Kentico Cloud 9 Months Later
Kentico Cloud was officially launched at the 404 Conference in Las Vegas in November 2016, and I was lucky enough to be there. It’s amazing to think that was just over nine months ago! Development has continued since then at break-neck pace, and the product is already streaks ahead of that nine month mark (when it was born... there I’ve made the joke!).
Huge progress and a whole raft of new features in the first nine months - that’s something we’re simply not accustomed to in the world of large, complex, traditional CMS platforms that are installed alongside our web applications, Kentico EMS included. Most leading platforms release minor updates as often as weekly, however these are usually fairly minor tweaks or fixes. When it comes to Kentico Cloud, being a true SaaS product, they’re able to release entirely new and powerful features as soon as they’re ready, and it’s been exciting to watch.
Kentico’s Dual-Rail Strategy
With the recently-released Gartner reports on Web Content Management software, Kentico Cloud has understandably ruffled a few feathers and created a bit of confusion among industry reviewers. It’s important to note that Kentico Cloud is an entirely new product line and does not represent a departure from their existing strategy. Kentico EMS remains its own strong focus and they have a completely separate and equally strong roadmap for that product.
Just over nine months ago, at its inception, Kentico Cloud was launched with a relatively modest feature list, on a completely new, modern, cloud-based (Saas) platform.
Developers love new and shiny technologies. We were so excited about the release of Kentico Cloud, that one of our superstar devs - Emmanuel Tissera - rolled up his sleeves, built and launched the first official Kentico Cloud website only two weeks after it was launched!
Draft, Deliver, Engage
Kentico Cloud essentially brought together three previously separate (but connected) cloud-first services Kentico had been developing, into one cohesive platform. These were:
- Content management (previously known as Draft)
- REST API for content delivery aka. headless CMS (previously known as Deliver)
- Analytics, Marketing and Experience Optimisation (previously known as Engage)
The keen-eyed/nerdy amongst us can still see the Draft, Deliver and Engage codenames in the system’s DNA, and you could still roughly categorise new Kentico Cloud features into one of these pillars. However unlike vendors who acquire another product and roll it into their own, these feature sets are absolutely developed, tested and released in tandem by the same developers in the same building, under one Kentico Cloud umbrella. I know - I’ve seen them!
This is a key differentiator for Kentico Cloud amongst its peers in the cloud-first, headless CMS game; Kentico Cloud is not just a headless CMS. Sure, at its core is a cloud-first, API-first, headless Content Management System, but it also includes other complementary services, such as Analytics, Contact Management, Personalisation, Experience Optimisation and Content Performance. Indeed, it is possible to use Kentico Cloud purely for its Analytics, Contact Segmentation and Activity or Form Tracking features, on a completely separate site, built on any platform.
While - as Emmanuel proved - it was completely usable from launch day, more exciting was the roadmap which was immediately filled with exciting features. Roadmaps for most CMS platforms are full of features, sure, but we started seeing features from this roadmap released on a fortnightly basis.
For example, here are some of the releases we’ve had between November 2016, and August 2017:
- Multi-lingual content (including two languages on the free plan)
- Asset library (powered by Windows Azure)
- Easy contact segmentation by demographics and geolocation
- ASP.NET MVC boilerplate/starter kit (proudly supported by Luminary!)
- .NET SDK (full .NET Core Standard support)
- Inline images in rich content
- Modular content blocks (both linked and inline/within rich text areas)
- Import module for traditional Kentico CMS/EMS
- User roles and associated permissions
- Preview functionality
- A slew of usability improvements in every release
About to be released (check, they might be out already!)
- Cross device tracking/merging of contacts
- Subscription management (very handy for agencies!)
Still on the roadmap:
- More SDKs, e.g. for for PHP, native iOS
- Application Navigation
- Localisation for Assets
- Content Management (import/write rather than just read) API
- Content Type Snippets (reusable templates for sets of fields)
- Continuous Development (Content Type versioning!)
- Custom Activity Tracking in addition to standard analytics activities
- Delivery API for Content Models
- Filtering and Sorting Content Items
- Secured Delivery API (ability to lock down published content and implement an authentication layer)
I’m aware this article will date very quickly with the rate of development (hopefully it’ll be an hilarious snapshot one day!). See the up-to-date roadmap and feature list here:
Kentico Cloud is growing and improving an at impressive rate. While it should certainly be considered as a competitor to other headless CMS platforms such as Contentful or Prismic, it also presents an intriguing option as more than just a headless CMS but more of a complete set of content management, analytics and optimisation tools. Keep your eye on that roadmap!
Kentico’s bi-annual Roadshow will be coming to Australia in October. If you’d like to hear the latest on Kentico’s products straight from the horse’s Product Manager’s mouth, get to Sydney on Wednesday 11 October or Melbourne on Friday 13 October. See you there!
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