You might already be aware of it, but in case not, we are introducing a very special Service Pack launch. Straying from our usual 12-month product release cycle, our aim is to speed things up and deliver some of the features and functionality much-requested by users. And what’s more, we are releasing it as a service pack, so no tiresome upgrades needed.
Now, to touch on the main theme, MVC; we know, it seems like we never stop talking about this topic and about making our MVC offering complete, but changing the entire underlying development model of the product is no easy task. Just to clarify, we didn’t mix up the acronym and have a Most Viewed Content competition among our writers. We really do have additions that will make your life easier and really help with the MVC use in Kentico. When we sat down to look at what we need to deliver, our priority was to offer real independence; to give marketers a lot of freedom to create, optimize, customize, and rapidly go to market with their campaigns without relying heavily on developers. And while you now struggle to stop your developer colleagues having a heart attack, we also make sure that there are specific restrictions and functionality in place to make sure your entire environment doesn’t crash from an overload of marketing ‘innovation’.
We have been pushing MVC into Kentico for a number of years now and we are determined to give all users a top-class solution and hopefully even provide some functionality that you weren’t expecting. So, what’s in store for you with this Service Pack launch? Well, we have new Page Templates functionality, some super easy A/B Testing options, must-have Alternative URLs support, new selectors and components, and a few other honorable-mention improvements. So let’s get stuck into it.
Everyone knows A/B testing — a tool for testing, measuring, and evaluating the performance of different variants of a page to optimize your website performance. It’s nothing new and we’re not going to try to convince you that this is an amazing new groundbreaking feature. But, as you probably were aware, the standard A/B testing in Kentico was not available in MVC, only in Portal Engine. Finally, it is available in MVC. And guess what, we made it even better than what you remember from PE. The entire A/B testing journey now appears inside the page application. You can easily create and manage variants from within the app, and you can now promote the winning variant with a new single-click action that automatically promotes the winner to the page tree and finishes the test. Now, how’s that for the icing on the cake!!!
So, what is the easiest way to get a landing page up and running? Yes, you guessed it, copy a ready-to-go template that works and customize it for the campaign. Simple, right? Wro… only joking, it is that simple. And now it is that simple in Kentico 12. With the Service Pack launch, we are introducing MVC Page Templates that will save you a ton of time and are still easy to customize to your liking. Instead of having to work with your developers or an external agency for every page, simply create and save templates upfront based on best practices, brand guidelines, and your common landing page requirements, and use them as often as you like. Of course, the templates can be customized, such as a different layout, background or color. And, if you stumble across the most awesome silver bullet of a landing page that converts amazingly, save it as a Custom template including all its sections, widgets, and properties, and roll out that bad boy over and over again. Don’t worry though, if you’re not so lucky to find the silver bullet and your existing page sucks, you can easily change the template, so you don’t need to create a new page in the content tree for it. And the developer part, yes, you can set restrictions to stop your marketing team going loco on your awesome website by restricting where certain templates can be used.
Ok, hands down, this is a must-have feature and is not going to set the CMS world alight with awesome new innovation. But, as there was only the Page Alias option in K12 MVC, we have now introduced the new Alternative URLs feature, where you can create multiple, alternative, short, attractive, campaign-ready URLs for your existing pages. We are pretty sure that no marketer wants to have a long boring URL for their awesome new ‘silver-bullet’ landing page they just created from one of their page templates (see what I did there, combining our features together). So, here, you can let your imagination go wild and create your super-cool URL to attract millions (it’s nice to dream, right?) of visitors. And since you can have an unlimited number of Alternative URLs, you don’t need to worry about moving pages within your website either—simply create another alternative URL, no matter where in the site it sits, and voila, your page works even from the old location.
New Selectors and Components
In the Kentico 12 Service Pack, we are introducing two new out-of-the-box selectors; Path Selector and Media Selector. The Path Selector allows you to select the path you want from your page tree. Quite simply, it allows you to select the relevant path you want to use to link to other content pages directly from the page tree. As for the media selector, again, it is simple. Very self-explanatory, you can select a new media item like a picture or video directly from the media library. You don’t need to upload files but you can rather just select it directly from the media library and use it.
We are also introducing a new out-of-the-box component with the Service Pack. This time, we are adding a File Uploader for your forms. Now, when creating a form, if you want users to upload some content with their form submission, this can be done through this new form builder component. Nice and simple, and again, easy to use for those of you that are not so techy.
Not everything is going to be a wow moment for people, but we have a few extra things that we would like to highlight. Let’s look at them:
- We introduced the possibility to view Consent agreements for a chosen Consent in the Data Protection application
- You can see plain text as well as rich text for the body of emails in the Email queue
- You can open MVC Preview in a new tab
- We made enhancements to the Dancing Goat demo site for MVC (if you haven’t already had a personal demo, go sign up now)
So, that’s it for now. As I mentioned at the beginning, our goal was to improve the independence for marketers to be able to launch and optimize new landing pages and campaigns as quickly as possible (without breaking anything — a very important point I feel) and we hope you agree that these new features are going to vastly improve the way you can work with MVC. We’re certainly excited to get our own website up and running with these new features as soon as possible.