Umbraco 8. Yes or no?
Is your company thinking about upgrading to or investing in Umbraco 8? Then you might be asking yourselves questions such as “What’s new?”, “Should we upgrade?”, and “What does it require?” The answers are addressed in
What is new about Umbraco 8?
Basically, Umbraco 8 features a new and improved editing interface as well as new features and tools. Among other things, web accessibility has been greatly enhanced, while the new tools include in particular uMarketingSuite.
uMarketingSuite has been developed by the Umbraco community, and is relevant for all those wanting to work with personalisation, marketing automation, split tests etc. It works ‘out of the box’, so it’s easy to get started – no matter how big or small your business.
Generally, the work with Umbraco 8 has been a key focus area for Umbraco, and a number of releases are planned which can be seen in their roadmap. A number of editorial improvements are planned, such as:
- Media Overview/Tracking, which provides an overview of which media are used in the solution, and how they are used
- Block Editor, which is an upgrade of the current grid editor
- Improved Rich Text Editor, which is an improvement on Rich Text Editor
Read more about several new Umbraco 8 features here.
Should we upgrade to Umbraco 8? And what does it require?
First, it’s important to understand that the code base in Umbraco 8 has been fundamentally changed. In other words, new, faster and more secure technology has been used throughout Umbraco 8. As a result, it’s not possible to upgrade directly from Umbraco 7 to Umbraco 8 for example. Instead, an upgrade will mean starting from scratch with Umbraco 8.
However, it is possible to perform a migration. This requires that your current Umbraco solution is at least version 7.14. Technically speaking, you use Umbraco’s migration tool, which migrates your existing database to an Umbraco 8 database. In our experience, it is only very rarely that migration is successful with a simple ‘press of the button’. Often, various adaptations are required, and therefore we recommend that you thoroughly analyse your solution after a migration. For example, we have seen instances of third-party code or own-developed code being incompatible with Umbraco 8, just as you might have used field types in an existing solution which are no longer supported in Umbraco 8. Because of the complex migration process, many people choose to upgrade instead, and start with the latest version of Umbraco 8.
If you ask us whether YOU should switch to Umbraco 8, the short answer will be ‘yes’. The older your current Umbraco version is, the more incentive there is to transfer to a newer version. In addition, older versions of Umbraco will eventually be phased out, and new features will be developed exclusively for the Umbraco 8 platform. However, Umbraco will still handle any safety patches and bug fixes for older versions of Umbraco, but eventually older versions will in this respect as well also be given a lower priority.
Whether you choose to upgrade by starting from new or by migrating an existing solution to Umbraco 8, we’ve developed a custom content migration. In other words, all your existing content can be transferred to Umbraco 8. The process is individual for each customer, as some companies use it as an opportunity to clean up their existing content, while others choose to restructure their site or redesign the solution.
One year old and the best yet.
At the time of writing, Umbraco 8 is one year old. This means that all the teething problems have been eliminated, and we now have the most tested and fastest Umbraco product to date. According to Umbraco, the latest version of the platform is “The fastest and best version of Umbraco, and a big step forward in simplifying your work; it is simpler to enlarge, simpler to edit, simpler to publish – simpler to use, simpler to enjoy”. This fully concurs with our experience at Kraftvaerk. Since we were established in 2004, we have worked on all versions of Umbraco, and we have developed over 100 solutions on the platform. We know what to do – and what not to do.
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Technical Director - Lead Developer