The latest CMS from Umbraco reviewed

3 Feb 2014

Umbraco 7 – what's new?

Back in November 2013, Umbraco released the latest version of their ubiquitous and highly regarded content management system, Umbraco 7. The ASP.NET open source solution has, since it's official launch in February 2005, gone from strength to strength and now helps run some 110,000 websites. We took a look over, and under, the hood to see what new features and benefits have been packed in.

Brand new back office

The most prominent change, and primarily the purpose of the release, is in the content authoring environment or the back office. For quite a while now this has certainly not been Umbraco’s best side. Whilst it functioned admirably and, in many circles, held its own, the user interface had begun to look a little tired in the wake of more modern, slicker interfaces built using the latest technologies and frameworks.

The whole interface has been rebuilt, not just re-skinned, but completely rebuilt from the ground up with a real focus on simplicity, speed and performance. Where actions like creating new pages would previously have taken a right click, another click and a page refresh, the user can now accomplish the same in just 2 clicks. Thanks to client side frameworks like AngularJS, and Microsoft’s latest ASP.NET 4.5 framework, the Umbraco 7 back office sets new standards in CMS authoring performance and usability.

Every dialogue and action has been re-thunk, redesigned and rebuilt with the user at the core and, in our opinion, is an absolute joy to work with as well as being ultra-fast.

Working with media

And it’s not only working with content that has been given the makeover treatment but working with media has been completely rebuilt allowing for drag and drop from desktop to media library and drag and drop from media library directly into content, it’s a massive improvement from what was there before and makes working with digital assets a hugely gratifying experience. The same drag and drop from desktop to library functionality is available for documents as well as images.

One other really cool feature is the new embed media button. Previously, if you wanted to embed a YouTube clip in your page, you would have had to have your web partner build you a specific data type for that or, if you were a bit web savvy, copy and paste the embed code into the HTML of the current text property. Now there is an embed function in the WYSISYG rich text editor that requires, very simply, a URL of where the clip is stored. Umbraco determines the service provider and does all the embedding work behind the scenes. It is truly simple and beautiful.

There are many, many more features that we could list but simply not enough time, the Umbraco team have really pulled out all the stops to present a new take on how you work inside a CMS back office. It looks fantastic, it performs incredibly and at its core is absolute usability.

Top marks!

For more information visit the Umbraco website.

By: John Macfarlane



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