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Is there a BETA release of Umbraco 9 available?
We have a client who is migrating from Episerver to Umbraco and at the moment we are going to build it in 8 but realistically we would like to build it in 9 so we can carry on to upgrade and support our client.
The next version of Umbraco probably won't be called V9!
Umbraco HQ are working on a project to migrate Umbraco to .net Core:
Lots of information here:
There is an 'Alpha' of the backoffice available to test and feedback on.
But it will likely be 2021 before it will be feature complete, even then there is usually a period of 3-6 months after a major release of Umbraco before the community eco system has caught up with the change, eg key packages, plugins and knowledge - and everyone has confidence to build a production site on the shiny new platform! - There is no 'release date' - but if your project can wait til the second half of 2021, then you will avoid the migration step from V8 to .net Core!
The broad plan as I understand it is not to touch the database structure in this step, so any content in a V8 site will not need to be migrated for the .net core version - but it's still early days.
So a migration would 'probably' look like rewriting the site implementation views and supporting code to use .net core and migrate any 3rd party packages - it's not clear yet how much plugins will be affected, it depends on how complex, and how they are implemented etc
There are some V7 packages that haven't been migrated to V8 yet, but then there are some V6 packages that haven't been migrated to V7 either!
Anyway, if your project needs to start soon, V8 is probably the version to use! - the main thing is you are not going to finish your client's site and find this 'V9' product launched the very next day...
... it doesn't feel like there is a 'clever trick' to pull by starting the site on a beta (mainly as there isn't one!) and then when the site is finished it coincides with the version release :-(
Hope the info on the Alpha helps, and you get a chance to give it a spin!
Updated information (as per May 2021):
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