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Product Review: Meet Magnolia CORE 5.5 & Magnolia NOW

Last month, Magnolia, the enterprise content management system (CMS) vendor, released its cloud-hosted enterprise CMS solution, Magnolia NOW as well as the new version of its on-premise enterprise CMS, Magnolia CORE 5.5. In this article, we'll dive into the new capabilities of both products: 

Magnolia CORE 5.5


“Magnolia CORE 5.5 is our strongest release to date,” said Jan Haderka, Magnolia CTO, in the press release. “We’ve tightened the nuts and bolts and packed a whole set of power tools into it. CORE 5.5 offers component personalization out of the box without requiring additional configuration or setup. Magnolia CORE 5.5 runs on Java 8 to benefit from the platform’s latest improvements and security features, but light modules mean that front-end developers do not even need to know Java. This makes implementations much faster to set up.”

Let's discuss what changed with Magnolia CORE 5.5. First things first, the name of the platform has changed to Magnolia CORE in an effort to differentiate its cloud-based product and on-premise edition. 

Secondly, the previous versions of Magnolia relied heavily on developers with technical skills to create digital experiences and required Java skills to develop applications. With the new release, the platform is more simplified. The vendor views developers as the driving force behind new sites and new features, therefore, the new version allows them to:

  • Set up new development environments and module stubs with a single command

  • Reduce code duplication with a definition decoration feature

  • Gain insight and control with the new Definitions app and JCR Browser app

Considering we here at CMS-Connected, have recently covered a sheer volume of news about content management vendors acquiring platforms, teaming up with other vendors, or simply adding new enhancements to their suites in an effort to beef up their platforms with stronger, more tightly integrated personalization capabilities, personalization is arguably the hottest topic in the industry. Therefore, like other vendors, Magnolia didn’t leave out an improvement to it's personalization capabilities in the new release. Their new component personalization features allow users to:

  • Personalize parts of pages or entire pages

  • Build personalized experiences in simple, scalable ways

  • Produce campaigns driven by date, location, and demographics

Another critical improvement done with the new version is the user experience. The platform has been enhanced in order to provide a more efficient author experience. Here are some new content creation capabilities:

  • A copy and paste tool that lets authors copy content across components, pages, assets, tree items and apps

  • Improved accessibility via screen reader support and UI improvements for all users

  • Easy A/B testing with Google Experiments integration

  • An app switcher that makes it faster to move through apps

Magnolia NOW is in the Cloud


The platform is designed to address the issues concerning time to market, the flexibility of development, and the dependence on IT. Since it is built on top of Magnolia CORE, Magnolia NOW offers the majority of the features come with CORE. With Magnolia NOW, you can: 

  • Take new campaigns and even entire sites from creative to online in just hours or days.

  • Manage security updates, backups, and feature releases with easy graphical tools due to its enterprise-grade infrastructure. 

  • Edit pages, personalize content, and utitlize more user friendly web-based apps without training.

  • Pay for just the service you need and reduce your IT overhead. Reduce infrastructure complexity and risk while improving service.

  • Take advantage of development tools that are easy to learn and help developers be productive.

  • Keep multiple developers and distributed teams in sync.

“We introduced Light Development at last year’s conference, and it has helped our users to really push the boundaries of innovation,” said Boris Kraft, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Magnolia, explaining how partners and clients have embraced Light Development. “With Magnolia Now, front-end developers, UX designers and content editors will benefit from a forgiving environment, giving them, even more, freedom to innovate.” To get a quick grasp of how Light Development works and what it means for your business, I recommend watching the video of Topher Zimmermann, Product Management at Magnolia

Ending Notes 


The vendor claims that all these new enhancements and a convenient new cloud offering make Magnolia 5.5 their strongest release yet. That’s definitely true. However, there is still room to improve. Although Magnolia has some digital asset management (DAM) capabilities in place, large enterprises that work with a sheer volume of digital assets might find those capabilities inadequate.

Another important point that Magnolia should improve are its analytics for the social features. Even though organizations can implement third-party integrations to tackle this issue, it would be appealing for some to have the analytics capabilities baked in the platform. One of the most remarkable points about the new products, though, is that both Magnolia Core and Magnolia Now offer Light Development, an agile Java-free way to customize Magnolia. The vendor should emphasize this more as organizations, which may have considered but not picked the platform in the past,  can now reconsider Magnolia due to its Light development.  
 

Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.