Kentico Xperience 13 Refresh 1 Has Been Rolled Out

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Adna Tuzlak
March 31, 2021 5 min read
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Kentico have recently launched Refresh 1 for Kentico Xperience 13, the latest version of their award-winning DXP (digital experience platform). As Kentico Xperience Quality Experts, the GRM team were very excited to hear about this update and find out what advantages it has for our delivery to clients.  

Kentico are reputable professionals devoted to continuously streamlining content management and contributing to the digital success of their partners and clients. In order to accomplish that properly, they’ve decided to replace the release cycles of 12-18 months with quarterly updates called Refreshes. 

Let’s dive deeper into why they’ve opted for this big step and what the first of four Refreshes planned for 2021 brings to the table! 


Why Refreshes? 

The usual practice Kentico employed was launching a new product version every 12 to 18 months. This would entail exhaustive changes to the DXP for the purpose of facilitating the digital transformation of businesses. While the considerable improvements coming with each version definitely got the job done, Kentico felt they could find a way to make the transition even smoother.  

By performing quarterly Refreshes, Kentico will be introducing more easily digestible chunks of changes. The product functionality will be enhanced more frequently in smaller ways, while the DXP users can adjust to the new features faster so that their performance is not compromised.  



Refresh 1: What’s new? 

Kentico Xperience 13 Refresh 1, released in mid-March, entails a number of improvements that’ll make the lives of Kentico development teams easier and simultaneously empower marketers/content creators. Now we’ll take a closer look at the advantages of “the first milestone on the journey to a stronger product,” as Kentico call Refresh 1.  


Seizing the power of AI 

With content personalisation having become such a massive factor in customer experience and brand presence, DXPs need to evolve and include functionalities which allow you to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning. In order to solidify the future-readiness of their DXP, Kentico endowed Kentico Xperience 13 with the possibility of integrating websites with AI service provider Recombee.  

Due to this addition, Refresh 1 makes it possible to automatically collect and analyse visitor behaviour and actions on each page. As a result, they will be shown content that is most relevant to them.  

Thanks to the automatised content personalisation, developers won’t have to configure personas and personalisation rules anymore. The API is even easier to implement than before, and future data source changes present no hurdle. All developers need to do is forward the data to Recombee and create a widget, which will automatically be filled with content.  

Marketers/content creators no longer have to spend time establishing target audiences and personas, as automatic suggestions will take care of that for them. From now on, the marketing team are only concerned with the content itself and its location on the website.  

By taking away the need for manual persona creation and configuration, Refresh 1 ultimately eliminates the risk of human error and saves marketers and developers a lot of time. As a digital agency partnered with Kentico, we appreciate this feature immensely, because it allows team members to get more tasks done and deliver products and services to clients more effectively.  


Media upload alternative 

As an alternative to the Media Library or direct upload, it’s now possible to use an external digital asset management system (DAM). Kentico Xperience 13 Refresh 1 has enabled integration with Bynder DAM, which means your assets are kept separately from the content. 

That way the workflows are also separated, and you get multipurpose media sources, as they can be used in different areas of your website and are suitable for online and print-ready content.  

The good thing for developers is that they don’t have to spend time on custom integration, because it’s fully taken care of by Kentico. As for marketers, they can work with content faster, too, because they can just perform the upload directly from Bynder instead of downloading and manually placing media into the DXP. 


Content search made easy 

Thanks to the New Search Index introduced through Refresh 1, it is possible to browse through all kinds of content, structured or not, using just one index. This is a huge step forward from the former search options, which required different search indexes for different types of content.  

This is another way that shows how valuable Refresh 1 is for both developers and marketers. The former have to set up only one search index, while the latter have a better grasp of the overall search settings. 


Be even more productive with .NET Core 

Due to their dedication to creating future-friendly products, Kentico migrated to the .NET Core MVC framework with Kentico Xperience 13. Among many benefits that came from this are faster loading, better integratability and more control over code. However, merely switching is not sufficient, and Kentico have further proved their commitment by making tweaks to the framework with the first update already. 

Namely, Refresh 1 includes the .NET Core Debug, a tool which helps developers observe and boost performance more easily. They can keep an eye on the live site and catch potential errors and updates immediately, so that they can fix issues on the spot. 

While the website is running smoothly and the technical side is taken care of, marketers get to concentrate on their content better. Couple quality content with an impeccable website performance, and your users will be more than satisfied with their digital experience.  

Taking into account the continued efforts made by Kentico, it’s no surprise that their products are among the leading DXPs selected for digital transformation – the key to business survival. 


New technical features 

Aside from the four big points mentioned previously, Kentico Xperience 13 Refresh 1 has also introduced some additional technical features that make for a better digital experience.  

For instance, the Cache Tag Helper simplifies caching by allowing more control over cache dependencies, which ultimately results in a significant increase in page performance. Furthermore, the Object Selector makes it possible for any object to be used in the configuration of widgets.  

And finally, Legitimate interest activity logging is an out-of-the-box feature related to the Marketing Automation process. This process used to be dependent on the cookie settings; essentially, if a user submitted a form without agreeing to cookies, it meant the automation process still wouldn’t start. With Refresh 1, Marketing Automation is possible regardless of cookies, but it’s important to keep in mind that you have to include a way for visitors to unequivocally give consent to receiving your e-mails or other marketing activities.  


Conclusion  

It’s not tough to see why Refresh 1 is such a big deal for Kentico Xperience 13. It’s the first in line of a whole new series of upgrades meant to make innovation and modernisation even more efficient than before – and it entered with a bang. Judging by Kentico’s continuous investment in their products, we can only expect more excellent features that will crank up any digital project created on Kentico Xperience 13. 


If you’re still curious about Kentico Xperience 13 and Refresh 1, or you’re looking for assistance with future-proofing your website, the Kentico development experts at digital agency GRM Digital are always here and happy to help.