For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing our attention on Umbraco CMS.
What is Umbraco CMS?
Umbraco CMS is an intuitive world class content management system which provides a clean, fast & easy to use user interface for content editors to seamlessly enter, store & organize information and media. For developers, it allows for customization, flexibility, natively structured code, and strong performance. Umbraco is based on the latest Microsoft .NET (ASP.NET Core) technology and follows many of its good practices and release schedules. It is 100% open source which when with a large and strong community base primarily comprising of HQ staff, agency developers & freelancers allows for anybody to contribute to its frequent development and thus improving the experience for others. Community members not only contribute to the core underlaying platform, but Umbraco also allows for 3rd party packages to be built and installed to add some more functionality.
What is .NET and why is it so important?
The latest version of Microsoft .NET (ASP.NET Core) at the time of writing is the long term supported version 6. It is cross-platform unlocking previously bolted doors brought with .NET Framework and Umbraco version 8 and below allowing for development & hosting support on Mac, Linux, or Windows. It is a mature technology which can be used with a wide range of application types with increased support, flexibility, and performance.
Umbraco switched to .NET 5 from .NET Framework as of Umbraco 9 which then put the platform at the forefront of all other CMS systems on the market. When released, Umbraco 10 then officially supported .NET 6 (released 7 months prior).
What’s new with Umbraco 10?
Umbraco 10 was released on June 16, 2022, which coincidentally fell on day 2 of Codegarden 2022.
Notable highlights of this version:
Runs .NET 6 + ASP.NET Core 6
Supports SQLite (SQL CE support dropped)
Nullable Reference Types for the Umbraco APIs
Long Term Support (LTS) version
Umbraco have set in place a schedule for past, present and future releases (click here for more info). Each major version (i.e., 10, 11, 12, etc.) will contain “breaking changes”. A breaking change has the potential to significantly affect your website which will require some additional effort by a developer to fully migrate and configure. Starting from Umbraco 10, a “Long Term Support” (LTS) and “End Of Life” (EOL) schedule has been set up to coincide with Microsoft’s own LTS release schedule of .NET & ASP.NET Core. Umbraco 10 will continue to receive 2 years of bugs, regression, and security fixes from release. Then followed by security fixes for a final year.
Those with websites built on Umbraco 9 can seamlessly upgrade to Umbraco 10 with the expert support of an Umbraco partner.
Umbraco have stated that “In accordance with our Release Cadence, major versions will include breaking changes, but we will keep these to a minimum and add automatic migrations, when possible, therefore expect the move between major versions to be relatively straightforward - especially if you keep up with the cadence.”.
What’s new with Umbraco CMS 10.1 and Umbraco Forms 10.1?
Umbraco CMS 10.1 was released on August 4, 2022, whereas Umbraco Forms 10.1 a little later on August 9, 2022.
Umbraco CMS 10.1
Runtime Mode Configuration - New configuration modes to replace the refreshed mode names introduced in Umbraco 9. 'BackofficeDevelopment', 'Development' & 'Production' will help developers easily distinguish between the correct mode usage. When the website is in 'Production' mode editors/developers will not be able to make changes to code level items such as page templates within the backoffice given these are elements which a developer should deploy at server level and can confidently source control.
Umbraco Forms 10.1
If you’re unfamiliar with Umbraco Forms as a whole, it is a licensed package developed by Umbraco which gives content editors the flexibility to create & configure the data, layout, and workflows of contact forms via a friendly user interface.
This release brings with it these new updates:
- Workflow Features and Improvements
- Folder-based Form Picker
- Prevalue Captions
- Rich Text Field Type
- Notable Fixes and Breaking Changes
- And much more
More information regarding all the features within this release can be found here: https://umbraco.com/blog/umbraco-forms-81395101-release/
Some notable features which I like are the conditional workflows which can now be activated if the data in the form submission meets a certain criteria. For example, if you wanted to send specific emails to specific people based on selected form options, or if you’re using a 3rd party workflow (i.e., Mailchimp) you can store the user data if they’ve consented.
I also like how a community package created by Matthew Wise to provide a Rich Text Editor field type has now been recognised to be worthy of an official place within general releases.
Umbraco CMS 10.2
Umbraco CMS 10.2 was released on September 8th, 2022.
This release appears to focus on content editor experience within a multi-cultural configuration with the following new additions:
Permissions for language variants – Allows an administrator to define which languages the content editor can modify. This includes copy within both the content and translations sections.
Save invariant properties on all languages – Provides the ability to set a property to become shared across all language variants when working with multiple cultures. This means that a change for one variant becomes a change to all variants regardless of permissions.
Read-only mode for all property editors – Where a user has not been assigned permission to manage content of a given language, all property editors / fields of that language will be presented with an overlay to clear indicate that the input is not interactable.
Apart from the above there doesn’t look to be many other significant changes aside from the general bug fixes, UI/UX, performance, localization & accessibility updates. For a minor release however, this is still feature rich given the timeframe between the last minor release and now.
More information regarding this release can be found in the release notes: https://our.umbraco.com/download/releases/1020
Be sure to also check out the Umbraco blog post regarding the release: https://umbraco.com/blog/umbraco-102-release/
Umbraco 11 is also in the works and scheduled to be released this December. Umbraco 11 will inherit all the updates from past versions and will be the primary version thereafter which will see active development of new features. Note that Umbraco 10 is LTS so therefore will continue to receive any support and security updates until the next LTS version (13) but will not receive features updates (as far as we’re aware).
We learned from the Codegarden 2022 keynote that the following features are scheduled for the next major release:
If you’d like to learn more about the Umbraco roadmap, click here to find out more.