Code Garden 2022: Well worth the wait

Code Garden is the biggest Umbraco conference in the world.

It is an annual 3-day-event that normally takes place in Odense, Denmark and I was one of the lucky ones who got to attend in person together with my two fellow Great Staters, Lead Architect Andrew McKaskill and Senior Software Engineer, Michael Fitzpatrick.

After some EasyJet cancellation mayhem resulting in a 12-hour journey, followed by three hours sleep I attended the social bike ride (a cool 50km!) and then things kicked off with the Gold Partner Summit.

Andrew McKaskill, Mike Fitzpatrick and Nurhak Kaya

Hitting the ground running

The Umbraco Gold Partner Summit was the perfect foundation to set us up for Code Garden. It also gave us a chance to meet some major players within Umbraco HQ and the Umbraco community, we even got to meet Lars Rasmussen, a previous Danish Prime Minister (!). The next few days were packed with introductions and insightful talks of which we attended as many as possible. We’ve distilled down what we learnt into some of our best highlights:

Umbraco Awards and the first ever Umbraco MVP from Great State

We were super proud that the MyNavy Progressive Web App project was shortlisted as one of the Best Public Sector Solutions. It was hugely motivating for the entire team to achieve the recognition, and whilst we didn’t take home the win this time, to beat hundreds of other entries and be recognised in the top three was a huge achievement.

On a personal note, I’m also super proud to be one of the 7 new Umbraco MVPs. It’s been a great journey for me and I’m thankful to Umbraco HQ and the friendly Umbraco Community for their support.

Nurhak Kaya: The Official Umbraco MVP

Some techie titbits

Safe to say that we learnt a lot. Umbraco continues to roll out enhancements and improvements which not only get us excited from a tech perspective as they make our lives easier, but also means that we’re going to be able to offer our clients a whole new range of functionality to improve the experience for the end-user, too.

Umbraco Long Term Support (LTS)

First up, Umbraco CMS LTS releases are now aligned with the LTS releases of Microsoft.NET. We’ve outlined some of the key headlines below:

  • Umbraco 10.0 is LTS and supports .NET 6 LTS.
  • The next LTS will be Umbraco 13.0 and will support .NET 8 LTS.
  • Umbraco 9 is in Support phase until September 2022 with an additional 3 months of security phase ending in December 2022.
  • Umbraco 8.18 will be the final minor version of Umbraco 8 and EOL for Umbraco 8 is Feb 2025, but before that, you can expect Umbraco 7 EOL to be coming through in September 2023.

By default, all new projects on Umbraco Cloud are based on the latest version of Umbraco. It will no longer be possible to create new projects in Umbraco Cloud on a major version that has entered the Security phase. They have also aligned the version numbers for Umbraco Forms and Deploy with the CMS to make it easy to understand which versions are compatible with what.

There will also be a minor Umbraco version every 6 weeks and a major version every 6 months. We think this is great, as it offers a very clear picture for Umbraco community meaning that everybody can create their upgrade plans with precision. Finally, now we know this, our ultimate goal should be making continuous Umbraco upgrades so that hopefully we wouldn’t have to worry about big ‘upgrades’ like Umbraco 7 to 8! ​

Umbraco Heartcore and Composable DXP

New REST API based on Open API is coming for Umbraco Heartcore and this new API will also be part of Umbraco Core.​ Crucially, this means we will no longer need Heartcore to use Umbraco headless and this will most likely be available in Umbraco 12.

One clear message was that ‘composable DXP’ is the new buzzword. Gartner’s definition of a DXP is:

"A digital experience platform (DXP) is a well-integrated and cohesive set of technologies designed to enable the composition, management, delivery and optimisation of contextualised digital experiences across multi-experience customer journeys".

In plain English: To integrate things in a way that they are loosely coupled so that if you need to change something, you can change it by simply swapping one old component with a new one.​ There are multiple DXP tools, like Uniform, to build a tech ecosystem around Umbraco

Umbraco Cloud and the new Umbraco back office

Umbraco Cloud will continue to be Umbraco HQ's focus​ and there are a few key things to know:

  • It uses GIT underneath to enable updates between environments​.
  • It has a secret Enterprise offering where Umbraco HQ can offer custom Azure setups.​
  • Umbraco Cloud is powerful platform, but the default workflow is not suitable for most of the development teams. 
  • There is no way to do PR reviews, run tests on our code before deploying, having a build step for your front end code, etc.​ However, for our Umbraco Cloud projects, we can setup team workflows using Azure DevOps, so that we can continue to work as normal.​ Dave Woestenborghs’s talk is great to understand this method.
  • Finally, Backoffice is being rewritten using web components and the New Community Team have started to build the new backoffice – the first version is already up and running​ so do check it out.

Some talks worth watching

We couldn’t get around to see all of them, but we’ve pulled together our top list. Currently, you can watch them on Umbraco Events App if you have attended the event, or they’ll be available on YouTube around September time.

  • The role of the CMS in the modern Composable DXP by Thomas Eldblom​
  • Building a Composable DXP by Paul Marden​
  • Headless Umbraco – now and in the future by Morten Christensen​
  • Open Source Work is Work by Per Ploug
  • .NET deserialisation attacks and their associated threats in the world of Content Management Systems by Daniel Susid​
  • 10 Umbraco features you forgot existed by Callum Whyte​
  • Developers+Content Editors+Umbraco Deploy by Heather Floyd​
  • Supercharging Digital Experiences with Umbraco Heartcore by Christian Bennich​
  • Umbraco package development by Kevin Jump​
  • Umbraco + Examine, Lucene, Azure by Shannon Deminick​
  • Team workflow for Umbraco Cloud and Azure DevOps by Dave Woestenborghs​
  • Containers and Umbraco – using Docker to host a load balanced Umbraco website by Carl Sargunar​. We also enjoyed Carl Sargunar and Poornima Nayar’s workshop about the same topic.
  • Deep-dive into GraphQL querying with Umbraco Heartcore by Poornima Nayar
  • Umbraco Packages – These are a few of my favourite things by Paul Seal​
  • Introduction to Blazor and Umbraco 9 by Corne Hoskam​
  • ​Mentorship vs Sponsorship by Scott Hanselman
  • Modern Application Development with .NET and Azure by Scott Hunter
  • What is next in C#? by Mads Torgersen

Some final thoughts                       

Code Garden 2022 was our first and we genuinely enjoyed it a lot. We met a lot of incredible and dynamic people who we learnt a lot from, we attended lots of great talks, learnt lot of new things and created fantastic connections. A massive thank you Umbraco HQ and Umbraco Community for a great event – we’ll see you in 2023!

 

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