TYPO3 4.5 Release Notes
by Ernesto Baschny, TYPO3 Release Manager 4.5
The latest release of TYPO3 marks another milestone for the further development of the TYPO3 CMS. TYPO3 4.5 contains a steadily improving Backend interface, tons of security, stability and performance enhancements as well as new future-proof APIs. You will find the most important additions for our favorite CMS below.
For a detailed and technical explanation of what has changed, new settings, descriptions of new APIs, please refer to the Technical Release Notes.
Well-proven things now shiny and new
TYPO3 keeps on getting easier and more intuitive for editors, and TYPO3 4.5 includes some long-awaited improvements that make the TYPO3 Backend better for newbies and power-users.
TYPO3 4.5 introduces a renewal of some existing features, but with a rewritten and improved underlying technique. One major part is the famous TYPO3 page tree, visible in every installation on the left. It is now rendered completely frameless and is fully based on ExtJS components. This paves the way for some long awaited additions like simple drag & drop with intuitive insertion recognizable from desktop applications (e.g. pressing the Ctrl-key will copy instead of move the page), and also inline-editing of the page title.
The page tree is just one part where TYPO3 is moving towards an ExtJS-driven backend while maintaining backwards compatibility as much as possible.
Most of the fields that are used when editing a page or a content element are now restructured, and have gotten more logical separation and updated labels. This is an outcome of 2009's User Experience Week.
The new "live search" feature, also born during the TYPO3 User Experience Week, was merged into TYPO3 4.5 LTS. It is a cool find-as-you-type and always visible tool to reach the needed elements quicker than before.
Additionally, most of the help icons that have been around for ages were removed and substituted with proper help information that is shown when you hover over an element.
The Web > Functions module now allows for easier bulk adding of pages while choosing a page type directly when adding the page.
An addition to the page module, the Backend Layout Wizard enables the layout of the well known "Columns" View (Web>Page) to more properly reflect the designs in a Website. A nice wizard creates the layout with just a few clicks.
Lots of improvements in the Skin were made possible by the Skin team, formed during the 4.5 development phase. Styling of the new workspace module, ExtJS components, new backend structure with added contrast (and drop shadows) between the areas in the page. Plenty of optimizations to backend skin to have a more consistent look and feel and converge more towards the Phoenix (TYPO3v5) development.
Stable for a very long time
The suffix “LTS” in TYPO3 Version 4.5 LTS stands for “Long Term Support”. For the first time a TYPO3 version will be maintained significantly longer than the usual release cycle would suggest.
In 2010, TYPO3 has switched to a fixed 6-month release cycle, making new features and improvements available a lot faster. On the other hand, the lifetime of a version now expires faster since only the latest three versions are actively maintained.
LTS versions will be supported for at least 3 years, thus offering a good option for users that don’t need or don’t want to update every 6 months.
TYPO3 Version 4.5 LTS is also the last TYPO3 version to support Internet Explorer 6 for the Backend.
Enterprise Features: Workspaces revamped
A feature that was included in TYPO3 since version 4.0 has now gotten some more attention: Workflow management, called "Workspaces" in TYPO3, has been streamlined and is easier to understand for administrators and editors.
TYPO3 4.5 LTS includes major improvements to one of the most important features in the enterprise market. The versioning of records have been stabilized, and the "UI" on top for the workflow, TYPO3 Workspaces, has been remodeled. A new module, based on ExtJS, has been developed to ensure maximum usability. It is the first backend system extension to use the Extbase / Fluid technology.
Additionally the possibility for custom stages has been added. A new upgrade wizard inside the Install Tool migrates safely to the latest technology. Also, editing records with the Inline-Relational-Record-Editing (IRRE) method now supports workspaces and versioning of records.
"Oh wait, there's more..." - Further changes in TYPO3 4.5
.stdWrap for everybody
The popular TypoScript feature "stdWrap", a collection of useful functions that can be applied to any type of text, is now attached to all cObjects, properties and options of the TYPO3 Core. In the past, some options didn't have all the standard functions, although wanted and badly needed by some administrators.
A new option "stdWrap.numberFormat" has been introduced to quickly format numbers in a proper way. Additionally, the main class for rendering content in the TYPO3 Frontend, "tslib_content", has been split up to allow for easier additions of cObjects and stdWrap features by extensions and for speed improvements in the long run.
A new TypoScript Content Object: FLUIDTEMPLATE
A new TypoScript content object has been introduced. FLUIDTEMPLATE, which can now be used apart from the marker-based approach of the TEMPLATE content object, to use the power of the Fluid syntax for page rendering or as a standalone version in certain other places.
A new Linkvalidator module was added as a new system extension. It is able to check all kinds of links: internal, external and file links. It looks inside headers, bodytext and other configured fields. It comes with a just-in-time checker and is also able to do the checks via a scheduler task.
Updated styles for the TYPO3 Admin Panel
The Admin Panel, the control panel for editors and admins in the TYPO3 frontend, has gotten a major visual refresh. It fits better to the look and feel of the current TYPO3 Backend.
Extensions moved to system extensions
Some modules shipped with the Core are now moved into their own system extensions. This allows for easier disabling of some site-wide features, and proper separation of features that are suited better as a system extension, thus still shipping with TYPO3 Core package.
Note: When upgrading from a previous TYPO3 version, an upgrade wizard within the Install Tools enables the necessary system extensions.
Re-organized Extension Manager
A new UI for the extension manager, based on ExtJS, has been introduced. Although it's optional and the existing Extension Manager is still the main one, it will be steadily improved and will completely replace the old modules in TYPO3 4.6.
Unified Mail API
TYPO3 4.5 LTS ships with the SwiftMailer API, a better and more unified method to send mails than t3lib_htmlmail and t3lib_formmail. The TYPO3 Core makes use of this API but still keeps the existing PHP classes for backwards compatibility.
Extbase and Fluid
Extbase, the MVC bridge between TYPO3 Neos' framework TYPO3 Flow and TYPO3 v4 as well as the new templating engine Fluid are steadily improved with every new version of TYPO3 4.x.
Extbase now supports Dependency Injection, which is one of the building blocks of TYPO3 Flow. It helps you to build loosely-coupled systems more easily and allows you to gain experience with another TYPo3 Flow concept in your daily life. Fluid can now be used from TypoScript using the new FLUIDTEMPLATE content object. This means you can now use Fluid Templates not only for Extensions, but also for the website itself. Furthermore, support for Widgets has been added, meaning you can add page browsing or Ajax autocompletion with a single line in your Fluid template.
There are many more smaller features, and many issues have been tackled, making this the most stable Extbase release ever.
Since TYPO3 4.4, icons are rendered with icon sprites, a CSS-driven technique to display icons through background images. TYPO3 4.5 LTS includes a developers' feature to generate icon sprites dynamically.
Prepared database queries
The TYPO3 database API now supports prepared statements when accessing the database throughout SQL. All extension developers are encouraged to make use of these new features.
Cross-Site-Request-Forgery (CSRF) Protection
"Cross-site request forgery" (CSRF) is a way of attacking a website via a one-click attack or session riding by executing unauthorized commands that are transmitted from a user that the website trusts. Unlike cross-site scripting (XSS), CSRF exploits the trust that a website has in the user's browser. TYPO3 4.5 LTS includes an out-of-the-box protection for the Core features of TYPO3.
UTF-8 by default
All new TYPO3 installations are now set up with the unicode variant UTF-8 for the Backend and the connection to the database. The TYPO3 development team encourages everybody to port any existing, non-unicode installations to UTF-8 in order to stay compliant. Since TYPO3 Neos will be in UTF-8 - only, this change towards unicode is a prerequisite in order to keep your data easy to migrate.
Of course, the rendering of a properly configured TYPO3 Frontend remains untouched of this modification, and the configuration of the output format of a TYPO3-driven website will still be possible through TypoScript.
Note: When upgrading from previous installations that are not set up with UTF-8, some modifications in the installations' typo3conf/localconf.php need to be made.
Deprecation of PHPs safe_mode
PHPs "safe_mode" feature has been deprecated of the current PHP version 5.3. Although still supported, the PHP development team encourages people to disable the feature. Due to some unsolvable issues with safe_mode / Windows installations and TYPO3's imagemagick possibilities, safe_mode support will be dropped with TYPO3 4.6. For TYPO3 4.5 LTS "safe_mode" is marked as deprecated.
The development of TYPO3 4.5 was driven by these high-level goals:
- To have a stable Long Term Support version
- To ensure maximum compatibility
- To make TYPO3 more usable
- To focus on enterprise features
- To introduce APIs for easy further development
The changes above reflect these goals, more information can be found in the NEWS.txt that is shipped with the TYPO3 source package.
TYPO3 4.5 LTS Download and TYPO3 4.6 Planning
You can choose to download the introduction package with a guided installation and a default template, the dummy package without any preconfigurations or the TYPO3 source from the Download page.
Although TYPO3 4.5 will be supported for a long time, there is still more to come. The next versions in the TYPO3 4.x branch will include some more bleeding-edge features, also getting closer to TYPO3 v5 development. There are a lot of ideas: The File Abstraction Layer (FAL), improvements on the ExtJS parts, and of course all ideas you have. TYPO3 4.6 is planned to be released in fall 2011.
At this point, we want to thank everybody who participated in making this release so stable, safe, fast, cool-looking and simply great so that TYPO3 keeps ahead of all its competitors.
Release Manager TYPO3 4.5
TYPO3 4.5 LTS: The Grid View - a new concept for a backend that matches your layout
TYPO3 4.5 LTS: Extbase/Fluid features and improvements
TYPO3 4.5 LTS: Prepared queries are the way to go!
Getting ready for 4.5: changes in CSH for FlexForms