Happy New Year!
I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this excited about getting back to work after a holiday. While 2012 in hindsight was about getting lost and messing up, followed by soul searching, finding back to the roots and coming out healthy and strongly of a crisis, this year seems much more bright, especially as we can start building on what we learned last year.
There’s a lot of positive change coming to the Umbraco project over the next twelve months, including two new major versions, followed by the Umbraco-as-a-Service cloud offering we’ve been working on for quite a while here in the HQ. The overall agenda for all three projects, is getting back to the roots of making Umbraco a powerful, yet simple tool to build websites.
Two new major versions in the horizon - what does that really mean?
A major version of a piece of software can always sound scary and in the world of Umbraco - with v5 in hindsight - it could be nothing short of a horror movie. However, in the core team we’re doing everything we can to make it G rated.
First of all, a new major version doesn’t have to mean major changes - and in particular nothing like v5 brought. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and not only didn’t it fit, it was also damn ugly. One of the decisions following CodeGarden and the v5 aftermath was to move our versioning to SemVer. It means that if we add changes to the core that could break (but might not for all), we need to bump up the version number. With the coming v6, that’s what we might do.
V6 for dummies
Umbraco 6 is in its final stage of testing and while it looks and behaves just like the Umbraco you know well, it brings a completely new CRUD API. Fancy as it may sound, it simply means that the way that Umbraco creates and updates its data has been completely re-written from scratch, bringing greater performance, less database queries and a core that’s easier to maintain and test. In other words; faster, stronger and eventually more stable.
However, the old APIs will still work. In fact, the backoffice of Umbraco in v6 still uses most of the old APIs. But the core team, have made some super clever engineering that means that even though you call the old APIs, internally your calls will be re-wired to the new APIs. So not only does this mean that we can use the existing back office to test if that really works, your old code will work, just much faster yet you don’t need to do anything. We’d like to call it respecting our legacy.
With v6.1 that follows - knowing that the new APIs worked as we expected - we’ll be changing the back office to use the new APIs directly and mark the old API methods as obsolete (though you can still use them without build errors). You could call that paving the way for the future of a - code wise - more stable and elegant core codebase.
V7 for dummies
While v6 is all about internals and code, ensuring a beautiful inner soul, v7 is all about beauty on the surface. With v7 we’ll be introducing the new UX - the artist also known as project “Belle”. It’ll use the exact same core as v6 - in fact the two versions will be maintained in parallel for quite a while.
Again, we’ll be respecting legacy as people are not forced to jump on a whole new look and feel until it make sense to them (and before it’s completely stable). And again we’ll be paving the way for the future as we can focus on the richer possibilities that modern browsers brings, leaving older browser support at the doorstep of v6 (if your organisation for some reason are forced to stay on an old version of Internet Explorer, you can continue to use Umbraco through the side-by-side maintained v6).
Umbraco as a Service aka “Concorde”
While our baby is still to receive its final name, the final thing in the horizon is our cloud offering of Umbraco, which is the artist formerly known as “Codename ‘Concorde’”. It’s not your usual “CMS hosted in the cloud”, instead we’ve been designing a whole new development and deployment experience with the possibilities that a cloud platform brings us.
There’ll be a lot to talk about and even more to show over the next months, but it’s worth mentioning here as we’ll be able to move existing Umbraco installations onto our new platform opening up a whole new way of developing, sharing and deploying despite you didn’t started out on the “Concorde” platform originally.
So 2013 will bring us three major new goodies; a whole new faster and stable API, a stunning new user friendly look‘n’feel and finally an easier and faster way to develop and deploy your fantastic Umbraco solutions. And all that in a way, that’s compatible with what you know today while giving you the chance to learn smarter ways to do Umbraco in the future.