Usability and User Experience Drive Sitecore 6.4

3 minute read
Josette Rigsby avatar

Sitecore (news, site) has announced the production release of version 6.4 of their web content management system (CMS). The recent release ousts support for Internet Explorer (IE) 6 and adds notable usability enhancements. However, the most impressive thing about the release might be that user feedback drove every single enhancement. Sitecore has embraced Web 2.0 principles of user engagement and responsiveness in its platform and business practices.

Introducing Release 6.4

Sitecore is a .NET based web content management system that provides marketing automation, intranet portal, e-commerce, Web optimization, social media and campaign management features in a single integrated platform.

Version 6.4 was released as a technical preview in October, and now, the final production release is available. Improving usability and experience for developers and business users are the core focuses of the release.

Release Features

Sitecore version 6.4 contains several notable new features.


The WYSIWYG editor has been updated to use Telerik’s popular AJAX RAD editor. The new editor is more flexible, includes a number of new features and produces markup that is more standards compliant than the previous version.

In addition to the WYSIWYG editor, the Page Editor and Page Designer have been merged into a single tool called the Unified Page editor. The new editor has an office-inspired tool ribbon at the top of the page and provides a simpler editing experience.

In addition to the browser-based usability updates, Sitecore has also released a Visual Studio 2010 extension that allows developers to edit content, templates and layouts within Visual Studio. The Visual Studio extension was released separately from 6.4.


Unified Page editor

Learning Opportunities

Cross-Browser Compatibility

Sitecore CMS 6.4 provides full support for IE 7 and 8, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, including the Sitecore browser-based desktop. This change allows Sitecore tools to be used on non-PC devices and enables users to select a browser with the best performance on their system.

Additional Enhancements

Other enhancements worth mentioning in the release include:

  • Support for ASP.Net MVC and .Net 4.0
  • Thumbnail creation
  • Layout deltas, which allow only the design differences between related items to be stored, instead of redundantly storing all details

Release Considerations

The latest version of Sitecore adds cross-browser compatibility, but drops support for IE 6.0 and earlier. If a site must deliver content to legacy versions of IE, it might be necessary to provide an alternative user experience. This will contribute to the cost and complexity; potential users with IE 6.0 needs will have to consider if the benefits of version 6.4 justify the additional effort.

Existing users planning an upgrade should note Sitecore has deprecated proxy items in favor of item clones. Unlike proxies, item clones are not virtual items. If you use proxies extensively, you should educate yourself on the new capabilities introduced with cloning.

Release 6.4 introduces several attractive enhancements that ‘Sitecorians’ will likely embrace. Are you leveraging Sitecore? Will you be upgrading to the latest release?