Page Components are dead, long live Page Components!

uSkinned is more than just another theme for Umbraco.
uSkinned is more than a theme for Umbraco CMS. uSkinned is a fully featured website solution for everyone.

Since releasing our first themes for Umbraco CMS back in December 2014, a mainstay in our approach has been the use of the 'Page Components' folder. 

With 'Page Components', we pioneered a modular approach to building websites that didn't depend on fixed templates. Our modular components could be used and reordered in a variety of layouts across the entire website. This offers amazing flexibility to the content editor and allows them to truly shape the direction of their own websites content in any way they desire.

Well, that was then and this is now and, thanks to the all-new 'Block Editor' in Umbraco CMS, we have decided to retire our long-serving 'Page Components' in favour of an even more flexible and user-friendly approach. Don't worry though, we've not abandoned our modular approach, not by a long shot, instead, we've enhanced it further. Components are still very much alive and well in our latest releases, however, they no longer live in a folder below your page. 

Updates in 2.0 releases

The following updates are relevant to themes marked 2.x and above for Umbraco 8.

Components 

Page Components can now be found directly on each page or blog post in a uSkinned powered website. Simply navigate to any page or post in the content tree, go to the 'Content' tab and start adding your content. 

Blocks, Pods, Components overhaul

Removing the 'Page Components' folder allowed us to rethink our entire approach and code. This included the ability to repurpose code across a variety of different areas within the CMS. Content editors can now use tabs or accordions in the footer, pods in the Split Component... there is now greater control and options than ever.

Tabs are back

Thanks to the amazing feedback from our users we have made the important decision to reintroduce tabs into the editor experience. Thanks to an amazing add-on that auto-magically creates tabs for you, we're shipping all themes with tabs by default. This declutters the editor experience and really helps to break the editor options into small, manageable steps.

uSkinned tabs and block editor for Umbraco.

New color pickers

We've further enhanced the editor views when picking colors on pods, blocks, components or buttons. Content editors will now get a more accurate depiction of how a particular colour will be presented on the frontend of a uSkinned website. 

uSkinned color pickers for Umbraco.

Gradient backgrounds and buttons

When you create the colour palette for your website you can now choose whether each background colour you choose will be a gradient or a solid colour.

Better typography options

You can now choose between a range of sizes on all Headings, Secondary Headings and Buttons throughout the entire CMS.

uSkinned typography settings.

eCommerce out of the box

Each Umbraco 8 theme now ships with eCommerce powered by Ecwid. Ecwid is free to use and is perfect for selling anything online, including but not limited to; physical products, digital downloads, subscriptions, donations and restaurant orders.

uSkinned shop powered by Ecwid for Umbraco.

uSkinned shop powered by Ecwid frontend for Umbraco.

Language navigation

The ability to create Multilingual or region websites has always been possible with our themes. To support this further we've included a Language Navigation picker within the Navigation node of the CMS. 

uSkinned language selector navigation for Umbraco.

Improved right to left support

Options for Arabic, Hebrew, Pashto, Persian, Urdu, and Sindhi right-to-left writing systems. Reach a global audience from any page in your uSkinned site.

uSkinned right to left support for Umbraco.

SEO & share visualisations

Get a real-time preview of what each page in your website will look like on search engines or when it is shared across social media. 

Image updates

Webp images are served to browsers that support them. You can even upload SVG images anywhere, including for your logo! This will ensure SEO and performance speed enhancements across your entire uSkinned site.

Animation control

Content editors can control animations at every level of their website. Previously a user would set animation on a component level and that would dictate how each element within that component would animate in. We've taken this further and you can now control the animations on each individual block within components, pods and the footer. Choose from over 20 preset animations, animation speed and animation delay to grab the attention of your website audience.

uSkinned animation options & class presets for Umbraco.

Improved developer experience

This release hasn't only focused on the content editor but we've also taken time to think about those out there who intend to use our themes as a baseline for their own work. This includes developers and digital agencies that intend to extend our code for their own needs. 

All Umbraco 8 themes are now, pretty much, running from the exact same Partial Views. They were already running from the same templates, however, with our initial Umbraco 8 releases, we still divided all code into manageable chunks via Partial Views. Within the 'Settings' section developers can now find the folder 'Partial Views > USN Default'. We use this folder for all of our default views, then on each individual theme, we only include the views that are unique to that particular theme. This makes creating your own themes even simpler and running upgrades much more intuitive. 

Content Editor Tours

New to uSkinned or just want to learn how to make the most of what we provide? Log in to the CMS choose from a range of tours and let us guide you through each step of website creation.

Activity Dashboard

We've reintroduced our user activity dashboard. Get an overview of all content changes when you log into the CMS.

Facebook and Twitter Pixel integration

Not only can you integrate your Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager accounts but you can now implement both Facebook and Twitter pixel integrations direct from the Global Settings.

Plus, lots more!

Here are some other additions and improvements...

  • Custom classes — add custom classes anywhere in the CMS, including, components, pages, pods, blocks...
  • Anchor name — control the unique ID of each component. 
  • Website Styles node is now called Design — users can then add unlimited designs below here.
  • Improved browser caching for faster websites — great for SEO.

We can honestly say this is our best release yet and this post has only scratched the surface of what is possible with uSkinned.

 

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