The new Kentico 12 brings upgrades to both the marketer and developer experience. Discover the exciting features the all-in-one web content management system gained for online marketing, ecommerce, lead capture, content authoring and so on.
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Over the years Kentico has evolved in many significant ways. Since 2006, when their first browser based content management system (CMS) with page builder features was introduced, Kentico started paving the way for fast creation of dynamic websites without any programming. In 2010, they presented another major release – an enhanced CMS which brought together customer experience management capabilities. And more recently in 2017, Kentico 11 came with built-in tools and features supporting the new data privacy legislations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy act.
Kentico has been focusing for years on providing the best way to work with digital content, so the new release represents one more major milestone in the CMS history. On one hand, Kentico 12 provides a user-friendly editing environment for marketers to manage content smarter and independently from IT. On the other hand, it also redefines the overall framework of the web development process. With a dynamic platform built on modern technologies, Kentico 12 facilitates an efficient and scalable architecture for developers’ work.
Check the key features of Kentico 12 providing a better way for marketers and developers to work:
- ASP.NET MVC 5 support
- Drag-and-drop visual page builder
- Smarter forms
- Content personalization made easy
- Simplified ecommerce business API
- New and improved installer
1. ASP.NET MVC 5 support
When referring to Kentico 12 MVC-first model, we hear a lot of “MVC is the future!”. But what does it really mean and why should you care? Although Kentico 12 includes many updates to the content editing experience, upgrading the CMS software architecture from Microsoft ASP.NET (Web Forms) framework to ASP.NET MVC is a major step forward for developers working on the platform. The new Model-View-Controller (MVC) software development architecture helps developers organize their projects into modular chunks, making code easier to write, understand and change.
While Kentico has supported widget-based templates since version 5, editing the content in widgets could be a bit cumbersome. The new Kentico 12’s MVC widgets support inline editing, finally providing a truly modular, flexible and visual editing experience for content managers, which heads us up to our key feature number 2 – the drag-and-drop visual page builder.
2. Drag-and-drop visual page builder
Probably the biggest thing that everybody was waiting for and the thing that people talk about the most is the visual page builder which is available for the Kentico 12 MVC development model. The MVC based drag-and-drop visual page builder was developed with front-end frameworks in mind to enable marketers to craft and create personalized customer experiences quickly and easily.
Let’s take a look at the new and refreshed Kentico Dashboard.
Kentico 12 has a different background than Kentico 11, and the orange notification on the top left corner will be focused on the page builder application. You have all the widgets available, and when you click on the Pages menu, you will land on a new landing designed for marketers.
In the above sample website “Dancing Goats” you can see the page builder implementation in action. Marketers no longer need to go to a developer to add new banners, image galleries, forms and so on.
The critical feature is the drag and drop functionality, where all website editing can be directly done on the page builder interface. Just like the widgets sections support dragging and dropping, similarly you can drag and drop a whole section and you can move it to a different place on your page.
What’s more, the MVC widgets as reusable components: you can create a library of components which can be reused across the whole website and also across any other channel or project.
One of the other features that is hidden inside the page builder is inline editors, a new concept introduced in this release of Kentico to streamline the process of adjusting widget content and configuring widgets on the page.
From a web development standpoint, the MVP page builder produces clean HTML output as coded by developers - Kentico is not generating any extra code that would ruin the hard work your developers invested in developing the front-end.
3. Smarter web forms
Kentico 12 is MVC first now, so the web forms builder also moved to a MVC model. As you can see in the screenshot below, the design and layout remains as easy and user-friendly as can be, much like the page builder.
There are a lot of out-of-the-box functionality when it comes to the form components. We have the property, validation and visibility tabs to create, set and configure the forms or the form components. You can create a custom form component, custom visibility component or custom validation component.
Smart forms also solve the issues with longer forms for you in just a few clicks. With smart forms, it doesn't matter if your form has eight fields or 100, because every time the visitor accesses your website and is prompted to fill in information, the system will automatically only ask the questions that were not answered earlier. It also lets you add conditions or logic behind the questions sequence, making multiple step forms less of a hassle for the visitor to follow through. This a powerful form builder for MVC.
4. Content personalization made easy
One thing about personalization is that it was available in previous version of Kentico MVC, however it was mostly at code level so it was dependent on developers’ inputs. Now, there are new intuitive ways for marketers to personalize content. Combining customer insights from Kentico Analytics with the new widget-based page builder, you’re able to use that information to trigger marketing automation processes or to personalize website content according to the activities customers have performed.
Simplified personalization management lets you create new widget variants based on different options such as persona, country, device type, current day of the week, whether they have submitted a specific form or visited a specific page in the past, and so on. The personalization condition types are countless and the limit is almost just your inspiration.
Another super cool thing with Kentico 12 is that it has the “GeoIP 2” with MaxMind support. They have their new format and database for their geographical location and Kentico already supports it. This plugin helps marketers target emails and campaigns based on location, minimizing paid advertising costs and also increasing the click through rate with content that’s relevant for those audiences.
These new capabilities means, the more you know about the context of your visitors, the more relevant you can make their experiences.
5. Simplified ecommerce business API
The saying “Time is money” is particularly true for online stores, and that’s why Kentico 12 also has a simplified ecommerce API. There is much less need for coding, tools are more straightforward and easy to understand, allowing faster deployment of the solution. It’s all about letting you spend more time thinking about creating engaging shopping experiences, and worry less about lines of code.
The new business API for ecommerce can be used for your MVC projects, a different third-party service integration, or while upgrading to higher versions.
6. New and improved installer
With the new Kentico installer you can install the MVC project, without having to create all the things by yourself or perform any manual steps in between because the installer will do it for you. All you need to do is start the installer, select that your development model is MVC, and the installer is going to create all the applications and configurations for you. The goal is to simplify and automate as much as possible so you can focus on the implementation of your digital project rather than on never-ending configurations.
From the redesigned editing interface to the availability of new MVC content development model, the latest Kentico 12 is fine-tuned to help you solve all your content marketing challenges. Find out more about the all-in-one CMS, or if you’d like to see Kentico in action, get in touch or comment below and I’ll walk you through all the smart features!
About the author
Benoît Laxenaire is VP Sales of Digital and Enterprise Content Solutions at Amplexor. Over the past 30 years he held a progression of engineering, consultancy and management positions in industries such as Aerospace, Defense, Oil and Gas. Benoît led the launch of Canada’s and India’s branches and his close work with clients and partners in both public and commercial sectors earned him increasing responsibility in sales management. His passion for painting and creative streak combined with extensive business expertise have inspired him with breakthrough ideas and insights to lead the group sales strategy across Amplexor’s portfolio of digital solutions and regions.