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When talking about the story of the most successful ASP.NET based open source CMS, Umbraco founder and chief developer Niels Hartvig can hardly hide his amazement: "Initially, the system was created as a fun project. Over the first six months with Umbraco we had probably 1,000 system downloads. More than 15 years later we are registering a higher number of new installations per day."
What distinguishes the Danish CMS Umbraco as an all-purpose tool (the name Umbraco was created from the Danish word for Allen key: unbraco) is the flexibility in which the system can be used. Possibilities for working with Umbraco include general websites, projects connected to e-commerce systems as well as complex content management, like e. g. used in government or publishing. When working with Umbraco you quickly realize that the developers' community behind the system is not only based on technical know-how but as well on creativity and the courage of being innovative.
Umbraco sees itself as a content management system in its original sense that allows its users to create graphically and technically high-level web projects of any kind. What makes the open source system, in fact, a true all-rounder is the fact that it can additionally be used to control applications on various systems (e. g. on stadium screens). The foundation for this broad range of functions are, next to a C#- and ASP.NET-based core, more than 1,000 additional plugins, named packages in Umbraco, many of which are open source and thus free and developed by the strong Community behind the system. The motto concerning these packages is "quality before quantity": Whereas other popular systems offer hundreds of options where quality is to be searched for, Umbraco creatives work together to improve the versatility of established components. This practice makes the CMS a powerful tool that can be extended according to individual requirements.
Umbraco's standard download comes with a package of 17 languages, including German. Other languages can be added by the easy editing of an also included language file.
Native compatibility due to ASP.NET
Being based on APS.NET technology, Umbraco CMS is often seen as exotic - especially in Germany where Unix-based systems such as PHP have been leading the market for years. At the same time it is this technology that makes the system strong and compatible with countless Windows-applications. Whereas it is often necessary on PHP-based systems to build extra bridges for different applications to cooperate, Umbraco uses its native compatibility to fit into the Windows environment. This prevents typical compatibility problems, builds upon the know how of those users who are used to Microsoft in their working environment, and reduces maintenance and costs.
When it comes to hosting, Umbraco is an open CMS and runs on-premise as well as via Cloud. A special service has been available as of 2015, when "Umbraco Cloud" was launched. The Cloud solution running via Microsoft Azure includes automated updates and broad support service for 25 euros per month.
The difference between Umbraco and many other content management systems is that even the Umbraco core has a modular design. It consists of a central, abstracted content structure, that can manage any content type as well as an API that allows you to edit your content. Additionally, developers have full control over the Umbraco frontend, so that any kind of output can be realized: HTML, XML, JSON, even more exotic representations of content. Apart from this, Umbraco includes a backend based on AngularJS that makes it responsive, highly performing and easily extensible. Due to its slim and open architecture Umbraco is often referred to as "Content-Management-Framework". The variation of possible functions thus includes classic web CMS, document management, e-commerce or data management for apps and POS-systems.
One of the most characteristic functions, being added to the CMS's version 7.2 launched in 2014, is its native "grid editor". This feature allows to easily place and move preset content elements in the system's backend and thus makes the editors job way more easy and less time-consuming. This shows what the Umbraco community has been successfully doing for many years: taking a system that is complex, versatile, and useful in many ways and making it easier and easier to use version by version - without losing any functions.
„Sharing is Caring“
The community of Umbraco is one of the fastest growing open source networks worldwide, including more than 100 core contributors additionally over 200,000 developers. The founders of the CMS call their network the "friendliest community on earth" based on the active, trusting, and fair cooperation. Thus the motto: "Sharing is Caring". This feeling is manifested by developers and design conferences all over the world. The largest event that yearly brings hundreds of developers to Umbraco's home country Denmark is Codegarden. But also in Germany Umbraco partners are hosting productive network meetings on a regular basis.
Those who are new on Umbraco can not only use the extensive documentation to learn about the CMS, but there's also a broad range of mostly English speaking video platforms and Youtube chanels such as umbraco.tv or uhangout.co.uk that professionals use to explain about new features or useful tricks. Using umbraco.tv is fee-based and available from 16.50 euros per month. For all those who want to learn about Umbraco by specialists themselves certification trainings for web- and .net-developers are offered by lots of Umbraco partners all around the world.