AEM 6.5 upgrade: big business gain, no developer's pain

    Project managers and developers have a tendency deeply ingrained in their DNA: The fear of upgrading. Yet, with AEM 6.5, the gain outweighs the pain.

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    Adobe Experience Manager 6.5 introduces a long list of interesting new features for marketers and developers. But despite all the good news, digital teams typically fear CMS upgrade projects and this is why a significant amount of AEM customers still work with instances that are two or more major versions lower. If that's your case, fear not.

    Amplexor has more than ten years of certified Adobe expertise, and we've helped countless customers bring their digital experience platforms up to speed with the latest innovations. If you're still not sure it's the right time to upgrade, check what's in it for you (including some of the improvements Adobe has put in to make the process smoother). 

    1. Upgrade pattern detector

    AEM 6.4 introduced the upgrade pattern detector. With it, you can find out which parts of the environment can potentially cause issues and thus better plan resources. In the past, developers and architects often had to go in blind.

    2. Backwards compatibility

    Recent versions have also had great focus on backwards compatibility. Quite some services in the environment now have the ability to run either in compatibility mode, or in fully upgraded mode. Often, new features can also run together with the old features they replace. This makes it easier to transition gradually towards a completely upgraded environment and codebase with the latest features. Since Adobe introduced some changes to the structure of their repository in the most recent versions, backwards compatibility has proven to be very useful while upgrading to AEM 6.5. 

    3. Cloud ready

    Over the past years, Adobe made big investments in AEM as a cloud service. Recently, they communicated clearly that that’s the way to go for them in the future. While the on-premise version of AEM will continue to exist, this does mean a change in the way of working we are used to.

    Thus, it’s very likely AEM 6.5 will be the latest on-premise version. This makes it quite a landmark. It’ll be used as the base for future AEM product developments, and the new way of working will mean that there will be much more frequent minor upgrades, with less major releases. As time goes on, this ongoing improvement of the product will make upgrading an outdated version increasingly costly. Which means: it’s a good idea to get cloud ready!

    4. Support secured

    The way Adobe organizes support is also an important incentive to look for an upgrade rather sooner than later. Roughly speaking, Adobe works with two different types of support. For the first three years, the product will stay in core support. Unless you upgrade after this time, you have two options: go in extended support mode – or have no support at all. In other words: extra costs – or higher risks.

    Besides the new features, AEM 6.5 adds Java 11 support, while maintaining support for Java 8. This will allow developers to make use of features that were introduced in the new version without having to completely rework the codebase.

    5. Upgrade for the underlying architecture

    Upgrading the AEM version also allows you to upgrade the underlying technologies. This is very useful, as a lot of the technologies have their own release cycles and have also introduced new features that can now become available. Some examples of these technologies are ACS commons, the maven bundler you use, external libraries, etc.

    6. Clean codebase

    Lastly, an upgrade is also a great chance to clean up the codebase and repository. This might not seem important at first glance, but especially in older projects, this might help you out in the future. A cleaner codebase/ repository will make future development easier and will help new employees to get used to the environment quicker.

    I hope these points have given you enough food for thought to get your AEM upgrade project started. Your website will thank you, your developers as well – and most importantly, your internal and external users!

    To get an even more complete overview, you can read on: about the four key innovation themes in AEM 6.5, the best use of AEM Core Components and how to improve your AEM website performance further.

    Want to try AEM 6.5 before upgrading?
    Book your demo with our team.

    Published on    Last updated on 07/08/2020

    #Adobe, #Content Management, #CMS

    About the author

    Tim Melotte is an AEM consultant at Amplexor Belgium. He started his Amplexor career with an AEM bootcamp in 2017. Since then he worked as an AEM consultant for various customers, working with AEM, AEM Forms and Adobe Campaign Standard.