EPiServer 7–The start of a new era
With EPiServer 7, and especially EPiServer 7 CMS EPiServer AB takes a brave and necessary step into the future. As Peter Sunna (the release manager for Falcon) said in Stockholm last week: little have changed UI wise since EPiServer 4 eight years ago.
A brand new UI
With the new UI the actual page is the center of the editing experience and not html forms like in versions 4 to 6, and this can only improve the editor friendliness that EPiServer is already so famous for. During the demo in Stockholm Peter simply dragged a picture from the file manager to the picture area on the page where he wanted it. It can’t be done any simpler. (I know, I have tried )
EPiServer CMS 6 R2
EPiServer 7 CMS
Major update to the core
The new UI is going to get all the attention, but the core of EPiServer has also gone through a revolution. The focus has gone from just pages to also include pieces of content (blocks) that can be reused on different pages, and even on different sites. This also offers a more logical grouping of properties, so instead of adding 5 person related properties to a page, we can now create a person block containing first name, last name, picture, email and phone number, and then add a person property to the page type! This block can of course also be reused on other page types. Page types and blocks can also be defined in code like we are used to from Page Type Builder.
“I need some boxes over here”
In nearly all projects the customer requires some “boxes” on the right hand side of every page that they should be able to select specifically for each page. Up until now this have required a separate product (Composer), web parts or a custom solution, but now this will be built into the CMS. Having this as the standard is going to change the way we think about EPiServer sites and pages.
And a whole lot more…
What does Making Waves think about EPiServer 7?
As a big (the biggest?) EPiServer partner we have a lot invested in the EPiServer platform, and thus any big stumbles will affect our business*. So what are our feelings about EPiServer 7?
We think it is a gamble to change the editor UI so radically from what EPiServer editors have been used to work with every day for the past 8 years. But knowing how much time and effort EPiServer AB has spent testing and perfecting the concepts behind it, we are confident that they will succeed and end up with a superior product. In addition they have been wise enough to separate the UI from the core into an add on, making it easier to update the UI more often than the yearly release cycle we have been used to with CMS 5 & 6. So if any big snags are found after the release, they can simply push out an update.
It is also nice to see that EPiServer 7 can keep up with the competition. One of the strengths of WordPress is that editors can add new features using plugins, and now EPiServer will match this with the “add-on” store. Also the built in “composer” functionality is a big leap forward.
EPiServer Find aka Truffler
We are also very happy about EPiServer’s most recent purchase: Truffler. We have used Truffler in projects and it is a premium search engine. Our hope is that they can add a lite version of EPiServer Find in the basic CMS product. This will open up for brand new ways of searching for pages and blocks, and use the results to create navigation, lists, related content etc.
Order form for Tema travels using Truffler.
The start of something great!
To sum it up: we think EPiServer has done the right strategic moves with EPiServer 7 and recent purchases. We are looking forward to an exiting year ahead of us building great digital experiences for our clients with the new EPiServer 7 stack!
*We also deliver on other platforms like SharePoint, Wordpress, eZ Publish etc., but EPiServer is by far our biggest platform as of today.