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Monday, January 30, 2017 by vera

Last week we had a world premiere. Our very first “Umbraco Show and Tell” event. More than 60 people showed up in Copenhagen to get inspired on how to work with Umbraco - more specifically, how to make the back office great again (#mboga). To come “show and tell” we’d invited two of our Gold Partners, 1508 and Novicell. Both agencies truly master the skill of designing and structuring a great back office experience in Umbraco. And they both had inspirational and convincing views on why it’s so important to spend time and effort on this particular task in the web project process. Views that probably will convince you too:

 Umbraco Show and Tell
What is Umbraco Show and Tell?

Let’s start from the beginning; what exactly is Umbraco Show and Tell?

We have decided to introduce this new event to help inspire the people that work with Umbraco. People like you. But unlike many other Umbraco-themed events, this event is less code orientated and thus, opens the doors for a new type of audience; editors, project managers, UX specialists, designers, business developers and consultants.

As you might know, Umbraco works as a “clean slate”. Basically, it is up to you what you want to built ontop, how you want to structure it and design it. This way you’re sure that your website (or your customer’s website) lives up to your specific needs and wishes - whether it comes down to a special design, structure or feature.

This freedom to build custom-made websites also means that there’s a greater demand for your talents, including your skills, ideas and creativity. With the Umbraco Show and Tell events we want to inspire you by showing you examples of how other people have had success with their way of working with Umbraco. Call it “live case studies” if you like. By seeing these examples you might discover new ways of working with Umbraco, discover features you didn’t know existed or realise that your approach to a web-project might need a change of focus.

We want you to leave an Umbraco Show and Tell event with new ideas, thoughts, understandings and demands for your next project.

 

The big world premiere

Let’s be honest, doing something for the first time is always a bit nerve-racking but also super exciting. Will people show up? What will they think? Do anyone dare to ask questions? Is the venue ok? Etc.

Being modest, we started by offering 30 seats for this event. But after just 5 minutes of me clicking the “send” button on our first promo-email -  all tickets were gone. We then decided that a bigger room would probably be a good idea. We more than double up on the seats and were very pleased to see that almost everybody showed up. H5YR!

 

Umbraco Show and Tell

 

As mentioned in the intro to this blog post, we’d invited two of our Gold Partners, 1508 and Novicell, to come and present as the two key-speakers. The theme of the day was “The Back Office User Experience”. Both agencies showed inspiring examples of their work and both had really good arguments as to why it’s so important to focus on a great editor’s experience in the back office. Arguments that we want you to hear as well, so we asked both Peter and Adam to coin their key points in no-more than 3 minutes:

 

Peter Solow, 1508:

 

 

Adam Peter Nielsen, Novicell



Umbraco’s Major Friends Maker, Anders Trans Sørensen, was the host for the day and Umbraco’s Founder, Chief Unicorn, Niels Hartvig, finished the 3-hour event off with a speech about #mboga and sneak peeks of upcoming features in Umbraco version 8.  

 

Umbraco Show and Tell

 

“It gave me good ideas as to how we should and could work with Umbraco going forwards”

It is no secret that we are very happy with how everything went - but what did the participants think? That’s the real interesting question.

Before leaving the event I was lucky to catch Tanya Holmer from the online marketing agency, Selected Media, to get her thoughts on the Umbraco Show and Tell event:

Umbraco Show and Tell

What did you think about today’s event?
There were some really good presentations and examples. It was interesting to see how other agencies use the same tool as us - but in a different way. It gave me good ideas as to how we should and could work with Umbraco going forwards.

If you should mention one thing that you’ll take with you from today’s event - what would that be?
That we shouldn’t be afraid of including our customers in all aspects of a website project, including the back office experience. Because, by the end of the day, it’s an investment that will pay off and make our customers happy.

Was there something else you liked about today’s event?
Both agencies showed how they use the grid system in Umbraco. We use it as well, so it was not a new thing for us but it was interesting to see a different and very visual way of using it.

Also, Niels’ speech was really good. He’s a fantastic narrator with lots of energy and he is really good at communicating the whole ideology behind Umbraco in an inspirational way.

Would you recommend Umbraco Show and Tell to others? - who?
Yes, definitely. Actually, I think the event makes sense for almost everyone in the website-building process. But also even potential customers. They would get a feel of what Umbraco is, why they should use it, what they can get and what they can demand. And even though this event wasn’t aimed specifically at developers, I still think it would be a nice eye opener for some of them, realising that they also have to think about the end-user when they are building and implementing things to a website project. It’s an event that is relevant for a lot of different stakeholders.     

When and where is the next Umbraco Show and Tell?

We are so pleased with how everything went - a great turnout, inspirational and professional speakers, an interactive crowd and lots of smiles and positive feedback.

That is why we have decided to take all the learnings from this first Umbraco Show and Tell event and bring it worldwide.

Our next Umbraco Show and Tell will be in the UK in March - we’ll keep you posted on this event by email*.

We hope to see you there or at one of our future Umbraco Show and Tell events.  


*Sign up for our newsletter to get yourself on our mailing list

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 by vera

The new year brought yet another new hire - another great addition to the Umbraco Support team. Please welcome Gabriel; a soon to be web developer, a current Umbraco Certified Professional and the newest - a probably the best (sorry guys) - member of the Umbraco Unicorns football team. In a minute you'll understand why I dare to make this claim...

My new job at Umbraco HQ

Hello there, I am Gabriel, and I am happy to announce that I am the newest member of a fantastic team – the SSS at Umbraco HQ.

The new year brought me a new title; “Friend Maker’, and the opportunity to join the Service, Sales, and Support team at Umbraco HQ, where my primary job is helping all of you with anything regarding the Umbraco CMS and our products. I cannot wait to help make your work with Umbraco even better and guide you through any issues you might have.

I’m currently studying a degree in Web Development and has been hired at Umbraco as a student assistant. This means that at the moment I will be at Umbraco HQ for two days a week. I’m really glad that I got this opportunity as it allows me to get some real life experience in web development next to my studies - especially as they don’t teach us Umbraco! Go figure - nothing about the world’s largest .net CMS. Good job I got this job 😉 

 

Let me tell you about myself...

I am 23 years old, and I have lived in Odense for almost three years now. I was born and raised in a small city in Romania, called Suceava and as a kid I also lived in Germany for a few years. After finishing high-school back in Romania I decided to come to Denmark to do a degree in Web Development. And look - here I am. I can’t speak Danish though - yet 😁  

As a kid, I was fascinated by computers. I grew up in front of one, playing all kind of games with my friends. My other big passion was football. And like a lot of boys I wanted to become a professional football player - luckily I actually had the skills to pursue this dream and I even got into a special football high-school in Romania. The picture below is an old football picture of me (I apologies for the bad quality): 

 

 

But as I grew up and finished high-school I decided that I wanted a more reliable choice of career. So I went back to my initial fascination with computers and decided that I wanted to pursue a career in web development.

So I went to Denmark. Why Denmark? Well, because here I could get a professional and well-structured education - taught in English, which had the added benefit of me getting better and better at both speaking and writing English - the main language in web development. I started with an AP degree in Multimedia Design and Communication, and now I am studying Web Development as a BA Top-Up Program at Lillebaelt Academy of Higher Education in Odense.          

What about my football dreams?

Today I play football as a hobby. Twice a week. And this week I joined the Umbraco Unicorns team for the first time - my team won, obviously 😉 In general, I like to keep fit whether it’s playing football, going to the gym, bowling, playing ping-pong or tennis. Any kind of sport really. So in between being an Umbraco support hero and studying you’ll probably find me bouncing around somewhere.

 

Now you know a little more about me. I cannot wait to help tackle (football pun intended) any issues or problems in Umbraco that you might have in order to make your experience with Umbraco a delightful one. You all deserved it - #h5yr!.


By the way, the new year also brought be another new title: Umbraco Certified Professional as I passed my Umbraco Fundamentals exam last week. And most likely as you’re reading this, I’ll be having my exam in Umbraco, Visual Studio and Asp.net MVC on my way to becoming an Umbraco Certified Expert and finally a Master -so please cross your fingers for me 😀 !

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 by vera

 

Say hello to Poul - the new friendly face behind Umbraco’s cash register. With a love for numbers, Excel as his no. 1 tool and a big smile on his face (when things add up that is), we’re sure that Poul fits perfectly into his new role as Umbraco’s Friendly Cashier. It’s no secret that being a fan of numbers, copywriting isn’t Pouls favourite activity. Actually, when asked to write this blog post Poul got himself a serious case of the classic writer’s-block  - right until someone gave him a brilliant idea: 

 

(I’ve decided to export the next part about Poul from Excel to make it a bit more reader-friendly for you 😉 )

Let me tell you about myself…

I’m 39 years old, born in Holstebro, west of Jutland, but I've lived in Odense since 2001. I’m married with Karin and we have two children (Marie is 5 years old and Anna is 1 year old).

I’m a great fan of:

  • Excel - There is no such thing as a good PIVOT
  • Fishing trips with friends - salmon and sea trout. This is me and from a fishing trip to Norway with my 11+kg salmon. Sorry about the tense smile, I was pretty tired after fishing for about 36 hours:  




  • Summer holidays including a nice beach - with my girls.
  • Winter holidays with excellent skiing - with the lads.
  • Play and watch soccer - Better at watching than playing though.
  • My god ol’ calculator - classic and still does the job perfectly:

     



And of course UMBRACO! - the friendly CMS and the friendly community. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone and becoming part of the Umbraco family!

 

 

 

Thursday, January 12, 2017 by vera

Why is it so important to upgrade your Umbraco installation? - and to keep upgrading it? Jim will tell - and hopefully convince - you why in this blog post. He’s got a top 3 which lists the most beneficial reasons for you + a handy comparison tool to show you what exactly you’re missing out on if you haven’t upgraded recently.  

Welcome to the fifth of Jim's Tips and Tricks. In this blog post I want to talk to you about why you should always consider to run your Umbraco installation on the latest version. Of course in some special situations there can be reasons not to, but in general, it is always best to run the latest version of Umbraco for various beneficial reasons. Which beneficial reasons? let me show you our Top 3:

1: New Features

New features are simply all the nice things we add to the Umbraco CMS to make it smarter and simpler for you to do your job. New Features are always seen in Major releases and often also in minor releases.

Examples of these new features are the “Health Check” and “Redirects” which we released in version 7.5. The Health Check feature gives you a simple overview of your site’s current setup status. If any issues are identified in your setup, the Health Check feature will tell you how to fix it - or do it for you. This helps you setup your site in the best possible way. Redirects makes it easier for you to keep your SEO rating by letting you redirect old URL’s to new ones in just a few clicks. Quite nifty if you want to transfer your hard earned SEO “value” to your new sites.

Read all about the new features in 7.5 right here.

2: Breaking Changes

Breaking Changes, as in “Breaking News”, could be upgrades to the Api, upgrades to the Automapper and the ImageProcessor and similar changes to built-in functions. So more precisely, it’s improvements to the core’s built-in functions to make sure they keep performing even better.  

3: Issues and Tasks

Issues and tasks are the bugs and problems that we (or the community) have discovered in previous versions. This could be all from changing the color of a button to fixing issues with the package installer. Thus, if anything is broken or not performing as it should, this is fixed and then released in a new upgrade. Issues and Tasks are often seen in patch releases.   

Basically, by upgrading you always get a more reliable and better performing site.

To see all of the changes made between versions, we have this very awesome comparison tool:

This tool makes it really clear what you’re missing out on if you haven’t upgraded recently.  

Why you need to take the big - or small - step to upgrade

What I usually hear from you guys when you have not yet upgraded versions is that the road to the newest version is too hard and difficult to walk. This is often related to your custom code or third party packages. This is totally understandable, but the consequences of not upgrading can be almost lethal… at least to your website 😉 . This, of course, is related to the security of your website. It is our job to make sure that the Umbraco CMS is as secure as possible and if any issues are discovered, we make sure to fix them. But for it to benefit you and your website, you have to “click the upgrade button” - regularly. My awesome colleague Sebastiaan has blogged about security on your Umbraco website right here.

Upgrading has become easier than ever before. Especially if you keep in mind to constantly upgrading your Umbraco installation. Because, as in almost everything in life, small steps are easier to take than big steps. It’s no secret that we keep moving forward making Umbraco better and better so if you decide to stand still, the gab will only become bigger. And remember, by upgrading you gain so much - for free! So even though the big step might seem immense and might require a lot of time and recourses, we do encourage you to take it - and then make sure to upgrade regularly. We promise you it’ll be worth it.

You can find the official upgrade guide and documentation on the community site.

And if you should encounter issues when upgrading, please have a look at Sebastiaan’s very useful documentation to help you in the process. If you need more help, and got yourself a support plan, then you’re always welcome to contact us and we’ll be ready to guide you through the upgrade.    

 

To sum up, make sure to stay updated and you’ll always have the most reliable, secure and best performing website. This week we released Umbraco 7.5.7  - fresh and ready for you to download now. Enjoy 😉.

All the best,

Jim, Friend Maker, Umbraco HQ Support team 

 

PS. I’m having a break from Jim’s Tips and Tricks but will be back to guide you through aspects and functions in Umbraco CMS later this year.

If you have any suggestions to things in Umbraco that you’d like me to guide you through then please drop a comment below and perhaps I'll deal with this in my next Tips and Tricks 🙂  👍  

Monday, January 9, 2017 by vera

An Umbraco CMS and Umbraco Cloud case story by: WebVizion

Chateau de Fontaineis a State of the art Stud Farm breeding the best horses in the world. Luxury, quality and elegance eccos throughout the business and are of course characteristics which should be reflected on their website. Chateau de Fontaine wanted a solution that could give them an elegant, custom made, logical and reliable website. A solution produced and designed by WebVizion using Umbraco CMS and Umbraco Cloud.

 

What we were challenged to solve

Chateau de Fontaine were looking for someone who could help them showcase their state of the art facilities, equipment and horses online. They knew that the visual presence would be vital. Through the visual presence on the website, Chateau de Fontaine wanted to clearly reflect the culture, quality, elegance, high-class and exclusiveness of the business.

 

Part of the quality of the site should also lie in the user experience. Thus, the website's structure and layout should be simple and logical and make it easy for the customers to find relevant information. The website also needed to be responsive in order to work well on tablets and smartphones.

Another request was that the maintenance of the websites should be hassle free and thus, a simple and logical backend structure was required in order for Chateau de Fontaine to make any necessary content updates.

How we solved it

We did it like everybody should build world class websites - by using Umbraco. In this case the Chateau de Fontaine came with the design, beautiful Hi Res pictures and the HTML. As an Umbraco expert, we, WebVizion, implemented all features and the design in Umbraco – pixel perfect, responsive and well structures. For us that’s what it is all about!

 

 

How it works  

The site is built on Umbraco v.7.5.4. We’ve used Vorto plugin for language translation and we’ve created many custom data types. We have followed the standard pattern to develop this Umbraco site; we have created document types, templates, and pages. We have also created a separate code repository for custom controllers.

Most difficult task with Umbraco CMS is version upgrading. But by hosting the website on Umbraco Cloud, this problem was quickly solved due to Umbraco Cloud auto upgrade.

Also, Umbraco Cloud makes life much easier for us when working with multiple working environments like dev and live. Now we can work and test on the dev environment and then deploy our changes to live without any issues or worry.

Another great thing about using Umbraco Cloud is that it provides unlimited hosting which means that we had no problems when uploading Chateau de Fontaine’s beautiful re res pictures, keeping the visual presence at the high standard that the customer required. Umbraco Cloud is a platform that allows for a reliable website. A platform that also insures that the website is able to handle high peaks in visitors which Chateau de Fontaine experiences during special events and media coverage.

What we gained from it

The site has already been showcased on various “horse communities” and there is no doubt that this site sets completely new standards in the world of horses.

We wanted to set a new standard and we did.”, Bolette Wandt, Founder of Chateau de Fontaine