Kentico 8 from an Administrator’s and Developer’s Point of View

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In less than a week there will be a new major version of Kentico 8! Let’s take a look at the different features, enhancements, and updates that will be available for the people who develop and administer Kentico websites.

Web Parts Copy and Paste

You know those situations when you configure a web part on one page, and then you would like to use it again on another with the same or a slightly different configuration?  Well, with Kentico 8, you will be able to setup a web part only once and then copy it to another location. More on this feature can be found in this blog post.

Workflow for Widgets

Imagine the following scenario: You have a page that contains a content editor widget zone so that editors are able to change what the page shows. All the changes must be approved by their manager so the page is halted under workflow. In Kentico 7, widget changes are live immediately after the change has been made because the widgets haven’t been influenced by workflow. We have changed this in Kentico 8 so that these widgets now work together with your workflow. This blog post contains more info on this topic.

New CK Editor

We have updated CK Editor to version 4.3 in Kentico 8. The main reason for this update is to support the latest versions of the browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer 11).

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Form Builder

The process of creating forms in previous versions of Kentico has proven to be quite troublesome for many business users, in particular, for marketers. The typical solution up to now has been that the marketer called IT and instructed them to create a form. In Kentico 8 there is a new way to create forms using the form builder. The good news is that you are no longer required to have technical knowledge. All you have to do is just drag & drop the desired items on the form, and that’s it! We believe that this functionality will help non-technical users create forms on their own without any assistance from IT departments.

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Search Improvements

We are aware of the fact that search is becoming a progressively more important part of every large website. People are typically looking for the information by using search instead of navigation. For this reason, we have invested a lot into Smart Search module improvements, and Kentico 8 comes with many new features such as a search preview. You can learn more about all of the new features in this blog post.

CSS Preprocessors Support

A rather large number of web developers today are using CSS preprocessors such as LESS or SASS instead of writing CSS directly. We, for example, started to use LESS during the redesign of Kentico 8. To make development with these frameworks easier, we have established general support for CSS preprocessors in the new version. You can also make use of the Marketplace package for the LESS module. To learn more about all of this, check out this link.

Windows Azure Improvements

We are seeing increased interest in cloud computing, especially in Windows Azure. In Kentico 8, two distinctive improvements have been made: firstly, Kentico now supports Windows Azure SDK 2.2, and secondly, we have improved Windows Azure deployment dialogue in KIM.
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Claim Based Authentication

In some cases, especially in larger companies, there is a whole ecosystem of different tools and platforms (e.g. Kentico, Sharepoint, SAP, …) that are at their disposal. There are two problems present here – first, users don’t want to login to all of them, and second, administrators don’t want to manage single users multiple times in a variety of different systems. Nowadays, there are a number of authentication mechanisms being implemented to solve this problem (e.g. ADFS or Access Control System). Kentico 8 now supports these mechanisms via out-of-the-box integration with Windows Identity Foundation.

Multifactor Authentication

This particular form of authentication is primarily used in internet banking. You must insert code you receive via an SMS message before you’re allowed to pay for something online. The main point is that the username and password is usually too weak when someone manipulates it with critical data such as bank accounts. The industry standard today is to add a second authentication factor or authorization process, which usually consists of a one-time code that can be sent via SMS or be generated by a hardware device. Kentico 8 comes with out-of-the-box support for multifactor authentication. We provide you with a smart phone application (IOS, Android, Windows Phone) that generates this one-time code. You can also customize the behavior so the code can be sent through an SMS message.

Integration with ReCaptcha

CAPTCHA is a mechanism which verifies that additional content (e.g. blog comment) has been made by a person. In order words, it should stop robots from spamming your website. ReCaptcha is one of the top CAPTCHA systems on the market, so we integrated it into Kentico 8.

Architectural Changes

Last but not least, we have made many architectural changes to Kentico 8, but just to name a few: we have reduced a number of files, created a completely new query model, and devised a whole new way for you to build or own modules.
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Dominik Pinter

I'm a fan of cloud computing (primarily Windows Azure) and I really like to dig into web application security. My blog is focused on everything related to Kentico, .NET Framework, Cloud platforms and web application security.

Comments

Dominik Pinter commented on

Hey Bryan, regarding to Azure Smart Search, everything should work exactly the same way, but it should be little bit faster (index rebuilding etc). We still provide and recommend to use Smart search worker however there is a way how you can not use it and build index on one of the web roles if necessary.

Bryan Soltis commented on

Awesome blog, Dominik! So many great features headed for developers in v8 it's hard to put it all in one blog. Do you know if the Azure changes affect the SmartSearch Worker Role (if it's still needed, etc.)?