Umbraco v5 R.I.P

Umbraco v5 RIP is the first time in a while (or possibly ever) where I’ve read about a piece of software going “backwards”.

5 has become an overly complex system that has turned into the very monster Umbraco was originally created as a reaction against.  The community was not involved in its development, with one of the results being a highly complex set of code which also means the community will never HAVE the option of being involved with its development.  This goes against everything Umbraco stands for.  Within the community there was a great deal of frustration with v5.  It was difficult to use, had performance issues, and was generally not an improvement over v4.  The vast majority of Umbraco community members were continuing to develop and release using v4.

I’ve not used Umbraco since v4 (or was it v3? I forget) so I can’t comment on whether it was the right decision, but it certainly can’t have been an easy one.

It’s really interesting for me thinking about this from a number of different perspectives.

Firstly as someone who’s been involved in both using CMS packages and writing one (as well as another ‘kind of’ CMS), I know how easy it can be to stray from your course. If you’re really not careful you can turn around and find that your nice clean set of ideals ended up flying out the window thanks to those pesky things such as “user requirements”. There have always been a few core ideals behind our Site Foundation Framework that are pretty much set in stone to help us know what it is, what it isn’t, and to prevent us from straying too far from the path we want to walk. It sounds a little that somewhere Umbraco v5 went wandering and ended up in uncharted terrain.

Secondly reading the comments in that announcement is a pretty stark reminder of how it can be pretty unhealthy to tie your career to a single piece of technology (without being prepared to adapt and change if required). There’s a lot of folks (and companies) commenting there who clearly invested a lot of time and money in v5 through education, travel to the education, downtime upskilling, certification and so on – some of that was done pretty recently. Those people are obviously feeling pretty annoyed right now.

Those are 2 quick observations – for anyone working in software development (or possibly any technical career at all) I feel there’s some really interesting reading of the comments in that post, and a lot of pondering into how it could easily happen to a project you’re involved in or care about.

Right or wrong, the decision was certainly a gutsy one.

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Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 11:58 PM |

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