrace the Cheese, I mean, Change

The evolution of Sitecore development towards a SaaS model, particularly with Sitecore XM Cloud, marks a shift in the skills and expertise required to develop today's modern websites. While backend Sitecore developers will always be valuable, the demand for frontend developers with React and Next.js experience is on the rise. 

Sitecore developers are no longer confined to the backend; they are evolving into versatile product experts, bridging the gap between backend infrastructure and frontend innovation. We still need backend deveopers to help with the configuration of Sitecore, creation of Sitecore artifacts, devOps processes, integrations, search, gated content, etc. This transformation not only enhances the efficiency of development processes but also results in more dynamic and engaging digital experiences for end-users. 

As the world of Sitecore development continues to evolve, embracing this change is essential for staying at the forefront of digital innovation.


Who Moved My Cheese (We had a training session early in my career where we discussed this book and it's always in my head and I wonder if people look at me like I'm crazy when I mention it.  The book is about embracing change. It talks about a mouse who is mad that his cheese has been moved and he can't let it go.  Instead of focusing on that, embrace the change and learn how to operate while your cheese is in a new location.  I hope this helps to explain why I keep referring to "cheese" in this post.)

1 comment:

  1. Very well articulated..!!! The next big thing for Sitecore backend devs is, how to raise our bar to learn Front end basics and master in integration touch points