ED visits Umbraco UK Festival 2015

Matthew Mirzai
By Matthew MirzaiDeveloper
5 minutes to read

Last week four lucky back end developers from ED hopped on a train to London, to experience the first of hopefully many visits to the annual Umbraco UK Festival, now in its sixth year.

Being an open source CMS and having a fantastic community, there’s a lot of people (some travelling hundreds of miles to be at the event) who contribute their time and energy in making Umbraco one of the best Content Management Systems available.

Set up by the guys at Cogworks, they were joined by the Umbraco Core team at St James’s Church to worship at the altar of Umbraco, inviting 250 of us to learn, contribute and get to know other ‘Umbracians’.

After a night in one of London’s top hotels near Silicon Roundabout, we walked down to the venue to register, receive our name badges, get some swag, and have a quick coffee (part of every developer’s morning) before starting the keynote.

ED visits Umbraco UK Festival 2015

Umbraco swag (laptop not included)

The two main guys at Umbraco, Niels Hartvig & Per Ploug, gave demonstrations of the new Umbraco as a Service (UaaS), which provides a quick and easy way to setup and deploy multiple environments for your Umbraco site, whilst also showing off several new exciting features for the upcoming 7.4 December release.

The new built in HAL-compatible REST API (https://github.com/umbraco/UmbracoRestApi) looks particularly exciting, and will help us at ED when developing mobile apps and integrating Umbraco content into other systems. 7.4 introduces a new and very cool looking content type editor, as well as a myriad of UX improvements, which will help streamline back end development and content editing. We can’t wait to start building projects with it!

ED visits Umbraco UK Festival 2015

Niels & Per showcase upcoming Umbraco features

A day of development

Once this wrapped up, we went our separate ways to sample the many workshops and guest speakers. We tried our hand at Unit testing in Umbraco using Moq and got to grips with Merchello; a fantastic open source product that allows us to offer a scalable Ecommerce solution to our clients which is tightly integrated with Umbraco. We also created our own custom property types using AngularJS which allows us to extend Umbraco in new and exciting ways. We learnt an incredible amount from these guys, who shared the same enthusiasms for development as we do, and not only showed us new ways to work with the current setup, but also how upcoming releases and tools can help improve our methodologies. Needless to say, it was well worth it.

The day done, there was time for one last presentation from core developer Shannon Deminick to talk about upcoming features and releases, before dropping a bomb in announcing V8 would be with us sometime next year! There was also the crazy notion of combining NuGet packages with the built in package manager – this is something that’s in the pipeline for some time next year, and would solve a lot of confusion for developers.

ED visits Umbraco UK Festival 2015

A look to Umbraco’s future

V8 and beyond

We can look forward to a refactored Umbraco in V8 with a lot of legacy code due to be removed. This clean-up set’s the groundwork for a future move to ASP.NET 5 (Shannon has even started playing with Umbraco on ASP.NET 5!).

Content variants will allow Umbraco to have virtual nodes that are linked to the main node. This will enable variations of content to be served up which is useful for 1:1 multi lingual sites.

Segmentation is another fantastic new feature due in V8, which will allow dynamic personalisation of content based on various parameters.

Another major improvement is a new improved cache christened “Le Cache Nouveau” and coded by Stephan. This will replace the current XML based cache and will be pluggable (Redis anyone?).

There’s also the latest libraries (latest JSON.NET packages, as well as Examine 2 and the newest AngularJS versions) being added to upcoming releases of Umbraco, giving us new and innovative features to create better experiences for our clients.

Lastly, we have the process of changing all entity id’s to GUIDs which will allow better synchronisation between development environments. It also solves some long standing issues that have plagued Courier (which has now been merged with the core project and renamed Umbraco Deploy).

At the end of it all we went away excited and inspired with what is happening with Umbraco. The community is driven to create, fail fast and improve, the core team are responding in kind with their own exciting additions, and it’s all promising to be an exciting year ahead.

comments powered by Disqus

Articles by Matthew Mirzai

Matt has 10 years experience in the development field and is a back end developer here at Enjoy Digital, specialising in Umbraco (and Mario Kart!)