Although Code Garden is always full of surprises,
this years' Code Garden 2012 will be remembered for a long time to
come. What was announced as 'The year of v5' will be remembered as
'the burial of v5'. Wednesday 13th of June 2012, Umbraco's founder,
Niels Hartvig, announced that the development of Umbraco v5 project
will be stopped. Niels' keynote on Code Garden 2012 where this
announcement was made can be viewed online.
Last years Code Garden 2011 was completely build upon Umbraco's
shiny new CMS, so what happened? To cite Niels on this, "we
created a monster, it was never the intention, but that was what we
did". Umbraco 5 didn't represent the Umbraco values at all
which are simplicity, transparency and userfriendlyness.
Issues with Umbraco v5
There are few issues that can be pinpointed:
the first one being performance. It was during
the period of April 2012 that the Umbraco HQ started to realize
there were some fundamental performance problems with v5. The
blogpost that started this awareness of the frustrations the
community had with the Umbraco 5 performance issues is still online.
It was during that period of time that the Umbraco HQ started to
admit publically that there were some fundamental problems with v5
(see my previous blogpost about the
Dutch Umbraco Festival), and that the business logic layer
would needed to be rewritten.
Another problem with v5 is it's complexity. The
architecture was build with flexibility and scalability in mind,
but turned out to be too complex for the community who needs to
build websites with it and extend it with packages. This complexity
is maybe the most important reason why the plug was pulled out of
v5. An open source community is all about participation, and it
turned out to be that v5 was actively preventing the community from
participating to the development of v5.
Restarting the development of Umbraco v4
So the Umbraco HQ realized they needed to deal with this
situation. The decision to stop the development of the v5 project
was actually taken a few days before the Code Garden conference, at
what is called the Code Garden Retreat. This is a gathering of the
HQ and some of the most participative members in the community to
discuss the future of Umbraco.
At this retreat they where confronted with the options to deal
with the problems of the v5 project. One of the options was to
rewrite the business layer of v5 but this would take 6 to 9 months.
A time period where the HQ would again be put in a 'limbo' like it
was when building v5, and the community that had started to build
websites with v5 would have been left without a solution.
The decision was made at the retreat to deal with this the other
way around and start fixing the core of v4, which
needed TLC anyway, and start releasing improvements to the core in
short release cycles. This can be done in a
backwards compatible way, and when this is done, there will be
started to take what's awesome and not complex in v5 and add it to
They still going to release Umbraco v5.2 by the
end of June 2012 to solve the worst issues of those having a v5
website running. But Niels Hartvig stated it in a way that could
not be misunderstood: "we will stop the development of v5 and we
cannot recommend any new projects to use v5".
The core asset of Umbraco: it's community
After Niells dropped the bomb in his keynote, there was a panel
discussion, where the community members could ask questions or
share their concerns. One developer, who was already some 30 year's
in the business applauded this as a bold decision and mentioned the
"second system syndrome" which had been fatal to
a lot of software companies who didn't dare to admit they made a
mistake and kill the successor of there once succesfull system
Although this was bad news to a lot of attendants who
already started building solutions with v5 or who followed a
certification training for v5, most of the attendants where
relieved that the development focus would again go to the
CMS they knew and love. And in a way this years edition of Code
Garden was a rediscovery of the core asset of Umbraco, it's
This was made clear by bringing back an old tradition of Code
Garden, the open circle discussions. In the vein
of Scandinavia's participative tradition, a big circle was made by
all the participants where everyone could bring a topic he wanted
to discuss at Code Garden. Then everyone could join the discussion
of these topics. All minutes of these discussions will be posted
And what will happen with MVC?
So what will happen now with Umbraco and MVC, which Umbraco 5
was all about? Shannon Deminick already started a proof of concept
project where MVC is implemented in Umbraco v4. Eventually
MVC will be implemented for rendering purposes and after that,
Umbraco's backoffice will be implemented in MVC.
Picture used by kind permission of Douglas