The open source content management system Umbraco may have dropped version 5, but the refocus on version 4 has brought some nice improvements and a number of bug fixes.

The free, ASP.Net-based Umbraco is designed for building websites -- from small campaign or brochure sites to large media-based sites -- and complex Web applications.

Umbraco, which bills itself as a  “priceless CMS at the cost of virtually nothing,” was first released in version 2.0 in 2005, which was also when the first developers conference, called CodeGarden, was held. Unfortunately a turn in the wrong direction resulted in dropping the next major version of the Web CMS to go "back to the basics".

“The early days of Umbraco was the result of a wonderful collaboration between three guys in Copenhagen,” wrote one of those guys, Niels Hartvig, on the Umbraco blog. He added that, “almost eight years later -- I’m smiling again” because of the new release.

Focus on the Editor Not the Developer

Umbraco 4.9 features a revised editor, easier integration of third-party videos and images, and a new media library. In addition, the new version includes more than 50 “big” bug fixes, incorporated from submissions by over 20 contributors.

The application now supports HTML5 uploads to the media section, and there’s a new folder content overview that can be filtered and from which common actions can be applied to media items.

The Media button in the Rich Text Editor now supports the oEmbed standard in its embedder, and the code editor for templates, scripting and XSLT templates has been upgraded. Creating and inspecting relation types can now be conducted from the backoffice.

Umbraco 4.9

Umbraco Gets Its Focus Back With a Little Help

Hartvig said, “September 2012 feels like October 2004 on steroids.”

He also noted that, in the past quarter, the number of improvements submitted by external contributors for the Umbraco core is higher “than any other quarters combined.”

Umbraco said that, for this Microsoft platform, it is in the top five most popular server applications and among the ten most popular open source tools. Umbraco HQ is the privately-owned commercial entity that provides support, a bug-fixing warranty and productivity-enhancing add-ons for the open-source product.

Umbraco HQ said the application is used by over 110,000 active websites, including the Davis Cup, Heinz, Peugeot, Hersheys and Microsoft’s Official ASP.NET website. HQ is based in Odense, Denmark, and maintains offices in Bellingham, Washington and Southport, Australia.