Pleasure to use

The new, up-to-date user interface is just a pleasure to use. It’s intuitive, clean, uncluttered. Features that are seldom used have been elegantly taken out of your way. For example, as an editor you spend most of your time editing pages and create new content – so that’s what you see first. If you do need to sort, delete, rollback, set permissions and so on – it’s just a simple click on the 'Do something else' button to bring up all of these options.

Built on AngularJS, the open source JavaScript framework developed by Google, it’s fast too.

Tablet friendly

Anyone familiar with previous versions of Umbraco will know that right-clicking is usually how you get something done. This comes from its Windows heritage. With Umbraco 7 there is no longer a reliance on right-clicking to perform a task. This enables tablet and touch screen users to be very productive. They’ve still kept some right-click shortcuts to keep the existing users happy.

List View

One of the great things about Umbraco is that it’s so easy to organise the hierarchy of your websites pages because it’s displayed in a tree view structure, familiar to even the most basic of computer users.

However, as your site grows, it can be hard work navigating content in a tree structure. This is particularly true of news, project, gallery and blog posts. The way we would usually solve this is to group the pages in some way, for example a blog’s posts would be grouped by year. This works pretty well but there is a better way – the new Umbraco 7 list view.

List view

List view

For certain types of pages you can specify that they should display as a list view. When you select the page in the editor, instead of showing you a long list of nodes in the content tree, it displays all of the subpages in the main content area in a list view. You can scroll through this list a page at a time, click on column headings to quickly sort the pages and even search which is very fast.

Extendibility

I’ve already mentioned the editor is built on AngularJS. What this gives us is a much simplified and more flexible platform upon which to extend the back office. If you can’t find what you need from Umbraco’s well stocked toolbox, it’s a breeze for us developers to build something that will make the editor's life easier. After all, we should be making the website fit you, not the other way around.

Lacks built-in image crop support

Image cropping in Umbraco is great. You can predefine different crops for each image and use those crops in different places. This means the editor only needs to upload the image once but the website can use a thumbnail image for gallery navigation and a full size image in the gallery. The result is optimised image sizes for faster page load times and less work for the editor to do.

The first release of Umbraco 7 was missing an image cropper. This is because they want to build a much better one and didn’t want to rebuild the existing one if it was just going to be the same. The new image cropper is coming in version 7.1, due in the next few weeks and promises to be a more flexible and complete solution to the image cropper we’ve been used to.

Conclusion

We love Umbraco 7 and now recommend it for all new projects. The lack of an image cropper had been a bit of a blocker for some sites, particularly for our own which relies heavily on automated crops but the advantages far outweigh this relatively minor inconvenience.

I’m constantly asked by our own editors “when are WE getting Umbraco 7?” Well, I've had a sneak peak at the new updated image cropper and it looks fantastic. It's due to be released on 7th March so the the answer is NOW!