- What’s new in Umbraco 8.6?
- Community Contributions
- Breaking Changes
- How to get your hands on Umbraco 8.6
What’s new in Umbraco 8.6?
A whole bunch of new features and fixes have been added in Umbraco 8.6. Features and fixes that’ll delight both developers and content editors!
In total, 150 bug fixes & feature additions have been added. Today, I’ll introduce you to some of the most interesting ones that hopefully will improve your Umbraco experience:
Media Tracking - no more manual detective work
One thing that has been requested by many for a very long time is the ability to track the usage of your media items. Umbraco CMS now supports this as a core feature of the CMS without the use of 3rd party packages.
This means that you’re now able to see and track exactly where your images are being used or referenced, all the way down to exactly which property is referring to it. This is a super neat feature for making sure that you know of any potential complications related to updating or deleting existing items in your media library.
Where is my image being used on the site? Find out in 8.6!
Custom Validation Messages - friendly guidance to your editor
You’re most likely used to seeing standard validation messages such as “Required” or “This value has to be a number” when entering input into any type of software. While these messages sure are more helpful than just being told that your data could not be saved, they are not really what we consider friendly.
And since “friendly” is our middle name, you’re now given the ability to customize your validation messages for specific scenarios where it would make sense to provide more helpful validation feedback for the editor.
Be friendly and helpful with telling validation messages
Instead of just being told that a field is “Required”, you can now let your editor know that he has to add a title for his blog post before he can publish it. This enables you to provide a much more friendly approach to the content editing experience while also giving the editors the feeling that this is a website tailored specifically for their needs.
A huge shout out and high five to Andy Butland for getting this functionality into Umbraco - we and the community really appreciate the contribution!
Updated Media Picker - making things work as expected
Once in a while, you’ll see that over time, a feature evolves into something that it wasn’t initially thought to be. Requirements change, new ideas come to life and this is to be expected when features are taken beyond the development phase and are being used in the real world. It is, however, a great idea to then circle back and consider if some of the initial thoughts and ideas need to be rethought or polished a bit to keep the pristine user experience that was intended from the beginning.
This is the case with the Media Picker. So we’ve circled back.
We’re not introducing a whole lot of groundbreaking changes to the Media Picker, but even adding some minor fixes to various bits and pieces can be a major boost to the overall look and feel when using it. In 8.6, the selection of elements is more intuitive and, as some might put it; is behaving as you would expect it to. Something you likely won’t notice when it is just working, but when it is not - it can be really frustrating (just ask your content editor!).
There’s also been updates to behavior when uploading new media, making the workflow more intuitive and less prone to mistakes. All of the updates are based on feedback from the community and a huge high-five goes out to Kenn Jacobsen for making it happen!
Stability Improvements on Azure
While Umbraco 8 is the current recommended stable version of Umbraco, there’s always room for improvement. Based on feedback from the community, it was brought to our attention that there might be a problem regarding how locking is handled by some specific hosting scenarios.
After many ongoing discussions and investigations on this subject, the culprit was finally discovered. Microsoft Azure seemed to handle locks in a way that was not compatible with the locking mechanisms used in Umbraco, which would cause issues to randomly show up when you’re using Umbraco on Azure under specific conditions.
Not being able to use some of the cool features Azure provides is not really a great scenario, which is why we’ve made sure that Umbraco 8.6 now works even better than before when hosted in Azure by yourself. The locking mechanisms used previously have been rewritten with a new approach, ensuring that locking is completely stable even when used under conditions we hadn’t previously anticipated. The Umbraco Cloud platform was not using any of these features and for that same reason, has not been affected by this issue.
You can read the details on the new SQL based IMainDomLock here.
Content Apps for Members
One of the really big features of Umbraco 8 is Content Apps. Content Apps enables the editor to have an extra layer of editing functionality to assist when preparing content. It allows the developer to augment the core content editing experience of Umbraco with relevant functionality related specifically to editing particular content items.
Content Apps has proved to be a very useful tool to improve the editing experience for content and now this functionality is available for the member's section as well. This means that you’re now able to extend the member functionality in the backoffice to be tailored specifically to your Umbraco implementation, giving your editors a whole new level of options for handling members. You could, for example, extend the member information available in the backoffice with information integrated from an external 3rd party provider, such as analytics data allowing your editors to know more about the member’s browsing activity on your site.
If you’re interested in reading more about Content Apps and how to use them in the member's section, I would recommend you read the related pull requests and discussions here.
Of the 150 bug fixes & feature additions in version 8.6.0 - 130 of them came from community pull requests and 44 of those were even still contributions from Hacktoberfest!
Some of the highlights are:
- 33 of those pull requests were focused on more accessibility, great work by Jan Skovgaard, Poornima Nayar, Kenn Jacobsen, Mike Masey, Bjarne Fyrstenborg, Sven Geusens, Rachel Breeze and Matthew Wise! ⭐
- Dave Woestenborghs has made it possible to make tours for specific document types now.
This makes it easier to provide help for specific workflows that editors might not use very often. We’ve also added documentation for this new feature.
- Kenn Jacobsen has been working a lot on polishing some nested content usability issues
- Paul Seal and Søren Kottal have done some great work on visualizing document types and data types in the tree to make it easier to find what you’re looking for in a long list of types.
- Thanks to Kenn Jacobsen you can now also include descendants when you use copy and move actions in a list view.
- As mentioned above, you can now also make Content Apps in the members section thanks to a great PR from Rob Maas.
We’re welcoming some brand new contributors who have made their first pull request for this version of Umbraco and those are: David Zweben, Joep van't Land, Niels Odgaard, Niels Swimberghe and Rasmus Østergård. Welcome to the club! 🌟 🎉
Many thanks to all of the contributors to Umbraco 8.6.0, let’s give them a big #H5YR 🙌:
We do our best to avoid any type of breaking changes in minor versions of Umbraco, however - Umbraco 8.6 contains two minor changes that we consider breaking:
Usage of exception classes in the CMS has been cleaned up and while this is good, it is also a change of behaviour. If you have custom code expecting to handle specific exceptions being thrown, you should make sure to take a look at the related issue to see if you are affected by the changes.
There has also been a change to the URL provider in handling absolute URLs, which had to be marked as breaking. While it most likely will not cause any issues, as it is now actually fixed to make things work as expected - if you have been using this and worked around the incorrect behaviour, you may need to revert this workaround after upgrading.
How to get your hands Umbraco 8.6
As always, from today, all-new version 8 Umbraco Cloud projects will be running 8.6. For all our Umbraco Cloud customers with existing projects, this upgrade is only 2 minutes away:
We’ve wrapped it all up for you, so all you have to do now is follow these steps:
- Add a Development Environment to your project, if you do not already have one (Add a Development environment by clicking “Manage Environments” in the project view)
- Make sure you also restore the content to the Development Environment from your Live.
- When the Development Environment is all set up and you’ve made sure you don’t have any pending changes on the Development Environment - you are all ready to upgrade to Umbraco 8.x!
- It's as easy as clicking a button - like, literally clicking the "Upgrade Available" button on the Development Environment. The auto-upgrader will take care of everything from here! 🚀
- Once it's done, check the Development Environment to make sure everything is looking right.
- When that's confirmed, you are ready to deploy the upgrade to the next environment - Live or Staging, and start taking full advantage of all the new features.
Non-Cloud and release notes:
As always, installation and release notes can be found on Our: https://our.umbraco.com/contribute/releases/860
This release is also available from Nuget: https://www.nuget.org/packages/UmbracoCms/8.6.0