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Umbraco update: Umbraco 13 release and plans for 2024

  • By 3chillies

It’s been a busy few weeks at Umbraco HQ with the December release of Umbraco 13, the new long term support (LTS) release for the platform, as well as a January 2024 winter keynote event that reveals of some of Umbraco’s plans for 2024.

Last year was certainly an active year for the platform and it looks like 2024 will be just as action-packed. In this post we’re going to cover both the release and the keynote.

Umbraco 13 release

Here are some of the major elements of the new Umbraco 13 release.

1. Umbraco 13 is a long-term supported release

Because Umbraco 13 is a LTS release it provides stability and certainty for anyone choosing to invest in it, guaranteeing it is forward-compatible for projects until Q4 2026. It also aligns with .NET 8, which is also Microsoft’s latest supported version. Umbraco commits to at least one new LTS version each year.

Because the release aligns with .NET 8 it includes enhanced performance and stability, as well as a range of additional features, some of which we explore below.

As a general point, the major releases since Umbraco 10 have been much easier to upgrade, avoiding the sometimes painful and expensive upgrade projects of the past. If you are still on Umbraco 9 or earlier, you will need to consider an upgrade at some stage. In our view it’s better to this sooner rather than later; back in September support for Umbraco 7 ended.

2. Umbraco 13 also keeps content creators happy

While coders will like the enhanced performance and stability associated with .NET 8, there are a number of other improvements that support the editing process, so there’s something for content creators too.

Firstly, blocks can now be used within the standard Umbraco rich text editor, allowing for a better, quicker and more convenient editor experience. It also means you can achieve a more consistent experience by reusing content blocks.

There’s also more potential power for non-IT admins and editors through support for webhooks via a low code / no code interface, that allows for easier integration with third-party systems. This means less reliance on developers and increases the muscle of your digital marketing team and content creator community.

3. Umbraco add-ons have also been upgraded

Over the past couple of years Umbraco has expanded the set of add-ons it offers that are usually available at additional cost, but fully integrate with the platform. Some of these have been achieved through acquisition, for example Umbraco Commerce.

With the release of Umbraco 13, all five Umbraco add-ons (Commerce, Deploy, Forms, Workflow and UI Builder) have also had 13-compatible releases. Some of these updated versions include recent enhancements such as:

  • Improved editor tools within Umbraco Forms.
  • The ability to handle larger content transfers and migrations with Umbraco Deploy.
  • Advanced search for Umbraco Worfklow.

    4. A number of smaller enhancements

    Umbraco 13 also has a welcome number of smaller enhancements and collectively makes this a significant release. These include:

  • Enhancements to the new Media Delivery API that supports headless publishing.
  • Concurrent log-in control to beef up security relating to multiple simultaneous log-ins.
  • A new log-in screen, which hints at the new Backoffice coming in Umbraco 14.
  • Nested field limiting and nested field expansion for the Content Delivery API.
  • And more!
  • Highlights from the Umbraco Winter Keynote

    On January 16th Umbraco HQ held an online winter keynote event featuring members of the leadership team, reviewing events if 2023 and revealing plans for the year ahead, as well as answering questions from the audience.

    As Umbraco is very transparent about its priorities and roadmap there necessarily weren’t that many surprises, with many key product roadmap items having already been mentioned.

    Here’s our takeaways from the session.

    1. The partner program is continuing to evolve

    During 2023 a new partner program was introduced that focused on three tiers – Silver, Gold and Platinum. This has been regarded by Umbraco HQ as a considerable success, with new partners and even old partners rejoining the Umbraco ecosystem. The first half of 2024 will see the completion of the program, with any registered partner having to sit within one of the three tiers from July 1st. Then the older partner program will be fully retired.

    Umbraco also says it is committed to ensuring every product and solution developed is compatible with the partner program, and that they will continue to keep listening to and collaborating with partners.

    At the same time, there is going to be improvements to Umbraco’s training and support offerings, with a commitment to “double down” on solutions that help developers to become a certified expert on using Umbraco.

    2. Reinforcing Umbraco’s brand position

    Umbraco has a brand that is based on a strong community presence with developers, as well as being a platform this is very easy to use. The 2024 winter update commits to continuing to strengthen the brand, emphasizing areas such as sustainability and transparency. An intriguing partnership with Forrester was also mentioned, that we think signals a continuing emphasis on making Umbraco more attractive for larger corporates.

    The Umbraco community was also celebrated, with the value of meet-ups and community events, as well as the annual Codegarden event, all highlighted.

    3. The product roadmap for 2024

    After a round-up of product updates from 2023, the roadmap for 2024 was covered, but only in very high-level detail. However, there were a few points mentioned, most of which have already been revealed:

  • The next generation Umbraco Backoffice will be released with Umbraco 14, which is due to ship in May. This project has been in the works for a long time and provides interface improvements for both editors and developers. It crucially maintains Umbraco’s intuitive and easy-to-use experience where the need for training is minimised. The Backoffice will also be supported by “super stable” API’s.
  • A brand-new management API is in the works, that lets you to manage all the content in your Umbraco instance. This makes it much easier to build a tool that relies on content from Umbraco. This new API will be backed by standards and the OpenAPI specification.
  • There will be a continuing expansion of the use of content blocks across Umbraco, allowing for these be re-used across different pages, but also with block-level variations. For example, this will help with multi-language deployments.
  • There is going to be more flexibility with Cloud environments, that gives teams more freedom to handle their cloud environment how they want to. For example, this will allow teams to take a less linear approach and introduce QA or feature branches.
  • There will be the ability to scale out in Cloud, a current common request. Later in 2024 teams will be able to spin out multiple versions of their Umbraco install, allowing for load balancing for performance and redundancy.
  • Sustainability reporting is becoming increasingly important in digital products with organisations keen to establish the extent of their digital footprint. In 2024 Umbraco will be producing their dashboard that reports reliable data on the carbon footprint of Umbraco Cloud projects, and ultimately helps you to focus on reducing emissions.
  • 2024 will be another great year for Umbraco

    Building on the events of 2023, it looks like 2024 will be another year when the Umbraco platform continues to improve and build market share. We’ll continue to provide updates here on the 3Chillies blog!

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