This page explains what are the new features available in Coveo for Sitecore 4. The minor version 4.1 is the currently developed solution with a new version coming out approximately every six weeks.
|Coveo for Sitecore Comparison||v4.1 1||v4.0 1||v3.0|
|Coveo for Sitecore Hive Framework|
|Coveo Usage Analytics|
2.0+ (for Coveo for Sitecore Hive)
1.0+ (for the legacy Coveo for Sitecore components)
|Release cycle||~6 weeks||~3 months|
On request only
1See Editions & Pricing for all the features.
Usage Analytics and Coveo Machine Learning
If you are familiar with Coveo for Sitecore 3, you know that Usage Analytics were introduced in this version, but you still had to configure it and contact the Professional Services to initialize your organization. With version 4 and Cloud indexing, the Usage Analytics feature is enabled by default right out of the box (see Coveo Usage Analytics). Furthermore, Coveo for Sitecore 4 enables you to leverage the precious analytics and feed them to Coveo™ Machine Learning (Coveo ML), Coveo's artificial intelligence powered service that analyzes search behavior patterns to increase the relevancy of the Coveo search results (see Getting Started with Coveo Machine Learning).
Coveo for Sitecore 4 offers the possibility to have your indexes hosted in the Coveo Cloud platform (see Understanding the Architecture of Coveo for Sitecore). Migrating to a cloud-based index brings many advantages:
Less software: you do not need to install Coveo Enterprise Search (CES) nor the Coveo Search API. Now, there is no need to deal with the Admin Service and RabbitMQ anymore.
Less hardware: you do not need to maintain servers for your index as those servers are provided through your Coveo for the Sitecore solution.
Fewer endpoints: the architecture has been greatly simplified, so there is way less port configuration and firewall openings to make.
Less configuration: no more complicated configuration steps like copying certificates from CES to your CM and CD instances.
Less license management: the license is handled by the Coveo Cloud platform.
Coveo for Sitecore 4 brings some changes to its methods:
- Query pipelines are now configurable by the user right from the Coveo Search Component properties (see Using a Query Pipeline).
- The on-premise architecture was modified (see Understanding the Architecture of Coveo for Sitecore).
- The configuration file location changed and Coveo now promotes patch file as a good development practice (see Introduction to the Coveo Configuration files).
Coveo for Sitecore Hive (4.1)
The Coveo for Sitecore Hive components allow you to create search pages by adding the components you want directly form the Sitecore Experience Editor (see Coveo for Sitecore Hive UI Framework).
Instead of using a single component that strives to do everything, the search page is now split in many smaller pieces, each one representing a Coveo for Sitecore Hive component. Each component has a single responsibility and displays its specific options.
You can thus move components around much more easily from the Experience Editor.
Easier Website Integration
In previous Coveo for Sitecore releases, the website styling was tightly coupled to the search component view. A developer had to duplicate the search components to create their own view, mostly because of styling needs.
Now that the search page is composed of smaller components, you can much more easily move them around from placeholder to placeholder. The Coveo for Sitecore Hive components rely on placeholder settings to determine which components can go where.
You can either use the default settings provided by Coveo or use your own to gain complete control over the component placement.
Reusability of Search-Enabled Components and Pages
In the past, the Coveo for Sitecore components were parameterized through Rendering Parameters. This approach had many drawbacks, such as the inability to merge individual field values. The Coveo for Sitecore Hive components rely solely on Data Source items to get their parameters.
Leveraging Data Sources brings many benefits:
- It decouples the component settings from the component itself, making it easier to share a common set of parameter values between many components.
- It merges field values through standard item inheritance. In other words, you can have a Data Source that only sets a field value and inherits values for all the other fields.
- It supports local and shared Data Sources. When the Data Source item is defined as a child of the page, it is considered a local Data Source. The other alternative is to store the Data Store item elsewhere in the content tree. In such case, it is considered a shared Data Source.
As the name states, many components can reference the same Data Source item.
- It supports Sitecore branches to create pre-configured search-driven pages.
Efficient HTML Caching
HTML caching is an important feature in Sitecore. It can make the difference between a website that feels fast and snappy and one that feels slow and heavy. On the other hand, enabling caching when it is inefficient might not bring the expected performance gain and can use a lot of memory.
The Coveo Hive components are designed with HTML caching in mind. Most of the components are "cached by Data Source," which is ideal. In order to achieve that, the rendered HTML depends solely on the Data Source parameter values. With a given set of parameters, the HTML is always the same regardless of the current visitor, or the page it is bound to.
There is one special component that makes HTML caching work for the others: the context component. Its purpose is to render all the non-cacheable information for the other components. The context HTML markup cannot be cached because it varies on many contextual factors such as the current item, the visitor, etc. Once the page is served, all the cached components can then access the context on the client-side and do their work.
- Lazy loading means only the code of the components you are using is loaded on the page.
- Individual placeholder animations for components ensures that, as soon as the component is loaded, it is ready to be interacted with.
- SVG icons ensure your icons scale no matter the screen size or device.
Upgrading from Coveo for Sitecore 4.0 to 4.1
Upgrading from 4.0 to 4.1 should not be harder than upgrading from one 4.0 release to another. However, you are still encouraged to follow the upgrade steps carefully to ensure the smoothest upgrade possible (see Upgrading from Coveo for Sitecore 4.0 to Coveo for Sitecore 4.1).
Upgrading from Coveo for Sitecore 3.0