SDL Web 8: What’s in a Name? (Part 1)

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose     

By any other name would smell as sweet;           

So Tridion would, were it not Tridion call’d,”

—Adapted from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

SDL will release the next version of SDL Tridion in 2015 Q4 (estimated) as SDL Web 8. The name reflects a change in SDL’s Web content management offerings. Read on to see what influenced the name change.

This SDL Web 8 six-part series covers:

  1. SDL Web 8: What’s in a Name? [this post]
  2. SDL Web 8: Roadmap and Features
  3. SDL Web 8: User Interface Quick Preview
  4. SDL Web 8 Preview Video
  5. SDL Web 8: Under-the-Hood Changes
  6. Thanks for sharing!

SDL’s Story

Starting with language management, SDL has grown and changed over two decades, shaped by—and even shaping—the industries it touched. The following table highlights some key themes and related acquisitions.


Industry Themes

Products, acquisitions, and direction


Language Management Crucial

SDLX, Trados, Idiom

Language Weaver acquisitions


Internet as Most Important Channel

Tridion acquisition in 2007



50 % of Purchases Online

Fredhopper acquisition in 2009 to optimize eCommerce transactions



Customer Support

Trisoft & XyEnterprise acquisitions



Targeting Crucial, Move to Video

Calamares acquisition in 2011



Analytics Crucial for Success, Mobile important

Alterian acquisition for Social, Analytics, Campaigns and Bemoko acquisition for contextual experiences in 2012



Predicting Future Trends

Analytics linked to targeting and content creating, SaaS integrated technology, Language on Demand

Big Data

 As the wide World moved to the Web, SDL acquired the products and teams to help you do the same. The acquisitions were all part of a strategy, as SDL Product Marketing Director Arjen van den Akker explains, to “enable organizations to deliver a digital experience across the entire customer lifecycle, from pre-purchase to purchase to after sales support. It has content as the foundation and works across devices, is personalized and targeted in real-time, it engages visitors through rich media and is relevant to local audiences."

SDL Tridion has long been a good corporate team player, playing nicely with other technologies, especially in its templating and publishing model. Starting with translation management, many of SDL’s own product-to-product integrations were extended with a similar “orchestration” approach in mind.

An Integrated Solution Stack

The following table shows how Tridion integrates with translation, media management, targeting, and campaigns both within the SDL suite and with other solutions.

“Connector” or module


Translation Manager

Connects Tridion to any of SDL’s three translation management systems: Worldserver, TMS, or LanguageCloud. CMS users send and receive translation jobs within the CMS.

SDL SmartTarget

Connects Tridion to Fredhopper and surfaces promotion management within the CMS

Ambient Data Framework (ADF)

Connects several SDL solutions using cartridges that group visitor and system claims (e.g. visitor’s device or date-time). These claims can be forwarded between sub-systems allowing integration between SDL Tridion, SDL Fredhopper, Mobile (the context engine), and Experience Manager’s in-context preview. Claims are set by your websites and can be forwarded between systems.

SDL Media Manager Connector

Connects Tridion to SDL Media Manager allowing editors the ability to upload and use rich media within the CMS

External Content Library Connector

Generalized version of the original SDL Media Manager Connector, allowing editors the ability to select, search for, publish, or even upload external assets from within the CMS.

Audience Manager

Connects SDL Tridion with SDL Campaigns in the form of users and audience segments


Given the breadth of the Tridion product stack and all associated modules and integrations that sit alongside, SDL decided to simplify the positioning and naming to better reflect today’s market demands. The reality is that organizations need most or all of the mentioned modules so everything has been bundled into a new offering: “SDL Web”. SDL Web combines Web Content Management with Digital Media Management, Experience Optimization and Localization capabilities.

The following table shows the new names with the release of SDL Web 8.

SDL Web is comprised of:

Previous Product Name

New Capability Name

SDL Tridion

Web Content Management

SDL Media Manager

Digital Media Management

SDL SmartTarget

Experience Optimization

Translation Manager Connector


 Tridion’s strength isn’t always in what it can do, but how well it plays in a customer’s ecosystem of products, solutions, and vendors. Its strength is in what it can give up; in its next release it gives up its name to become SDL Web.

Why Version 8?

The reason for the 8 in SDL Web 8 can be seen in the product’s recent history:


Release Year

Release Version

SDL Tridion R5.3



SDL Tridion 2009



SDL Tridion 2011



SDL Tridion 2013



For those “in-the-know,” you may also note that SDL Tridion 2013 SP1 is 7.1 and there is an internal cloud release version 8.0. SDL Web 8 and its APIs will use the internal version 8.1; however, the official product name will still be SDL Web 8 (without a dot unless it’s at the end of sentence).

In the next post, SDL Web 8: Roadmap and Features (Part 2 of 5), we’ll take a look at the features for the Tridion release that is no-longer-called-Tridion.

Edit (Sept 21, 2015): updated the version history graphic (thanks SDL UX Designer Nikki Veldhuis) and identified the correct next post.

Edit (Oct 8, 2015): adjusted the expected release date. Though we're working towards a release date for core WCM functionality (aka "Tridion") in the next month or so, the full suite for SDL Web 8 will need subsequent updates. Look for official release information in the SDL Docs and communication from Support.