Codegarden 2022 is the annual iteration of Umbraco's developer conference which began in 2005. Though I have been working with Umbraco since 2009 and an Umbraco MVP since 2019, this was my first opportunity to physically attend Codegarden.
Having spoken at the Virtual Codegarden in 2021 (you can see my talk Rated H for Headless on YouTube), I thought I knew what to expect at the physical conference in Denmark. But I could not have been more wrong.
After a 24-hour flight from Melbourne and a brief stop in Copenhagen, I joined the Umbraco Gold Partner Summit in Odense on the first day. It was great to see hundreds of Gold Partners from around the world, gathered in a single room.
The keynote at the Gold Partner Summit revealed Umbraco’s ambitious plans to become the DXP and Headless CMS of choice for upper midmarket and lower enterprise customers. This is a significant shift from the lower midmarket and SME customers Umbraco currently targets. The diagram below shows how this placement compares against competitors such as Kentico, Optimizely, Sitecore and Contentful. Umbraco HQ also outlined its 2027 vision which enables it to reach this goal.
Umbraco HQ is focused on marketing Umbraco as a composable DXP as opposed to marketing it as a fully-fledged traditional DXP. With tech partners and integrators such as Uniform, UMarketingSuite, Ucommerce and SEMrush, Umbraco is pushing for businesses to choose their own tech stack rather than being limited to what the CMS vendor alone has to offer.
HQ strength and community involvement 💪
Backed by Monterro, a hands-on growth investor with a focus on supporting Nordic B2B software companies, Umbraco HQ is going from strength to strength. With over 100 employees and offices in Europe and the US, there are plans for future expansion. For those who are hesitant to use an open-source product such as Umbraco, this is a clear indication that the open-source model with paid hosting and support does work. As a Gold Partner, this gives us the necessary backing to recommend Umbraco alongside other commercial products.
While Umbraco HQ is a profitable venture, it does contribute to the core open-source CMS. The OSS (Open Source Software) community matches these contributions to make the CMS and its ecosystem thrive. With regular new contributors and a lot of returning ones, Umbraco CMS gets the benefit of having users and implementers shape the product. As a part of this community, Luminary’s Solutions Architect, Mario Lopez and I had our titles of Umbraco MVP renewed for 2022 and Mario was also named runner-up for an Umbraco package award.
US data centre – Australia next?
A major limitation of Umbraco Cloud for us here in Australia was that it was hosted only in Europe. The Umbraco Cloud team has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to move the entire Cloud Infrastructure to newer Azure hosting options leaving behind some legacy infrastructure. This has enabled HQ to now roll out a new data centre in the US. Currently in the final stages of testing, the Cloud team spoke to me about how they are spinning up and tearing down new instances in that region using Infrastructure as Code.
What this means is that we could expect a new data centre in Australia in the near future. I spoke to the leadership team and the Cloud team at Umbraco HQ about this and hopefully, it will become commercially viable to do so.
Heartcore REST API open-sourced
Umbraco Heartcore is the commercial Headless CMS offering from HQ. With the commercial offering, Umbraco HQ has decided to enable GraphQL across all Heartcore plans. This is a game-changer since consumers are now able to request only data that they need and reduce the response size.
Other significant news from the Heartcore team is that the REST API used on Heartcore will be made to conform with Open API. Once that is done, the REST API will be open-sourced and integrated into the Core CMS which will allow developers to host a headless API on their own infrastructure. This is slated to happen in Umbraco version 12 on 18 May 2023.
Long term and UNIX support
Umbraco 10 was also released during Codegarden and it has Long Term Support (LTS) until December 2025 following Microsoft’s LTS policy. Starting from version 10, Umbraco is now officially supported on UNIX. This means that developers, designers and even the adventurous content editor can run a local Umbraco website on a Windows, Mac or Linux machine. With a simple `dotnet run` you have got a local Umbraco website running connecting to a local SQLite database. No longer are you tied to a pure Microsoft stack.
The public roadmap on what’s next was also revealed and included some items such as 2-factor authentication for Umbraco Cloud and Heartcore, dedicated resources for Umbraco Cloud and a new demo site for Umbraco CMS.
Learning and networking
After the Gold Partner Summit, I attended three days of Codegarden where I was able to learn more about Umbraco, the community, the ecosystem, new technology and best practices. With almost 1500 ticket holders and over 600 physical participants on any given day, it was an action-packed experience. I was able to listen to great speakers such as the following among 51 other speakers across 67 sessions.
- Scott Hunter – VP Director of Program Management at Microsoft focused on Azure and .NET
- Mads Torgersen – Lead Designer of the C# programming language, and a program manager at Microsoft
- Scott Hanselman - Member of the web platform team at Microsoft and well-known podcaster, blogger and speaker
- Per Ploug - Open-source Project Management Lead at Spotify.
I met up with many Umbraco developers from around the world. It was a little strange meeting them face-to-face after only seeing them virtually for years. As the Umbraco Melbourne Meet-up organiser, I was able to get some handy tips and tricks from the other meet-up organisers as well.
As a first-time Codegarden participant, I was impressed with the vibe at the event and the organisation that went into hosting Codegarden. Hopefully, I will be able to make it next year to learn and contribute to the thriving Umbraco community!
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