Last year, after 5 years of development, Umbraco released version 8 of their highly impressive content management system. After building many websites with it over the last few months, we thought it was a good time to share some of the reasons why you should consider making the switch.
What is Umbraco?
Before we dive in, let us cover what Umbraco is! The short version is that it is a highly flexible and scalable open source content management system (CMS) that is ideal for organisations of all sizes. It has been used to power over 500,000 websites across the world and it has a strong community of over 225,000 developers who are continually developing new features that can be adopted by anyone.
It is built using Microsoft's .NET framework and the nature of its open-source platform means you get complete control over what you can create. It was released in its open-source (i.e. free!) format in 2005 and we've been using it since 2007 to build beautiful websites with unrivalled functionality.
What makes Umbraco great?
The fact that we have been using Umbraco since 2007 should show you that we are rather fond of it! But other than taking our word for it, there are a number of things that make Umbraco great.
- Ease of use: We've mentioned this before but it really is a simple and intuitive system to use. The CMS interface is easy to navigate and the famously helpful Umbraco community means there is extensive training and support available.
- API Capabilities: One big benefit that we experience first hand is Umbraco has API capabilities built into the system using .NET, as opposed to being an add-on module that has certain restrictions.
- It's community-led: There is a growing community of over 250,000 Umbraco developers who are constantly developing new applications and contributing to Umbraco’s source code.
- It's open-source: We touched on this earlier, but being open-sourced means do not need to pay a licence fee to use, as well as giving you complete control over what you can create.
- It's search engine friendly: Umbraco is a dream for SEO's as you can begin optimising your website straight out of the gate.
- It's highly customisable: No two Umbraco projects are the same. Using Umbraco to build your website allows you to customise every aspect, free from restrictive templates or formats.
Umbraco 8 - what's new?
It's time to delve into the detail and discover what's new under the hood of Umbraco 8.
The previous offering, Umbraco 7, was (and still is) a brilliant system to build websites with. However, since its release in 2013, the codebase has become somewhat bloated and the user interface has room for improvement.
These issues have been resolved in Umbraco 8, along with many other changes and tweaks. However, there are 3 key additions to Umbraco 8 that really sets it apart from its predecessor.
1. Infinite Editing
The first big change is the addition of 'Infinite Editing'. In Umbraco's own words, infinite editing is "the ability to create smoother workflows for editors, customers and developers so you can work in Umbraco completely uninterrupted".
For those who use a CMS to create and edit content, you will be familiar with the experience of having to navigate between different menus depending on what you want to edit. This used to be particularly annoying for us when we were writing our blogs.
For example, if we are writing a blog post (as I'm doing just now) and I had an image in the post that I wanted to edit, I would have to save my content, switch across to the media folder, make the changes and then work my way back to the content page. With infinite editing, I can seamlessly make all the changes in the same window, saving me time and providing me with a much more intuitive experience.
Below is a video from Umbraco talking a little bit about this new feature.