Shifting Hurdles of CMS 12 Upgrade into Milestones

Tuesday, October 31, 2023 | CMS Upgrade

Surjit Bharath

Director of Hidden Foundry

Optimizely Most Valued Professional (OMVP), Subject Matter Expert (SME), CMS and Commerce certified

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Transitioning from CMS 11 to Optimizely CMS 12 is a notable endeavor that promises an array of enhanced features and capabilities such as improved performance, better security, and new editorial experiences. However, this upgrade journey is sprinkled with several critical points that demand a developer's attention to ensure a smooth transition. This article delineates these crucial aspects, guiding developers through the labyrinth of a CMS 12 upgrade.


Prerequisites for Upgrade

Before embarking on the upgrade journey, it's essential to set up an additional development environment from Optimizely DXP, alongside a separate integration and pre-production environment. This setup is crucial for testing and validating the upgrade process before moving to the production stage.


Upgrade Technique

There are two ways we can perform an upgrade. Depending on the complexity of your solution, factors such as the amount of custom code and the number of third-party integrations can steer the decision in one direction.

The first is doing an upgrade from 11 to 12 directly on your code base. This means bringing all Optimizely packages up to the latest and then step by step, fixing the breaking changes.

The second option is installing a brand new solution using CMS 12 and then moving all the view-related and business logic code and files over from the existing solution. You might think that this is a big choice, but in some circumstances, this can be much faster than trying to fix an existing codebase itself.


Upgrade Steps

Once the DXP environment is set up and the prerequisites are met, proceed with the official three-phased upgrade procedure:

  1. Choose and execute an upgrade technique.
  2. Implement alternatives for third-party integrations which have changed or are no longer available. This includes addressing add-on packages, marketing integrations, and interactions with other systems such as a PIM or ERP.
  3. Fix code issues and breaking changes.
  4. Deploy to a CMS 12 provisioned environment ready to migrate over your live site.


Code Fixes and Breaking Changes

The upgrade trail is laden with code fixes and breaking changes awaiting resolution. Being well-versed with the potential code adjustments and method signature alterations is crucial. The breaking changes, especially, demand a keen eye to ensure that existing functionalities remain unaffected post-upgrade.


Third Party Integrations & Connectors

The transition to CMS 12 coupled with the shift to .NET 7 brings to the forefront the consideration of third-party integrations and connectors. A crucial aspect of this stage is the readiness of these integrations for the new environment. It's not uncommon to await necessary connector upgrades before proceeding with the CMS upgrade. When these connectors are eventually updated, there might be requisite changes on the website to ensure seamless integration with the updated versions. All of these aspects demand a thorough review and thoughtful planning to ensure that the website continues to function optimally with the integrated third-party systems amidst and post-upgrade.


.NET Core Transition

The technological shift from .NET Framework 4.8 to .NET 7, which is a part of the .NET Core evolution, is a significant milestone in the upgrade journey. This transition necessitates exploring .NET Core alternatives for current NuGet packages and other dependencies, symbolizing a substantial shift in the underlying technology stack.



Customizations in CMS 11 could potentially morph into hurdles during the upgrade. Custom visitor groups, for instance, may encounter binding errors due to obsolete attributes, necessitating code realignments to meet the new CMS 12 standards. A meticulous review of customizations and a plan to address them, such as setting aside time for code revisions and testing, is paramount for a successful transition.



The voyage to Optimizely CMS 12 is dotted with critical points that, when navigated adeptly, unlock a world of enhanced functionalities and streamlined operations. By recognizing and preparing for these critical aspects, developers can steer through the upgrade process confidently, ensuring the fruition of a robust, upgraded CMS environment. With a thorough understanding of the prerequisites, a structured approach to the upgrade procedures, and a readiness to tackle the code, technological, and customization challenges, the path to Optimizely CMS 12 becomes a calculated and rewarding endeavor.

We would like to offer you, the reader, a no-obligations upgrade assessment for your CMS 11 / Commerce 13 solution. If you are thinking of moving over and need some direction, we can analyze your code base and deliver a report describing upgrade steps required, considerations that need to be made, and any show stoppers.

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