Umbraco's Codegarden 2023 Recap

Codegarden is the annual ‘’tech conference like no other’’. Celebrating and inspiring on all things Umbraco. As proud Umbraco Gold Partner, housing our very own awarded Umbraco MVP, and winning an Umbraco award, we would love to tell you all about this year's conference and how we left our DotControl mark in Odense Denmark. Let’s dive into the ins and outs for future Umbraco tech and more.

Picture of the autor Dave Woestenborghs

Dave Woestenborghs

Senior Developer

The conference always starts off with a pre-party at Umbraco HQ before the first day of codegarden, giving the community the chance to catch-up with friends and make new connections.

Day 1 - Roadmap 

Umbraco anno MMXXIII

During the first session, Umbraco shared more on their roadmap for the future. With the release of Umbraco 12, a new Content Delivery API will be introduced in the core CMS. This will provide many headless capabilities. 

Other exciting new features coming up, which we are looking forward to are:

  • A brand new back-office in Umbraco 14.
  • Improvements will be made on the content cache
  • New features for block based editors; such as block level variations

Stay tuned for upcoming blogposts this year. Fun fact: did you know that on average 20 new sites are released to production each day using Umbraco?

Umbraco Cloud and You  

As DotControl we are an Umbraco Cloud Powerhouse, naturally the session ‘Umbraco Cloud and You’ was on our must attend list for day 1. We are beyond happy to see all improvements coming to Umbraco Cloud in the future. The upcoming feature that really stood out the most was CI/CD, which is set to be released Q3 this year.

Why you ask? Well, we actually inspired the people at Umbraco with our solution we used for Umbraco Cloud. Initially, our way of working wasn’t aligned with the cloud set-up in Umbraco. So, the problem-solvers we are, invented the solution ourselves. I gave a talk on the details of our solution during Codegarden 2022, providing a more detailed outlook on how we use Umbraco Cloud. Soon after, Umbraco’s Product Owner came knocking on our door. Ultimately resulting in them setting to make the CI/CD feature available for more people to use! We are extremely happy to see this feature becoming an out of the box feature on the cloud platform.

Other announced features we are looking forward to the upcoming year are:

  • Load balancing
  • Feature environments
  • Scheduled upgrades

Day 2 – talking about debugging, contentment & code red 

Advanced debugging

As you might know when you’re a developer: debugging is no fun. However, it is a crucial part of any developers’ tool belt. During one of the first sessions this day, Steve Temple shared some tips that can make our debugging efforts more effective.

Finding contentment

Contentment is an open-source package for Umbraco, which we use in many of the Umbraco sites we build at DotControl. We mainly use the data list functionality from this package. After this inspiring session we are keen to make even more use of this package to be able to build even greater editor experiences in Umbraco.


Code red: convincing your boss to focus on code quality

Code quality is an abstract concept that fails to get traction at the business level. Consequently, software companies keep trading code quality for new features. The resulting technical debt is estimated to waste up to 42% of developers' time, causing unnecessary stress and uncertainty. In this session Adam Tornhill showed how to identify technical debt and how to prioritize fixing the technical debt.


ModelsBuilder: Beyond PureLive

Within the Umbraco community I had the honour to have my MVP status renewed once again! Counting 8 years in a row already. The ‘Most Valuable People’ status is awarded to the friendly community members who go the extra mile. 

As an active member within the Umbraco community, I also presented the audience with a talk on Umbraco’s ModelsBuilder. This tool has been a part of the platform since Umbraco 7.4. With this tool you can make your code cleaner and prevent runtime errors from happening (when used in the correct way). I provided the audience with a clear demonstration on how to get the most out of this tool.

During the closing dinner, bingo has become a well-loved tradition at Codegarden. This year’s theme was: UmbracOlympics (think mass rock, paper, scissors game, jenga, 100m dash on a retro track and field game).

Nationale Bioscoopbon - this year's Best Designed Site

Not only did we attend Codegarden and inspire the crowd with our vision on CI/CD, we also won an award at the Umbraco award show! Not just any award, but the award for Best Designed Site with our casestudy on de Nationale Bioscoopbon ‘from Physical Card to Digital Experience’.

The Nationale Bioscoopbon is a gift card that has been around for about a decade, establishing itself as a gift renowned by a nation-wide audience.

Read full case 

Together with Selmore agency we introduced a new digital product, with a new design to reposition the brand with a future-proof solution. The new e-commerce platform fully built on Umbraco technology, reimagines the concept of a gift card in ways that have never been seen before. Transforming a physical coupon to an immersive digital experience packed with surprises.

Our unique order flow offers highly personalized options (gifs, messages, stickers) with instant previews, resulting in a remarkable 76% completion rate. The design is accessible to all generations, featuring high contrast and bold buttons. The platform prioritizes a clean, uncluttered overview, focusing on enhancing the user experience and ensuring intuitive ordering with keyboard support.

We are super proud of the Umbraco award, making it another cherry on top of the project which we will continue to optimize together with Selmore.

Quote: “The combination of stunning design and clean markup in this solution is truly impressive. The design itself is both fun and inviting, and the order flow appears to be very intuitive.’’ – Umbraco Jury

See you next year at Codegarden 2024!