This year was the 9th time I personally went to Codegarden. It's always one of the highlights of my year and I really missed coming to Odense in 2020 and 2021. Thankfully, Codegarden was back in 2022 and better than ever! This year there was a lot of focus on headless and composable DXP and that's exactly what I'm interested in. In this blogpost I will talk about some of my personal highlights.
The Umbraco Keynote
The keynote always gives me energy. It shows that the HQ and the community are in good shape. Most highlights can be found here. It is interesting to see that Umbraco also has a focus on composable DXP. This is happening, among other things, with the introduction of a new Marketplace. Umbraco will remain accessible to everyone, but it will also become more interesting for enterprise. That is a good direction because they will reach a bigger market.
At-TEN-tion to the new Umbraco LTS
This session was not only about Umbraco 10, but also all the new features that have been added in Umbraco 9. Such as the simple linking of external login for members. That also fits well into the composable DXP picture because members can also become a separate service. It's great to see that Umbraco 10 is now truly cross-platform and even has official UNIX support. At the end of the session, a roadmap was also shown that contains many features that I have been waiting for for a long time.
Headless Umbraco - now and in the future
One of the biggest announcements on Codegarden was that a new REST API (based on Open API) is coming for Umbraco Heartcore. Not only that, but this API is also coming to Umbraco Core. You will no longer need Heartcore to use Umbraco headless. It will be about 1 year before this becomes available (In Umbraco 12), but I really can't wait to start using this. Hopefully there will be another RFC in which I can provide feedback on the new REST API.
Supercharging Digital Experiences with Umbraco Heartcore
This Codegarden already had a big focus on composable DXP, but it could still be a bit unclear how all components can be connected. There are multiple ways of doing this and Uniform demonstrated how this could be done with their Canvas editor. Canvas allows business users to have complete control over the presentation layer and build compositions from the components which can get content form multiple sources. This gives them the ability to create and manage entities (pages, screens, etc.) without requiring to make code changes. I was really impressed with the demo and this seems like a perfect way for enterprise applications to combine their different data sources.
Umbraco Heartcore & JAMstack: Designing for Scale & Performance
Working with Umbraco Heartcore needs a different approach than normal Umbraco websites. There are no templates available which can render the data. You will have to do that yourself via a separate service. This session showed how you could do that perfectly with JAMStack. Using React and Next.js, the content is rendered as static HTML that can be cached by a CDN. This approach requires more work than a normal Umbraco website, but it is also much faster and more scalable.
What's next in C#?
Many Umbraco projects still run on the .NET Framework and are a few versions behind with C#. But with Umbraco 10 we can use C# 10 again. In this session, the great Mads Torgersen gave a sneak peak into the future of C# 11. It will be released in November and will also be supported by Umbraco 11, which will be released in December. The entire presentation did not contain any powerpoint slides. Everything was one big live demo. One of the features I like the most are the new static abstract interfaces. This makes it possible to use Generic Math Support. It's clear that C# is still getting better and will continue to do so for some time to come.
Open Source Work Is Work
It was nice to have another session from Per Ploug after a few years. This time it was about open source work and how that should be seen as normal work. We should be given time to work on open source projects because it can help us as a company. Per Ploug gave the following example:
We will invest 10 hours per week for the next 3 months, to release and maintain YetAnotherContentPicker. We aim to have 10 adopters after 3 months, and 20 after 6 monts. We feel the content picker market is wide open and will position our company as the leading content picker provider in the community and put us on the path becoming Umbraco MVP with the next 12 months.
With our Umbraco MVP status, we have substantial bigger change of winning bigger contracts in the range of 1-2 million eur. So we assess it is worth the investment.
Per Ploug gave a clear vision. Open source work is work!
Mentorship vs Sponsorship
In the last session of the day, Scott Hanselman gave a nice presentation on how to help others in the best possible way. He gave an example of how many keystrokes you have left and that it is better to share them with as many people as possible. Instead of answering an email, it's better to write a blog and refer to it. This way you share your keystrokes with more people. Scott also mentioned how both Mentorship and Sponsorship can help:
Mentors are mirrors that help define your dream, your strengths, advise and guide.
Sponsors act as spotlights, creating luck by lifting others into new spaces.
He gave several examples on how to do this. Scott is a great speaker and I recommend everyone to attend his presentations if you get the chance.
Both the technical and business sessions were very interesting and of high quality. I learned a lot and gained inspiration. Umbraco is moving in the right direction and will continue to do so. Bingo was as legendary as ever and I got to meet a lot of new people. This was a Codegarden to remember! I would like to thank iO for allowing me to go. Cheers!