Kentico's next generation of their Xperience DXP has been in development for some time now, and I've been tracking its development very closely. As of July 2022, it is now ready to be made available for select customers as part of the Xperience Adopter Program, or XAP.
As I've explained in an earlier post, this new generation of Xperience by Kentico is not simply the next version, it's an evolution of the platform. In fact, the new platform is not labelled with a version number at all, and is known simply as 'Xperience by Kentico'.
Uniquely among DXP vendors, this means the current platform, Kentico Xperience 13, will exist side-by-side with the next generation Xperience by Kentico, for a number of years. For the sake of avoiding confusion while discussing the two in the same blog post, I'll refer to the two as clearly as I can throughout this post, as either:
- the existing product: Kentico Xperience 13, or
- the new, next-generation product: Xperience by Kentico (next gen).
What's the difference?
Xperience 13 is fully feature-complete, but based on slightly older technology. It will be supported out to end of 2026, at least, but will be superseded at some point by the newer version.
Xperience by Kentico is now production-ready but only for a set of popular use cases. It's important to note that some features are not yet available. It is based on the latest cutting edge Microsoft technology, with zero tech debt. It offers a fully-managed cloud (SaaS) option. There is no end in sight to its support and development roadmap.
|Kentico Xperience 13
|Xperience by Kentico (next gen)
|13 versions, since 2006
|Brand new in 2022
|.NET Framework with support for .NET Core/6 front-end builds
|Pure .NET 6+
|Self-hosted (on-premises or private cloud)
|SaaS (vendor-managed cloud) or self-hosted options
|Long term support until
|End of 2026
|Full content management, marketing and e-commerce
|Initially content management and marketing, additional features coming soon
|Fully available now
|Early access via Xperience Adopter Program
Of course, these are just some high-level 'at a glance' differences. If you dig deeper into the product, there is a huge raft of improvements, and some complete reimagining of core features.
Check out my summary of some of the exciting tech features coming up for those who like to look under the hood!
As this is a complete rebuild of the platform, a simple in-place, one-click upgrade from an existing Kentico Xperience project is not an option this time. An Xperience 13 to Xperience by Kentico (next gen) migration is certainly possible however, and Kentico is laser-focused on supporting this path. However, it's going to be more complex than a 'regular' Kentico version upgrade that you may have done in the past. If you've been on Kentico for a while, it's likely to be more similar to a migration from an older 'Portal' implementation to the newer 'MVC' style, which many customers tackled around versions 10 through 12.
Below is a screenshot of a slide from a presentation I did at Kentico's Xperience Connections conference earlier this year, outlining (in very broad strokes) the relative size or complexity of a 'regular' version upgrade with no significant migration required (far left) with various different flavours of 'migration' (where it's not so easy to just upgrade in-place).
But of course any Kentico-to-Kentico migration will be FAR more straight-forward than a complete replatforming onto an entirely new platform from another vendor (see my example on the far right using the completely fictional competitor name 'SiteCMS' 😜).
If you are interested in more info about the migration options from Kentico Xperience 13 (or earlier) to Xperience by Kentico (next gen), check out my presentation from the conference, or Kentico's own information on their website.
If you're starting a new project right now
If you're starting a new project now, you should consider being part of the Xperience Adopter Program (XAP). This program may not be suitable for everyone, as the product is production-ready in some areas, but other features are coming later, over the course of the next 12 months to mid-2023.
We can look at your project requirements, working along with Kentico's own solutions architects, and determine whether your project is a suitable candidate for the XAP.
Of course, if the XAP isn't for you, Kentico Xperience 13 is still there ready for you! It is still getting regular feature refreshes and has unprecedented Long Term Support (LTS) promised for another 4.5 years right out to the end of 2026, which gives you plenty of time to plan your migration to Xperience by Kentico (next gen) when the time is right.
Should I upgrade or migrate to Xperience by Kentico (next gen)?
Maybe you're not starting a new project, and you're on an older version of Kentico Xperience (or Kentico EMS). Should you migrate to the next generation of Xperience? There's no simple answer to this question, but we can try to give you as simple a picture as possible, depending on your current version and technology (WebForms/Portal or MVC – ask your developer if you're not sure!).
This is an extremely simplified version of a more detailed matrix that we have made freely available to you at the bottom of this post. I strongly encourage you to download it as it goes into detail on the reasoning behind each of the simple emojis I've used below. 😂
(Swipe sideways to see the full table if you're on a mobile device.)
❌ Unviable (LTS ends 2022)
⚠️ High cost, low benefit (large investment, one year of LTS)
✅ Considerable option (large investment, 1-4 years of additional LTS)
⭐ Good option (moderate investment, 4 year support horizon)
⭐⭐ Great option (large investment, no scheduled end to LTS)
➡️ Future Option (can be executed from mid 2023 but not required until 2026)
Download our full Kentico Upgrade Pathways matrix
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