At christmas the Umbraco Core team released the Beta of “Umbraco Juno”. A nice name for current version 4.6. There’s some really cool news in that version and I had the oportunity to have a quick glance at it today.
New Starter Packs and Skinning
They have made a whole new Starter Pack + Skinning functionality. It gives you a good Umbraco setup with a nice design right out of the box. A couple of top notch designer companies have contributed with their work, and they delivered some really professional looking designs.
Umbraco already was a very flexible and extensible environment to build web sites with. But it required a good deal of craftmanship and designer skills to make up the good looks. Now we get high quality design right with the installation also. Very very exciting.
(I did have some problems installing some of the Starter Packs, I’m sure that will be taken care of in the final version. I’ll give it another go and report to codeplex when I have more details.)
Web Deploy Setup
Over at the installation page there’s a “Web Deploy” setup package. One (/the?) way to install that kind of packages is to fire up IIS 7, add a new blank web site, set the application pool to .net4, and then just click Import Application and a friendly wizard makes the installation.
(The installation comes with SQL CE, but I could not make that work when I tried, so I just setup a blank SQL database the oldskool way.)
Watch a full umbraco installation process and one of the skins
Videocast by CPalm here. Very nice one!
Razor macro engine
With new Asp Net MVC3 and WebMatrix comes a View Engine (syntax) called Razor which is really nice. “Just write a @ where you think it fits and it will probably work fine”. Read more about the syntax here.
In Umbraco 4.6 its possible to use Razor for your macros, with CurrentPage as the Model object to use. And furthermore they added a macro tag possibility to the templates so with that Razor code can be written directly in templates aswell.
Personally I was never 100% happy with either of the old macro languages I tried (Xslt, Python and Ascx). However the annoyances I had seem to be taken care of with Razor. I have been working with with Razor a bit lately (for MVC 3) and it just is two steps forward in my opinion. Still have to give it a good go in Umbraco though. But I really feel my Umbraco productivity will be much better now thanks to Razor.
Niels Hartvig blogged about Razor + Umbraco here (note that now it’s included in the core and does not need a separate package installation). Also read Aaron Powell’s post about Umbraco Juno and the Razor macro engine here (with samples) – and also about implementing NHaml (!) as a Macro Engine.
So I wish all a very Happy New Umbraco Year, and Good Work Umbraco Team (to say the least)!