Umbraco (credit image/Pixabay/Innova Labs)Umbraco, has released Umbraco 14, its open-source .NET web content management system (CMS). The new solution has been re-architected for enterprise-level scalability and ongoing digital transformation. Over the past two decades, the Umbraco open-source community has grown to quarter of a million contributors and users worldwide. In addition, there are 1,500 digital agency partners developing websites and digital solutions on the platform. An increasing number of agencies are building enterprise solutions that require considerable integration, extension, and customisation to support omnichannel and eCommerce strategies.

Empowering developers

(Credit image/LinkedIn/Filip Bech-Larsen)
Filip Bech-Larsen CTO at Umbraco

According to Filip Bech-Larsen CTO at Umbraco, “Umbraco 14 has been designed for extension and customisation, empowering developers to seamlessly tailor the CMS for individual business needs. With the new architecture, organisations gain added flexibility to work the way they want to, without being tied to any specific framework.”

Umbraco 14 was developed to facilitate building, extension and customisation of digital experiences that are likely to see exponential growth. “During Umbraco 14 testing, the new client-side architecture improved back office performance for a very large site with 25,000 webpages. The platform supports 24 languages, without making any other optimisations,” said Bech-Larsen.

To facilitate customisation of the CMS user interface, Umbraco 14 introduces an extension-first approach using Web Components and a RESTful Management API. Package developers can now use any frontend framework that supports Web Components. This allows them to combine preferred tools and technologies with the new Management and Extension APIs when developing on Umbraco.

“We built the back office APIs to facilitate extensions, inspired by how package developers already work. Additionally, to expand the options and tools available to them. We are excited to see what businesses will create with the new platform,” adds Bech-Larsen.

Umbraco CMS continues to ship with the latest .NET framework, razor templating, and headless capabilities.

Key features of Umbraco 14 include:

  • A clear separation of concerns between back office and backend, with a powerful API layer, makes it easier for backend developers to rely on existing services when creating additional controllers.
  • Aided by the new API layer, developers will find it easier to extend the backend and comply with best practices.
  • The adoption of TypeScript promotes safer JavaScript development with better IDE integration and IntelliSense support. This enhances the developer experience by offering static typing and reducing potential errors.
  • The use of web components saves developers time through the reuse of code.
  • Full implementation of the Umbraco UI Library ensures UI consistency across the back office. This aligns the user experience more closely with enterprise standards and reduces the effort required for UI development and maintenance.
  • UI consistency facilitates the inclusion of features such as user accessibility.
  • Umbraco 14 augments native headless capabilities for content and media with the Management API, allowing for seamless and secure content management integrations.
  • Content Management functions are exposed through the Umbraco 14 Management API, which allows developers to integrate Create, Edit, Publish, and Schedule capabilities into their app or system without having to create their own API.
  • Extension points in the new back office allow developers to be more creative.
  • Anyone making extensions, packages, or integrations has access to the same APIs used to build the back office. Removing the requirement to create RESTful APIs.
  • Umbraco 14 introduces significant enhancements in testing and API stability, offering more reliable performance under varying loads.
  • The re-architected CMS is designed to handle traffic and content volume, without degradation in performance.

Caring about workflow experiences

Bech-Larsen says Umbraco deeply cares about the workflow experiences of editors and content managers who use their products. “Sometimes in the composable world with micro services and APIs-based technology, the user experience comes at the expense of lower manager or editor experience. “

The other key feature of Umbraco 14 is the flexibility it provides to developers. “Umbraco is the world’s largest open .net CMS and we are entirely open source. So, its super easy for developers to create new code. If they ever require new functionality or can’t find the documentation to support their immediate needs, they can just look in the source code and see what’s going on.“

Enterprise Times: What this means for businesses

In some ways the Umbraco 14 is going against the grain of MACH principles. The company has rebuilt with version 14 the whole editor component in the CMS. Umbraco says it has built it from the ground up with what it calls an extension first principle. Meaning that anything built was undertaken with the same APIs that allow users to customise or swap out any components built for their own infrastructure. Alternatively, they can extend on top of the Umbraco platform. As Bech-Larsen suggests, “We have always had this Lego kind of mindset.”

As a result, web developers taking on new projects with this fresh architecture are reassured they can build the way they want. Furthermore, they can continue extending and customising their web platform to meet changing business requirements. Dependency on older frameworks has also been removed, and Umbraco will continue to keep pace with Microsoft .NET Core. As a result, developers can now evolve alongside modern, client-side technology. Clearly, Umbraco is putting the developer at the heart and centre of its latest release. Hopefully, those same developers will put the new functionality on offer to develop and design content experiences required by clients.

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