Umbraco 8.7 is released. What's New?
Today saw the production release of a significant new version of Umbraco CMS. Umbraco 8.7 releases a number of much anticipated new features for the .NET based CMS, including a new Block List Editor, segmentation of content as well as many performance improvements and bug fixes.
Block List Editor
The Block List Editor is a new tool for editing flexible grid-based layouts which are now commonplace in modern responsive design. Whereas in earlier versions of Umbraco we have used a number of external packages, including Stacked Content and DocType Grid Editor, it is now possible for us to design editing experiences that provide a structured way for Editors to create Grid-Based Layouts.
The new Block List Editor tool enables the team at Carbon Six to work with our clients to understand the flexible layouts they wish to achieve on their Umbraco site, and then provide tools for the Editors to design and build pages where individual grid components can be created and moved on the page to meet the business need.
An example from Egress.com of a Grid Based Layout which can be achieved in Umbraco is shown in Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: Screenshot of Grid Based Layout in Umbraco
An important feature of the new Block List Editor in Umbraco 8.7 is complex validation of components on a page. In previous grid editing tools in Umbraco, especially DocType Grid Editor, it wasn't possible for us to validate that a grid component had been properly edited by a user.
For example, the headline "Prevent human activated security breaches" in the grid component could not be enforced as mandatory, so an inexperienced editor may make a mistake and not populate the headline field. This could cause errors on the site if not properly coded, or could result in a strange unexpected layout when the page was previewed.
Umbraco 8 introduced the concept of variants for multi-lingual sites, effectively allowing multiple versions of a page to created, one in each language. This has been extended in Umbraco 8.7 to enable segmentation of content for A/B testing purposes.
At the moment, the Umbraco Core CMS doesn't expose a way to edit these variations, but the feature makes possible A/B Testing in uMarketing Suite which is a package we've written about extensively over the last few months.
Figure 2: AB Testing in uMarketingSuite
Performance enhancements and bug fixes
Umbraco 8.7 also includes a number of performance enhancements which will improve the CMS. Namely, improvements to recycling, especially when recycling large amounts of content, as well as improvements in the time taken to upgrade from Umbraco 7 to 8, and improvements to the Umbraco NuCache to enable Umbraco to load content for very large sites at start up.
Lastly, there are 29 accessibility improvements in this latest version of Umbraco.
If you need help upgrading your site to Umbraco 8.7, then head over to our Fixed Price Upgrades service.
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