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What are the benefits of Umbraco 9?

  • By 3chillies

What are the benefits of Umbraco 9?

Recently on this blog, I covered the latest updates from Umbraco’s flagship Codegarden conference. Many of the virtual sessions were preparing for Umbraco 9 - the brand-new release of the Umbraco’s core CMS. Now 9 is finally here, I’m going to explore its main features and benefits in this post.

If you’re not familiar with Umbraco, it’s a great open-source CMS that is very easy for administrators to use, is highly flexible and cost-effective, and can render excellent results. We’ve often used it for website builds, and it has proved successful for our clients. Umbraco has a very loyal and lively following across the global developer community, which continues to go from strength to strength The platform has also recently received investment from Monterro, who oversaw growth at Episerver / Optimizely.

What’s in Umbraco 9?

Here at 3Chillies, a new release of a major CMS or digital experience platform will always appeal to our inner geekiness as we eagerly test out the new features. However, this release is a little different in that there are no new features. It’s essentially a re-working of everything that is in Umbraco 8, but now based on .NET 5, essentially the .NET Core offering. While that might not sound that exciting, it’s actually highly significant in representing a new era for Umbraco.

The idea that Umbraco 9 represents something of a new beginning for Umbraco is underlined by the announcement that Umbraco 8 will not be developed any further – from now on, new features will be added only to 9, although 8 will continue to receive maintenance updates and security patches.

Let’s look at why Umbraco 9 is a significant release, and explore some of its key benefits.

Upgrading from 8 to 9

One of the reasons for Umbraco 9 having exactly the same features as the previous version is to make upgrading as easy as possible. The upgrade from version 7 to 8 was much harder, and is more accurately described as a migration. The differences between 8 and 9 are minimised; the content and database structure are actually the same, and while some coding changes will be expected during an upgrade to deliver the right frontend experience, overall, the upgrade process should be much more straightforward than previously. This will encourage more of the community to upgrade to 9, and stay up-to-date going forward.

One of the characteristics of Umbraco’s generous developer and support community is a high number of packages that can help with upgrades and migrations. Here, many of the main packages, such as uSync, have already provided versions that are compatible with Umbraco 9. This is welcome news that will make the logistics around upgrading much easier.

Performance gains

One of the key advantages of Umbraco 9 being based on .NET 5 is performance gains; Umbraco themselves suggest this means projects will be “faster, less resource-intensive, and more scalable”. We also believe that Umbraco 9 allows organisations to effectively get more bang for their buck; a single Umbraco instance will be able to handle significantly more visitors than previous versions. Unlike before, you won’t necessarily have to scale up your infrastructure to expand the number of visitors to your website.

New more frequent release cadence

For a while now, Umbraco has wanted to move towards more frequent, scheduled, predictable and incremental releases that make the CMS much easier to manage, and better support long-term planning. While releases have become more frequent across Umbraco 8, the release of 9 brings a new release cadence based around a minor new version every six weeks, plus two major releases a year. The latter will be the only releases to feature breaking changes. Releases will also follow semantic versioning, which is the industry standard.

This new release schedule should allow for much better planning, and ensure more customers stay up-to-date with the platform. We see this enabling more marketing teams to enjoy the very latest Umbraco features more quickly, getting more out of the platform. We also believe this will help reduce technical debt which can mount up when teams have to use custom development to deliver features on earlier versions of Umbraco, rather than deploying the latest features available straight out of the box.

The new release cadence is at the heart of Umbraco 9’s value proposition, providing a more sustainable and future-proofed platform that will tick the boxes for enterprise IT functions who have previously been hesitant about going open source.

Cross-platform compatibility

Because Umbraco 9 is based on .NET 5, it offers true cross-platform compatibility, including macOS and Linux users. This means there are a broader range of hosting options for Umbraco, but also more choice for developers who want to work with Umbraco.

A new era for Umbraco

We believe Umbraco 9 is the start of a new era for the platform, making it more sustainable and predictable through a new release schedule, cross-platform compatibility, enhanced performance and easier upgrades. The release may attract larger companies who want a platform they can plan around to use Umbraco. If you’d like to discuss using Umbraco or how to upgrade to Umbraco 9, then get in touch!

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