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What Powers More Than 85,000 Sites and is Trusted by Brands Like Sony, Sandisk, Microsoft and Ford?.

The author

Drew Brigham

Technical Director

Umbraco is a super-flexible, mature, fast and easy to use Content Management System (CMS) that powers more than 85,000 websites, including sites for international brands and Fortune 500 companies like Tesco, Ford, Peugeot, Sony and Microsoft. It’s based on Microsoft’s flagship product – the .NET Framework, used by more than 90% of all PCs worldwide and by over 27 million active websites (ASP.NET). Umbraco is massively popular with downloads passing the 800,000 mark, 31 per cent of which were directly through Microsofts Web App Gallery.

In their own words, from the Umbraco manifest: "Umbraco is transparent and honest.  It exists as an open framework to empower you to make a difference to the way content is delivered….Umbraco lives because of its community which thrives on collaboration and is passionate about technology.  We work together to bring about change."

Who Uses Umbraco?

Because Umbraco is so flexible, fast and extensible, many international brands have chosen Umbraco as a platform for their websites. The honour roll is quite long and includes:

Why Umbraco?

Extensibility, Flexibility, Speed The high level of flexibility provided by Umbraco allows for rapid application development – reducing man hours and costs for all involved. The extensible nature of Umbraco means that custom functionality can be quickly added to new or existing Umbraco based sites in a fraction of the time required by sites based on other platforms (especially custom built CMS systems).

SEO

From an SEO agency standpoint, Umbraco ticks all the boxes simply because its extensibility allows us to quickly customise any part of the site to meet any SEO requirements – that even includes custom administration area alterations, not just the front end! It’s as simple as that. A bold claim indeed, but one that I can confidently make.

Maturity

Umbraco celebrated its sixth birthday this year and is used by a massive amount of people and some big brands (as mentioned). This demonstrates that Umbraco is not a newcomer to the CMS arena and really has earnt its strips to be trusted by so many important businesses globally with managing their online presences.

Transparency

Umbraco is open source, in fact you can grab a copy of the code here if you want. This means that anyone can view every single part of what makes up the Umbraco platform, nothing is hidden from view. Umbraco actively engage their community by constantly giving updates via Twitter, blog posts and newsletter. Over the years I’ve seen too many projects fail, simply because they didn’t engage their community of users and developers – so it’s great to see such an active involvement from Umbraco.

Documentation

Along with the huge amount of information out there on sites such as StackOverflow, there’s the official Umbraco forum, wiki, tutorial videos and also commercial support from Umbraco HQ themselves. In my experience Umbraco have by far the widest coverage of documentation of any open source project I’ve used or been involved with – and it’s always up to date! There’s even an annual developer conference called CodeGarden, which has grown from 23 attendees in 2005 to an expected 350 this year.

The Community

Umbraco has a fantastic (and growing!) community, which really does live up to its tagline of “the friendliest CMS community on the planet.” There’s a great range of projects that can be used to easily extend Umbraco with only a few clicks, allowing you to add features such as newsletters, an online store, on-the-fly image editing and also integrate services such as Facebook-Connect, Twitter, Bit.ly, Google Maps, and YouTube.  The Umbraco community is its biggest asset, securing Umbraco’s future for many years to come.

Epiphany and Umbraco

Epiphany Solutions is an Umbraco Certified Partner, with five Umbraco Certified developers. We’ve built many sites using the Umbraco platform for a wide range of clients, providing a massive range of custom functionality, including some really amazing SEO customisations.

Umbraco’s Next Steps

The Future Umbraco still has a long way to go and there are a few improvements to be made, but compared to many CMS systems available, it’s still miles ahead on all aspects. Umbraco’s structured roadmap and generous community of contributing developers means that Umbraco is moving forward at a staggering pace, in a few weeks at CodeGarden11, we’ll see Umbraco version 5.0 (codename Jupiter) revealed, which is based around the latest Microsoft MVC technology.

Umbraco And The Cloud

Umbraco was recently added to the list of ‘cloud compatible’ websites as it runs excellently on Microsofts Azure platform; this allows for great scalability on demand – a great feature for high volume visitor sites. I’m sure we’ll see more advancements with Umbraco and cloud-based hosting.

Who Are You To Say So?

I’ve been a developer for nearly ten years, seven of which using the .NET platform as my core skill. I know the .NET platform inside out (my Masters was based on .NET too) - but more importantly, I’ve built quite a few custom CMS systems in .NET and PHP for various companies - from small businesses to large companies with 12,000 users. I know how hard it is to create website platform that’s flexible, extensible, fast and easy to use – it’s really, really hard and takes a lot of time and money. So it’s refreshing to find a well-built piece of software that not only works out of the box, but also allows developers to easily customise and integrate with any part of the system they want. For developers, I can only liken discovering Umbraco to the same feeling you had when you made your first ‘Hello World’. I welcome any comments on Umbraco either on here or through Twitter - catch me at @MeniroDev.