It’s an exciting time at Kentico and, as their world tour - which saw their senior team visit Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK and Holland in little more than a month - draws to a close, we’re sharing our highlights, as well as the reasons why we’re excited to be working with them more closely over the months ahead.
At their event in London, Kentico CEO Petr Palas kicked things off with a history of web content management, presenting his take on the future of the web CMS - which he felt must offer the following:
- SaaS model
- Microservices architecture
- Ability to easily create omnichannel experiences
- Utilisation of smart technologies
Kentico have assigned a dedicated team the mission of creating the CMS of the future and the team have recently released the first version of this and it’s known as “Kentico Cloud”.
As a gold partner, Delete are proud to be collaborating closely with Kentico on the roadmap for Kentico Cloud to ensure they capture what clients need most.
Kentico Cloud is the world’s first “cloud-first, headless CMS”.
But what does this really mean?
Kentico Cloud represents a new model for content management. Borne out of the Kentico Draft project that came to life back in 2015 as a cloud-based content hub, it was made to rival the likes of Gather Content.
Kentico Draft serves a purpose in its own right as a content hub; enabling content authors to create content ahead of build and supporting migration of this content directly into Kentico CMS, thus removing the painful job of manual cut and paste. However, as the product team began to research their mission, it became clear that the product could be developed further to form a global content hub, with the ability to serve this content directly to website applications via an API.
Benefits of a cloud-first, headless CMS
A cloud-first, headless CMS brings with it a number of key advantages over the traditional website CMS:
- Omnichannel content delivery - serve the same content to multiple applications and devices.
- Cloud-based SaaS - no need to worry anymore about data availability, security, backups, performance, hotfixes and upgrades, as this is all taken care of.
- API microservices - only consume the services you need to help keep your application lightweight.
- Technology agnostic - build your application in any programming language.
- Platform independent - host your application wherever you want.
- Low barriers to development - Developers don't need to be a Kentico CMS experts to start working with Kentico Cloud.
- More creativity - provides a content playground where you can easily change the visual presentation later.
- Higher agility - see section below.
- Built for the future - users will get all the latest updates automatically.
A more agile development process
Content production is often the cause of project delays and this is due the fact that Content Authors can’t easily create final content until they have access to the CMS.
With Kentico Cloud, final content production can commence ahead of development so it is ready for developers to pull straight into the application during build using the API.
Alternatively, if you are utilising Kentico CMS and just using Kentico Cloud for initial content creation, content can be automatically migrated into Kentico as soon as the CMS is configured.
Kentico Cloud has a number of key benefits over other content hubs. Other content hubs:
- Are not scalable as a highly available CMS/API for use on live sites
- Are less user friendly and more developer oriented - Kentico cloud has been built with content editors in mind
- Offer no marketing capability, e.g. personalisation
- Unable to natively migrate content to Kentico which means a lot of time-consuming copying & pasting is required
Current Status & Roadmap
The feature set of Kentico Cloud is still fairly limited, offering only the following capabilities:
- Content management
- Basic asset management
- Custom content types/data templates
- Content filtering
- User tracking
- Basic personalisation
- Content import to Kentico CMS
The user interface is clean and intuitive so requires minimal training to use.
Kentico Cloud is still in its infancy; currently only really suitable for simple websites such as brochures, blogs and campaign sites. However it is a fast moving product, with an aggressive roadmap to move from a cloud-first CMS to a cloud-first digital experience platform by the end of 2017.
View the Kentico Cloud Roadmap.
To help developers get to grips with the system, Kentico have recently released a best practice boilerplate built on .NET Core to further accelerate the development process. Find out more about the Kentico Cloud boilerplate.
Multilingual capability will be available at the end of June.
They will also be adding capabilities to support compliance with the latest General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), e.g. models for creating reports, ability to control where data is stored, etc. We are really happy to see them taking a proactive approach in this regard, as these changes are likely to have a significant impact on the industry.
You can learn more about GDPR here.
Easy steps to Kentico Cloud development
How do you start a web site development with Kentico Cloud? It’s easy:
- Create an MVC project in MS Visual Studio
- Install the Kentico Cloud Delivery SDK NuGet package
- Call the Delivery API from your Controller specifying your Project Id and optionally Preview Api Key
- Update your View with your desired HTML markup and add data tags from your typed Models
That’s it. Enjoy!
Kentico 11 is due for launch on 29th November, 2017 and will bring some significant enhancements in the following areas:
Kentico will leverage the potential of CMS-first solution to deliver much improved email capability. Their aim is to offer a fully-featured email solution as a cost-effective alternative to Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, etc.
New features developed so far include:
- Visual email builder - HTML email templates with widget zones allowing users to drag & drop content
- Ability to build your own widgets and make them available to templates
- Campaign channel reporting - see how various channels have contributed to the campaign conversions and what the contribution of individual messages within a channel is.
- Advanced email marketing, segmentation and campaign reports
- Persona-based reporting
Currently in development is an improved email marketing toolset:
- A/B testing
- Plain text mode
- The 'View message in browser' support
- CSS inlining
- Viewing e-mail source
Kentico’s objective is to provide a solid ecommerce solution with a flexible customisation model. They plan to offer all critical features “out of the box”. So far, they have developed:
- Decimal support
- Tax Calculations
- Customisation model
- Gift Cards support
In development now:
- Multiple coupons per order
- Google analytics ecommerce tracking
- Catalogue categories
Other notable enhancements:
- Azure Search - faceted search
- Interoperability - Dynamics CRM Connector
- Visual page builder for Kentico MVC
A BETA version of Kentico 11 is available now.
Where is Kentico heading?
Petr Palas confirmed that for the foreseeable future, Kentico will continue to develop both their CMS/EMS platform as well as Kentico Cloud. Kentico 12 is scheduled to launch in November 2018.
However, given the direction of travel for cloud-hosted, SaaS solutions across the industry, we foresee that over time - and once it is a fully featured digital experience platform - Kentico will likely put increasing emphasis on their cloud offer.
Kentico’s future is bright. They are leading the way with the cloud-first, headless model and Delete are very excited about launching our first site on Kentico Cloud in the near future. Watch this space.