What’s new in Umbraco 12?

Umbraco 12, the latest version of the popular CMS, brings a host of new features and improvements that make it an even more powerful tool for content management.

Content Delivery API

One of the most significant additions in Umbraco 12 is the Content Delivery API. This feature provides headless capabilities out-of-the-box, meaning you can now manage content delivery without needing to develop a separate headless API or add an extension. This is a game-changer for businesses looking to deliver consistent content across multiple channels, such as websites, mobile apps, smartwatches, and voice assistants.

For instance, a retail business could use the Content Delivery API to ensure that product information and pricing are consistent across their website, mobile app, and in-store digital displays. Similarly, a news organization could use the API to deliver articles and updates to their website, mobile app, email subscribers, and social media channels simultaneously.

In addition to the flexibility it offers, the Content Delivery API also brings significant performance improvements. The API is designed to deliver content quickly and efficiently, ensuring that your users get the information they need without delay. Whether you’re serving content to a handful of users or millions, the Content Delivery API is built to handle the load, providing a smooth and responsive user experience across all channels.

Support for Entity Framework Core

A significant technical improvement in Umbraco 12 is the introduction of support for Entity Framework Core (EF Core). EF Core is a popular library that provides a high-level abstraction over the database, allowing developers to work with objects and entities rather than directly interacting with database queries. This eliminates the need for writing repetitive and boilerplate database access code, thereby boosting developer productivity.

This feature is particularly beneficial for Umbraco systems that have been customised with additional features beyond the basic CMS capabilities. For instance, if your Umbraco system includes integrations with third-party systems or automated processes based on user behaviours, EF Core can streamline the development and maintenance of these custom features.

Moreover, EF Core is a valuable tool for large businesses that require robust database management capabilities. It offers database schema version control, which is crucial for systems that are continuously evolving with new releases. This feature ensures that all structural changes to the database are tracked and managed effectively, reducing the risk of errors and data loss.

In essence, the support for EF Core in Umbraco 12 makes it easier for developers to create and maintain custom database tables and data in a performant way, with access to the Umbraco context and services required. This enhancement not only simplifies the development process but also contributes to the overall performance and reliability of your Umbraco system.

New version of ImageSharp

Umbraco 12 includes a new major version of ImageSharp, the cross-platform image processing library used in Umbraco. ImageSharp 3 supports the latest .NET 6 LTS framework, offering improved performance, new image decoding and encoding options, and security improvements.

One of the standout features of ImageSharp 3 is its ability to deliver high-quality images at faster loading times. This is particularly beneficial for websites that rely heavily on visual content. With ImageSharp 3, images can be loaded faster while maintaining high quality, enhancing the overall user experience.

Moreover, this improvement is not limited to static images alone. Even images rendered on the fly can benefit from the enhanced performance and quality offered by ImageSharp 3. This means that regardless of how your images are served, you can expect them to load quickly and display in high quality, contributing to a smoother, more visually appealing user experience.

The update also introduces powerful DecoderOptions for controlling image loading and achieves significant performance gains in alpha compositing and color adjustments. With these new features and improvements, ImageSharp 3 is set to take your Umbraco site’s image handling capabilities to the next level.

Updated Add-ons

Umbraco 12 introduces new versions of all add-ons, including Umbraco Forms, Deploy, and Workflow, ensuring full support for running on Umbraco 12.

Umbraco CMS admin area
A peak at the Umbraco CMS and where posts and pages are managed

Can I upgrade an existing installation to Umbraco 12?

The answer to this question depends on a couple of factors. If your website is hosted on Umbraco Cloud, the upgrade to Umbraco 12 will be automatic. However, if your Umbraco system is hosted by a third-party, the upgrade process can be a bit more complex.

While it’s certainly possible to upgrade third-party hosted Umbraco systems, the process can present more challenges if you’re working with an older version of Umbraco. It’s important to ensure that any custom packages or code you’re using are compatible with the latest version of Umbraco. You also need to make sure your custom code is valid with the new .NET Framework version.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of the upgrade process, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance. Upgrading to a new major version of a CMS is a significant task that can have a big impact on your website, so it’s important to get it right.

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