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Product Update - August 14

2 (big) new feature releases and 8.7 getting closer...

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Written by Jacob Midtgaard-Olesen

Welcome to the first Product Update after the summer period at Umbraco HQ! A summer where we've not been resting on our laurels - we’ve launched several exciting improvements and features and we’ve got more coming up fairly soon. Let's get you updated on the latest product development: 

Introducing the CMS Program Manager

Before we get started on the product update, let me bring your attention to a new role at Umbraco.

This month we established a new CMS Program Manager role at Umbraco and we welcome Filip Bruun Bech-Larsen to the role. With experience in both management and development, including front-end development, Google Expert membership, Umbraco experience and a 3x Codegarden speaker, we are very excited to have Filip join Umbraco HQ.

Filip

The CMS Program Manager role is new at Umbraco and will strengthen our open source management of the CMS as we continue to engage in open source initiatives with partners and community. The CMS Program Manager will be responsible for all future open source development, CMS features delivered by HQ, management of PRs, issue trackers, RFCs etc.

Welcome Filip! (get to know a bit more about Filip in his welcome blog post)

New releases:

Custom Code now available in Umbraco Uno

At its core, Umbraco Uno is built to be easy to use, even if you have no technical or development experience. Using pre-built widgets you can quickly go live with a good looking, functional and professional website. 

No code needed - but if code is needed, now, that’s possible!

The Custom Code feature is now part of Umbraco Uno, allowing you to take your Uno website even further, using the original project as the starting point.

The custom code feature gives you access to Git repositories as well as the Settings and Package sections in the backoffice, allowing you to customize your website exactly the way you want. 

When you “cut the cord” to the original Uno setup, you’re in charge. This means you no longer get Uno and Umbraco minor upgrades automatically. However, by being hosted on Cloud, we’ve made this as straightforward as possible for you and you still get to enjoy automatic patch upgrades, ensuring that your Uno site always has the latest bug and security fixes.

Custom Code can be enabled for development and staging environments in Uno, you find the documentation here.

Have you not tried Uno yet? Go ahead and start a free 14-days trial

Heartcore now has GraphQL functionality

No more over-fetching data - but tons of flexibility.

GraphQL is now part of our headless CMS offering, Umbraco Heartcore. This new feature lets you fetch exactly the data fields from Heartcore you need for your frontend - nothing more, nothing less. 

GraphQL gives the client application the power to define and structure the data needed which greatly reduces the number of API calls as well as makes sure that the returned data is structured and only contains the information requested.


This ensures faster load-time for your visitors as well as saves them unnecessary data costs. 

And then it adds more flexibility and reassurance to you as a front-ender or back-ender when building and maintaining the project.

GraphQL is available in the Starter, Professional and Enterprise Heartcore plans

If you want to learn more about Heartcore and GraphQL, you’ll find all the details in the dedicated GraphQL release blog post. 

If you want to try this new functionality, go ahead and start a free 14 days trial of Heartcore.

Upcoming releases and improvements:

Umbraco 8.7 coming up

We’ve been talking about Umbraco 8.7 for some time now, and I’m happy to report that we are finally getting ready to put out the release candidate.

Umbraco 8.7 contains a lot of improvements and fixes including, but not limited to:

  • A long list of community contributions
  • A brand new block list editor
  • Support for complex input validation
  • Code improvements to support segmentation type variants

We expect to make the release candidate available next week.

We’ll publish dedicated release blog posts for both the release candidate and the final release making sure you’re informed about all the relevant details of the various new features, fixes etc. 

With the release of Umbraco 8.7, Umbraco Uno will also see a massive update with all content widgets being upgraded to the new block list editor, significantly improving the editing experience in the backoffice.

SEO Improvements for Umbraco Uno 

A new item on the Product Roadmap is SEO improvements for Umbraco Uno. With these updates, it will be easy to configure a long list of important SEO parameters for your Uno website - without any need to access the code directly.

Some examples of the improvements:

  • Noindex/nofollow settings on individual page level
  • Manual 301 redirects
  • Management of image ALT text
  • URL management on individual page level

These improvements are expected to be released for Uno this quarter.

.NET Core Alpha, coming soon!

As part of the huge project of converting Umbraco to .NET Core, we will this quarter be releasing the first alpha version of Umbraco running .NET Core.

The alpha release will “only” allow you to run the backoffice in .NET Core, but if you want to get an early preview of the project and learn about how the CMS will be changing - the alpha is a good place to start.

Following the alpha release, not surprisingly, a beta version will be released. This version will be complete with website support and be much closer to an end-to-end working version of Umbraco. 

After the beta version, you can expect a ton of focus on release management, package support, testing etc. and we’ll also make several release candidates available before we finally reach the final release of Umbraco running .NET Core for production.

Although the alpha is only weeks away, it’s still too soon to confirm the exact timing of the beta and final release dates - we still have a lot of planning and development in front of us.

Follow the blogs from Bjarke and the team here on the Umbraco blog and check the issue tracker for options to engage in the development of the project.

Other updates:

  • The previously mentioned update to Umbraco Forms aka “Form in the database” is also expected to be released this month. Other than improvements and fixes it includes support for storing forms items in the database. A release blog post will be published alongside the Forms 8.5 release with more details about the new database setup for Forms.

  • The Community Package Team is warming up to hosting Package Workshops and are looking for ideas, take a look at the following Twitter post: https://twitter.com/UmbracoPackages/status/1291362895708803078

 

That’s it for this update. As always, check our Roadmap and blog on Umbraco.com for further details and updates.

 

Until next time, take care.

/Jacob Midtgaard-Olesen, Umbraco CTO, product@umbraco.com

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