As one of only a handful of Umbraco Gold Partners in the UK, we see it as our responsibility to be ahead of the game in the world of Umbraco. So we recently sent TQ Developer Benji to Umbraco’s infamous conference, Codegarden. Now, in the essence of honesty, it didn’t get off to the best start. A series of delays and weather-related issues saw Benji stranded at a Danish airport. But in true testament to the legendary Umbraco community, a group of fellow developers offered him somewhere to shack up for the night. We’ll leave the details for another day…
So, back to the important stuff. Here’s Benji’s top 5 game-changing learnings from Code Garden and his honest review of his time there.
1. Let’s talk web components. When we build websites we use the block concept. The rebuild of the Umbraco Backoffice now utilises web components. As developers, we can adopt this trend. We can reuse the blocks that make up the client’s front end, so that they too can be seen in the Backoffice. The result? A nice decrease in development time and better visibility and usability for the client. It’s a win-win.
2. Website sustainability just got a whole heap easier. Enter Umbraco Cloud’s Sustainability Report. Using the data available and the new Developer Insights, you can track your site’s sustainability and its carbon emissions. Every time you make an update, you’ll be able to see the impact it’s had on the site’s usage and thus the sustainability of the site. If usage has suddenly rocketed, you’ll be able to go back and rectify it.
3. Struggling with content? Not anymore. Let me introduce you to umContentCreator. It’s a package, found in Umbraco Marketplace, that integrates AI-powered content generation for text and image properties. Users are able to generate content using Chat GPT for text and DALL-E for image generation. That’s one reoccurring struggle you can wave goodbye to.
4. Being accessible isn’t a nicety, it’s essential. So the introduction of Accessibility Reporter, an open source tool that can be integrated into Umbraco, is welcome news. Users will be able to test their website against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and make necessary updates accordingly. The new accessibility reporter is going to play a key part in making sure websites don’t only function fantastically, and look the business, but are also accessible by all too.
5. Colossal changes to the Umbraco Backoffice in v14, featuring the new web components which are predominantly a front-end developer’s realm, mean that backend developers have got a new learning curve to overcome. The tooling around how developers will accomplish this was a hot topic around the conference. Luckily, there's a few handy tools and resources that will help backend developers do this. I would recommend checking out Vite, a blazing fast build tool for the development of modern web projects. Also, the new UI Library Umbraco have built (aptly named UUI) has the fresh but familiar clean look with an accessibility and documentation focus from the start. This will help developers build great packages for everyone.
Codegarden isn’t your typical “networking” conference. The opening keynote branded it perfectly as a “friend making” conference. On arrival I was greeted with high fives and welcoming smiles, by complete strangers may I add! Any time a new speaker or participant came on stage, they were met with a standing ovation. The various activities and social spaces around the event were interesting and open to all. Wanted to play a nail hammering game? Sure, join one of the many groups and have fun. Want to chill in the sun? Pull up a festival chair on the fake lawn outside.
The new friends and memories made, along with the endless laughing and constant smile I had, is something I’ll look back on for years to come.