7 Takeaways From the Umbraco Codegarden Conference
Codegarden, the annual conference for the global Umbraco development community, concluded in Denmark recently. And, as usual, there was a mix of keynotes, updates, partner sessions, best practice tips and case studies. As with any tech conference relating to a particular platform there were reveals about the various different products and a reaffirmation of Umbraco’s strategic direction. Umbraco is an open-source, .NET-based content management system.
Handily these have been collected in a post about the product highlights from the conference keynote.
In this article we’re going to cover some of the most significant and interesting updates, and what they mean for Umbraco.
1. Umbraco Continues to Expand and Evolve
Understandably a Umbraco conference is going to focus on positive news about Umbraco, but it is true that the platform has continued to expand and evolve over the past couple of years, particularly since Swedish investor Monterro took a majority stake in the platform in 2021, which has helped to fund its expansion.
Since then, there has been a stable and steady set of releases in a regular cadence with new features being added. There has been a revamped marketplace, the launch of Umbraco Workflow, investment both in the Umbraco Cloud and Umbraco Heartcore offerings, two acquisitions involving Umbraco partners and more. There has also been a considerable expansion of the engineering team. We can expect Umbraco to continue on this successful trajectory over the next 12 months.
Related Article: 5 Improvements to Umbraco Content Management System
2. Composable Is Key
Increasingly Umbraco has been positioning itself as a viable alternative to other Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) while also supporting the “composable DXP,” particularly as a user-friendly CMS within a wider best-of-breed ecosystem.
In the keynote session Umbraco’s potential to act as a platform DXP and a composable DXP were emphasized, as well as its ability to support a “hybrid” approach which tends to be where one platform forms most of the basis of a DXP but with additional solutions from other providers integrated through APIs.
While it’s true that this positioning means Umbraco is trying to please everyone and tick every box, it is also a reflection of the flexibility of the platform which is a key strength.
3. Umbraco Commerce Is Announced
Perhaps the closest to a big “reveal” at Codegarden was the announcement of Umbraco Commerce, which brings native ecommerce features to Umbraco with all the features that you would expect and its own API. It is available on a subscription basis and is officially launched in July.
However, Umbraco Commerce is not new and is actually a rebranding of the Vendr solution which was produced by Outfield Digital, a small agency that was acquired by Umbraco HQ earlier in the year. The rebranding makes sense and follows the pattern of previous acquisitions with rebranded offerings like Umbraco Workflow coming into the fold. Ecommerce is an obvious gap to plug and allows Umbraco to compete in the wider DXP and composable DXP space.
4. Headless Capabilities Come to the Core CMS
Up to now, Umbraco’s support for headless publishing has been mainly delivered through its Heartcore product which it has also continued to invest in. However, headless support is now coming to the main platform when Umbraco 12 is released with a new Content Delivery API.
Although this has been part of the roadmap for a while, it still feels like a significant step. Headless is also coming to other parts of the Umbraco suite. For example, Umbraco Forms already supports a headless approach, and this will be extended to the new Umbraco Commerce offering soon.
Related Article: 25 Best Free or Premium Headless Content Management Systems (CMS)
5. Umbraco Cloud Gets Upgrades
At Codegarden there were announcements relating to a number of upgrades to the Umbraco Cloud offering that will help it support larger and more complex projects. Umbraco Cloud is a hosted and fully managed environment from Umbraco HQ which can be attractive for organizations with limited in-house IT resources.
The most significant upgrade is the integration of CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) into Umbraco Cloud which brings the ability for individual customers to customize the source code repository, run automated acceptance testing, build their own front-end assets and more. Effectively it allows more flexibility for individual projects and opens up the use of Umbraco Cloud to more customers. This is mooted for a Q3 release and is about to go into Beta.
For monitoring there is also a new “performance and availability” dashboard tracking elements such as app performance, CPU usage and more. Additionally there is an interesting sustainability dashboard — more details below.
6. Supporting Sustainability
Sustainability is a theme that is on the agenda of many businesses, and recently Umbraco has started to make quite a lot of noise about more actively wanting to support organizations on their sustainability journey.
In May, Umbraco announced a new sustainability team from the development community to work on sustainability initiatives. At the beginning of June Umbraco also released a new “Impact Report” that covers various wider ESG topics but focuses primarily on Umbraco’s efforts to become carbon neutral.
The latest announcement at Codegarden is the release of a new sustainability dashboard that is coming to Umbraco Cloud where you can track emissions of your project and benchmark yourself against other websites. This is going to be a topic of growing importance, and it’s interesting to see Umbraco start to make tangible steps to support sustainability.
7. Umbraco Has a Full Roadmap
The Umbraco roadmap has been very active the past two years but has also stabilized with a regular release cadence. There is also an active roadmap ahead with different highlights including:
- A new “backoffice,” release which will support back end developers with a “flexible and scalable API”
- A new lazy-loaded cache facility
- Expansions to the Block List and Block Grid editors that will better support the re-use of blocks across Umbraco
- And more!
Evolution Into Wider DXP Market
Umbraco continues to evolve and go from strength to strength. We look forward to seeing how the new platform continues to evolve and potentially make more inroads into the wider DXP market, particularly for larger projects and organizations.
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