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Thursday, May 26, 2016 by Kris Deminick


Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council

Due to reductions in public sector spending, current web architecture went under review for efficiency savings. Always a Microsoft house, Merthyr needed to choose a familiar product, but one that could deliver the same functionality as Microsoft SharePoint or Achieve Forms, at lower cost.

Council Home Page

What we were challenged to solve

The biggest issue we needed to address was to replace our existing forms system that was costing us £6000 a year in annual maintenance, whilst keeping the same level of functionality that was being used. Even though we felt Achieve Forms was a comprehensive product, we realised that we were only using a fraction of the functionality. In addition to this SharePoint was not user-friendly, overcomplicated and running on a server that was near end of life and out of support from Microsoft.

How we solved it

New design based on gov.uk guidelines taking into account the best practices from the government service design manual.  This included all templates being based on bootstrap 3 helping to make the site accessible and usable across all platforms including mobile.

Council Forms

What we gained from it

We managed to save £6000 a year in annual support costs from replacing our forms package alone.  We also managed to achieve faster responses to issues/queries either from our support agreement or the Umbraco Our website and HQ have been excellent.

"It's been great to finally replace all our web based products with Umbraco, which has now greatly reduced our dependency on expensive specialised consultants." - Craig Cronin - Development Team Leader,
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council

How it works

We’ve installed our forms website on the same Windows 2012 server that we use to host all our sub-sites and new corporate site all built on Umbraco.  Additional packages have been used such as Vorto, Url Tracker, nuPickers and Robots.txt the admin section and we’re currently testing courier deployment.

Back Office

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 by Andrew Barta

To keep the good news rolling this week, we wanted to let you know about updates coming to Umbraco.tv.

During the first quarter of this year we reorganized to make sure we can get the latest video tutorials out in a more timely manner.  We’ve upgraded some underlying parts of Umbraco.tv along with a new approach to release content. We’re introducing an incremental release schedule for Umbraco.tv episodes starting now. Once an episode is complete, we will make it available to you rather than waiting for the entire chapter to be done. We’re also taking a new approach to the videos. In general they will be more conversational, more informative, and more clear - in concepts and sound quality.

Our first update is the Member API chapter, with the first three episodes ready now! Get started and check them out here.

Moving forward we have chapters scheduled for: Umbraco Forms 4.3.0, Creating an Umbraco site from scratch, and Getting Started with Umbraco as a Service. Based on your feedback we are planning chapters to include: Multilingual and Translation workflow, Working with Examine, and Querying Umbraco Data in MVC Views.

A big part of this reorganization is to make Umbraco.tv more conversational. Please get in touch with us if you have a subject you would like to see. As you can imagine, there is plenty of material to cover and the best way for us to know where to focus is based on your input.

My name is Andrew Barta and you can get in touch through email (team) or Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy the latest episodes!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 by Kris Deminick

Box Nation

A case study by Umbraco Gold Partner, Crumpled Dog

BoxNation is a UK boxing subscription TV channel – showcasing domestic and international fights, classic match footage, and boxer profiles.

Box Nation Home

What we were challenged to solve

Primary objective, keep the website online and taking subscriptions during periods of extreme traffic.

How we solved it

We combined Azure scalability with Umbraco to create a platform to meet the demanding content requirements and have capacity to scale infrastructure to meet extreme spikes in traffic.

Box Nation Content

What we gained from it

The website stayed online during periods of extreme traffic while broadcasting some of the most anticipated fights of the last five years, including David Haye, Floyd Mayweather, Mikkel Kessler & Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.

“Since 2011, the team at Crumpled Dog have delivered on all fronts – their design, planning and execution has impacted across every aspect of the BoxNation brand and Umbraco powered website – a programme of continuous updates, improvements on both a design and technical level. Their skills have allowed us to engage with a huge online boxing audience, and the BoxNation website lies at the very heart of our operation and revenue stream”.
Tess Goldenberg – Head of Marketing, Box Nation

Box Nation - Early Concepts

Box Nation - Design Evolution

How it works

BoxNation originally launched the v1 website hosted in pretty early Azure with Umbraco v4.7 at the end of 2010. The key objective of “staying online” was met by utilising the Load Balancing abilities of Umbraco with scalability of the Azure platform.

In August 2015 the v2 website was successfully launched, v2 was developed using Umbraco v7.3 and content was imported from the v1 site.

Box Nation Umbraco

v2 Is engineered for performance utilising a shared strongly typed model cache which is powered by Azure Redis and the Ditto model mapper. The shared Redis caching system means that page render times are always low and when content is updated, all servers (even new cold ones) have the latest content without doing any work. The website also fully utilises the Azure CDN for all assets (including content managed crops) so that the webservers are only responsible for returning the pages themselves.

Monday, May 23, 2016 by Warren Buckley

We are super excited to announce a new and improved version of Umbraco Forms! This is the largest update to the Forms product so far, since I have joined the Umbraco HQ development team to work on Forms.

What’s New?

  • Fully polished user interface, in line with the success of Umbraco 7.4 UI updates
  • Export Entries directly to an Excel file as opposed to a CSV
  • Export all Uploaded files to a single zip file
  • 40 bugs fixes resolved
  • Performance is leaner and faster
  • Better error reporting and logging

What's it look like? 

Why the Beta label?

We are giving this release the ‘Beta’ label due to the significant number of changes made to the product with bug fixes behind the scenes and the new user interface. Internally we’ve tested this Beta release with a team of four developers to ensure we covered most scenarios, however with as much testing as we can do, we cannot think of every scenario that you, our Forms customers use.

So we want to get this into your hands to experience this new UI for yourselves!

If you do find any bugs or problems with this beta release, then please make sure to log them on the issue tracker here; http://issues.umbraco.org/issues/CON so we can fix them before a final release.

Sound good?

If you loved Umbraco 7.4 and the improvements made to the grid and the data type editor then you’ll love the new Umbraco Forms. So what are you waiting for? Download or upgrade Umbraco Forms v4.3.0 today!

Download Umbraco Forms 4.3.0 Beta

Friday, May 20, 2016 by Kris Deminick

Northmill

Northmill is a Swedish fintech company, founded as a startup in Stockholm 2006. Our products include consumer loans and a flexible credit account. The vision of the company is to revolutionize the old banking system by building a bank designed for our digital and modern lifestyle.

Northmill

What we demanded from a CMS

Northmill applies a multi brand strategy. We needed a fast and easy to use CMS to publish and edit content on five different sites. Since we always are working with the websites in teams, we demanded the feature of inviting colleagues to projects, providing them restricted access for certain sections.

Why we chose Umbraco

We appreciate the fact that Umbraco is open-source and part of a growing community with constant development. Our IT developers describe the CMS like a piece of clay that can be molded into anything we can think of. Being open source and able to customize, the potential is unlimited yet Umbraco is simple enough for a new editor to learn in a very short time.

“Our online marketers need to be able to focus on content and creativity. They can’t work with a system where we as developers tell them something is not possible.”

Marcin Ziółkowski, Chief Technology Officer

Credigo_Northmill

Go to Credigo

The content publishing process is very intuitive. When we create content, it’s always mobile first. So, when creating or editing content, we aim to keep the information short and user friendly. The simplistic functionality of Umbraco scales off all distractions and editors are only presented with relevant options. Navigation is very smooth with the data organized in a tree structure. This easy to overlook architecture is of highly importance since we have a deep structure, with hundreds of different pages to overview.

“Umbraco is faster than its competitors, the user interface is far better than anything else I’ve come across – and it’s very flexible for working in teams”.

Sargon Kurt, Marketing Manager

Easycredit_Northmill

Go to Easycredit

Multi user support

All our teams are synchronized and specific team members can use Umbraco for contributing to a bigger project. For example, when we launched the new international site Northmill.com, several different teams were involved. Team members were granted access to specific sections in Umbraco, and then filled those pages with content. That’s a feature we really appreciate since the editors can assign Umbraco related tasks but still maintain the overall authority of the system.

To enhance customer service, we’ve also given the credit controllers access to edit the FAQ-pages without the involvement of an editor. It’s a feature that saves us time but it’s also a great way to make coworkers feel that they are part of the decision making and being listened to.

Northmill