23 June 2017

Enjoy community functionality in Sitecore with Telligent integration

As mentioned in a previous blog, we are now partners with Telligent. If you haven’t read it, Telligent provide the tools required to create branded social communities that provide the opportunity to learn valuable information by interacting with consumers, partners and employees using forums and blogs and including likes, ratings and share capabilities.

These communities are sort after by many Sitecore users as there is an integration available. I will be explaining what the integration is about and how it can be used.

What is the Social SDK?

In 2015, Telligent released the Social Sitecore Software Development Kit (SDK). The Social Sitecore SDK is an extension to the Telligent Community REST SDK which wraps their Application Programming Interface (API) into one SDK and provides the ability to integrate with .Net applications. This integration was created based on feedback that Telligent received from their existing customers and Sitecore.

The Social Sitecore SDK enables you to create communities or pull community content directly into your Sitecore experience manager. This means you have complete control over the user interface (UI) when using Sitecore experience manager. You have the option of creating a single sign in for all users who use your Sitecore account. They will be automatically signed into the community. Users that have not been registered to the community already will be automatically created once they log into Sitecore.

How can I install the Social Sitecore SDK?

You need to have a Sitecore website and the Telligent Community platform running. If you are considering a single sign in, you need to ensure they share the same domain. I’ll use our website as an example. If the Sitecore site is www.novicell.co.uk, then the Telligent Community should be community.novicell.co.uk.

Once the SDK installed, what next? You can now pull content and features from communities into Sitecore by using the SDK to develop this functionality natively. Don't know where to start? Don't worry - we thought about that for you! You can see a few examples of code on GitHub if you need a technical understanding of how this can be done.

Content editors can also add Community functionality on pages. An example of this will be if a content editor needs to add ratings to pages using the content editor rather than the visual studio. In a situation like this, it is still possible to use the SDK and create individual components by following Sitecore Helix guidelines which content editors can easily place on any page.

Using Telligent Social Community with Sitecore

There are two separate ways to deploy Telligent Communities within Sitecore.

1. Side by Side integration

Side by side integration is when you have both a Telligent Community and a Sitecore website existing as independent entities and sharing a singular brand experience. Typically, in side by side integrations, there will still be some community content on your Sitecore site to either surface functionality acting as a window to the community or to add functionality such as comments, likes, ratings and more.

side-by-side-integration

 2. Fully embedded integration

Fully embedded integration pulls all your community content and functionality directly into your Sitecore solution.

fully-embedded-integration

What integration do you recommend?

It depends on the use case. We would recommend the side by side implementation if you are after a full community experience for a few reasons:

  • SEO: If you integrate Communities into your Sitecore solution, the user generated content will affect the SEO of your site. User input cannot be controlled, and this can impact your site negatively. The resolution is to exclude the pages for SEO purposes, but then the benefit of community SEO will be lost. Communities are SEO optimised so that if someone is searching for a question on Google, they can find your community as a top result.
  • Structured vs. Unstructured: CMS platforms mainly consist of more static or structured content. The most successful communities are unstructured. For the full community experience, it is essential that it unstructured content is allowed and can grow quickly based on the requirements of your end users.

However, if you only want some of the community functionality and not the full experience, then it would make sense to integrate fully. Your use case may simply be:

  • Enable moderated comments, rating and reviews
  • Have a branded blog section
  • Minimal forums with no plans for unstructured areas
  • Social capabilities with a social intranet built within Sitecore

What next?

A free edition of the Telligent Community is available to use with a limited number of applications. You can find instructions on how to install here.

More importantly, we can help you with your Sitecore and Telligent integration. Contact us for a free Sitecore consultation where we can discuss your requirements and any other Sitecore related issues you may have.

You can also view the short video below to learn more about the Sitecore integration with Telligent.

About the author

Jorge Lusar
Jorge LusarSitecore Solution ArchitectSend e-mail

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