Experiences with the Sitecore® 9.0 Platform Essentials for Developers eLearning

In order to become a Sitecore® Certified Professional I decided to start with Sitecore’s eLearning course. I guess it is the best way to prepare for the exam, so I will share my experiences.

About the course

The purchase of the Sitecore® Platform Essentials for Developers eLearning includes the option to take the Sitecore® Certified Platform Associate Developer exam. Developers who pass this exam become Sitecore® Certified Professionals. Every module is divided in three parts: demos, labs and knowledge checks. In a first step you can take also the free Sitecore® Developer Foundations eLearning.

You will have four months of access to the content in this eLearning, so don’t hurry, take your time for your studies. The course can be stopped, resumed and restarted at anytime.

You can find this course here

Buy the course

The course costs $1500.00. I used a partner voucher to get 25% discount. But it’s not really self-explanatory. To get access to the course you have first to buy the key for this course. After that you have to enter your email address and assign the key to your account manually in order to grant access to the course yourself.

Overview

There are eight modules which will cover mostly the questions of the exam and the daily work with Sitecore XP.

Module

Topics

Module 1: The Sitecore Experience Platform

  • Identify key Sitecore terminology
  • Describe the purpose of the Core, Master and the Web database
  • Identify the benefits of xConnect
  • Locate Sitecore websites and documentation
  • Identify the core binary files of the Sitecore framework
  • Set up a Visual Studio solution and Sitecore Rocks for Sitecore development
Module 2: Creating the Site’s Content Structure
  • Define a Sitecore Template with different sections and field types
  • Give examples of how you use source fields
  • State the importance of setting up icons on templates
  • Identify when you need to use template inheritance
  • Describe the purpose of the Standard Template
  • Create content items by using Insert Options
  • Create Sitecore Standard Values

Module 3: Creating the Site’s Presentation

  • Name the different types of MVC renderings
  • Define the difference between static and dynamic binding
  • Use presentation details to add components in the Experience Editor
  • Describe placeholders and placeholder definition items
  • Set up Allowed Controls on a placeholder definition item
  • Describe when to use Dynamic Placeholders

Module 4: Increasing Component Reusability

  • Configure compatible renderings on a component definition item
  • Describe how to limit content choices in the data source selection window
  • Describe how component properties can be maintained by content authors
  • Create a rendering parameters template for a component and retrieve parameter values

Module 5: Applying Navigation Practices Within the Site

  • Explain how Sitecore renders links and how they can be controlled
  • Use the Sitecore API to navigate the tree

Module 6: Configuring and Extending Sitecore

  • Understand how Layers and the Include folder influence the configuration of a Sitecore implementation
  • Explain how Sitecore can scale with the use of server roles
  • Install a Sitecore package into Sitecore
  • Define the file structure and files of a clean Sitecore instance
  • Configure Sitecore to host multiple websites according to recommended practices

Module 7: Working with Complex Field Types

  • Use different field types and define which fields can be edited in Experience Editor
  • Render field values by using the Sitecore API
  • Implement an edit frame
  • Use the field editor buttons
  • Make all fields editable in the Experience Editor

Module 8: Implementing Search Driven Components

  • List the available search providers that Sitecore offers and describe the differences
  • Configure a custom index
  • Optimize indexing performance by changing indexed fields and templates
  • Create a search-driven component
  • Define item buckets in Sitecore

By the end of this training, you will be able to:

  • Create Sitecore solutions that are easy for business users to configure.
  • Build reusable data structures.
  • Create presentation infrastructure on the MVC platform.
  • Build componentized presentations to support both designing and editing in the Experience Editor.
  • Use the Sitecore API to manage links and navigate the content tree.
  • Use the Sitecore Search API to create search-driven components.

Installation

Just follow the installation instructions for installing a Sitecore instance tac.corporate given by the course instructions with SIF.

Please be prepared that you have certain prerequisites and the installation would also take time in advance:

  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 or 10(32/64-bit)
  • Web Server: IIS 8.5 or 10.0
  • .NET Framework 4.6.2 or later.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2016 SP1
  • Solr 6.6.2
  • Visual Studio 2015 or later
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable (for Sitecore 9 Update-1)
  • Microsoft PowerShell 5.1 or later (SIF Requirement)

Duration

In terms of content, the eLearning course is very good, although sometimes a bit lengthy, so in my case it toked only one day for setting up the clean Sitecore solution. Further more, in contrary to the course information of 16 hours, it will rather take one working day (8 hours) for each module when you combine watching the videos and doing the labs. So one week should be realistic if you are very fast and have already Sitecore experiences.

Hints

  • Information about the final exam is automatically given towards the end of the course.
  • Demos and labs overlap to a large extent. Theoretically, you could either watch the demo or do it yourself. But there are a few differences anyway.
  • No copy & paste is possible, unfortunately, you have to write off everything or take screenshots … especially in the exercises it is a bit annoying.
  • Progressing is sometimes too fast, but you can jump back anytime, so don’t worry.
  • Training is only in U.S. English but its understandable.
  • Sitecore does not offer support to students to help them understand the content of the eLearning or complete the labs. But you can get help in the very active community.

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