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A First Glimpse of the All New EPiServer 7

During the Swedish Partner Days, we’re showing EPiServer 7 to the world for the first time! Yes, we’ve been undercover for almost a year, so it will be great to finally get the word out. You will notice that a lot has happened:

  • An Add-on Store that makes it possible for site owners to install, upgrade and uninstall add-ons without the need for a developer.
  • A new way for developers to create strongly typed content models, a design pattern that works for both pages and smaller parts that we call blocks.
  • A/B testing – your best friend when it comes to increasing conversions – is now built into the product.

In fact, there are so many improvements, especially regarding multi-channel, context awareness and content reuse, that we haven’t even bothered counting them all. However, there is probably another thing that will steal most of your attention: We have redesigned the user interface.

EPiServer is known to be best of breed when it comes to usability, “It’s so easy to use” is one of the most common comments we get from editors and marketers. So, why change something that is such a great success you may ask?

The first and simplest answer to that question is time. The current version of EPiServer has its roots 10 years back and we’ve learnt a lot about content management during this time. When out talking to customers, we see that they’re no longer just building websites. They’re managing their complete online presence with EPiServer.

Working with content has evolved from creating information pages to forming content tailored for a specific visitor segment, deciding in which channels the content should live, building trust, measuring the results and optimizing the conversion. We see other tools out there today that try to do the same thing, but they’ve lost control of complexity. They offer a lot of functionality and if you happen to push the right buttons, they can sometimes do the work. The problem is that it is very hard to know which buttons to push and quite often the button you really need is missing.

With our powerful platform, ranging from digital marketing to e-commerce, we realized that the current user interface wouldn’t be sufficient if we wanted to, 10 years later, once again create the user-friendliest system to manage your online presence.  That’s when we decided to start reworking the user interface, keeping the core concepts that have made EPiServer what it is today, but taking advantage of what’s possible to do with the latest web technologies and start preparing interactions for touch. We used the slogan “we are easy” to make sure we always focused on making difficult things easy.

If you’re an EPiServer user you will feel right at home in the new user interface when seeing it for the first time. The structure is still managed by a page tree; this is the model that all our usability tests show is the easiest to grasp. Into the structure goes the content, which can be for example pages, blocks or products. Built-in search makes it easy to find what you're looking for. You will be surprised at how “clean” the user interface is, even though you will have more tools at hand. We want the content to be in focus, not the system. It is, however, when you start using it with several channels and want to reuse data across these channels that it really starts to shine.

Edit view in EPiServer 7 Preview


From today we'll start talking and writing more about EPiServer 7. You’ll learn about all the things we have considered when creating the new user interface, as well as everything that has gone into the platform. There’s still some time before it will be available to customers, but we will release a public preview later this month to give you the opportunity to test drive it.

We are very eager to hear your feedback! So far a closed group, consisting of editors, marketers and developers, has helped us form the product. Now we’re reaching out to everyone. We hope you will enjoy the product as much as we enjoyed creating it.  The final version is due later this year.

Martin Edenström
( By Martin Edenström, 6/7/2012 11:06:51 AM)

Fun fact, I wrote a post about the "new yellow color", based on the displayed colors in the flickering Clarion conference room projector! ;)

Minesh Shah (Netcel)
( By Minesh Shah (Netcel), 6/11/2012 12:25:34 PM)

When will information regarding upgrade paths become available also for projects already using PTB will this cause conflicts with the way EPiServer have implemented strongly typed page types / properties when we do try and upgrade from 6 to 7.

Roland Egedi
( By Roland Egedi, 6/11/2012 3:25:40 PM)

@Minesh Shah: according to the EPi people on the conference (don't remember who said it, Johan Björnfot?) PageTypeBuilder will run fine along-side the new strongly typed page types.

( 6/12/2012 11:09:40 AM)

@Roland: You are right, it will be possible to run PTB alongside EPiServer 7. Converting from PTB to the new strongly typed model will also be fairly easy since the design pattern i similar. To take advantage of the new block functionality you will need to use the new model.

( 6/13/2012 11:24:16 PM)

Excellent write up Mr. Sunna. :)

( 6/14/2012 2:49:54 PM)

Cool stuff Peter, we're really looking forward to this release!

( 6/15/2012 6:13:59 PM)

Excellent! Really looking forward to developing with the new version.

( 6/19/2012 4:37:28 PM)

Exciting stuff! Can't wait!

( 9/4/2012 4:19:47 PM)

Hello MVC and Razor,
Fare well untyped ugly repeaters...


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