Sitecore Demo Portal

If you’ve been involved recently with Sitecore on any client pitches for OrderCloud or CDP & Personalize then you would have seen Sitecore Sales engineers demonstrate the power of these applications running on the demo portal using the PLAY Summit. It has been made available to all Sitecore MVPs this week and allows you to quickly and easily spin up an environment and instance to easily demonstrate Sitecore products. For Partners you need to be onboarded via the partner team, you can contact your partner manager to get access.

If you’ve ever been involved in pre-sales then you know how much effort can go into standing up a demo Sitecore Solution to provide your Sales and Marketing teams with something that can be shown to potential new or existing clients.

The goal of the Portal and what the Sitecore Demo team have continually been striving towards – to simplify the process of spinning up a working Sitecore solution, allowing you to quickly demonstrate the main features with each new Sitecore release. It has to be said they’ve had their work cut out recently with all the recent acquisitions and new Products being added to Sitecore. But it has to be said this most recent incarnation of their demo solution and portal is their best work yet! It demonstrates how to spin up a ComposableDXP with Sitecore with a few clicks and some simple configuration. The portal will do its thing and you can review the progress or go make yourself a cuppa coffee and wait until you receive an email indicating your demo instance is ready in around 10-15mins. Awesome!

Taking it for a spin

I was fortunate to get early access to take it for a spin. If you’ve not already accessed the demo portal you’ll want to head over and sign in with your Sitecore Partner account. Once signed in you’ll be presented with the portal home screen which will list any current demo instances you’ve created:

As you can see here I have several demo instances available one for each of the demo templates that are currently available.

To spin up and new demo instance Select the Get a Demo menu option or click Quick Demo for a faster wizard-like experience.

1. Select a Demo – You’ll be presented with the currently available demo templates:

  • PLAY! Summit – A headless site and apps built to showcase the power of Sitecore’s composable digital solutions.
  • PLAY! SHOP – A headless commerce site built to showcase the power of Sitecore’s composable commerce solutions.
  • Experience Edge – Product (XM + Edge) Deploy this empty template to quickly PoC and try out Sitecore’s Content Management System.

Expect to see more templates added in the future.

2. General Information – you are then prompted to provide some information about demo instance:

  • Instance Name – This must start with a letter and only contain letters, numbers and dashes.
  • Channel – Allows you to select the Sitecore instance – it currently supports Sitecore 10.2.0
  • Region – this is the Azure region that will host the containers for the Sitecore instance. It seems to default to your current geo region.
  • Description – enough said.

3. Integrations – this allows you to configure the various configurations used for the demo template instance.

I selected the PLAY Summit template and this template allows me to configure the following integrations:

  • Vercel – it defaults to the demo team’s shared instance but you can easily configure this to point to your own Vercel instance by providing your own Vercel account token and team (optional)
  • GitHub – defaults to the demo team shared instance but you can provide git repo URL and specify a branch name.
  • Content Hub – defaults to the demo teams shared instance but allows you to configure to use your own CH instance by providing URL and credentials. Note: If connecting to one of the PLAY! demos, you must ensure you have an instance of Content Hub that was created using the “PLAY! Summit Demo Template” – this demo template is available for version 4.1.14.
  • CDP + Personalize – again defaults to the demo team shared instance and can be configured to use your own or instance by providing the URL, client key, and token. Note: If connecting to your own instance of CDP + Personalize, you will likely not have the instance configured for use with the PLAY! demos – you can find documentation about the CDP + Personalize configuration for the PLAY! demos at https://github.com/Sitecore/Sitecore.Demo.Edge/tree/main/docs/cdp-personalize

The default shared demo instances, which in most cases are not accessible to anyone outside the demo team are used to support demo assets only (personalization, images, etc). Allowing you to get up and running quickly without having your own instances. You can swap these out for your own instance(s) when appropriate. Some of the integrations are optional and can be removed if the ellipses are enabled. For example, the CDP + Personalize is optional on this template and can be removed completely. This would also be reflected on the actual demo with no personalization being applied to your demo instance. Information concerning the various integrations can be found in the Help section.

4. Schedule management – allows you to define when the instance will shut down – to save on resources.

Try to be conservative and realistic (we only have one earth), as you can change this afterwards if required or even start and stop the instance on demand.

5. Summary – this allows you to review the configurations before kicking off the deployment.
Once you are happy simply click deploy.

6. Instance Details – this screen will provide all the information about your instance and its status.

As you can see the status bar at the top indicates the instance is deploying. If I select view details we will be able to see the progress of the deployment tasks and logs for each task.

7. Deployment Complete – manage instance once the deployment is complete

Once the deployment is complete you can manage the instance.

Important Links – this includes links to the various services that are included in the instance along with usernames and passwords for easy access. For this demo template I have access to the following:

  • Website – Main PLAY! Summit website.
  • Kiosk – Tablet-format kiosk web applications for the PLAY! Summit expo.
  • TV – Displays timely contextual information on TV screens across the PLAY! Summit expo.
  • Horizon Editor – Sitecore Horizon editor
  • Content Management – Sitecore Experience Management instance (XM)

Manage Instance – manage the running of the instance

  • Manage Schedule – this allows you to change the shutdown time.
  • Skip Shutdown – will ignore the configure scheduled shut down time.
  • Start – will start a stopped instance.
  • Stop – stops you running instance.
  • Delete – removes demo instance.

Manage Members managed demo instance members

This is a pretty neat feature as it allows you to configure and spin up an instance on behalf of a team and then invite those members to have access to your instance. It can only be used for members in the same organization (same partner, etc.).

You can also transfer ownership to another user.

Active Integrations Section – Provides information about the various active integrations that are part of the instance.

Technical Details – this allows you to access the deployment details and access the logs for each of the tasks.

Help

If you click on the Help icon on the ribbon you’ll get access to lots of useful information relating to deploying an instance, viewing and understanding the logs, details on the specific available integrations, ownership and members, instance permissions, and a very useful FAQ.

Getting in Touch

You can quickly and easily get in touch with Sitecore to report any issues you may run into by clicking on the Get In Touch icon.

Top 10 features

Alexander Dorshenko (Sitecore Demo Team) shared his top 10 features:

  1. All composable pieces are brought together automatically. #Content Hub actions, triggers, CORS settings – all handled by the portal even if you use your own CH instance.
  2. Sitecore OrderCloud – we provision a marketplace, wire it up and populate with data. Headstart UI is also included with each instance.
  3. Sitecore CDP + Personalize – You can choose to bring your own, use our fallback, or disconnect from CDP at all. It is utterly configurable.
  4. Vercel – we deploy NextJS sites from the portal and configure tons of environment variables using latest Vercel API.
  5. You can deploy Sitecore CM to the region closest to you.
  6. File system is writable and supports syncing files from GitHub repos.
  7. You can install any modules on CM and test your modules with the latest version of Sitecore.
  8. Headless demo types come with Sitecore Edge tenant provisioned and configured at the CM instance (OOB publish to Edge).
  9. We use Continuous Deployment and deploy new features to the portal as we push them to Git.
  10. Simple UI wraps multi-cluster k8s backend capable of deploying and managing hundreds (and more) of Sitecore instances!

Important note: currently available demo types do not use XMCloud, we provision latest available 10.2.x as a CM instance during the deployment.

PLAY! Summit Demo

PLAY! Summit is intended as a demo site demonstrating the full Sitecore DXP capabilities.

Using the following cutting-edge technologies:

Note: It is not intended to be a starter kit for client solutions.

PLAY! Summit Series

Sitecore Product Evangelist – Ahmed Elyamany has been working on an insightful and very useful series showcasing Sitecore CDP & Personalize utilizing PLAY! summit. So far his series includes:

PLAY! Summit demo – Sitecore Personalize Web Experiences – covering the following topics:

  • Web Experiences
  • Message Bar
  • Upselling
  • Web Experiments
  • Page Targeting
  • Audience Targeting
  • Decisioning
  • Goals
  • Traffic Allocation

PLAY! Summit demo – Sitecore Smart Hub CDP Guests and Sessions – covering the following topics:

  • Manage Guests and Sessions
  • Tracking user behavior
  • Stream API
  • Custom Events

PLAY! Summit demo – Sitecore Personalize Experiments – covering the following topics:

  • Importance of A/B Testing
  • Introduction to web experiments
  • Creating experiments with Sitecore Personalize
  • Components of a web experiments

I recommend checking these out if you’ve not already – as they will help you grasp the various capabilities within Sitecore CDP & Personalize and how you can demonstrate these to potential clients using the PLAY Summit Demo.

Special Thanks

Special Thanks to the Sitecore demo team for all their continued hard work and Sitecore for yet another awesome piece of kit #buildwithsitecore.

You guys rock! Thank you.

Useful Info

Have fun demoing!

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