The Tridion Developer Summit (TDS) - 2017, one of the most anticipated events in any SDL Tridion/Web developer’s calendar, was held on the 11th and 12th of May in Amsterdam and what an event it was... A wide variety of topics were covered ranging from infrastructure (including cloud solutions), development, tooling, maintenance, languages and translations, to future improvements, trends and visions about SDL Web and other related technologies. Now when I think back it’s very difficult to pick a “favorite” from all the good topics, but three presentations have made the biggest impression on me + an honourable mention. These are:
- DXA 2.0
- Where did the servers go?
- Web 8.5 – What’s New
The Tridion Developer Summit (TDS) - 2017, one of the most anticipated events in any SDL Tridion/Web developer’s calendar, was held on the 11th and 12th of May in Amsterdam and what an event it was... It spanned two days and was held at a different location each day. Most of the time there were two parallel presentations, which was a bit unfortunate because one had to choose which talk to attend.
As for the talks themselves, a wide variety of topics were covered ranging from infrastructure (including cloud solutions), development, tooling, maintenance, languages, and translations, to future improvements, trends, and visions for SDL Web and other related technologies.
The keynote was held by Arjan van Rooijen, SDL Chief Evangelist, who shared with us the vision and plan for SDL products. It was very inspiring and I can’t wait to see how things turn out in the (near) future. After Arjan’s speech, the event was split into two venues where the rest of the presentations were held.
My Favorite 3 Topics
Now when I think back, it’s very difficult to pick a “favorite” from all the good topics. But there were three presentations that left the biggest impression on me. These were:
It was already announced last year that DD4T and DXA would merge into a single framework, and I was quite excited to hear updates on the matter. It turns out that the architecture will be changed quite significantly to adhere to the new requirements and to further improve performance, scalability, etc.
The envisioned architecture can be seen below:
One of the biggest changes in the new architecture is a new RESTful Web service called the “DXA Model Service” which is planned to be part of the CD public Content Services at one point (SDL Web 9 at earliest). This service will only be written in Java and will not be customizable (although it will be open source). If any customizations are required they will need to be written in the appropriate delivery language (Java or .NET) inside the web application. The system will experience significant performance improvements as the Model Service will decrease the need for multiple roundtrips between the web application and the Content Data Store, also, the Model Service will eventually bring support for client-side (JS) frameworks and single-page applications as well. Since the earliest availability of the service as a part of the CD Content Services is Web 9, and there is a need to add support for Web 8, the following evolution of the architecture is planned:
- DXA 1.x - current DXA architecture with DD4T for SDL Web 8
- DXA 2.0 - introduction of a DXA Model Service installed as part of a CIS environment
- DXA 2.x / SDL Web NEXT - Model service as part of the public Content API
Besides the Model Service, there was mention of executing the right tasks at the right time and the right place. These points are illustrated by the orange boxes on the ‘DXA 2.0 Architecture’ image. There was a discussion about the current (DD4T) data model and the reasons why it should be improved (in the R2 data model). The current data model is extremely verbose, contains a lot of unnecessary data, and is much closer to the TCM domain model than the strongly typed View Models used by DXA.
And finally, the topic of expanding and embedding of linked components and keywords (“denormalization”) during publishing was also mentioned. The idea is to gradually step away from this approach and to expand linked assets only when needed by introducing a selective Component/Keyword Links expansion.
One of the biggest pieces of news for me was that the Community Technology Preview (CTP) has been released and anyone can install it and play around with it. Also, we were kindly asked to provide feedback and to assist in any way we can. So fellow developers: keyboards in hands and onwards.
You can learn more about the envisioned architecture, its evolution, the R2 data model, and data model normalization here. All images were taken from the same address.
Where did the servers go?
Nuno Linhares and Julian Wraith
This presentation was about the “transformation from under the desk servers, to fully fledged cloud services and the introduction of serverless compute”. It was a well-structured, entertaining, and educational presentation which reminded us how things used to be a while back and which also made us think about how far technology has advanced. Julian spoke of some very neat features of Amazon whilst Nuno gave us examples on how we could integrate them with current and future implementations.
More info about Amazon Lambdas can be found here.
Web 8.5 – What’s New
Another good presentation was on the topic of Web 8.5, or more specifically on its new features and functionalities. The presentation also included a couple of demos so it was a nice way to get first hand insights on the changes as opposed to reading the documentation which can be found right here J. I personally look forward to the deployer’s scalability as in most of my projects this was the bottleneck for mass publishing.
I know that earlier I mentioned three presentations, but I am unable not to give an honorable mention to the Lightning Talks which were conceived as short 15 minute presentations, just enough to raise our interest in the topic and demonstrate a problem or a solution. They were quite enjoyable and were a nice change of pace from the lengthy “full blown” talks.
Having all the queued-up improvements and all the presented ideas in mind, and after having attended this very educational event, I have a feeling that it’s a good time to be a Tridion developer.
This year was the debut of EXLRT (as a new brand) at the summit and to many of the attending developers. EXLRT presented 4 topics, which were all very well received, and an overall great impression was made. In case you missed any, there will be a blog post about each of them, so do check our blog from time to time.
Hope to see you back here soon.