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I have a Sitecore installation in production. Most standard features are being used—Content Editor, Experience Editor, xDB, Experience Profile, Experience Analytics, MVC, custom pipeline processors, Lucene indexes, etc. We're also using a dependency injection container integrated with MVC controllers.

The Sitecore version currently used is 8.1 rev. 151003 (8.1 Initial Release).

The latest available version is 8.2 rev. 160729 (8.2 Initial Release).

What are the biggest benefits of upgrading from 8.1 to 8.2?

closed as too broad by Gatogordo, Richard Seal, Szymon Kuzniak, Kyle Trauberman, Robert Cartaino Sep 29 '16 at 13:23

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The Sitecore 8.2 Release Notes provide a wealth of information around the changes that come along with 8.2. I would definitely pay attention to the breaking changes section. Largely, the 8.2 Version of Sitecore was very Developer focused and not as much has changed on the marketing side.

Specifically though, the biggest, noticeable, differences in 8.2 include the following short list:

  • Introduction of Microsoft's Dependency Injection.
    • Sitecore went all in on this. Almost every manager and provider in Sitecore has been refactored into a Lazy Singleton service pattern. Sitecore also included a nifty way to patch in your own controls. Kam Figy wrote the leading blog discussing how this is used.
  • The Cache mechanism has been completely rewired and the Cache class has been removed.
  • All your binaries will need to be recompiled to .NET 4.5.2
  • Solr is now configurable without needing to modify the Global.asax or use a Solr Support Package.
  • All of the Sitecore SPEAK UI components have been precompiled into the DLL, making the content editor and experience editor lightning fast. This also introduces functionality that allows you to precompile your own view renderings as well.

There are many other changes that have come about, but these are the biggest in my opinion. Others are welcomed and encouraged to add their own thoughts on the pieces they feel are important.

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Some of the more "business focused" changes in Sitecore 8.2 that clients would be interested in also include:

  • Express Migration tool from Sitecore 7.2 to 8.2
  • Publishing Service making publishing faster and more robust
  • Support for Precompiled views making restarts faster after a deployment
  • Numerous improvements in the Experience Editor
    • Highlighting components with datasources set
    • Notification of component datasource workflow state
    • Component Datasource Usage Information (where else it is used and how many times)
    • Overview of all datasources used on a page
    • Editor Notifications and warning that component datasources are also used in other pages or that they are in a non-final workflow state
  • Workflow bundling, so approving a page also moves all datasources on the page to the same workflow state
  • Numerous improvements to the analytics tools
    • Path Analyser UI rewritten using HTML, react and the d3.js library. This makes it more cross-browser compatible by not relying on Silverlight
    • Marketing Funnels – ability to create and track a funnel within the application
    • Contacts on path allow you to see a list of contacts who visited a particular path.
    • Simple KPI charts to show the average or sum of defined metrics for a given time period

There are also all the bug fixes from previous Sitecore versions rolled into this one. And as well as the changes mentioned by @Pete Navarra it's worth noting that more than 45 new Abstractions were added to the Sitecore.Abstractions namespace to replace the static APIs. This will make unit testing easier, which can mean that businesses can be more confident in each release of their software than no regressions have been introduced.

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One other important change apart from the many goodies mentioned above is the ability to use New Publishing service on asp.net core platform, which would be lot faster performance wise. Needless to say, you have to consider this with your current project requirements.

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