For some time now, Umbraco HQ has been focusing its efforts on creating and enhancing a concept called ‘Best of Breed’. This Best of Breed offering has now morphed into a Composable DXP which aligns with the terminology used within the industry.
Umbraco’s stated vision for Composable DXP is to ‘enable customers and partners to compose their preferred tech stack by simplifying integrations’.
DXP stands for Digital eXperience Platform. A DXP is a collection of integrated software that is used to extend a platform with external services such as SEO, analytics and other marketing tools. Instead of trying to make Umbraco a jack of all trades, Umbraco’s focus is on managing content while integrating the best tool for each job, creating alliances with providers that are the best in their fields.
There’s actually a white paper that you can download from Umbraco’s website where it goes into detail about the main differences between this best-of-breed or Composable DXP concept and what it calls a ‘Suite CMS’. A Suite CMS is an all-in-one content platform.
Going with a composable system makes a CMS very powerful. You can integrate it with your preferred tools and get the best of each world. With CMSs that offer a big range of tools, you are tied to those tools even if they are not the best in the market.
To try to make the use of external providers as easy as possible, and at the same time demonstrate how flexible Umbraco is when integrating with other platforms, Umbraco has started offering custom integrations that are available for free. None of these integrations and services are included with Umbraco. Each integration needs to be installed separately, and you will need to register for each of the external services separately.
The following is a list of the integrations that we think are the most interesting.
SEMRush is one of the most commonly used tools for SEO. It facilitates competitor research, enabling you to investigate how other companies similar to yours are being ranked and indexed on search engines. The new integration with the Umbraco back-office adds a content app that will give you information about a specific page within the CMS back-office. It enables you to do keyword search and generate reports for different metrics.
This integration provides a form picker and a rendering component that allows you to display forms created with HubSpot on your website. HubSpot is a CRM that offers a large range of services for marketing, sales, content management and customer services. Forms is just one of those services, but with this package, Umbraco provides a step forward in integrating third-party services on your preferred CMS.
Now you can integrate your Shopify store with Umbraco. Shopify is a platform that allows you to sell products and it offers multiple tools to help you in the process, from selling to shipping and invoicing. The Umbraco integration provides a product picker that allows you to render products on your website.
Commerce Tools is another e-commerce solution. One big difference with Shopify is that it’s a headless platform, so it has been developed with multi-platform in mind since the beginning. This integration offers a product and category picker along with some tools to display the selected item on your website. The data is actually coming from the Commerce Tools API when it’s rendered, so nothing, apart from the item ID, is stored in Umbraco.
It’s not available yet, but we have been told that an integration with Bigcommerce is being developed by Danish agency Kruso.
At the end of last year, Umbraco upgraded and rebranded the Umbraco Marketplace. This Marketplace is where you will find all the previous integrations apart from other packages curated by the Umbraco team. The packages offered in this section are meant to be a selection of the best tools available for Umbraco. While there’s still a small list of available packages, we look forward to seeing this offer growing in the coming months.
Checking the roadmap for 2022, we can see that there’s a plan to renew and update the Marketplace.
We can also see that there are plans for a Zapier integration which will be released soon.
Zapier is a platform that allows you to connect different apps and services by using a collection of triggers and actions. While this integration is still not available in the Marketplace, you can get access to the source code on Github.
A chat with Umbraco HQ
We had a chat with Jesper Lyngbye, VP for Tech Partnerships at Umbraco HQ, about Composable DXP and the Marketplace.
Are there any plans for Umbraco to offer a broader range of official plugins?
The work with integrations is based on the wish to offer customers many opportunities to connect Umbraco to relevant software as a part of the composable DXP strategy. The development of integrations comes from various setups, but mostly tech partners, solution partners, the community or the Umbraco integrations team.
Do you have a list of planned future integrations that you can share with us?
We have a prioritised list. It's dynamic because circumstances change or new opportunities show up. We spend much time asking agencies what they use as tech to make sure we have the right focus. But right now we have Google Search, Shopify and Zapier integrations in the works.
Will Umbraco keep the integrations updated or is it up to the partners?
That depends on ownership. If Umbraco has developed the integration we maintain it.
We can see from the roadmap that you're working on a new version of the Marketplace. Can you tell us what improvements are planned?
We just updated the Marketplace at Umbraco.com, eg. new search bar implementation and promoting popular installs from Our. It's the plan to make it as easy as possible for a user to discover an integration and install it. This work will continue both on umbraco.com and within the packages section of the CMS.
Having integration with third parties makes Umbraco more appealing. To be able to have an 'official' integration in the Marketplace companies need to be technical partners which involves a substantial fee. Shouldn't Umbraco make it easier to have integrations available?
Umbraco want as many relevant integrations as possible. Tech partners expect activities such as co-marketing as a part of the collaboration. As an open-source CMS we have to find funding for the resources we use and that's why we charge a fee. Compared to what we use of internal resources to satisfy tech partners and meet their expectations the fee is a fair investment.
Historically, one of the weak points when comparing Umbraco with other CMSs has been the lack of tools around the pure content management task that would help improve or support marketing or personalisation efforts. This is also what makes Umbraco a slim and powerful – yet free – CMS, while other platforms offering a larger range of tools are sold for thousands of dollars.
Composable DXP is Umbraco’s approach to offer a larger range of tools that don’t come out of the box with the CMS. This gives us the freedom to use our favourite tools together with Umbraco.
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