Highlights from Umbraco Spark 2024

Umbraco Spark conference is one of the highlights of our events calendar. For our developers it’s an incredible opportunity to connect with the wider Umbraco community and gain valuable insights into the future of the platform. 

With a focus on innovation, sustainability and forward-thinking, just over 160 Umbraco enthusiasts attended this year’s sold out event.  The venue was packed ahead of the morning keynote ready, with the thriving Umbraco community gathered for a day of inspiring talks from Umbraco HQ, key developers and MVP’s. 

One of our Senior Software Engineers Lewis reflects on his highlights and key takeaways from the day. 


The conference started with a keynote given by Umbraco HQ. Umbraco's Lone Iversen (Frontend Developer at Umbraco) and Jacob Overgaard (Team Lead & Frontend Architect at Umbraco) kicked off with an engaging and informative talk about the upcoming Umbraco version 14, due to be released in May 2024. 

With a live demo, we were shown a sneak peek into the innovative advancements that are set to up the ante with Umbraco’s new back office. The demo was made up of creating a custom property, adding this to Umbraco, and (sticking with the current trend), a sprinkle of AI into the custom property. 


 This keynote demonstrated a few things:  

1. Adding a custom property to Umbraco 14  

One of the changes in Umbraco 14 will make it significantly easier to add new properties, (especially with those that use custom controllers). Swagger comes baked into Umbraco now, so through the use of Swagger Codegen, you can generate 'Resources' to use in your typescript frontend. This makes the calling of controllers and the use of custom classes a breeze. Kevin Jump has a fantastic blog series on this going into some great detail.  


2. Enhanced customisation and extendibility 

With the removal of legacy AngularJS, and moving to a modern web components/typescript front-end stack, customising Umbraco should not only be easier but more flexible. As your custom frontend code will generate plain old JavaScript, you could write your custom Umbraco frontend code in any JavaScript library. 


Package Migration in Umbraco 14 

After the keynote and a coffee break, Umbraco's Lee Kelleher then took to the stage, with a practical demo on upgrading the very popular Robots.txt package from version 7 (written in AngularJS) to version 14. For me, this reinforced the points from the keynote on the improvements to the developer experience we can look forward to in the upcoming release.  

The talk covered Web Components, Lit as well as some custom controllers to create/update the robots.txt file. Lee used Swagger to view his API endpoints in the browser, and Swagger Codegen to hook everything together. This demonstrated how easy it is to extend the back office, be it creating custom properties, custom sections or complete packages. 


Advancing the Umbraco Cloud Platform 

Umbraco Cloud has come a long way since it was released in 2015 as Umbraco as a Service. Dan Lister from Umbraco HQ took us through the big changes that have happened to the Umbraco Cloud Platform over the past few years, including improved scalability and availability by using Azure Kubernetes Services. 

The talk was insightful and highlighted some great, deep technical detail on Umbraco Cloud’s infrastructure.  


The Future of Umbraco 

With the fast-paced change of Umbraco, Ravi Motha took us through its history which served as a reminder of how much the CMS has evolved since the first open-source version of Umbraco was released in 2005. 

Ravi spoke about how the community play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of Umbraco, and the value of outside perspectives and collaboration to drive innovation. 


In Summary 

This year Umbraco Spark was a huge success, being the largest to date and having some fantastic talks. The conference was a brilliant demonstration of how friendly, close-knit and welcoming the Umbraco community is, even for first time attendees. 

Aside from the excellent lineup, sharing the room with a group of passionate Umbraco enthusiasts, sharing ideas and discussing Umbraco’s roadmap was inspiring in itself, and I look forward to attending more community events in the future, including our very own Umbraco Newcastle Meetup next month. 

And of course, the day left us all excited for the upcoming release of Umbraco 14 and the new back office, which has the potential to transform the digital experiences we build. 

What’s new in Umbraco 14 

13 May 2024

Umbraco 14, set to be released on 30th May 2024, brings exciting changes to the popular CMS platform. 

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