January 2016 Β» My First Impressions of Kentico 9
Jan 17

My First Impressions of Kentico 9

Introduction

Today I would like to share my thoughts and observations on the latest version of Kentico. Especially since I recently finished upgrading my site here at Mcbeev.com. That’s right my blog is now on the latest and greatest version as you read this.

Kentico 9.0 has been released officially for about a month and a half. However, I have actually had my hands on it for much longer. Thanks to being a Kentico MVP, I was actually lucky enough to be included in some of the preview builds of 9.0 for a few months prior to release. During the beta period I was tasked with giving as much feedback as possible to the Kentico product team and I tried my best to do so. As usual I basically let them know that they knocked it out of the park with this release.

 

The Big Changes in Kentico 9

If you have been following along with some of the Kentico community and Kentico marketing you probably know that Kentico 9’s biggest features are its new and enhanced ASP.NET MVC Support, Modularity improvements, Continuous Integration addition, Integrated Campaign Management enhancements, Web Farms version 2.0, and enhanced demo site. Most of the buzz around Kentico 9.0 already includes the full details of these features. And again, since these features have been covered quite a bit by some really smart people, I thought I would focus more on the less publicized changes in 9. There are quite a few that are worth mentioning.

 

Kentico 9.0 New Features

 

There are a great set of technical webinars and how-to’s on the official Kentico YouTube channel for these new features that I do recommend you watch if you are interested in Kentico 9. However, so far the best new learning content around the most intriguing new feature is new Kentico MVP Michael Kincaid’s YouTube video on the new Kentico 9 Continuous Integration. It is an excellent video on how to setup and use this new feature that really makes developing in a team environment much easier.

 

The Easy to Miss Changes in Kentico 9

There are a lot of small changes that have appeared in Kentico 9. For this post, it made sense to me, to talk about them in small quick bullet points. They appear below.

  • Smart Tips
    • This is a new feature in the admin interface that makes it easy to get up to speed quickly for marketers and content admins. The A/B testing application has a great example of this. The idea here is that if there are no tests created in the application, a small quick instructional text appears leading the user on what to do next.

      Kentico 9 Smart Tips
  • Email Marketing Subscriber Management
    • Subscriber management has been improved in Kentico 9. The UI has been redefined to make more sense of managing global subscribers, the global opt-out list, and in general just make more sense than previous versions did.
  • Email Marketing Reports
    • Another update to the email marketing interface is the ability to see Open rates, Click rates, and Unsubscription rates faster than before because of less clicks. But my favorite enhancement is the new funnel charts that show how your email issues are performing. One nice perk I did not expect is these new reports that are part of a new reporting system in Kentico even apply to old emails that were sent in version 8 and version 7.

      Kentico 9 New Report Funnels
  • Deep Pinning in Admin UI
    • There are now Pins across the top of the black menu bar that allow you easily customize and personalize your admin dashboard. Previously in version 8 you could only pin the short cut to the whole top level module, and not individual items. This is a nice update.
  • E-commerce Tax Changes
    • Make sure you read the small print of the E-commerce section on the upgrade manual. Because if you have had your Kentico e-commerce site for some time you might need to make sure you recalculate your taxes after the upgrade, or else you are going to have some pretty screwy tax data.
  • New  Abandoned Shopping cart process
    • Kentico is showing off the power of the EMS by providing a built in Marketing Automation process that lets visitors know to come back to their shopping cart if they did not complete the purchase. The built in configuration sends an email after 4 hours, but can easily be modified to any duration.
    • The way this works is through a new Activity Type (Shopping cart abandoned) and new Trigger (Shopping cart marked as abandoned) in Kentico 9.
  • New Dancing Goat Demo Site Features
    • When you install Kentico 9 for the first time, you have the option of choosing which site template to start from. Right there is your opportunity to get the new Dancing Goat demo site. Just choose it as your site template.
    • Once you have it installed there is a new set of features that show off the Kentico way for features such as Google Maps integration with Page Types, enhanced A/B Tests, using Personas, E-commerce checkout, My Account, and many more. The best tip I have here for you is that the first thing you want to do is click on the ~/Special-Pages/Generator page and then the Generate button to generate the full sample data for the site that simulates real world usage.

      Kentico 9 Demo Site

 

 

Up Next

Keep reading part 2 of My First Impressions of Kentico 9. I will finish up the list of easy to miss changes, talk about the upgrade procedure from Kentico 8 to Kentico 9, and end with my answer to the question, "Should I upgrade to Kentico 9?".

 

 

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