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Umbraco Product Update - September 2023

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Written by Rune Strand

Have we got an exciting round of product updates for you! There are plenty of recent releases, with exciting new features, to catch up on. The rest of the year is shaping up to bring even more valuable additions across the product portfolio. Headless commerce, CI/CD for Umbraco Cloud, new features and improvements for Umbraco Heartcore - all this and a whole lot more, right here 👇

  • Overview: 

  • News
    • Umbraco 7 End-of-Life (EOL) date is approaching
    • Navigating the Digital Experience Industry
  • New releases
    • New regional hosting option available on Umbraco Cloud
    • Shared Secrets, events, metrics, and more for Umbraco Cloud
    • Caching, scrolling, and accessibility improvements for Umbraco Forms
    • Umbraco Commerce goes headless
    • Scheduling and external reviewers for Umbraco Workflow
    • Developer experience and performance improvements for Umbraco CMS
    • Patch releases
  • Upcoming releases
    • CI/CD for Umbraco Cloud
    • Headless Media Delivery API for Umbraco CMS
  • Roadmap updates

News 📰

Umbraco 7 End-of-Life (EOL) date is approaching

We’ll start with a bittersweet reminder that Umbraco 7 will be EOL in a few weeks. After more than 10 years of empowering developers, partners, and clients to build thousands of projects from small campaign sites, to huge enterprise-level solutions, we’re ending support for this major version. That of course doesn’t mean it will stop working but it does mean there will no longer be patches released to address security issues. 

From September 30, 2023, the path forward is to upgrade or migrate to a later version of Umbraco (the latest major version is currently Umbraco 12). If you need help and advice, whether you need to upgrade, migrate to a new version, or start a new project in-house or with an agency, we can help guide you in the right direction. Sign up for a session on Umbraco 7 EOL and speak directly with someone from Umbraco HQ about how to proceed. 

All details can be found on the Umbraco 7 End-of-Life (EOL) page, and if you want to read up on our general Long-term Support (LTS) and EOL these can also be found in the Product Knowledge Center. 

Navigating the Digital Experience Industry

If you are interested in how emerging technologies are reshaping the digital experience landscape? Are you curious about the future of Content Management Systems within the digital experience ecosystem? So are we! 

That’s why 2 of our product owners, Lasse Fredslund and Bolette Kern, and our Tech Partner Manager, Jonas Poulsen, have set sail and are hosting a brand new podcast: 

DXTalk: Navigating the Digital Experience Industry

Dxtalk Navigating The Digital Experience Industry

Through this podcast series, they will have conversations with people who have industry expertise and differing vantage points to illuminate a variety of topics within the digital experience industry. 

Keep an eye out for the first episode later this week - we’ll shout about it on LinkedIn and Twitter.

New releases ✨

New regional hosting option available on Umbraco Cloud 🌏

Umbraco Cloud has expanded its services to Australia and the surrounding region. This new regional hosting option addresses the rising demand for Umbraco Cloud in Australia and New Zealand who now get even better access to creating, hosting, and managing Umbraco projects.

Benefits of this expansion include improved website speed, with a 70% average response time reduction for Australian users compared to European hosting. Additionally, it ensures data sovereignty compliance and simplifies adherence to local data privacy regulations, all at no extra cost.

With the Australian Regional Hosting Option, Umbraco Cloud now offers four hosting regions, catering not only to agencies working in these areas but also to international agencies and companies with specific regional requirements. More details in the release blog post.

Release on August 8, 2023 

Shared Secrets, events, metrics, and more for Umbraco Cloud

It’s not “just” a new region that is exciting news on Umbraco Cloud. New features have been launched as well throughout August and September to help build and maintain Umbraco projects. 

Shared Secrets 🤫

Shared Secrets is a much-requested feature, making it possible to create project-wide secrets that can easily be used across multiple environments. Perfectly accompanying the already existing functionality for environment-specific secrets.

This adds flexibility to how you can keep things secure and makes it easier to run tests on development and staging environments. You can read more about it in the September release notes for Umbraco Cloud.

Improved Availability & Performance metrics

The newest feature released, at the time of writing, is the ability to see Availability and Performance metrics for each environment in your Umbraco Cloud project. Previously, the metrics were only available for Live environments which was valuable.

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Being able to see metrics for all environments, and compare these, allows for improved abilities to test performance improvements, and improve resource management on projects.

Not only can you now see metrics for all environments, but you will also notice that events such as restarts, deployments, and upgrades are now populated in the graphs allowing you to correlate performance and events. Read more about events (and the updated trial flow) in the Umbraco Cloud release notes for August.

Caching, scrolling, and accessibility improvements for Umbraco Forms

With the release of Umbraco Forms 12.1, you get a couple of nice, small(er) features and a handful of fixes.

Starting with the option to handle caching for the Prevalue Source feature and a small but very useful feature, that enhances the experience of filling out a form on your website via automated scroll for multi-page forms

Umbraco Forms 12.1 also brings important accessibility improvements, including introducing an alternative markup for checkbox and radio button lists, which will make the user experience more accessible. For now, it’s an opt-in feature but it will be implemented as the default theme for the next major release of Umbraco Forms. 

You can get the full overview of Umbraco Forms 12.1 in the release blog post

Released on August 17, 2023 

Umbraco Commerce goes headless

The Umbraco Commerce Storefront API is here!!! With the release of the storefront API, you can build omnichannel experiences for your projects with Umbraco Commerce. The Umbraco Commerce Storefront API lets you handle every aspect of cart management and checkout, supporting both the redirected and inline/onsite checkout endpoints.

Umbraco Commerce 12.1 Headless Demo Site 1626X972

For you to quickly get a feeling of the Storefront API we have no less than two demos you can check out -  the official Vercel Commerce demo powered by the Storefront API and our very own Umbraco Headless Demo solution that also showcases complex variants and the comprehensive search/filter system - both of them using the Umbraco Commerce Storefront APi to expose products. 

Read the full story about the Umbraco Commerce Storefront API and all the other updates Umbraco Commerce 12.1 release blog post.

Released August 30, 2023

Scheduling and external reviewers for Umbraco Workflow

Over the next months, we’re expanding Umbraco Workflow with features to enhance the scheduling of release sets and visual overview of published content. In this release, we take some of the first steps towards these features.

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With Workflow 12.1 you get the option to schedule both the release and expiration dates of your content within a single workflow process as well as schedule concurrent workflows for different languages. You’ll also find improvements to the content review functionality, including external reviewers, and more.

Features and bugfixes of Umbraco Workflow 12.1 are backported to Umbraco Workflow 11 and 10, and all the details can be found in the Umbraco Workflow 12.1 release blog post.

Released September 5, 2023

Developer experience and performance improvements for Umbraco CMS

Umbraco 12.1 is mainly focused on improvements and features for configuring, managing working with your Umbraco installations via the backoffice. You’ll also find performance enhancements, accessibility improvements, and a good number of fixes. 

Key features include Member Type Compositions and updates for the Examine dashboard. Backoffice localization now supports Croatian, and other languages have seen improvements. Performance optimizations include logging enhancements, SQL query improvements, and more. This is another strong community release, with 65% of improvements coming from no less than 29 community members 💪 

For more details and how to get your hands on it check out the Umbraco 12.1 release blog post.

Released on August 10, 2023.

Patch releases

Umbraco Forms & Deploy

Patches have been released for versions 12 and 10 received patch releases fixing a few issues that have been raised on the public issue tracker or internally via Umbraco support. For details see the release notes for Umbraco Forms and Umbraco Deploy respectively.

Patches for Umbraco Commerce and Umbraco Commerce Checkout + release notes

Umbraco Commerce 12.1.1 and 10.0.2, Umbraco Commerce Checkout 10.0.1, and Vendr 3.0.13 have received patch releases as well. To make it a little easier for you to see what you get we’ve added a new release notes section to the Umbraco Commerce documentation.

Released September 13, 2023.

Umbraco CMS 

There are new patches available for all active versions of Umbraco CMS. Note that for Umbraco 10 and 11 the latest versions are minor releases. These are mostly to ensure fixes and smaller improvements from the latest Umbraco 12 releases are included. Release notes for the latest release can be found here:

All patches are automatically applied to projects on Umbraco Cloud, and the minor releases are available as upgrades on the project page. 

Upcoming releases 💫

Umbraco Cloud CI/CD Feature: Transitioning from Beta to General Availability

We are pleased to announce that the beta testing phase for the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) feature on Umbraco Cloud has been successfully completed. We see the CI/CD feature as a milestone for Umbraco Cloud, and the large interest from users and partners has certainly confirmed that. The insights and feedback received during the beta test have been invaluable and have led to important refinements in the feature. 

CI/CD for Umbraco Cloud offers substantial benefits, especially tailored for projects involving multiple team members and/or complex pipeline configurations. One of the key advantages is that the CI/CD feature in Umbraco Cloud is universally compatible, designed to effortlessly integrate with your choice of build pipelines and Git repositories, including but not limited to Azure DevOps. This means that organizations can now handle PRs and conduct acceptance tests through their preferred build pipeline setup, thereby customizing their quality assurance protocols to align closely with specific project requirements.

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So, when you put the support for advanced pipelines and an easy workflow to connect this to Umbraco Cloud, you get a powerful and efficient development workflow. Your team gains more control over how things get done and everything runs a lot more smoothly. It's a win-win for everyone involved!

The feature is expected to be available in Umbraco Cloud in early October.

Headless Media Delivery API for Umbraco CMS

Umbraco 12.2 is just around the corner sporting 42 features, improvements, and fixes. The main feature is an expansion of the Delivery API, introduced in Umbraco 12, with a new Media Delivery API. As the name suggests, this will allow you to consume Media directly without having to go through the Content Delivery API, as well as options for enabling authentication of Media requests.

Umbraco 12.2 Media Delivery API Swagger Docs 1619X982px

This release will also include thePre- and Post-Routing pipeline filters feature that was previously announced for Umbraco 12.1 but unfortunately didn’t make it in - with Umbraco 12.2 it is available and you can try it out now in the release candidate.

Targeted for release on September 21, 2023

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Updates to the Roadmap 🛣️

There’s been a lot of movement on the Product Roadmap. The keen reader might see that there are quite a lot of new and updated items for Umbraco Heartcore. This is due to the delivery of some significant infrastructure updates and a reworked roadmap based on conversations with clients and further alignment with Umbraco CMS. This also means a slight adjustment in priorities, and that we’ve taken the chance to remove API Keys independent of Backoffice Users and Webhooks for Secured endpoints for Umbraco Heartcore as these will be made available as part of introducing webhooks in the core CMS. We’ll have a dedicated Heartcore Product Update in the near future detailing the exciting things coming up.

With that said, let’s dive into the roadmap updates:

New in “Now”

Enhanced Process Visibility for Umbraco Cloud

We are actively working on improving the feedback during long-running operations for users on Umbraco Cloud. Whether you’re running an upgrade, changing plan, moving to dedicated resources, and more, you’ll get improved UX and a smoother experience. This item has been moved from Next to Now.

Target release: Q4, 2023

Content import/export with migrations for Umbraco Deploy

We'll be looking into providing a feature for import and export of content from Umbraco, using Umbraco Deploy. This will allow for the extraction of content as an archive of ".uda" files - the same format that schema is managed - and to apply that to other environments. We also plan to provide a hook for migrations, such that content migration between Umbraco versions is possible.

Routing Determined on Publish for Umbraco CMS

As a requirement for implementing Lazy Loaded Content and improving the caching, the routing and URL segment of each node has to be determined at publish time. This means switching from boot time calculation and will require a database migration to add a routing table.

Xpath alternative for Umbraco CMS

XPath is still used in a few places, for example, feature on Multinode Tree Picker which allows dynamically determining a start node. An alternative that does not require all content to be in the cache will be implemented. This is a requirement for Support Lazy Loaded Content for Umbraco CMS. 

Block level variations for Umbraco CMS

We want to make variations available on the Block level, so that we e.g. have better support for multiple languages in blocks - whether it's in the Block List Editor or in the Block Grid Editor.

Target release: Umbraco 13

Minimal hosting model for Umbraco CMS

With .NET 6 Microsoft introduced the minimal hosting model with fewer files and lines of code required to create an app. As they are now also using this approach for most examples and tutorials we want to align our project templates with this model, so that new Umbraco projects are created with the new hosting model. You can already test the minimal hosting model via nightly builds.

Target release: Umbraco 13

Block Grid editor for Umbraco Heartcore

Umbraco 11 added support for a new property editor called the block grid. With this editor, authors can arrange content blocks into flexible 2-dimensional layouts. Heartcore is adding support for this new property editor, meaning that you will have a powerful alternative to the grid editor for your more complex page editing scenarios.

Note that initially, the Heartcore version of the block grid will lack some features present in Umbraco CMS and Umbraco Cloud - most notably we will not offer support for custom backoffice views and stylesheets. We will look at how this can be supported subsequently

New in “Next”

Workflow features for Umbraco Heartcore

Umbraco Workflow ships with a wide range of features that allow you to design custom content approval processes to fit your organization. We will add Workflow support to all Heartcore projects so that your content managers and copywriters can review, approve, and publish with confidence.

Persisted GraphQL Queries for Umbraco Heartcore

With persisted queries you can define and save your GraphQL queries up front, so you only allow pre-defined queries to be executed against your Content. This item has been moved from Later to Next.

Custom SMTP server for Umbraco Heartcore

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. Not only will this support and enhance Workflow processes with notifications, but will also allow you to send emails on form submissions.

New in “Later”

Custom Property Editors in the Umbraco Heartcore Backoffice

This feature will enable Umbraco Heartcore as well by creating Property Editors through the backoffice using HTML/JS/CSS and Web Components. This has been moved from Next to Later to reflect the new items added. 

Regional Hosting for Umbraco Heartcore

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 cannot be hosted in West Europe. We intend to add support for creating new Heartcore projects in other regions, starting with the US.

Support lazy loaded content for Umbraco CMS

With the addition of two required items (Xpath Alternative and Routing Determined on Publish) the Support for Lazy Loaded Content has been moved from Now to Later

… Until next time

A large part of the work we do is inspired by the feedback we get from you. If you find issues or have specific feature requests, you can find the issue trackers for our products on the Umbraco Github account.

If you have product feedback, you’re welcome to reach out to us at product@umbraco.com.

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