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Monday, October 5, 2015 by Kris Deminick

Name: Charles Roper @charlesroperCharles Roper

Location: UK

Job role/company: IT Developer at Field Studies Council, an environmental education organisation.

Started working with Umbraco: When I started at FSC at the beginning of 2015. It's been a little over 6 months so far and I'm loving it. By far the best CMS I've ever used. I also only started learning C#, .NET and Angular this year too. I've always been on Windows PCs but had used mostly non-Microsoft open source stuff for web development for many years (apart from a brief spell on ASP classic in the late 90s) so it's been quite an interesting and surprisingly pleasurable shift. Microsoft and the .NET community seem to be invigorated with good energy since Satya Nadella took over and the work to open source .NET began. Feels like I'm joining at just the right time.

What projects you currently working on?
FSC is a very diverse organisation and we're a very small IT team. So I've been working on integrations between our CRM and Umbraco, using Angular on the front end. We've also been restructuring and redesigning parts of our main website, and spinning up a microsite here and there. Also been working on some biodiversity data capture tooling. It's been a pretty intense learning curve, but learning new stuff is what motivates me, so it's all good.

What is your favourite Umbraco moment or achievement?
I loved attending Doug's Masterclass in London (at the mindblowing office of Moriyama, I believe - what stunning views), meeting other Umbracians, enjoying beer and chat at the pub afterwards. I could tell this is a community I could feel at home in.

What piece of Umbraco work you are most proud of?
Haven't done much yet, but all I have done - the various bits and pieces - I'm proud of. I feel very lucky to be in a position where I get to work with great tools, with great colleagues in an organisation doing important work. I'd say I feel lucky and honoured rather than proud right now. There are so many jobs that suck out there, and it's so easy to get burned out in this industry, yet it's amazing that here I am at 40 and it still feels fresh and enjoyable.

What about Umbraco keeps you coming back for more?
I love its clean, pragmatic design and how a fresh install assumes nothing: no pre-existing structure and no HTML/CSS/Javascript to hack out. That's what I always disliked about, say, Drupal. A completely blank slate feels so much more approachable to someone like me who started building sites using simple, static HTML and later CSS in the 90s.  I also like the templating language - Razor. It's super easy and intuitive to get started with. The ensemble of data types, doctypes, templates, partials and macros feels like a really well rounded toolkit. I've yet to dive very far beyond these elemental aspects of Umbraco, but I'm genuinely looking forward to deepening my knowledge.

It would also be remiss of me not to mention the community here. It's funny because, before I started at FSC, I was reading books about happiness at work (The Happy Manifesto by "Happy" Henry Stewart for example) and really got into that whole ethos. So when I saw you'd had Alexander Kjerulf keynoting at CodeGarden I was like, whoa, this community is awesome! It was like a weird, profound alignment of the stars - I had by pure fluke ended up working with technology driven by people with the same values as myself. Serendipity at its finest.

What would we find on your desk at work?
Ha, good question. It's a bit of a mess to be honest. None of this minimalist nonsense for me. There's my laptop: a humble-looking but awesomely specced ThinkPad which I adore. I've also still got my fUnc sUrface mouse mat from my gaming days - it's basically made of Teflon. There are papers, a Black & Red notebook, pens, a couple of smartphones, a tablet, a couple of USB lights from IKEA, headphones and a few other bits. I've also got a signed Boba Fett picture on my wall.

Tell us something interesting about yourself
I used to live in Alton Towers as a teenager - Britain's answer to Disneyland. My Dad was one of the directors there and we had this house on the park. I could just roll out of bed and go ride rollercoasters all day. After the park closed me and my friends would skateboard around the place. I rode on one of the 'coasters with Kylie Minogue once. It was a pretty crazy life. I remember lying in bed at night listening to the roar of dinosaurs coming from the nearby log flume.

After Alton Towers we were back in southern England and I built a couple of mini-ramps in my back garden. I wasn't a great skater, but I loved building things and creating a scene - a community. I'm sure this is what informed my love of community-based gaming and later open source and online communities.

What is your favourite video game?
I used to be very into games. My first computer was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum which I got when I was 10. I did two things on that thing: learned BASIC and played games. My favourite game on it was probably JetPac. Later on in the early 2000s I was properly into CounterStrike. I headed-up a clan of about 30 people called the Last Boy Scouts. We had a reputation for being one of the most fun clans around. I enjoyed the community aspects as much as the game itself - it was great having this multi-country network of remote friends. Lately the augmented reality game Ingress has been pretty interesting - like nothing else that has been before. Sort of a cross between geocaching and capture the flag. But again, it's the community aspects that make it so interesting.

Monday, October 5, 2015 by Kris Deminick

Two weeks ago the Dutch Umbraco User Group held their annual DUUG Fest to great success. Organiser Jeroen Wijdeven told us about the ideas behind the day, so read on and be inspired to attend one of the other European Festivals happening this season!

DUUGFest Keynote 2015

"The 24th of September we organized the Dutch Umbraco User Group festival. The DUUG is a meetup group organized by Richard Soeteman, Martijn Maris, Inge van Viersen and Jeroen Wijdeven and we organize a meetup 3 to 4 times a year. Once a year we try to organize a bigger event called DUUG festival where we have more of everything; speakers, attendees, tracks, beers and food! The goal is to create a day that’s both interesting and social where people can get acquainted with Umbraco but also attend deep dive sessions as well.

Because we think Umbraco is not only about the technical but also about the websites themselves, the visitors of those websites and the content editors who manage them, we do not aim on developers only. We try to aim for marketers, consultants and usability experts as well. We did have some great tech tracks as we know devs are the core of the community but we believe in bringing all these people together to make the community even bigger and the world even nicer!

The 24th was a huge success and we had a lot of great reactions. Thanks to our sponsors we could hire a nice industrial venue which was also affordable and could be reached by car very easily for people from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The festival was sold out a week before and the venue increased our capacity so finally we had around 70 attendees. A great thing to see was that the technical people also liked the business tracks as well."

- Jeroen Wijdeven 

DUUGFest Preparation!

The day included a Keynote by Chief Unicorn, Niels Hartvig covering the roadmap of 7.3 - 7.4 and the release of Umbraco as a Service. Niels also agreed that the non-technical track was a valuable addition to the festival and it is something the HQ are keen to include in future festivals and events. Check out this tweet quoting Pieter Aarts who gave a talk on "Embracing Complexity" 

In embracing and learning about the various skills making a project successful (in addition to development) we can only make for more delightful solutions. Other non-technical sessions included topics such as Business Cases and some technical sessions such as "Make Your Editors Happy" by Dave Woestenborghs focused on different user groups so it was great to see the many roles that touch Umbraco being considered and catered for. You can watch Dave's presentation as it appeared at Code Garden 2015 here.

Huge thanks to the organisers and attendees of DUUG Fest 2015 #h5yr!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 by Sebastiaan Janssen

It’s here! Umbraco 7.3.0 has received the “final” stamp and we’re very excited to release it out to the world! This release closes 180 items on the issue tracker! Among those 180 items, there's some much sought after new features.

You asked for it, we've got it: MVC 5 and WebApi 2 are here. So get your CORS on, it's now natively supported. Your intellisense in Visual Studio 2015 will also be much prettier and we think you'll enjoy being up to date with the current version which also features performance improvements.

ILLIAC_4_parallel _computerLoad balancing worked in the past with Umbraco sites but you had to set up everything "just so" and any deviations from the “one way” to set it up would cause it to fail in unexpected ways. This all changes today; setting up load balancing is as easy as pointing two or more deploys of your Umbraco site to one central database. Make sure to check out Shannon's session from Codegarden this year to get all the juicy details:

For a story from a happy user of the new load balancing method, make sure to read the feedback from Crumpled Dog in one of our recent blog posts.

Apart from the big new features there's a boatload of bug fixes, performance improvements and a lot of small new features that should help everyone from content editors to site builders and developers using our APIs to enjoy Umbraco even more than ever.


We’ve also released an updated version of Courier today to be compatible with Umbraco 7.3. It retains backwards compatibility with previous versions of Umbraco. A full list of closed issues is available on the tracker, highlights:

  • Bugs related to content packaging, transfer and restore tasks have been resolved
  • Error handling has been improved to ensure more useful errors are displayed if something is not working
  • Event bindings have been updated to work with the new events in 7.3+
  • The whole packaging and comparison process of a deployment has been optimized to improve performance

Courier 2.51.2 can be found at:

Go get it!

Last but not least, when you create new sites on Umbraco as a Service, they will also be of version 7.3.0.

We love feedback, please log issues in the tracker and discuss this release on the forum. Note that we don’t have comment notifications on the blog so if you ask for help in the comments here, you’ll need to check back manually to see if your question was answered

So what are you still waiting for, go grab the latest and greatest!