Upgrading to Umbraco v8 and related packages? Look before you leap!

Umbraco v8 is out... but can we upgrade?

Robert Foster · 03 March 2019

There's been a lot of excitement about the new release of Umbraco version 8, and at the recent Umbraco Down Under Festival held this week, there was a lot of focus on what you can and can't do.

How to upgrade packages, what's changed, exploration of new features, and guidance from Umbraco HQ staff including both the Chief Unicorn Niels Hartvig and Director of Moon Based Operations Shannon, Deminick around upgrading and extending Umbraco with packages.

Shannon gave an excellent talk on migrating packages across using his Articulate blogging package as an example.  He's ported it across in a very short amount of time and the source code is an excellent reference point if you intend to do the same.

One key takeaway was that it's currently not possible to upgrade directly from Umbraco 7 to Umbraco 8 via the usual path - many packages have not yet been ported to the new code base, and there are major configuration changes as well to consider.

Even if you have a basic site that doesn't involve third party packages, then you can migrate your site by copying content and updating templates etc. in relatively quick time, but for anything more complex, the recommendation is to wait a few months until migration is supported by Umbraco HQ (there's indications that they are building a tool to assist with this - more information is available on their v8 FAQ page).

Upgrading with nuGet can be painful

However, if you find yourself upgrading Umbraco 7 via nuGet, be very careful that you don't just choose the latest 8.x release - you need to double check that you stay within the Umbraco 7 version or you will run into problems.

And some Umbraco Plugins may not have a separate nuGet package - a case in point is the excellent uSync package by Kevin Jump - the nuGet package (https://www.nuget.org/packages/uSync/) currently has a version specifically for Umbraco version 8 in beta and will happily install for you, which can then cause all sorts of problems.

The key takeaway here, of course, is that if you're developing a plugin package for Umbraco and distributing it via nuGet, make sure you create a separate package for Umbraco version 8.

Looking forward to the future, it's worth noting that Niels indicated in his presentation at uDuf that Umbraco 7.15.x will likely be the last version released in that major release stream.  He also made the comment that Umbraco 7 is a very stable, functional and highly usable CMS to work with for Editors, and there is very little need in the majority of cases to actually upgrade to Umbraco 8 at all.

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Robert Foster

Robert Foster

Robert is a seasoned software consultant and with over 25 years in designing software architecture and development across a broad spectrum of technologies from desktop and windows server applications through to websites and cloud solutions and mobile apps. He has been part of the Umbraco scene for many years, contributing to the core and developing packages. Robert is currently responsible for the organisation and facilitation of Umbraco meetups in Melbourne and Sydney and is a key driver in community initiatives like the Umbraco Down Under Festival.

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