Open source Web CMS provider, Umbraco has released version 6 of its flagship product. Technically called Umbraco 6.0 RC (for Release Candidate), the new solution will shortly be offered as the final release of version 6 unless initial usage reveals any serious problems.

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Umbraco says its latest version has a new and significantly faster data layer, as well as a new public API consisting of a number of services which provide a “gateway” to Umbraco data and support for Web architectures including MVC, Webforms and Razor. Version 6 also offers what Umbraco terms “bug fixes and polish.” These 159 work items include features such as support for master media types and filtering of what document types are allowed in the root of a site.

According to Umbraco, version 6 is “99% compatible” with Umbraco 4 (we’ll get to the mysterious disappearance of version 5 in a moment) and legacy codes and packages will be automatically enhanced. In addition, the old API is being automatically converted to the new API.

Umbraco Works For Non-Geeks

According to a recent posting on the ProWorks Blog, Umbraco is a good CMS for non-technical users, such as sales/marketing professionals or senior line-of-business executives. Blogger Nicole Weathers states Umbraco “is like a piece of clay, it can be molded and shaped into just about anything from a simple brochure website to a high end e-commerce site with every bell and whistle you can think of.”

Learning Opportunities

Weathers cites Umbraco’s power and simplicity as its most compelling features. “Think of having a website that is versatile, powerful and changeable enough that it can truly be the hub of a business' online presence and market strategy, whether that be social media, e-commerce, video, etc.,” says Weathers. “Even a user with with limited web experience can navigate the back end or admin portion of the most complex websites, with little to no training.”

Note that this view is after a website has been built. Umbraco is very well known as a "developer's CMS".

What Happened to Version 5?

Umbraco 6 is the followup to Umbraco 4, released in 2009. Umbraco 5 was released in January 2012, but as CMSWire reported, issues arose with performance and many in the community did not feel it was an improvement over v4 -- the result being many still worked with v4. Version 5 brought the integration of MVC/Razor and the dropping of XSLT and Webforms, and it’s interesting to note that version 6 restores support for these two standards.

Also, as noted by CMSWire at the time, Umbraco 5 was not developed by the community due to its complexity, and that lack of connection to the developer community was ultimately its undoing. Umbraco 6 is staying much closer to the open source community that supports it, so if the company played its cards right the “RC” will soon be dropped from the name.