My Codegarden 2024 highlights

This year was already my 11th Codegarden! A lot can happen in one year and that is certainly the case with Umbraco. Since Codegarden 2023, versions 13 and 14 were released with the new backoffice. Products such as Umbraco Deploy and Umbraco Cloud have also been improved. I will tell you more about that during my highlights.

The Umbraco Keynote

The keynote always gives a good impression of where Umbraco stands and where they want to go. It's always a strong story that energizes me. It's not just about the core of Umbraco, but also extensions like Umbraco Commerce, Umbraco Workflow, Umbraco UI Builder, and Umbraco Cloud. They briefly mentioned what new features are coming and which sessions you should follow if you want to know more. Thanks to the keynote, I swapped a few things in my schedule because I wanted to attend the sessions about these products. Additionally, there were several demos given, such as Blocks in RTE.

The most important part of the keynote, in my opinion, was that Umbraco announced 4 Lighthouses for the Future. Umbraco wants to focus on the following four points in the coming period:

  • Search
  • Personal Experiences
  • GenAI
  • Orchestration

I think Umbraco is heading in the right direction with these points!

Lastly, the 2024 MVPs were announced during the keynote. I am proud to be part of this for the 5th time!

Blending AI with Umbraco

In this presentation, features where AI can help were discussed one by one. The following topics were covered:

  • Text generation
  • Media
  • Migration
  • Quality
  • Development
  • Smart past
  • Inspiration
  • Seo
  • Marketing & Personalization

The fun part of this presentation was that each feature was first shown what is already possible, but there were also many mock-ups showing what else could be possible. At iO we also have a strong focus on AI and this will really help us with that.

Umbraco Deploy: a deep-dive into migrating between major versions

This session began with an introduction to what is possible with Umbraco Deploy. Besides content and media, items from Umbraco Forms and Umbraco Commerce can also be transferred. It is also possible to create a ZIP export. This has the following advantages:

  • Alternative deployment method that doesn't require communication between environments.
  • Allow for easier and faster upgrades between majors.
  • Avoid (long) content freezes while upgrading.

Next, it was explained how to create the ZIP export and how to add custom migrators. This makes it possible, for example, to migrate from Nested Content to the Block List. Finally, there was even a demo showing how to export from Umbraco V7 and import it directly into Umbraco 14!

The Late Afternoon Backoffice Show

This wasn't really a presentation but more of a show in the style of American late-night talk shows. Niels Lyngsø was the interviewer and spoke with Markus Johansson and Lee Kelleher about Umbraco 14. Many things have changed and been renamed in the new backoffice. Therefore, it can be challenging for package developers to discover how some things now work and what the names are. This was humorously addressed by showing several top 10 lists such as the top 10 renames and the top 10 Context APIs available.

Astro & The Content Delivery API

Astro is a JavaScript web framework optimized for building fast, content-driven websites. It's a perfect match for the headless Content Delivery API which has been added to Umbraco 12. It was explained how to set up Astro to process Umbraco content. With the help of Hey API strongly typed models in TypeScript can be generated that Astro can use. This is similar to the ModelsBuilder for .NET. Static Site Generation was used, which could be re-executed via webhooks. It shows that Umbraco works perfectly in a headless setup.

Umbraco Cloud

Within Umbraco, there are many Umbraco Cloud teams. For example development, support, and even second-level support for more complex issues. This shows how big Umbraco Cloud is and how much it means to Umbraco. This presentation mainly focused on new features that users have been asking for a long time. These are also known as The Big 3:

  • CI/CD
  • Flexible Environments
  • Load Balancing

The CI/CD feature is already available. More about that is discussed in another session. With Flexible Environments, it is possible to add extra environments where you can, for example, run feature builds. Once things are tested on that, they could be merged into the development environment. This feature is currently in development but not yet finished. Finally, more was said about what they want to do with Load Balancing:

  • Automatic Scale out.
  • Fixed amount of instances running at the same time.
  • Multi regions.

Development for Load Balancing has yet to begin, but it's nice that Umbraco listens to its users and wants to add these features.

Lastly, there was talk about other features coming besides The Big 3. This includes a Dedicated database, organization settings (instead of per project), and bring your own AD.

Being Human

Jason explained how we often see human traits in AI like ChatGPT and wondered if it passes the Turing Test, touching on the idea of "I think, therefore I am." He also talked about past predictions for AI, like the Turing Test and the Turk machine.

What's coming in 15 and beyond…

You can find the Umbraco roadmap online, but hearing it from Lasse, who is the Product Owner for the CMS, was still very interesting. It wasn’t just about the roadmap but also dreams he had. Things that are not yet official but he would like to see. The following topics were discussed:


  • Lazy Loaded Content Cache
  • Block-level variants
  • Client Credentials

Beyond V15:

  • Permissions reworking
  • Reusable Content with Global Blocks
  • Global management of tags
  • Collaboration features (SignalR)
  • Context-aware property editors


  • Built-in personalisation
  • Redis, AppSettings and Hibernation in Cloud
  • Umbraco facilitated orchestration

I also asked Lasse if GraphQL was coming to Umbraco core, but he said no. That feature will unfortunately stay in Umbraco Heartcore.

Deep Dive on Umbraco Cloud Deployments

We already had a session about Umbraco Cloud, but this one focused solely on the new CI/CD feature. Previously, it was challenging to combine your own development workflow with Umbraco Cloud. For instance, you couldn’t use pull requests by default. Now you can build your own pipeline, enabling the following:

  • Pre-deploy checks.
  • Auto build client code.
  • File sanitisation.
  • Advanced web-hooks for success / failure
  • Pull requests and code reviews.

With sample scripts, you can easily do this yourself. This CI/CD feature makes it much easier to use Umbraco Cloud!

Improving the Architecture of an Existing Site

This talk was about websites that are also known as Frankensites. These sites can become fragile, overly complex, and less efficient. They are bad for editors and bad for developers. Heather gave tips on how to clean up a project like this:

  • Consolidate your Data Types.
  • Look for other areas for improvement.
  • Identify and handle "legacy" properties.
  • Check/update all the Templates.

She also gave tips on how to plan a project like this:

  • Estimate more time than you need.
  • If there is a new design do that first.
  • Plan a content freeze.
  • Upgrade the db copy, then copy over the files only as needed.

With these tips you can start fixing your Frankensite.

Migrating Packages to Umbraco 14

Andy Butland is primarily a .NET developer. It was interesting to see how things work in the backoffice from his perspective. He gave an example of how things work in C# and provided comparable solutions in JavaScript. Not everything is the same, so you’ll still be surprised sometimes. Using npm run generate:api, types can be generated for TypeScript. The core contexts now available can be compared to a kind of dependency injection, allowing you to access everything. Prop drilling is no longer necessary.


This year, I attended many sessions from Umbraco HQ, and I also attended several community sessions. It was a nice change and provided different perspectives on things. I am always amazed at how many first-timers there are each year. They must have been surprised at the Pre-Party, and they won’t soon forget the bingo evening.

I learned a lot again and will certainly use this knowledge within iO. Umbraco is already better than last year and will undoubtedly be even better at Codegarden 2025!