Umbraco review: Top 5 Features + CMS


Umbraco, the open source ASP.NET CMS released a big update late last year that resulted in the introduction of “Grid Layout” and “Responsive Preview”, both new to the system.

Umbraco 7.2 aims to be the best authoring tool for editors in a responsive era, and this is how its team proposes to do so:


1. Grid Layout

For years Rich Text Editors (RTE) have been an essential part in editing content, but modern sites that target multiple platforms need better markup than a RTE can deliver. With the “Grid Layout” editor in 7.2, Umbraco wants to change how content is managed on modern websites.

The grid is a powerful new data type (a classification identifying one of various types of data) that will empower editors to build up content by combining predefined layouts of their content. It's also a great way to easily style the content to make it look very similar to what it will look like on the front end (see our article on front end vs back end development). Editors get the ability to add blocks of content in the way they need to.


2. Responsive Preview

Complementing the Grid Layout, Responsive Preview makes it possible to preview a site as it would look across devices such as phones, tablets or desktops.


3. List view

Another new feature we introduced is list view, which brought a better overview of large amount of content, especially the type of content that isn't hierarchical. Rather than a long (and slow) tree, there’s now a tabular view of sub content, which includes the ability to perform bulk actions and search.

When setting a document type to be a list view, editors get extra options to control what exactly appears in it: the number of items to appear per page, the default sort order, and the option to add or remove columns. Also, list views loaded up with a large number of items, now loads much faster.


4. Compositions

In 7.2 it is now possible to compose document types from other existing document types. Let’s say you've created your HomePage, TextPage and GalleryItem doctypes, and also an SEO doctype. The GalleryItem is not a document type with a template but only a place to put some content for a gallery item with a call-to-action link. In this case, you can decide to use the fields from the SEO document type only on HomePage and TextPage. This gives you much more freedom to determine which fields appear on which document type without having to resort to doctype nesting tricks.


5. Forms Preview

Contour (maker of contact forms, entry forms and questionnaires) is going to be called Umbraco Forms. The 7.2 version offers the possibility to install a preview version of Umbraco Forms to play around with. The form designer has been completely renewed, and it makes use of the grid editor to style with style.


Want to give it a try? Download Umbraco here!