I’ve been steadily moving towards writing this post for a while now. Probably about close to 10 years all told, which perhaps (not-so) coincidentally is also when, somewhere in 2008 I first googled “Open Source .NET CMS” and came up with Umbraco.
This isn't an article touting why I love Umbraco because it's user-friendly, editor-friendly, fast, secure, robust, innovative, fun to develop with, enables engineering great solutions and oh, by the way it’s free... Although I could readily make favourable comparisons to other platforms I’ve used in those areas. Rather, it’s more a reflection on the intangible—not the product or what it can do for you and the people you implement it for—but the pieces that go into making Umbraco greater than the sum of its parts.
For many involved with Umbraco over the years, this is an obvious one. For those that are just getting their feet wet (come on in, the water’s fine!), or hearing about the Umbraco Community for the first time it’s a topic worth covering.
The Umbraco Community is over 220K strong, spread across the globe from Umbraco’s home in Denmark, across the EU to the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and even to the tropical island of Mauritius. They come together in many ways. Our Umbraco is the community hub where developers, both new and regular, come together to look for help, to help others and talk about how to make Umbraco better. As well as these discussions, you can also find plugins offered by the community and the Umbraco Documentation.
Umbraco themselves recognise the vital element that community plays in their adoption and growth and has recently named a Community Engagement Officer (CEO), dedicated to making sure the community is heard and helped.
Umbraco is billed as the Friendly CMS, and beyond the actual product, you will quickly see how this label is well-deserved by the community itself, who over the years has fostered this sense of friendliness and weaved it into the fabric of what makes Umbraco great. Whether it be helping other developers when stuck, creating plugins that benefit everyone, contributing to the open source Umbraco CMS itself, creating tutorials for the rest of us to learn from and creating channels where the community come together and talk about Umbraco and all things that concern us as developers and as people.
You can find Umbracians taking on a range of non-tech subjects such as work-life balance, diversity in the workplace, mindfulness, mental health, social anxiety, introversion, gaining confidence in public speaking and much more. There really is a slice of Umbraco that everyone can relate to and if any of that sounds like it floats your boat and you’d like to learn more I’d recommend looking at any of the following outlets to learn more about the community and what’s happening in Umbracoland. If there’s more you think should be listed, let me know and I’ll put them on the board!
WHERE TO FIND THE COMMUNITY
Kevin's Channel has many helpful Umbraco and general development tutorials
Umbraco Slack Chat
Umbraco Slack is an active Slack community of Umbracians, helping each other out and having general banter.
Umbraco on Reddit
Umbraco even has a home on Reddit - check it out!
Umbraco don’t do Conferences—they do Festivals. My first experience of this was at their annual 3-day Codegarden festival in 2015, held in Copenhagen at the time and since moved closer to the Umbraco HQ in Odense, Denmark. I followed that up with another Codegarden and two Umbraco UK Festivals since. It’s great to get to these events and meet the community in the flesh. Apart from some great tech and non-tech talks, there are always surprises around the corner and you literally never know what’s going to happen next. Umbraco Bingo, held after the festival feast is like something from another dimension.
Umbraco in Ireland
I’m based in Ireland, where Umbraco is not as well-known as it should be. There are few specialised Umbraco agencies (that I know of at least!). In the last ten-fifteen years you’d typically find more graduates with a non-.NET background and so that may have fed into what platforms companies choose to support. I’ve found that when companies are implementing CMS’s in Ireland, they are going from one extreme of choosing a CMS that might be more widely-known but not necessarily the best fit, rolling their own (and learning hard lessons along the way), to using more traditional, what they might consider enterprise CMS’s.
I think Umbraco is well-suited to the Irish (and any) market for companies that want a solution that can be tailored to their business and their goals. For clients that I have implemented it for, they love it. It’s enabled them to achieve what they need now while at the same time giving them room to grow.
Why write this now?
I’ve been in a few different areas of tech over my career–from Marketing & e-Commerce, to Insurance and back to e-Commerce again. I’ve been involved with a great team and a vibrant and helpful start-up community as Co-Founder of Newslinn, but there's always been this wonderful CMS and its community in the background, whether I've been tinkering away on personal projects, doing side projects alongside my day job or, as has been the case in the last year, focusing more and more on what I’ve realised I enjoy best – building great experiences on a solid platform that delivers for my clients.
So, in 2018 I’ve decided to double-down on Umbraco, find clients that would benefit best from it, bring awareness to it in Ireland and give a little back to the community through PR’s, writing about Umbraco and talking about it at Meetups and maybe even scale out what I’m doing into a little Irish Umbraco Agency.
Umbraco Ireland Meetup
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while and it’s time to get in gear and get it moving. Having attended my first Umbraco London Meetup last year, my plan in 2018 is to introduce Umbraco at related meetups in Ireland, bring awareness and generate interest in it. Getting the Umbraco Ireland Meetup off the ground in 2018 is a top priority. If you think you might be around Dublin or the Southeast of Ireland and able to swing by, join up on the Meetup Page. It’d be great to see you!
That’s a wrap!
I’m looking forward to what 2018 brings both professionally and personally. Getting more involved with the community, creating great solutions and giving a little back is my plan. I hope it’s a great year for you all!