The 5 high-level changes within Kentico 9
1. Continuous Integration
With the new out-of-the-box Continuous Integration supporting operations such as creating, updating, and deleting objects, combined with the automatic Source Control synchronisation, Quba can potentially develop our websites faster for clients.
While here at Quba we use source control for code changes, many pieces of work involve changes in the CMS (e.g. new page types and templates, or whole custom modules), and deployment is often time-consuming and can be an error prone process. Kentico 9’s Continuous Integration support will helps us to make the deployment of new development work on existing sites much more efficient and robust.
Rather than developers having to track and re-implement changes manually, or worse, forcing the client into a content freeze, this process will mean deployments are more automated, reducing both the deployment time and the potential for errors to creep in.
2. Integrated Campaign Management
Improvements here to allow the ability to execute cross-channel online digital marketing campaigns through Kentico’s WCM and e-commerce solutions. An example of an improvement is the campaign (funnel) where you can see the stages in the campaign across all mediums including email, Facebook and Twitter. Campaigns now use UTM to easily tie your external marketing activities back to the Kentico campaign.
Email marketing now has a proper email funnel so you can easily see how well individual emails are performing. Kentico has also introduced clear stats for emails associated with campaigns including open rate, click rate etc. This allows you to optimise the campaign for better results. In our experience our clients really like visual tools like this that help them to understand the effectiveness of their online marketing efforts.
3. Web Farm Support
The more successful campaigns you run will naturally lead to additional traffic to the site and/or spikes in traffic. The website will need to scale to manage any increase in traffic so that performance is not impacted. The improved cloud deployments handles this issue and the out-of-the-box auto-scaling keeps multiple instances of your Kentico website in sync, therefore guaranteeing a consistent experience for any user.
4. ASP.NET MVC Support
ASP.NET MVC Support in Kentico 9 gives us a more semantic approach to content editing, without the distraction of page settings, allowing users to create content once, and use it in various locations on the live site. Having the option to move away from the Portal engine will allow us a cleaner architectural layout with the advantages to increase your content editing productivity and will help improve the speed of website delivery dramatically.
Modularisation involves creating modules that can be packaged automatically, stored, and then reused in subsequent projects. This will reduce Quba’s development costs by creating customised modules with all the elements we need for current and future Kentico projects.
What does it all mean?
The updates are significant from a development point of view, and should make some development tasks easier through the flexibility and improvements and potentially have more scope to do more integration with third parties. The streamlined processes within the platform should translate that more can be achieved in a shorter timescale.
For a CMS user's point of view, the changes from v8.2 to v9.0 aren’t groundbreaking in comparison to the update from v7.0 to v8.0 where the entire user interface (UI) changed. With regards to the UI, there has been some modifications but not a major overhaul.
Should I upgrade to Kentico V9?
This depends on what you're trying to achieve in the longer term and how much bespoke code you have on V8 or V7. As a general rule of thumb, the more bespoke code you have, the longer the upgrade will take to test and complete. We would say if you're looking at doing some integration or a large tactical piece of development, then this could be a good vehicle to move onto V9 in order to use these new features, as development will be quicker.
Five Key Takeaways
The majority of changes from V8 to V9 are more aligned to make the development community very happy as these new high-level features are more technical based (such as Continuous Integration and MVC) rather than for a general CMS/Marketing user.
Improved web-farm support to handle any potential issues with additional traffic or in peak times where the site could be under excessive strain.
Seriously consider to upgrade to Kentico V9 if you're doing any substantial development on any of the earlier Kentico versions.
The Campaigns application is completely redesigned. You can now add pages as campaign assets. There is also a new report view in terms of a sales funnel, which allows you to better visually track visitor progress in your campaigns.
Keep an eye on the version release and look out for Kentico webinars to see the how Kentico 9 could work for you.