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11/11/2013 | Webreality

Umbraco UK Festival 2013 - heralding the launch of Umbraco 7

On Friday, Giles and I attended our first Umbraco UK Festival, faultlessy organised by the team at The Cogworks.

Umbraco UK festival

The day started with an amusing keynote from the creator of Umbraco, Niels Hartvig. He gave a brief history of Umbraco before demoing Umbraco's latest offering, Umbraco as a service. Whist this is something that we are unlikely to adopt immediately, it certainly highlighted the Umbraco Core Team's skills, and commitment to making Umbraco as accessible to the non-techy populous as possible.

Following the introductory speech, Giles and I attended 6 talks across the day, culminating in half a dozen "community" mini-talks; 5 minute sessions given by Umbraco providers, highlighting their packages (plug-ins) or deployments. Next year, we must do one of our own! Probably on uAuction, our unique auction system integration, but we'll see.

For me, the Umbraco 7 and AngularJS talks were by far the most interesting and made me genuinely excited about the future of our favourite open source CMS.

Umbraco 7 (pka Belle) is the latest version of the popular CMS, and marks a massive step forward. The administration interface has been entirely rewritten, and is totally user-focussed. No longer does it take five or six clicks to create a content item. The new user interface is fully responsive, allowing an editor to easily make changes on their phone or tablet. Building custom applications and trees (for example, to list orders, or bookings, or anything else we've configured for a client) is beautifully simple, using a combination of server-side WebApi calls and AngularJS. Using this methodology makes the admin lightning fast and endlessly customisable. I've personally rarely seen such an elegant solution to a complex problem, so kudos to the team.

It's very exciting and I cannot wait to build our first 7. When the time comes, I will write another tech-focussed post on my experiences building custom adminsitration features. Having seen Per Ploug's session on 7, it's going to make editing your website as easy as making toast. It introduces some interesting challenges for us, but we like challenges.

Thanks to all of the speakers, and to The Cogworks for making the day run so smoothly. Umbraco Rocks.