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Umbraco Heartcore Update October 2023

The latest news on our headless SaaS offering

Jordan 500X500
Written by Jordan McFarlane

There is a lot going on in the world of Heartcore! Here you can find out all about upcoming features (did someone say Block Grid editor?), upcoming changes to plan tiers, and get up-to-date on some features that will eventually be retired to make room for something better.


Remind me again about Umbraco Heartcore? 

Umbraco Heartcore is our headless SaaS offering with the content management capabilities of Umbraco CMS and a broad suite of tools and APIs purpose-built to provide the best possible headless development experience. You get things like GraphQL, REST and Preview APIs, webhook support, and much more. It only takes a few seconds to spin up a new headless project and if you’re curious, you’re always welcome to book a discovery call to learn more about Umbraco Heartcore

But first, let’s dive into the latest updates to Heartcore: 

Core Dependency Upgrade

Umbraco CMS is constantly evolving with new features, fixes, and performance enhancements. While Umbraco Heartcore is Software as a Service, here at HQ we still need to update our dependency on the core CMS for you to benefit from all of these. Most of the time these upgrades are small and incremental, but every once in a while we need to carry out a slightly larger one.

We are currently working on one such upgrade. When we complete development and testing later this year, we will immediately make it the default for any new projects created on Heartcore. The upgrade will be rolled out to all existing sites in Q1 of 2024.

When the upgrade is complete, you can expect to benefit from several immediate enhancements:

  • The Block Grid editor, previously released in Umbraco version 11 will now be available in Heartcore.

  • The Heartcore backoffice should be noticeably more performant and responsive for content authors.

  • A slew of small quality-of-life enhancements and bug fixes.

More on these below. 

If you’re already an Umbraco Heartcore user, you will not see any downtime of the Heartcore Content Delivery Platform as a result of this upgrade - that is, your applications built on top of the Heartcore REST and GraphQL APIs will continue to function uninterrupted. You may experience a brief outage of the Content Management API and back-office. We will update the status page when we have more concrete timing information available.

Umbraco Heartcore on the Product Roadmap

The core dependency upgrade will unlock the ability for us to deliver many features you have been asking for but we have been previously constrained. However it also immediately has an impact with the addition of three features to the “Now” section.

In the mid-term, we would like to bring the power of Umbraco Workflow to Heartcore in some form, as well as implement a bring-your-own SMTP provider feature to unlock sending emails from Workflow and Forms.

New in “Now”

Block Grid editor for Umbraco Heartcore

The block grid is a modern, flexible tool for creating two-dimensional content layouts. While it has been available in the core CMS for a while, you will soon be able to use the block grid in Heartcore projects!

Initially, there will be some limitations for the block grid in Heartcore. You will not be able to specify custom views or stylesheets for configuring block appearance in the backoffice. In a follow-up update, we will enable support for this, bringing the block list fully in line with what you have come to expect in other environments!

Target: Q4 this year for new sites. For existing sites, Q1 of 2024.

Core Dependency Upgrade for Umbraco Heartcore

Performance Improvements in the Heartcore backoffice

With every version of Umbraco comes a bunch of performance-enhancing tweaks and improvements. Once the core dependency upgrade is rolled out, you can expect that the backoffice will feel faster and more responsive for your content authors. Additionally, Umbraco Deploy operations such as transferring content between environments should feel much more snappy.

Quality-of-life and Polish

With the core dependency upgrade you can also expect to see a whole slew of small quality-of-life improvements and fixes to the backoffice. For a comprehensive overview, please check out the release comparison tool.

Target: Q4 this year for new sites. For existing sites, Q1 of 2024.

New in “Next”

Custom SMTP Server Configuration

We currently provide very restricted email functionality in Heartcore in order to limit potential abuse scenarios. We know that email is a crucial part of a modern platform and intend to re-enable this by allowing you to configure your own SMTP server from which to send messages. This will initially allow you to easily send emails as part of form submission workflows, but will also tie nicely into content approval flows when we introduce Umbraco Workflow to Heartcore.

Workflow Features 

Umbraco Workflow contains a wide range of features that allow you to design custom content approval processes to fit your organization. You can expect to see Workflow support coming to Heartcore projects so that your copywriters and content managers will be able to review, approve, and publish content with confidence.

New in “Later”

Regional Hosting

Even though Heartcore has a global CDN that makes performance for end users lightning fast, we know that some customers have compliance considerations that mean their data must be hosted in a specific region. We intend to add support for creating new Heartcore projects in other regions, starting with the U.S.

Make sure to check the Product Roadmap for the latest updates.


Update to Heartcore Plan Tiers

From 2024, we are changing the Heartcore tiers. With the exception of the current Mini plan, all restrictions are becoming more lenient.

From 1st January 2024, we will no longer restrict the number of languages or user roles that can be added to plans above the Mini tier. Mini plans will retain the current one-language, one-role limitation. Additionally, the current Starter plans will receive access to the preview API so that you can see how your changes will visibly affect your content before it goes live.

The name of your Heartcore plan will also undergo some changes. We have heard from you that the current naming of the tiers is slightly confusing, so we hope that by aligning the plan names with Umbraco Cloud, everything should be a bit clearer. 

More specifically, from 2024:

  • The current Mini tier will be renamed to Starter
  • The current Starter tier will be renamed to Standard
  • The current Professional and Enterprise tiers will keep their names

While the names are changing, it is important to understand we have no intention to adjust plan tiers for any sites. So if your site is currently on the Starter plan it will be renamed to Standard, not downgraded to the new Starter tier.

Rate Limiting

In addition to the plan changes above, we intend to introduce rate limits to each of the Heartcore APIs. We have seen an increase in batch jobs pulling data from these on a schedule, which typically run every hour (or in some cases 5, 15, 30 minutes). This means that at our peak traffic volumes can be several orders of magnitude higher than normal.

In order to avoid having to maintain excess compute capacity and keep our pricing reasonable there will soon be some limits applied to API requests. These are as follows:

Plan tier 

Requests per second
Starter (currently Mini) 25
Standard 50
Professional 75
Enterprise Starting from 75


Each of the APIs (Content Management, Content Delivery, GraphQL, and Preview) are limited independently of one another so that you will still be able to e.g. update or preview content if you get a higher customer load than expected on your head application. Additionally, each environment on a plan will have its own independent limit.

The limits above will not initially be enforced. You will be provided with a summary in the Cloud Portal, showing when your environments have exceeded their limit. Eventually, we will enforce the limit by sending back an HTTP 429: Too Many Requests response from the API when you have exceeded your limit, but we will give a reasonable notice period prior to making this breaking change.

Deprecated Property Editors

With the announcement of the Nested Content and Grid property editors being deprecated in Umbraco CMS version 14, we have been asked many times what this means for those same features in Heartcore.

We have carefully considered all the angles and decided also to deprecate Nested Content and Grid in Heartcore. Heartcore will soon have more powerful and friendly alternatives to these in the near future. Additionally, retaining these editors alongside their replacements would consume valuable resources that we would prefer to allocate to other feature development initiatives that you have all been asking us for. 

From today, the Nested Content and Grid editors are deprecated functionality in Heartcore.

Nested Content property editors will become obsolete as of September 30, 2024, at which point we will automatically migrate any remaining Nested Content to use the Block List instead. We will preserve the API contracts for migrated Nested Content properties so that this migration process will be transparent to applications.

Grid property editors will become obsolete no sooner than June 30, 2025. The reason for some variability in this date is that we intend for there to be at least a one-year period from the Block Grid being a feature-complete replacement. This will only come once we enable custom backoffice views for it in the first half of 2024. We will additionally investigate the feasibility of an automated migration to Block Grid properties, but even with a data migration the API contracts will be a breaking change and therefore will require that your application be updated. We will release details for how to do this in future communication early in 2024.

…Until Next Time

We hope you’ll look forward to seeing the Block Grid editor, better performance, and quality-of-life in Heartcore over the coming months. If this news has you excited, you’ll find even more upcoming features in our Product Roadmap!

If you’re not on Heartcore yet, it’s never been easier. Find out how and book a discovery call today!

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