How to understand umbraco better

by Damiaan Peeters 3. January 2012 15:37

Lets give this year a good start with some valuable umbraco tips.  We are now working with Umbraco more than a year as the default choice for every web based project we get. These are my findings on how to get to know Umbraco a little better.

Make a website

How difficult can it be. Right?  Just for exercise.  Don’t use a starterkit.  Add document types (and nest them), add templates, content pages, add razor scripts.  Add a blog or photo album package or create your own scripts or even try some XSLT (as long as you can).  Need something more exotic , create your own DataType.  It gives you the feeling of what you could do with just a little bit of imagination.

Get active on the forum

I am not a regulary forum visitor as I would like to be.  But you should be one!

  • you might be able to answer a question someone asks. 
  • If you don’t know the solution by heart, but you know you can find it, then look it up and post the solution on the forum. First of all you just trained yourself and you helped out someone else not as smart as you  Smile
  • Even if you don’t know the answer to an interesting question, maybe an extra question can help.  And you are notified by e-mail if someone else might know the solution

Don’t forget, be friendly.  It’s one of the core elements of the umbraco community. 

Get a video subscription

It sounds crazy but the video’s really helped me out to understand a few basics.  It might get you started on something you didn’t touch before…

Get certified

Begin of April 2011 my and my partner both got certified. She did a level 1 umbraco certification and I am now umbraco level 2 certified. There are too much core parts you should know.  E.g. members, examine, /base, and many other components.  Easy things you might not dare to touch otherwise.

Even if you don’t need it, get the certification.  You help the umbracoHQ financially.

Get into the source.

E.g. so you use the umbraco.library functions. So have you ever seen the source of this library? Have you any idea where it lives? I bet not, if you never looked at the source.

I don’t want you to be searching for a few hours or start decompiling.  Just visit the codeplex website, click the source and navigate to the right branch (4.7.1, …).  A lot of documentation is added to the functions.

Here is e.g. the direct link to the umbraco.library class on the 4.7 release

Create a package and share it

First of all, by creating a package, you need to create something general.  Useful for everyone.  That means you will need to think about how to extend and how to configure your extention.  You will learn a lot from the cavecats other users will post back. 

Complete the wiki

When I started with umbraco, I didn’t understand umbraco at all. The lack of information on the Wiki was enormous. So I insist, if you find an article with missing, wrong or outdated information. You can and should update the WIKI, that is why it’s called a wiki.

Make your own starterkit

Although the existing starterkits are fabulous, I stopped using them.  We created our own mini starter kit with the necessary document types and templates. We added our own razor scripts which we always configure.  It helped us to create new lightweight websites more easily and quickly.  It helps us to spread the word about umbraco.

Go to events

Events are the place to be to meet some friendly people.  To talk about how to work with umbraco.  To get (free) information and find some interesting Umbraco lovers.

Who.I.am

Certified Umbraco, .net and Azure developer, seo lover. Magician in my spare time.

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