• These beginner tutorials assume that you have no previous of experience of Umbraco.  These tutorials have been laid out in a manner that will take you from an introduction to Umbraco to installing Umbraco on your computer and then onto some theory, so you can create your first page.  I'm hoping these pages, have been set-up in a way that should be easy to follow.

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  • Umbraco is amazing — If you are new to Umbraco then this section will help you get started. Welcome to the exciting world of Umbraco!

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  • Welcome to my series about Umbraco Core Concepts – where we’ll help turn the non-programmer into an Umbraco pro! Whenever you want to learn a new CMS, there are core concepts that are central to learning how to use a platform. That’s what we’re going to go through today.

    In this primer, I’m going to start at the very beginning and assume that you are not familiar with Umbraco at all. The concepts introduced in this section will help you absorb the subsequently advanced tutorials with a better understanding of what’s going on. The Umbraco platform is pretty substantial so I can’t cover every feature, tip, trick, and nuances of Umbraco. By the end of this guide, you should feel like you have a basic understanding of the dynamics of how Umbraco and how you could start to build your own website.

    There are essentially several core concepts that I think people wanting to learn Umbraco need to understand about the platform before they can properly design a website within Umbraco. Those include document types, routing, the pipeline, the differences between MVC and Umbraco, macros etc..

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  • There are a number of different APIs that developers can use to integrate with Umbraco, however, it is sometimes difficult to know what each API is for and when to use it. Almost every page within your Umbraco site will need to get data from Umbraco, so understanding what’s available to you, how to get and store data from Umbraco is a vital part of any project.  Most of the APIs are based on accessing data from Umbraco.

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  • Setting up Visual Studio correctly can make your life a lot more enjoyable.  I don’t think there’s anything more frustrating than not being able to understand your project, find code quickly and figuring out how things work.  Getting your Umbraco website structured correctly, is pretty simple, it just takes some conscious effort and thought at the start of your project.  This section covers battle proved advice to make your experience hopefully more enjoyable.

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  • Welcome to lesson 3, in this section, I will teach you how to create your first page within Umbraco. The aim of this guide is to get you used to the Umbraco backend, the components required to create a page and the process. I’ll warn you now, for simplicity and ease of teaching.. the page we will be creating will be ugly!  The aim of this guide is to help you understand how Umbraco works, so things like HTML, CSS etc.. are purposely kept to a minimum.

    Takeaway

    If you have followed the previous tutorials, then congratulations you have just created your first Umbraco page!  This is quite a big milestone as everything else you will learn will build on these principles.  Just think, you now know the basics of creating a whole website in Umbraco.. albeit a pretty naff one. As we continue through the lessons and you spend more time building components within Umbraco, you’ll become much more comfortable using it.

    If you’ve followed this guide, then you should now have everything you need to create a basic website in Umbraco.  There are many ways of doing things and depending on your level of expertise and the complexity of your project, you may have corners like if my document types are all virtual how do I add them to source control. If you know about good design practices, you might also think having the menu logic in your view is bad practice.  If you want to write your code following SOLID principles, don’t worry too much now as I’ll go over these types of concepts in lesson 6.  As for the next lesson ‘, Umbraco API explained’,  I’ll explain some of the most frequently used API calls.

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  • MVC stands for model, view, controller.  The idea behind this pattern is to separate your different concerns, to make testing and managing your website easier.  Historically, when developers have worked with Umbraco they have broken this paradigm.  If you have been passing in the IPublishedContent and then wiring up your properties within your views, you have in effect been muddling your HTML with your code.

    A better approach is to pass in a strongly-typed C# model into your views.  All the code and logic required to get the data needed to render page data on your page should be done in the controller level - or at a minimum - the model level.  You should avoid doing logic in your views.  Even though it is possible to do this, you are in effect breaking the MVC pattern.  One of the reasons MVC was adopted, is to make maintaining your website easier.  Every time you break the MVC approach, you will make your website that much harder to test and maintain later on.

    In this section, you will learn everything you need in order for you to use MVC correctly in your website by following the correct principles of MVC

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  • One of the main reasons a client will want to build their website within a CMS is to give them the ability to give them the power to build their website, without having to get a developer involved.

    Historically, most Umbraco projects I worked on, involved in delivering a few templates with pre-fixed layouts.  The document-types powering these templates, allowed content editors to update the content but it gives them the limited power to change the layout compared to some other CMS system like Episerver, or, Sitecore.

    In Umbraco 7.2 a new GridView property was introduced.  The Gridview property gives content editors a lot more power over how they build a page. 

    Content-editors can now been given the power to create components - like banners or call to action blocks - into designated areas into templates.  This power means they can decide how the layout of a page should look within Umbraco, without needing a developer.

    If this is something that your content editors would love, then this section is for you.  In this section, you will learn more about the GridView property, how to use it within Umbraco and my recommended approach on how to develop components to use within them.

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  • Every website is unique and different but they all have very common parts, headers, footers, search bars, comment sections.  Unlike computer parts,  these pieces don’t fit together nicely the same way.

    The aim of this section is to give a set of tutorials to help you build some of these components.

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  • These guides will cover everything you might encounter on a day-to-day basis within your project, performance, security etc...

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  • Having a performant website is crucial to your online strategy.  Performance is not an easy subject and personally, it’s one of my preferred areas to spend my time (which is also why I write quite a lot about it).  This section covers various techniques for improving your load times.

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  • This section covers creating configuring your Umbraco environment to work in a load-balanced environment.  A load-balanced environment will give your Umbraco website more resilience, enable you to adopt a no-downtime deployment process and help share your server's resources so your web pages will load faster.  Load balancing isn’t the right option for every website, but, for enterprise-level organizations who care about brand and reputation, I would recommend reading:

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  • This section covers setting up your Umbraco website to work with multiple languages.

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  • Like WordPress, Umbraco allows third-party plug-ins to be installed into your website.  In Umbraco terminology, these plug-ins are called packages and can be managed through the Umbraco backend package manager.  Umbraco has a great community of developers who regularly release new packages.  These packages can save you days/months worth of development so it’s worth checking out.  If you are new to Umbraco packages then I recommend starting with; How to install a package in Umbraco CMS.

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  • This section covers tips and tricks to help you make your Umbraco web page load quicker.

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  • A lot of people starting Umbraco struggle to get their head around how it works.  If your website is based on the MVC then understanding how the Umbraco pipeline works, how pages are loaded, what parameters are passed around behind the scenes, etc… will make your life a lot easier.  This section will hopefully help you gain this understanding.

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  • Search is always a key topic for clients.   This section will help you to understand what options are available to you and how you can implement search within an Umbraco website.

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  • This section covers SEO strategies to apply to your Umbraco website that will help boost your web rankings.

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  • As developers, we all hit hurdles from time to time.  This section covers advice and battle proved techniques to help you figure out what’s gone wrong in your website.

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  • Writing well tested and reliable code should be the aim of every developer who works with Umbraco.  This section covers some of the techniques to write unit tests within Umbraco.

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  • A lot of people starting Umbraco struggle to get their head around how it works.  If your website is based on the MVC then understanding how the Umbraco pipeline works, how pages are loaded, what parameters are passed around behind the scenes, etc… will make your life a lot easier.  This section will hopefully help you gain this understanding.

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  • Wordpress is a good platform when you start a website and have no audience, after a few years and your website grows you can bump into a lot of limitations with Wordpress that might halt your website growth.  The only way to get over this hump is to migrate your website to another platform.  Umbraco is a great choice to pick and as it's open-source and free it's a natural path to follow, going from Wordpress to. NET.  The tutorials in this guide will help you move Wordpress content into Umbraco.

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