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Wednesday, June 29, 2016 by Kris Deminick

Umbraco CMS is perfect for sites of any size or complexity, not only large multi-region solutions. With Umbraco, the task of creating and maintaining the digital presence of a small business is simple, and one that does not involve a cast of thousands nor the overheads of expensive licensed solutions.
Hear from this small business owner how Umbraco as a Service and Umbraco ContentFlow helped create a beautiful online presence in just 5 days.

Salin_Home

“The Salin Group is a company based in Denmark that specialises in importing quality wine from the USA. Most of the wineries are small producers selected for the care, sustainability and quality in their wines. The Salin Group website had to allow for clear presentation of each winery due to their carefully selected and small nature. By using Umbraco, I have a fully customized editing environment, which made it really easy to create the content without needing to ask questions on how to do so. Umbraco is a highly customizable sandbox, so the designers and developers are able to create a nice environment for the editor.

Salin_Winery

The site also runs on Umbraco as a Service so I was able to add content after seeing the first template while the designers and developers finished the markup and design implementation. This made a huge impact on the duration of the project - it only took roughly 5 workdays from starting design to live site! After that other people got invited to the project to contribute on making forms and navigation better. In general it was a great experience as all the right people could contribute at the same time on the technical side while I just got my content ready.”

- Søren Salin, Owner, The Salin Group

Salin_Contact

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 by Andrew Barta

Hi all, it's Andrew again with a quick Umbraco TV update regarding Umbraco Forms.

Here at Umbraco HQ, we have been hard at work on one of the largest updates to Umbraco Forms in its history! With the new v4.3.0 released, we want to share the latest features with you, and there is no better way to do that than a free chapter of Umbraco TV! 

Umbraco TV contains hours of Umbraco learning materials, including the 50+ minutes of free content on the newest version of Umbraco Forms. Throughout the chapter, I guide you through the process of creating your first form, from installation to setting up your own workflows when forms are submitted. You can pause, restart and re-watch the tutorials as often as you like, in your own time, so you can learn as it suits you. 

If you want to become a customer on Umbraco.tv and get access to the entire suite of tutorials, then subscribe today and enjoy 24/7 self-paced learning across all Umbraco CMS components. 

Not using Umbraco Forms?

Umbraco CMS is all about flexibility and empowering you to do more. With Forms, creating custom forms becomes as simple as content editing with no technical knowledge required, and without compromising specific requirements such as dynamic fields or particular behaviours on submission.

As always, don't hesitate to reach out and share your thoughts on Umbraco TV. Get in touch through Twitter or find my contact info on the Umbraco HQ team page. We value (and seek!) your feedback, whether that be insight into which video structure you like best or ideas for future chapters. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers,
- Andrew

Monday, June 27, 2016 by Kris Deminick

As you may have read in this Press Release, we are pleased to have Microsoft supporting Umbraco and Umbraco as a Service as a recommended solution. To celebrate, the first thing we have done is co-produce this Umbraco hype reel. See all that makes Umbraco so special, both in product and community, in this delightfully animated nutshell. Enjoy! 

Umbraco: The Friendly CMS from Umbraco on Vimeo.

This video is just the first in a number of pieces of marketing materials and activities we will be executing before the end of the year in order to grow the Umbraco community and usage of Umbraco as a Service. For any questions about marketing please get in touch with our Wizard of Communications, Kris Deminick kris@umbraco.com

Microsoft has also hosted for us an Infopedia Webinar which you can now watch on demand, here at Microsoft Events. Allow Niels Hartvig to introduce you to the Friendly CMS and see demonstrations of both the Umbraco back office and Umbraco as a Service portal.

Umbraco: The Friendly CMS

Umbraco was featured last month on Microsoft Channel 9 when our own Morten Christensen spoke about how Umbraco as a Service utilizes the Azure infrastructure to underpin hosting, server allocation, provisioning and deployment queues. Watch our superstar in action below!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 by Kris Deminick

BeaconSage

Best Technical: BeaconSage by Aristotle Labs

BeaconSage is a page creator for Eddystone URL based beacons. By delivering real-time relevant content, a business, event, or individual can provide an interactive experience that draws their customer in and keeps them coming back.

What we were challenged to solve

BeaconSage came to fruition when we understood the potential of url-based beacons and realized that a page creator was the next logical step. We really liked beacons but we kept coming back to the same question - beacons are cool, but how can we make them more appealing? How do we get a small business on board? The answer - develop a responsive CMS application that will provide the business owner with the ability to quickly put together a page and deliver to their customer immediately.

BeaconSage is also a beacon management tool. Using the APIs of various beacon manufacturers, our clients are able to use a beacon of their choice and manage the beacon’s features along with the delivered content in one place.

BeaconSage

How we solved it

Aristotle decided to use Umbraco because we could develop a solution and deploy it faster than developing our own content management system. Umbraco’s powerful framework and flexibility allows Aristotle Labs to create products which are very intuitive and user friendly in a relatively short amount of time.

What we gained from it

We just released BeaconSage to the public. Before this release, we did a trial run at a Gymnastics event. The Gymnastics event utilized BeaconSage and beacons to improve the attendee experience. People were able to access scores in real-time without having to stand over each other reading a posted spreadsheet. Also, attendees could find out information about any schedule changes right from their phone. This saved both the attendees and coordinators time and energy.

Site usage statistics are the key indicators of our measures of success. During the Gymnastics event, there were 785 sessions which were the result of users connecting directly with the content they wanted via BeaconSage. Mobile devices were the source of 92.91% of those session connections. Because beacons projected the exact URLs that were of interest to the event attendees, searching for the desired content either on the web or by shuffling through paper information was completely eliminated.

"Gymnastics competitions are always hectic. The Beaconsage app allowed us to engage with all of the parents and coaches in real-time to make our event run smoothly. Giving parents schedule updates and access to scores on their phones was a real game changer for us."

Tina Lee, USA Gymnastics Certified Coach, Emerald Classic – Little Rock, AR

BeaconSage

We have a wildlife refuge center about to deploy beacons and use BeaconSage to deliver content about their animals. Several of our local parks and museums are looking at ways to use BeaconSage to educate and entertain their visitors. One of the largest farm and construction equipment dealerships in Arkansas wants to use BeaconSage as a sales component in their showroom.

Content presented through BeaconSage is limitless. We have demo examples that include coupons, interactive polls, and basic content. Our development roadmap includes several game modules and other content delivery options.

BeaconSage works hand-in-hand with another Aristotle Labs SaaS product, Bamboo Events. Bamboo is an Umbraco based, turnkey solution for event planners. Our product allows event planners to manage all aspects of events such as scheduling, session moderation, exhibitors and sponsors for business conferences, music festivals, sporting events or any other meeting types.

BeaconSage

How it works

BeaconSage is built on the Umbraco platform and makes use of it in several ways. The backoffice is used by clients to create the pages that the beacons connect to. A number of templates (document types) are available and colors and layout can be customized. The event system is used to connect to the beacon management API and set the beacons based on data entered in the backoffice for the beacon document type.

BeaconSage works with both Android and iOS operating systems and allows the user to create pages with text, images, forms, photo galleries, and social feeds. The system also employs cards as a method of content delivery. Cards are a streamlined, interactive way to present content in a container that is flippable. This interactive medium displays information in a way that uses less space and is fun for the user. An example can be seen here, http://www.beaconsage.com/features/.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 by Kris Deminick

Spring/Summer

Best Designed Site: Spring/Summer by Spring/Summer

The site is our own company site. It sets out to tell the story of who we are and what we can do for our clients. We chose Umbraco as a Service as the foundation for this as it gave us the freedom we wanted to build a super modular site that gives the designers more possibilities than limitations. The site goes to great lengths to tie the navigational experience seamlessly together in a responsive environment. Hope you enjoy...

What we were challenged to solve

We needed a very modular responsive website where all pages would be built from the same collection of components. The modular approach we came up with required that content could be nested in the CMS, which isn't a built-in feature in Umbraco. We needed the modular approach because the content of a page couldn't be predefined. Each page could contain several Grid-Items and a Grid-Item could even contain additional sub-nodes, for example a Gallery which need to contain several images. On top of this we wanted to show off our capabilities in front-end development with fluid transitions between pages that underpins the structure of the site, and make sure that the site is just a pleasure to use in all aspects.

Spring/Summer

How we solved it

To be able to nest content we used a plugin called Nested Content from Lee Kelleher which is able to put several Document Types inside one Property. The component seemed to fix all structural difficulties we would ever meet, and from here on the Umbraco structure was done pretty fast. But when we had to go live we faced the issues of using a plugin for this very essential part of our structure. The issues we were facing was related to synchronization between the two environments. Some of the Properties of Data Types that refer to other nodes did not synchronize correctly, meaning that the ID of the content it was referring wasn't updated with the correct ID in the live environment. We seeked help, and the friendly people at Umbraco started looking into the Courier system and went through everything that was related to synchronization. After some talking forth and back we figured out that the problem must be related to the Nested Content module, since everything that wasn't in touch with this module worked fine. But it was inconsistent as some content was transferred perfectly, so we couldn't conclude that Nested Content didn't work. After some testing we figured out that it was only DocTypes that had inherited properties which failed the synchronization. So we could conclude that the Nested Content plugin which did a perfect job, just wasn't build for DocTypes with inherited properties. at least not properties that referees to other nodes like the Media Picker. We solved this issue by moving referring properties away from parent DocTypes and instead attach them to each concrete DocType.

Spring/Summer

What we gained from it

The first month we had around 55,000 unique visitors, where 66% of them had never visited our site before. This has leveled out to around 1,000 visitors every weekday, which is a lot for an agency site. The site won the award for Site of the Day from Awwwards, TheFWA, Commarts and CSSAwards.

The client was very very happy. Fun aside, it has worked really well to get everybody on board, and we actually succeed in making a modular site where it is possible to build pages that we didn’t even think up in the build process. We have had incredible feedback from around the world through social channels.


"Nice looking agency site. Even smooth on my clunky retina" - Dave Soderberg ‏@davesoderberg


"I can't remember the last time I saw a site as well engineered as springsummer.dk. Great work." - Andreas Blombäck ‏@blomback

Spring/Summer

How it works

One of the reasons for us to choose Umbraco was the built-in Image-Scaling-Service, ImageProcessor, which is begin used for almost all assets on the site. For color picking we use a package called Spectrum Color Picker. Except for these packages (and of course Nested Content) the site uses Umbraco as a Service as it comes.