Thoughts about Umbraco as a modular CMSPublished on 05. April 2009 in
Umbraco is the friendly CMS. At least when you are a developer or an editor. It's just one of those things that grow on you when you get into the mindset of using the ultra flexible framework that it is. Still, once in a while, a new user comes by and can not understand why it is so hard to create a site using the existing packages. That makes me wonder. Because as time goes by, the new users seem to warm up to the concepts.
When I have been in positions where I recommended Umbraco to companies, they always ask if there are a lot of plugins/addons/modules (take your pick), and I have always answered that Umbraco is not as such a modular CMS. Not because it is not possible, but because it is often really fast to build the functionality that you want, instead of installing a module that might not fit your needs 100%, and then spend time trying to squeeze your ideas into that module.
With V4 of Umbraco a lot of effort has been but into making it easier for the new users by giving them the Runway site that supports Modules. This is cool, and probably will get some to hang in a bit longer than otherwise, which again gives them time to warm up to the concepts of Umbraco. But I am wondering if plug'n'play modules on a larger scale would be the way to go?
The upside would probably be a wider adaption in small site installations, and maybe a more active marketplace for commercial modules through the package repo. But is it the right way to go?
Personally I hope that Umbraco remains on the current balance between flexibility and availability of modules. I like the concept of starter sites which gives a great foundation on a blank Umbraco install. But I am not a big fan of packages that hook directly into the existing site. I do love the packages that simply supply some new functionality, that you then have to spend a little time configuring, which in turn gives you lots of control.
So the question remains: How much of an Umbraco enthusiast should you need to be, in order to be able to extend your site with existing packages?
I do not have the answer to that, but I am really looking forward do discussing this and much more at the Core/MVP retreat and Codegarden in June. See you all there!