The thing is, though, upgrading to a new software version does not happen overnight. Moreover, in most cases, it does not happen without cost. There are time and effort involved in an upgrade to a Kentico website. It can also be easy to delay an upgrade year-after-year. As with many software companies, Kentico releases a new version each year. The opportunity to consider an upgrade comes annually. To upgrade or not upgrade, that is the question. I detail the three most important reasons to upgrade a Kentico website below. Enjoy!
My favorite thing about a new release is that it contains new features, generally both from a user perspective but also from a framework perspective. A new version in Kentico will typically have several functional enhancements to make content editors’ or developers’ jobs easier. For example, in Kentico 11, the improved WYSIWYG email builder is a new enhancement to help content editors compose customized, personalized emails without coding. Kentico 11 also includes new data protection features to achieve GDPR compliance. However, there are also the “hidden” improvements that may not be immediately noticeable, but they do improve the underlying functionality of the Kentico platform. These kinds of enhancements can range from improved performance (an important one), better security, and bug fixes. These improvements aren’t typically as visibly satisfying, but they do provide needed changes that keep the platform as efficient, secure, and user-friendly as possible for end users and developers.
Waiting years between upgrades not only leaves you lagging in features and performance improvements, but also makes your upgrade more complicated and, as a result, more time consuming and expensive. Updates to Kentico must happen incrementally. The code and database must be upgraded fully through each version between the starting version and ending version. For example, an upgrade from version 8 to 11 essentially requires five incremental updates: 8.0 → 8.1 → 8.2 → 9 → 10 → 11. The extent of the platform and API changes with each version and the amount of custom code in your solution will determine the complexity of the upgrade. Kentico deprecates code changes for one year before removing the code completely, providing backward compatibility for one year. However, in the next version, the deprecated code will be removed, and the underlying code changes to the platform will break the custom code that uses it. If your upgrade encompasses multiple versions, this creates more complexity and required fixes.
Simple upgrades can take as little as a couple of days, and more complex ones can take up to two or three weeks. To help prevent the 2-3-week complex upgrade, we recommend upgrading annually (best case) or at least every two years.
Most likely you have a current maintenance agreement, and one of the key benefits of your maintenance renewal is access to the latest version. Kentico typically releases one version each year, so you get (at least) one new version each year if your maintenance is current. There is nothing extra to purchase! Plus, keep in mind that Kentico only provides technical support for the latest version plus previous two versions. So, if you need technical support, but your site is three versions behind the current one, their support won’t be too helpful since your version is not supported- even if you are current on your maintenance agreement. Therefore, use your maintenance agreement to maximize your benefits and upgrade!
Of course, upgrading does not happen with the flip of a switch or the installation of a new license key. The next step is to determine the best strategy to perform your upgrade, which depends on a few key items such as your starting and ending versions and how much custom code is in your solution.
Just like performing regular maintenance on your car, your website needs maintenance as well. That regular maintenance brings “under the hood” improvements and some new features too! Upgrading your Kentico website annually will make life with your site a lot easier and more enjoyable in the long run!
There are many Kentico Partners in the community that can do these upgrades, so make sure you find one that understands your business goals. Alternatively, maybe your site needs a Kentico Quality Health Check—let us know if you do, we are a Kentico Quality Expert!
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