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Shamsher Singh Dhillon Author's Perspective
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3 Minute read

What is Sitecore Horizon and why do you need it?

One of the newer offerings from Sitecore, Sitecore Horizon is a next-generation editor for Sitecore Experience Platform 9.3. A blend of Content and Experience editors (in terms of its features), it still works like a distinct identity alongside the existing Experience Editor and is not part of a vanilla installation of Sitecore. Remember, Sitecore Horizon has to be installed separately, and once you install it, you can access it via Launchpad (as seen below).

Features of Sitecore Horizon

Let's move to the features of Sitecore Horizon:

  • The Page Editor

The Horizon page editor lets you create new pages based on page templates; you can also edit existing pages.

Seen above is the default view that opens in Sitecore Horizon. You can always return to the Page Editor from other Horizon views, just by clicking the Page Editor icon. Also, while you edit a page on Horizon, you can always switch between different device layouts. This helps you assess how your page looks on different devices. You can also undo and redo changes, plus your work gets saved automatically. Additionally, if your page belongs to a workflow, you can move the page through the workflow in the Horizon editor.

This mode can be further divided into two sections: Content Tree Pane and Page View section.

Content Tree Pane

This pane lists all the items that are present in the content tree. It also contains a "Create the page" button to add a new item at the current location, along with an "Add to page" button to add new components to the current page.

Page View Section

The page view consists of two panes that provide information about the page as well as other components present on the page.

Pane 1

It displays the item that is currently selected in the Content Tree Pane. It works like the existing Experience Editor, where you can select different rendering that is present on the page. It also includes a nifty feature that lets you view the page on different devices (Web, Mobile, Ipad).

Pane 2

This pane displays the content related to the section that is selected on Pane 1 of Page View.If you have selected the whole page, this pane will display information for the whole item (ID, Path, Author, etc.) along with the ability to change the workflow state of the item. (based on user permissions)

If you select a rendering in Pane 1, this pane will present an option to change the data source of the current rendering and a button to remove the current rendering. It will also include information about the current data-source item (ID, Path, Author, etc.).

The Simulator Mode

The Simulator Mode in the Horizon application is used to preview a site. You can preview how pages look on different dates as well as devices. This mode can be activated using the blue button on the right-top corner of the screen.

Once in Simulator mode, you will be able to see a timeline at the bottom. Clicking on any date would display how the page looked on that date. There is also the option to switch to different devices on the top.

On hovering over the timeline, you can also see if any changes were made on that date.

The Insights View

From the Horizon editor, you can see insights for the current page by clicking the Insights icon. Page Insights displays several key performance indicators (KPIs) for the current page and the selected device type. By using the Device Switcher, you can select one device type or all device types.

This view includes the analytics data for the page. There are a range of views that display different attributes of the page including page visits, bounce rate, etc.

Source: Sitecore

The Visits per day and average value per visit insight display a graph with two lines.
The Conversion rate by date insight displays the conversion rate for the current page by date for the last seven days. The total number of conversions for the page is the number of visits that included the current page and resulted in a conversion. The time on the page by date insight shows the average amount of time per visit that a visitor spent on the current page. The chart shows the average time on page for each day for the last seven days. The bounce rate of a page is the percentage of visitors who visit the page and then leave the site without viewing other pages.

Horizon v/s Experience Editor - the pros and cons

Given below are the pros and cons of Sitecore Horizon v/s Experience Editor:

Pros:

  • When compared to Experience Editor, Horizon is strikingly fast.
  • There are some noteworthy features like Insights and Simulator, which are extremely helpful.
  • The ability to see the page on multiple devices is great to test the page in Horizon itself.
What's Missing:

  • Horizon is still at its initial stage and cannot be a replacement for Experience Editor
  • Multiple features that are still missing on the page level as well as rendering level (given below)
  • Page-Level
  • Assigning profile card to a page
  • Running Tests on a page
  • Item Versioning cannot be controlled from Horizon
  • Rendering Level
  • There is no option to personalize the rendering.
  • The Rendering/Placeholder structure cannot be seen in Horizon
  • Page cannot be viewed for different Devices (Print, PDF, etc.)

The bottom line

Sitecore Horizon is a great tool that improves the efficiency of editing the page significantly, but it is still in the early stages of its lifecycle and hence does not have several features that are part of the Experience Editor. We do hope that future releases of Horizon would add these much-needed features and provide a better Sitecore Content Authoring Experience.

Shamsher Singh Dhillon Associate Technical Lead - Altudo


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