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Kentico Phoenix: everything you need to know

by Hendrik Clercx, Jul 9

Rumor has it... that Kentico is releasing a new CMS platform. It will be called Kentico Phoenix, or Kentico 13/Kentico 2020. Excited as we are, we already want to introduce you to this new platform, that is previewed to launch in November 2020. 

End of Kentico Portal Engine  

One of the biggest changes is the fall of the Kentico Portal Engine – the end of an era! Kentico 13 will no longer support the Kentico Portal Engine. This means that, with the implementation of Kentico 13, you will no longer be able to create new portal engine websites. Developing websites with web forms will be something of the past. Instead, MVC web development will become the new standard. On top of that, Kentico 13 will support the very latest .NET Standard and .NET Core (MVC!), which is a huge milestone.  

When installing a new Kentico application, you’ll be able to choose between ASP.NET MVC 5 or ASP .NET Core, as pictured below.  

ASP.NET MVC/ASP.NET Core is the best approach for developing web applications nowadays. It has many advantages over the old ASP.NET Web Forms. For example, code logic can be separated from each other in a clean way. This makes it easier to replace the front-end logic of websites with a newer/different front-end without impacting the back-end/business logic. The transition will be smoother and less expensive, since it requires less development time to replace the front-end. 

The organization of code within MVC is very clean, organized and granular, making it easier to develop and maintain web applications. MVC web development promotes great design from a development standpoint. Web applications will be faster when being developed with MVC or .NET Core. There are also many new features that benefit the performance of web applications. Sounds good, right?

MVC provides a large community base, which means that we developers can support each other. There are many more libraries with useful code functionalities that can be used during development.

Since MVC and .NET core are widely used modern development models, it will also be easier to hire developer talent. By the end of 2020, Kentico will drop Portal Engine and use pure MVC web development. Additionally, support for Kentico projects built on Portal Engine will cease by the end of 2022.

In a nutshell, leaving Web Forms behind and moving to MVC 5/.NET Core MVC will result in:
  •  Future ready CMS as .NET core and MVC are future proof, and the preferred way of developing web applications today

  • Easier maintenance and upgrades of Kentico web application solutions

  • Faster performance

  • Large community base and support

  • Higher customization possibilities of widgets

Removal of unused Kentico applications

If you’re familiar with the Kentico CMS, you will probably recognize applications such as ‘Bad Words’, ‘CSS Stylesheets’, ‘Chat’, ‘Message boards’, ‘Polls’ etc. Since all Kentico applications were written in Portal Engine, they’ll have to be rewritten for Kentico Phoenix in MVC. During this exercise, Kentico decided to remove many unused features. Let’s take a look at the applications that won’t be available in Kentico Phoenix: 

  • Blogs 

  • My blogs

  • Polls 

  • Banners 

  • Conversions *Replaced with the new way of setting goals – already in Campaigns and AB tests

  • Abuse report

  • Avatars

  • Bad words *My sincere apologies to all hardcore fans

  • Badges 

  • Content rating

  • Chat 

  • Events 

  • Forums 

  • Groups/Workgroups

  • User contributions

  • Message boards

  • CSS stylesheets (Replaced with a new implementation for a site-specific CSS for admin's WYSIWYG editors)

  • Device profiles

  • JavaScript files

  • Notifications 

  • Portal Engine

  • ASPX templates

  • Transformations

  • Device Profiles (51degrees)

The removal of these Kentico applications will result in a cleaner and more compact CMS. Since Kentico Phoenix will contain only the features that you really need, it will become even easier to work and use the applications required for your business.

.NET framework 4.8

The future for web development will be .NET framework 5 (.NET core). However, although Kentico Phoenix will focus on .NET 5, it stills supports .NET 4.7.x and 4.8.x out-of-the-box. This means that you can still use MVC 5 for development. The Kentico CMS itself, referred to as ‘Mother’, is written in the Portal Engine. Kentico Phoenix will not change this. This also means that all custom modules, custom classes, custom scheduled tasks etc. will still work in Kentico Phoenix. Maybe in Kentico 14 the ‘Mother’ will be migrated to MVC – follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date! 

Kentico Widgets

Kentico Phoenix will contain many out-of-the-box MVC widgets, such as the rich text editor. You can also download widgets from other developers on Kentico’s new marketplace. This makes it very easy to quickly setup your new project with your favorite widgets.

Next to this, it will be possible to search through the content of all your widgets. This is currently not possible in Kentico 12 or lower. This new feature will make it easier for content editors to quickly find what they are looking for, throughout all the widgets on your site.

Marketing automation

Another interesting novelty is the brand-new marketing automation application UI, which contains several improvements. It will be much more convenient to set up your desired marketing automation with the help of a user-friendly snap-to-grid overview. In this grid you can drag-and-drop steps, add actions such as a condition, a timer and so on. You can also create marketing automation templates in Kentico 13. Being able to start with a template is certainly a time saver! The new UI experiences gives you a clear overview of all the configured steps.

Apart from the default set of actions to choose out of, developers can also implement their own custom actions. This allows marketing automation flows to be exactly what your business needs.

When creating a new marketing automation process, you can choose to start from scratch or use a marketing automation template, as you can see illustrated below.

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In this example, I chose the predefined ‘send birthday message’ template.

On the right-hand side, you can select flow steps, contact options etcetera. The grid lets you easily configure all the steps you need.

Reusable content

Another interesting feature is the implementation of reusable content. This  was available in Kentico version 10 and 11. For some reason, this feature was removed. Luckily it will make its return in Kentico Phoenix, and with a better user interface. The reusable feature makes it possible to reuse content. Kentico provides three ways to do this:

1.     Link a page or an object through the new Linked Node feature and interface

2.     Related pages via the related pages tab and relationships

3.     Ad-hoc related documents (through a page type field of type ‘Page field’)

Kentico Phoenix will bring exciting new features with its release for sure. If you want to test the latest Kentico 13 features, you can already experiment with their latest beta release, Kentico Phoenix Beta Release 3.

Did this article get you excited about Kentico? As Gold Partner, we can help you with creating the perfect Kentico CMS, tailored to your business needs. Get in touch with us to learn more!

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