Monday, August 26, 2019

Umbraco Product Update - August 26th 2019

What I'll walk you through in this update:

  1. Recent Releases: Umbraco 8.1.2, 8.1.3 and 7.15.2
  2. What’s new in Umbraco Cloud
  3. Documentation updates
  4. Updates to the roadmap

Recent Releases: Umbraco 8.1.2, 8.1.3 and 7.15.2

Since the last update, we have released no less than three versions of Umbraco. Two patch updates for version 8 and one for version 7. Some highlights include:

  • A couple of nifty enhancements to Examine to make it easier when working with custom indexes. We’ve enhanced the way Examine unlocks indexes on startup and when rebuilding indexes, ensuring that custom indexes will be unlocked correctly. We’ve also added a base class custom index which developers can inherit from that takes care of some essential plumbing. (8.1.2)

  • The content type editor now has enhanced support for screen readers. This means that users depending on screen readers will get better guidance. Another great addition by the community-lead accessibility team, this time from Rachel Breeze - H5YR! (8.1.3)

  • The Media Upload button in the Media Picker dialogue had unfortunately been disabled in a previous release. This is now fixed so uploading media is once again working as expected (8.1.3, 7.15.2).

Dive further into all the new features and fixes here:

Upcoming Releases

Just sneaking its way past recent releases are two new patch versions of Umbraco Forms that will be available tomorrow (August 27th). As is the case with the CMS releases, we’re patching Forms for both Umbraco 7 and Umbraco 8. Remember, if you’re on Umbraco Cloud these patches will be applied automatically.

There are mainly bug fixes in these releases - but there’s a lot of great stuff in there too! You can see all the fixes here:

What’s new in Umbraco Cloud

… maybe you remember we started a blog post series called this? If not, no worries, so far we’ve only done one post - and in that post, we promised a new update in 3-months-time, which is, well, about now. 

Since then, we have started this bi-weekly Umbraco Product Update blog post series and have decided that we’ll include Cloud updates here instead, making this your one-stop source for all product news. 

So… what IS new in Umbraco Cloud?:

New Invite Flow for Umbraco Cloud

The Cloud Team has been working on an updated workflow for inviting new members to an Umbraco Cloud project. This hasn’t been released yet but we want to let you know how it works so you know what to look forward to as the changes will give you more control over the invite process.

When you invite a new user they will still get an email notification but can now choose to accept or reject an invitation. 

This can be done directly from the email or in the new Pending Invite view which is accessible from your profile menu.

Previously, we added new members to the team the moment you sent the invite but for the new flow, we’ve created an overview of members that have been invited but has not reacted to the invitation. Not only is it now possible to see who is a part of the team and who has been invited, but it’s also possible to cancel an invite.

With the updated workflow they will now show up as pending invites on the team page.

 

We hope you like the changes. While they do add another step and are a little less automagical, they do offer more transparency and control which we know is important when having several team-members working on the same project.

Umbraco Headless

Team headless is also making great progress (headway?). 

CRUD has been added to the API, so it is now possible to: Create, Read, Update and Delete, through the Headless API.  There were many requests for this when we first announced Umbraco Headless so it’s great to see this come together.

Along with CRUD comes great responsibility and so does the ability to do these operations in a secure way. This means we’ve been working on authentication and authorisation through the Headless API as well.

Umbraco Headless is based on Umbraco 8 and naturally, the CRUD implementation has full support of language variants.

If you want to be the first to know about Headless news, remember to sign-up here

Documentation Updates from HQ

We’re very happy to see the adoption (and migration to) Umbraco 8 continue. This has also highlighted some places where the new version has changed significantly and documentation is needed. Over the last two weeks, we have published several documentation articles: 

Custom Database Tables

If you’re creating and managing custom database tables programmatically, Umbraco HQ developer, Warren Buckley, has written a guide on how to do this in Umbraco 8. You can find it here.

UmbracoMapper

In Umbraco 7 we made extensive use of Automapper in the core. For performance reasons we introduced UmbracoMapper in version 8 which has allowed us to gain more granular control over the mapping process and added some serious performance enhancements. 

You’re free to use Automapper if that suits the purpose you just need to be aware that it no longer ships with Umbraco so it has to be installed. If you want to make use of UmbracoMapper there was already documentation available and Umbraco HQ developer, Morten Hartvig, has added a full example of how this works, making it easier to get started. You can find the full example here.

Scheduled Tasks

Last but not least, a new article on how to run scheduled tasks in Umbraco 8, also by Warren. This has also changed for version 8 so it’s great to have this documented.  You can find it here.

There have been a lot more updates to the documentation by community members and the documentation team. For more information (and how to get involved) see the latest documentation blog post from Umbraco HQ docs expert, Sofie.

Updates to the Product Roadmap

This time around we have not moved any items between Now, Next and Later so the only update to the roadmap itself is the additional dates for final comment periods and links. You can find the Product Roadmap here. 

This does not mean there hasn’t been any progress though. I’ve already talked about Umbraco Headless and below you’ll find an update on the other projects:

Media Item Tracking

Ever tried trashing (or even deleting) a media item and then realising it was actually being used somewhere? This overview has been requested for a very long time and it has finally made its way to the Product Roadmap. 

We’re currently in the planning phase which started with creating an RFC (Request for Comments). Next step is to breakdown the RFC into features and tasks and then decide what is needed for the MVP (Minimum viable product) release. 

Part of the work here will include building a proof of concept to make sure we don’t encounter roadblocks once we start the implementation. The RFC is an initial description of the MVP and is open for comments until September 3rd. When the final comment period is over, we will move the project from “Next” to “Now” on the Product Roadmap.

The MVP will give us the ability to track referenced items in Umbraco. The first release will provide an overview of where a media item is being used. We plan on expanding the capabilities to include warnings before deleting items and health checks to ensure there aren’t orphaned references in the installation. These additions will make life easier for both developers and content editors.

You can find the discussion and full RFC here.

Block Property Editor

The work on a new way of managing blocks of content in Umbraco is underway. This is based on the outcome of two RFCs that were started at this years Codegarden retreat. The first is regarding a standardised way of storing complex content (think Grid, Nested Content, your own complex editor etc.). This RFC has been accepted, you can find the details here.

The second RFC is specifically targeted at defining a new editor for managing blocks of content. The RFC for this one has not yet been closed and you can find the details and join the discussion here. This has also entered a final comment period which ends on September 2nd.

The process will follow what is outlined for the Media Tracking so when the final comment period comes to a close and we are done with planning, it will move from “Next” to “Now” on the Product Roadmap and implementation will begin.

Improvements to the Rich text Editor

In the previous Product Update, Jacob mentioned that we’re working on improvements to the rich text editor in Umbraco.  What this means is the RFC has been closed and accepted, final comment period ended on August 16th, and our development team has started the implementation. Some highlights include:

  • Configuration per data type instead of global configuration for TinyMCE
  • Add images pasting and drag n drop
  • Improved Html for inserted images
  • Improved moving of un-editable elements (ie. macros)
  • Performance enhancements


You can get the full details here  

I realise I’ve been mentioning RFCs quite a bit in this post. If you want to learn more about what they are and how we use them you can find more information here.  

That’s it for this update...

A large part of the work we do is inspired by the feedback we get from you. For issues and specific feature request, you can find the issue trackers for our products on the Umbraco Github account. If you have product feedback you’re welcome to reach out to us on product@umbraco.com, contribute to the RFCs and if you want to get personal you can find me on Twitter (@hemraker). 

 

… Until next time.

Related Story

Umbraco Product Update - August 12th 2019

It’s been two weeks since the introduction of the bi-weekly Umbraco Product Update - and as promised, here’s the next one. And as you’ll see in a minute, a lot can happen in two weeks! For today’s update, I’ll take you through 5 items, including new patch releases, tell you how to be sure information about fixes for security vulnerabilities lands straight in your inbox as well as new and upcoming improvements to Umbraco Cloud:

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