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Umbraco 8.18 Release Candidate

Try out all the new features and improvements for Umbraco 8

Rune 1 (2)
Written by Rune Strand

The last minor release of Umbraco 8 adds improvements in all areas. You get a more efficient CMS with automatic and configurable History Cleanup, added security, vastly improved accessibility, 65 UI & UX improvements, and much more. Umbraco 8.18 is almost ready, and before it’s released, we’d love your help in testing it out to make sure it is a fitting send-off 🚀

Overview:

 

Update 17-02-2022: Umbraco 8.18 RC2 available with:

Update 15-02-2022: Added information on the new Umbraco logo in the backoffice feature and updated target release date.

Wait, the last Umbraco 8 release?

No! Umbraco 8.18 is the last minor release of Umbraco 8 and marks the beginning of the long-term support (LTS) phase for Umbraco 8. You will still get patch and security updates (e.g. Umbraco 8.18.1). See the Product Knowledge Center for more information on how LTS releases are supported in general and Umbraco 8 specifically

It does mean that future releases for Umbraco 8 will be focused on providing stability, compatibility, and security. Feature development and improvements are done in Umbraco 9+. 

What’s in Umbraco 8.18?

To help you provide us with feedback, I’ve gathered an overview of some of the items that you can help test for this RC. We have run internal testing and are very happy with the current state of the build - but extra polishing and testing is always helpful. So if you have time to help - or just find yourself super curious, feel free to dive into the 8.18. RC today. 

Psst, remember that all upcoming features and relevant improvements for 8.18 have already been released for of Umbraco 9. 

History Cleanup

This new feature provides some much-requested functionality to your Umbraco installations that help keep the database footprint of Umbraco at a more reasonable level and some more efficient querying of the database.

Every time a content item is saved in Umbraco a new version (or revision) is saved in the database. This allows you to roll back to previous versions and provides a history of changes. It also means that a content item that has been worked on a lot can potentially consist of many database entries of which only one is in use (the published version) and just a few others might be relevant such as unpublished work. 

History Cleanup does exactly what the name suggests. It cleans the history for content items ensuring there is not a lot of excess data. The default policy is every 24 hrs but this and much more can be configured on a granular level, including pinning specific versions and excluding content based on Document Type. See the Umbraco 9.1 release blog post for more details.

If you are upgrading an existing installation to 8.18, History Cleanup will be disabled by default and you’ll need to enable it in order to benefit from scheduled cleanups. This is all configured in umbracoSettings.config:

New health check for Fixed Application Url

A new security health check has been added in the settings of Umbraco 8.18. You will now see a warning if the UmbracoApplicationUrl has not been set. We highly recommend setting the UmbracoApplicationUrl to the desired default hostname as Umbraco will otherwise use the most recently used hostname to request the application - this can be a security concern for certain setups.

The UmbracoApplicationUrl is set in web.config. You can read more about it in the documentation. Once the application URL is set, you’ll get I nice checkmark to verify the health check has passed.

Umbraco 9.2 Fixed Application Url Health Check Success 833X196px

Package Telemetry

Having solid data on package usage is important for both package developers and the Umbraco ecosystem. This new feature will send anonymized analytical data for packages and provide more reliable numbers for package authors than what we get from NuGet today - all out-of-the-box.

In order to do so, two new properties have been added to package manifests. 

  • allowPackageTelemetry is enabled by default, also when not present in the manifest. Adding this property and setting it to false allows you to turn off telemetry for the package
  • version to indicate the version number of the package. This needs to be in place for version-specific telemetry to work. If not set, the data will still be recorded and the version number will be set as not specified.

The “name” property will be used to map telemetry to a package, if the name property is not set, the folder name will be used to map the data.

Member properties moved to Content App

With the addition of Tabs in Umbraco 8.17, you might have noticed some decidedly odd workflows for adding tabs to Member Types. This was due to the default member properties and is now addressed with a new Content App for Members. 

Umbraco 9.2 Members Default Properties In Content App

Previously the login, email, password, and member groups fields were shown in a fixed "Properties" group that was added below all existing groups. If you started using tabs, this group would be displayed in a Generic tab (and couldn't be moved elsewhere). By moving these fields to their own Member Content App, you'll get a much better experience when using tabs and groups with Members!

The Umbraco logo has been re-introduced to the backoffice and the Umbraco logo font has been added to the login screen (previously only showed the logo).

Umbraco 9.3 Log In Screen With Logo

Logo + logo font on the Umbraco login screen

This has been done to increase brand awareness, or in plain speak, let people know they are using Umbraco CMS.

Umbraco 9.3 Backoffice With Logo

Umbraco logo in the backoffice

Clicking the logo in the backoffice shows the current version number and a link to the umbraco.com website. There is a proposed additional ability to hide the logo in the backoffice, should that be a requirement. You can see all the details on the PR:https://github.com/umbraco/Umbraco-CMS/pull/11999

Raising brand awareness is important for everyone working with Umbraco. For many, it can be a big help to know the system they are using. It allows users of the backoffice to find information, documentation, engage with, or maybe even become regular contributors in the Umbraco community.

We have been made aware that this functionality was not included in the release candidate and was introduced late in the process which has resulted in limited time for user feedback. That is a mistake on our part. We should not be introducing new functionality or features, small or large, during the RC phase. This should only be for addressing issues before the public release.

We’ve decided to postpone the final minor release of Umbraco 8.18 by a week (now February 24th, 2022) to allow additional time for testing and feedback.

Updated dependencies

Another release, another round of dependencies updated:

And so much more...

There are 117(!) features improvements and fixes in Umbraco 8.18 that all help provide new functionality, a more polished user experience, and improved stability. Not least thanks to a fantastic community effort with a whooping 94 pull requests merged 🎉 You can dive into the full list in the Umbraco 8.18 release notes.

How to test

First, you need to make a new Umbraco installation from 8.18RC (links below) or upgrade an existing project, both scenarios can provide valuable feedback.

If you find things in the RC that are not working, we’d be grateful for feedback on the Github issue tracker. You’re welcome to add comments to the features and fixes listed under the 8.18 release or submit new bug reports (click New Issue and select Bug Report), please prefix the issue with 8.18-rc: 

Github New Issue Umbraco 8.18 RC

As mentioned previously, the RC is feature complete, so we’re not going to add additional features but will, of course, fix bugs that prevent a stable release.

How to get your hands on the Umbraco 8.18 RC

As always, installation and release notes can be found on Our: https://our.umbraco.com/contribute/releases/8180

This release candidate is also available from Nuget: https://www.nuget.org/packages/UmbracoCms/8.18.0-rc2

When is the public release?

We’re aiming for a full public release on February 17th, 2022 - Update 15/02/2022: We’ve decided to postpone the final minor release of Umbraco 8.18 by a week to February 24th, 2022, to allow additional time for testing and feedback. This means Umbraco 8.18 will be available for upgrade on Umbraco Cloud and via NuGet or the download page. We need a couple of days to wrap up the release so the sooner we get your feedback the better 🙂

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Big H5YR 🙌 to everyone who has contributed to Umbraco 8.18 and thanks to everyone willing to lend a hand in testing it out. It means the world to get it validated by the users.


Bug reports are best handled on the issue tracker and as always, we welcome you to submit product feedback and questions on product@umbraco.com

 

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