Irfan Ayub, Developer at MMT Digital, walks you through the launch of Kentico 9.
At the tail end of 2015, the world was treated to the launch of something rather special from the clever folk at Kentico. While the rest of us were contemplating hibernation, Petr Palas took to the stage in Brno to unleash Kentico 9 on the world. As one of the leading Kentico Gold Partners in the world, it was only a matter of time before we started tearing into the platform like a sugar-fuelled child at Christmas.
Having come down from our sugar high, we thought it would be a good idea to give you our take on the new features in the EMS…
Website development is now up to 30% faster
What…is your quest?
The quest to bring Continuous Integration into content management systems in a useful and effective manner is not unlike the quest for the Holy Grail. However, unlike Monty Python’s hapless cadre of knights, Kentico have made a huge and important step on their quest to bringing Continuous Integration into the platform. Developers everywhere have been salivating at the thought of a day when all database objects are automated by just hitting a button.
In Kentico 9, we can now move code and data objects from development to production automatically using VCS and synchronise not just between environments but between the team too. Since the files are added into source control, we can easily rollback to a previous version, avoiding the awkward “who broke the template” conversations.
Time and money are the key factors in every project and, within MMT Digital, we use CI on every project that comes in, using our own methods. However, the advances Kentico have made are a great step in improving efficiencies and helping us balance those all important factors. Big thumbs up for Kentico!
Alongside the advances in Continuous Integration, the Kentico wizards have been busy tweaking things under the hood. The move towards the MVC development model gives Kentico 9 a much cleaner and semantic approach to site delivery, resulting in huge productivity gains. To give you some context, here are some benefits of adopting MVC:
- Better control over the rendered HTML
- Cleaner markup
- Separation between UI elements and code
- Easier to unit test pieces of code without presentation getting in the way
- All the above lead to a more performant site, which is one of the ultimate goals for any site!
Developers get control over every aspect making it possible to deliver even more powerful solutions while editors are able to take advantage of powerful sharing features, e.g. create content once and share in multiple places.
Don’t get us wrong though. It still needs a little elbow grease but both developers and editors can be living the dream. Capiche?
Welcome to the world of the now
Over the past few years, all manner of sites, platforms and services have gravitated toward that enigmatic cyberscape known as “The Cloud”. Kentico took advantage of this in earlier versions as Azure emerged as a viable cloud hosting platform.
Never one to rest on their laurels, Kentico have built on their work with Azure to fully leverage Azure’s capabilities, allowing you to deploy seamlessly to the cloud. But that is merely the tip of the Cloud Delivery iceberg… The platform team have given us a whole load of added extras:
- Need a boost? Load balancing/Auto-Scaling features enable you to scale out the power for that special launch date of your brand spanking new Kentico site
- Enhanced integration with Content Delivery Networks (CDN) for media items to ensure a better experience for visitors
- Availability, Scalability, Stability, Security and Capacity (ASSSC) as standard for cost effective services
- Out of the box integrations such as Sendgrid and other 3rd party providers to send out marketing emails for example
And if that wasn’t enough then Kentico have also given us improved integrations with AWS, giving us plenty of options for a highly scalable, reliable and secure infrastructure. We can even make use of hybrid sites (an on-premise server and a CDN)!
The popularity of cloud hosting is increasing and the improvements made by Kentico give our clients the ability to leverage the very best services!
To help explain this, let’s consider the following scenario…You’re a busy editor who needs to make a bunch of changes to your site on the orders/demands/suggestion of other departments. You know that 10 of those changes need to go live now and 5 need to go at a later date. To make it a little trickier, you have to make the changes through your staging site.
This is calling out for content staging but the split in what can go live is a tricky one. Thankfully, the considerate chaps at Kentico have got a solution!
Content editors can now define staging task groups and other filtering criteria, e.g. grouping, managing, reviewing and staging tasks based on the editor’s requirements.For example, you might have a group called ‘MMT Digital 2016 Articles’ and another called ‘Postponed articles’. We can now file changes between the two segments alongside other user’s changes and synchronise them between the different environments with ease. Easy peasy!
Don’t be mean, think green!
As we mentioned earlier, time and money are two important factors in development. Delivering quality products on time and to budget is essential so anything we can do to help this puts a smile on our faces!
The idea of modularization is one of those things that makes you feel a little warm inside. Thanks to Kentico we can now have modular ‘components’, small packages that can be reused on current and future projects. This not only streamlines our development but also saves costs. As the saying goes ‘there’s no point reinventing the wheel’!
Recipe for success
Just like the Double Spicy burger (a particular Friday favourite here at MMT Digital), great food relies on the perfect combination of ingredients. It seems that Kentico are on the same wavelength and they have been hard at work in the EMS kitchen to cook up Integrated Campaign Management.
Sparkly new features allow you to design multi-step funnels and draw together multiple channels to deliver more effective campaigns. This is a welcome addition to the EMS and we are confident this will become one of the most popular features of the EMS!
Why won’t you buy!
The abandoned basket. It’s a scenario that has e-commerce administrators reduced to emotional wrecks as they beg to know what they did wrong while drowning their sorrows in the nearest beverage. The trick is in how you deal with the scenario.
Kentico has given us a helping hand here and provided us with a nice set of tools under marketing automation where we can define certain pathways and, when they are triggered, we can lead users to the end goal. In this case, it’s an abandoned cart where we want the customer to buy products from the site. This is fully configurable using Kentico 9’s integrated modules, allowing us to gently nudge users towards the all-important purchase!
No more tables!
Tables make it difficult to develop responsive pages and we can see this in pages such as the standard logon page. We already had the ability to convert tables to divs but now Kentico has given us the ability to do the very same with the login page. Even though this is a small change in the grand scheme of things, it is still a nice little improvement.
And there’s more…
There are a lot of other improvements within Kentico, many geared towards the humble developer. But overall it’s been a welcome addition to the Kentico series and sets a great platform for the future.
Penned by Irfan Ayub – Developer