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Umbraco 8.8 Release

Find out what you get with this brand new version of Umbraco

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Written by Filip Bech

One of those releases you don’t want to miss 🙂 Umbraco 8.8 adds improvements for developers and content editors alike and has new features for image cropping, improved UX and accessibility, performance enhancements and so much more. It’s a true community effort with no less than 176 community PRs accepted, bringing the total in this release to 193 features, improvements and fixes 🚀 Let’s take a look at the new release:

Overview:

What’s new in Umbraco 8.8

Hacktoberfest is kicking off today and what better way to celebrate that than with a huge community-driven release. You really keep the Core Collaborators team on their toes with all these great contributions. They test and review all the incoming PRs and are fortunate enough to get help from community members who do testing as well - another great way to contribute 🙂

Umbraco version 8.8 is a great example of this - let’s take a look at the fruit of this labour:

Cropping images in the Grid

Ever wanted to crop and preview images directly in Grid Layouts? Lars-Erik Aabech did and he went ahead and built the feature. This means that you can now use the standard image cropper functionality when you’ve selected an image and the preview in the Grid will update accordingly.

Content editors will now be able to control cropping and have a much better representation of what it will look like on the frontend. What’s really neat is that it uses the same configuration of the Grid Media Picker as before, just with enhanced functionality.


You can see how you can add crops in the documentation for Grid Editors.

Editing Styles and Settings for the Grid

Another great addition if you’re working with the Grid and using Settings and Styles (the little cogwheel on rows and cells ⚙), is that the JSON configuration for this is handled with a proper code editor. Bjarne Fyrstenborg has updated this part of the configuration to use the Ace editor.

This will make it a lot easier to add Settings and Styles with proper formatting, syntax highlighting and should result in less trial and error.

Listview in Media Picker

If you have folders in the Media library with a lot of media items, this feature is here to help. You can now choose to view items in a list as opposed to just thumbnails. This can make it easier to get an overview and quicker to scan if you’re looking for something by name.

Simple, clean and a great help for anyone picking media items. Kudos to Marc Goodson for contributing and to Thomas Morris and Bjarne Fyrstenborg for testing it out.

Working with GUIDs and UDIs 

Referencing entities in Umbraco is usually done with GUIDs or UDIs - unique identifiers that ensure things are consistent. This was not always the case, as this used to be done with IDs, which are decidedly less unique. Bjarne Fyrstenborg has made a fantastic contribution to Umbracos APIs, making it a lot easier to work GUIDs and UDIs. No more jumping through hoops, converting back and forth to IDs, requesting entities with unique identifiers is now native.

Icons as SVGs

A major step up in terms of accessibility is going from using icon fonts to SVGs. An SVG can hold semantic data for screen readers and are not affected if accessibility fonts are being used. If you want some more background on why this is a good thing, this post explains the reasoning for Github switching to SVGs. 

A new directive umb-icon has been added to help render the SVG icons and it has already been implemented in a few places in the backoffice and can also be used by package developers. This first release, with Umbraco 8.8, is mostly to get the functionality in Core and the icons can then be updated in subsequent PRs (maybe a good idea for Hacktoberfest? 😉).

Mike Massey has been working on this for close to 2 years. It is a big change to the backoffice, so it’s naturally taken some time to ensure it’s backwards compatible, has proper fallbacks and so forth. It’s already caught the attention of other contributors that are working on expanding and solidifying the functionality. An example is making it possible to have your own SVGs stored in an App_Plugins and registered in a package.manifest file. Søren Kottal already has a PR for this functionality!

Overlays, dialogues and tabbing

If you use the keyboard to navigate the backoffice there are improvements in this release as well. Jan Skovgaard has been working on a great enhancement to ensure you don’t inadvertently tab out of confirmation dialogues and overlays. 

A new AngularJS service makes it possible to create focus lock, which means you can scope the area that is in focus. This has been in a number of places already and can be used in packages where this functionality is needed. 

Parlez-vous français?

Micheal Latouche has contributed with a massive overhaul of french translation of the backoffice. More than 550(!) updates and additions will surely benefit content editors working in a localized backoffice. 

Haut cinq tu rock 🙌

Accessibility

This is another big release for Umbraco in terms of accessibility. Aside from the icons and overlays mentioned above, there are 25(!) additional PRs aiming to make the Umbraco backoffice easier to use for everyone. Whether you’re using a screen reader or are a keyboard shortcut enthusiastic, you’ll feel the difference. The Umbraco Accessibility Team is 100% community-run and has made a huge amount of contributions over the past year which makes a big impact on the user experience in the backoffice - So do go give them a big old H5YR, they deserve it!

Community Contributions

Of the 192 bug fixes & feature additions in version 8.8.0 - 179 of them came from community pull requests, created by 29 unique contributors. One of those was still a contribution from Hacktoberfest 2019.

We’re welcoming 6 brand new contributors who have made their first pull request for Umbraco-CMS, they’re marked with stars below. Welcome to the contributor club Dan, M. Ali, Erol, Joshua, Harmen and Marta! 🏅

Many thanks to all of the contributors to Umbraco 8.8.0, let’s give them a big #H5YR 🙌:

 

Bjarne Fyrstenborg - 82 PRs

Kenn Jacobsen - 30 PRs

Jan Skovgaard - 22 PRs

Nathan Woulfe - 5 PRs

Poornima Nayar - 4 PRs

Ronald Barendse - 3 PRs

Chad - 3 PRs

⭐ Dan Russell - 3 PRs

Lars-Erik Aabach - 2 PRs

Lee Kelleher - 2 PRs

Marc Goodson - 2 PRs

Rachel Breeze - 2 PRs

Mike Masey - 2 PRs

⭐ M. Ali Iftikhar - 1 PR

⭐ Erol Akgül - 1 PR

Rick Read - 1 PR

⭐ Joshua Brown - 1 PR

Gareth Evans - 1 PR

⭐ Harmen Kooiker - 1 PR

Ismail Mayat - 1 PR

Evan Moore - 1 PR

Patrick de Mooij - 1 PR

Mike Chambers - 1 PR

Markus Johansson - 1 PR

Callum Whyte - 1 PR

Ian Houghton - 1 PR

⭐ Marta - 1 PR

Tom Pipe - 1 PR

Michael Latouche - 1 PR

 


⭐ = First pull request to any Umbraco repository 

 

How to get your hands Umbraco 8.8

As always, from today, all new version 8 Umbraco Cloud projects will be running 8.8. 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 8.8!

  • 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/880

This release is also available from Nuget: https://www.nuget.org/packages/UmbracoCms/8.8.0

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If you get an idea for something you would like to build in Umbraco, chances are that someone has already built it. And if you have a question, are looking for documentation or need friendly advise, go ahead and ask the Umbraco community on Our.

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