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Spotlighting Umbraco 13

RY's Technical Director, Carlos Rey, explains how you can keep up to date with the latest CMS software from Umbraco.

Emile Perron Xrvdyzrgdw4 Unsplash (1)

For some of us, updating anything from an app to Outlook can wait until later. But, when it comes to websites, if we want the best experience, updating is vital to increase speed and take advantage of extra functionality. Still, people question: why are we ‘always’ having to do this? How much can really change between each update?


As Umbraco announces the release of Umbraco 13, we ask Carlos Rey, RY’s Technical Director, to fill us in.


2023 saw a real shift in CMS platforms and their underlying technologies, leaving lots of businesses to deal with sprawling, complicated upgrade projects. But Umbraco's new model avoids this altogether, instead keeping cadence of small, regular updates that work to advance website systems, without creating technical debt. That means developers like me are always up to speed on latest features and security, but more importantly, ensures clients are never faced with daunting (and often costly) website rebuilds. 


And that's ultimate peace of mind for any organisation. To know their online platforms and communications are constantly evolving to keep pace with the world around them.


Here are four reasons why we’re looking forward to Umbraco 13.

1. Reducing maintenance
Right now, we’re recommending Umbraco 13 to our clients as this is the next Long Term Supported (LTS) version of the CMS. But what does LTS mean? Umbraco 13 will be supported until the end of 2026 - much longer than previous versions. What’s more when updates are needed an LTS version will be easier to work with, a benefit for businesses trying to reduce upgrade friction.


2. Updating for more security
If you manage a website, you’ll know the headache that comes with poor performance and bugs. As each update is released, clients get access to more performance enhancements and several bug fixes. As Umbraco is open-source, if there are bugs in the new solution, every developer will have experienced it and will work together to fix the issue. The more up to date your Umbraco version is, the more eyes there will be on these bugs and security loopholes. Plus, by having these eyes on your solution, you’ll benefit from security updates quicker, meaning you’re much less vulnerable to tampering.


3. Hooking into new opportunities 
Webhooks are now available on Umbraco 13, letting other systems integrate with Umbraco much more easily. These webhooks are an easier way to connect systems, allowing real-time publication and cross-system signalling. Sound familiar? They were available internally, but have never been available externally until now, so this opens up many opportunities to collaborate with different systems. That could be anything from advertising software to publishing new job roles across sites. It’s automated and updated simply, which gives clients one less thing to worry about.


4. Streamlining ways of working
Umbraco 13 is also helping smooth out ways of working, making it quicker and easier to manage sites. For example, blocks in rich text editor give the opportunity to reuse content, allowing users to copy text and repurpose and move content over with ease and efficiency. This next update also turns off collaborative logins, for security, ease of editing and to help avoid version control issues. Of course, they can always be turned back on again manually to enable collaboration.


Making the switch. Umbraco is the engine, RY builds the car.


It would be lovely to just click a button and everything upgrades, but inevitably, there tends to be a few things to work out first. That’s why we have a tried-and-tested method to make things simpler, cut down into six steps.


Ensuring the engine fits: before we migrate we always test the latest developments. We use our own site as a proving ground for the newest versions of Umbraco, and we run tests on clients’ sites to make sure we don’t find nasty surprises down the line. Before we do anything to live sites, we take a copy of the existing site structure and content. 


Building the chassis: we run the upgrade. More often than not, organisations take advantage of this time to redesign their website for a better user experience and new functionality. Either way, software development will be required to stitch the site to the new version.


Adding in the seats: we help add in content and organise media and content repositories to help clients access them more quickly. We’d suggest reviewing content to ensure it matches the new site.


Checking the electrics: our in-house QA team gets into every corner of the website, to flag any bugs and inconsistencies. They’ll also identify potential future weaknesses and fix the site as needed.


Conducting safety tests: our in-house team delivers various rounds of user testing to ensure nothing is missed.


Turning on the ignition: once the client is happy, we’ll publish the new site. But our work doesn’t stop there. With our MSA plus package, we’ll keep the website monitored and proactively help improve the site, making sure we’re always on the front foot.


If you want to talk to us about upgrading to Umbraco 13, or any other digital challenges, drop us a line, we’d love to chat.