Every new version of Kentico CMS Is packed full of features and new functionality. Driven mainly by the community and focus groups, Kentico strives to include capabilities the industry needs and forecast trends and patterns. While I love every new version that rolls out, Kentico v8 has some specific improvements that I think developers are going to love.
API Improvements / Documentation
Ah, APIs. Every programmer’s dream come true when working with a system. Kentico has always provided a great set of functionality to developers and v8 increases their offering. New APIs and classes are mixed into nearly every module and feature. Be sure to check out the API examples and see what goodies lay in store.
In addition to functionality changes, the documentation has gotten a much-deserved facelift. This seems like a minor improvement, but having a well-designed interface for finding answers helps everyone and I think it’s a great addition to v8. The debug section also looks cleaner which should allow devs to see what’s going on better with their sites.
One of my favorite features of the new version is the development and implementation of modules. Being one of my most-used functions of the platform, modules are extremely beneficial when developing a custom application. The shift to not require a separate DLL in v6 was a great feature, but v8’s new web-based approach is even more awesome for producing great custom functionality.
In the new version, modules can be registered and developed all right from the CMS Desk. No more creating a custom class and compiling! All of your custom functionality can be entered into the editor and then registered within the site. This a great way to reduce development time and help developers uniform their code while maximizing their efforts.
Modules 1 Modules 2
In nearly every project I’ve done I have gone through the same steps. Build the site. Configure the site. Turn over the “CMS Desk” keys to the client. Never tell them about the CMS Site Manager. Pray they never ask or find a way to log into it. Having segregated areas of the site has its benefits, however, does introduce some complexities that are difficult to relay at times to the non-Kentico savvy client. With v8 this problem is gone in the way of a single, unified interface for the site.
The new admin area is a stream-lined approach to maintaining a site and one that Kentico has put a LOT of work into designing. With focus groups, sessions at the Kentico Connections, and lots of community webinars and forums, Kentico has really reached out to their partners to see what works and what doesn’t when designing for the new version. This new interface is much cleaner, non-frames-based (Booya!), and a much better solution for the administration of the site. And the fact that it mimics the Azure Management Portal goes a long way in my book!
UI 1 UI 2 UI 3
So with the latest version, Kentico is totally taking the fun out of integrating in with several 3rd party systems. The new platform now natively supports the following integrations which will simplify (and unify) how you merge these systems into the CMS:
Integration 1 Integration 2
- Anything else
As Kentico has added new features over the years the project size has grown more and more. Each new module requires its own set of files and media. Every new web part needs its code behind and specific functionality. Over time these additions really add up and make the project file quite large. This results in longer build times and increased deployment efforts.
In v8, Kentico has made a focused effort on minimizing project files and reducing the project size where it can. The standard “full” installation is now 13,294 files, +827 less than a standard v7 site.
Project Size - OLD Project Size - NEW
If you’re like me, every new version of Kentico contains a ton of updates that you just spent the last year building from scratch to include in your projects. Nowhere do I find this more true than with ecommerce. While there is a little part of me that secretly resents seeing everyone get these sweet features I spent months to build, it really does make everything run so much better when functionality is native to the application.
V8 contains the following great ecommerce features that make building awesome solutions for your clients:
- Product variants
- Customizable shopping cart (Transformation-based!)
- Simplified editing
- Improved discounts
As you can see, there are tons of great features coming v8. Be sure to download the preview and poke around the new UI. As always, Kentico listened to their partners and the community and have a great new product coming out!
Fellow Kentico MVPs Brian McKeiver and Jereon Furst also cover some great parts of v8 in their blogs. Be sure to check out their great finds, as well!