Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the Umbraco UK Festival at the Skills Matter building in London.

The UK Festival is the biggest and (probably) the best Umbraco event outside of Denmark, bringing in all sorts of Umbraco enthusiasts from around the world! It consists of a whole day of talks on various subjects mostly relating to Umbraco such as demoing new features and talking about how to use different bits of technology within Umbraco. There were also some more general talks on things like how to optimally deliver value to your clients.

All of the talks were interesting, but my two favourites of the day have to have been ‘The Umbraco Mullet’ and ‘Why Code First is Bad’.

The Umbraco Mullet was a talk by Kyle Weems on using AngularJS to handle every aspect of the front-end of a website, with Umbraco managing the content and data structures in the back-end, meaning all views, controllers and routing would be handled by Angular. What this would give you is a more responsive website, without any postbacks and page reloading whenever you submit a form, for example. Kyle did a great job of explaining the benefits of working with Angular while also giving everybody a lesson on the history of mullets.

Pete Duncanson gave the talk on ‘Why Code First is Bad’. Code First means doing away with any of the GUI that Umbraco provides and creating everything, such as your doc types, purely through code. A lot of people have been trying to find the best solution to code first Umbraco, but ultimately, the best solution seems to be ‘just use the UI’. Pete draws on his personal experiences with various tools such as uSiteBuilder and talked about the problems he faced, and why he has now decided to just use the UI provided!

The final talk, and I suppose the ‘main event’ was the talk by Per and Rune from the Umbraco HQ on the new features of the upcoming version of Umbraco version 7.2; the biggest and most exciting of which is the new ‘Grid’.

The Grid will allow for a hugely improved experience when you are editing the content of your website. It allows the user to visually see the layout of the page they are editing, and easily add new sections and drag and drop bits around, so they can see almost exactly what the page will look like before they save and publish. The Grid is an absolutely huge new feature which I think will completely change the way that we go about creating websites.

The Umbraco UK Festival was an interesting day that I’m glad I went to. I’m excited to try and put into practice a lot of the new techniques that I picked up over the course of the day, and I’m already looking forward to next year!