TYPO3 4.7 Release Notes

by Steffen Ritter, TYPO3 Release Manager 4.7

This release of TYPO3 is the last version in the TYPO3 version 4 branch, before continuing the development of TYPO3 6.0. This TYPO3 4.7 release is focused on a standards and cleaner, accessible and valid frontend rendering out of the box. You will find the most important additions for our favorite CMS below.

For a detailed, technical explanation of what has changed, new settings, and descriptions of new APIs please refer to the Technical Release Notes.

Besides concentrating on HTML5 and Web Accessibility, TYPO3 4.7 has been improved in many other places, too. Check out the amazing new features brought to you by TYPO3, supporting you to realize amazing web projects.

  • Frontend Features

    The frontend rendering got completely overworked: TYPO3 by default ships a completely HTML5-based accessible frontend output for all built-in content types.

    More Information

  • Editorial Features

    A rock solid and well-known backend is what editors like about TYPO3. Small optical cleanup and tiny improvements for daily life got into the current backend.

    More Information

  • Developer Features

    Flexible possibilities within TYPO3 have been a key aspect to realize custom enterprise solutions. TYPO3 4.7 allows you to use plenty of new hooks and make user input in backend more customized.

    More Information

General Improvements within TYPO3 4.7

An update of the shipped external PHP Libraries "Swift Mailer" and ADOdb has been integrated. This for example adds the possibilities of STARTTLS support and logging sent mails with "Swift Mailer" as well as for instance the new native MSSQL driver within ADOdb.

The system extension "indexed search", the out-of-the-box search solution of TYPO3, has been overworked as well. On the one hand a new frontend plugin has been created as a replacement for the old one. It is based on fluid templates, aiming to ship the previously known feature set and behaviours easily in terms of templates and styling without the need of using JavaScript for page browsing.

In addition, many hooks have been introduced as part of the indexed_search processes, so that the search engine to be used can be exchanged.

As an example, "indexed_search_mysql" is shipped. This system extension replaces the standard way of searching with "indexed_search" by the usage of MySQL Fulltext indexes. As a result, there is a gain in performance and search precision.

Taking care of South African and Namibian TYPO3 users, a new backend language has been introduced: "Afrikaans". This results in TYPO3 being available in 51 languages in total.

New Features for Frontend-Rendering: HTML5 and Accessibility

TCEforms Media-Element
HTML5 media possibilities within TYPO3 backend.

TYPO3 harmonizes with HTML5

Wherever rich media content (images, audio or video) needs to be integrated on various platforms, HTML5 has established itself as the de facto standard in development of modern websites. Therefore with TYPO3 version 4.7, HTML5 conformity is now a core feature. What was possible in earlier versions of TYPO3 only by using third party extensions or custom configuration, can now be achieved very easily. In conjunction with the system extension ›CSS Styled Content‹, TYPO3 version 4.7 now generates clean HTML5 source code that corresponds to the W3C validation guidelines.

The feature-enhanced and HTML5 optimized Rich Text Editor (RTE) can be adapted much more easily to individual needs. In addition, the integration of HTML5 video and audio files is now possible as well as the simultaneous uploading of multiple files within TCEForms. For video content TYPO3 version 4.7 uses the JavaScript library VideoJS and Flowplayer as fallback.

Web Accessibility by default

Web Accessibility is not an entirely new concept in TYPO3. The creation of accessible websites with TYPO3 was possible for quite some time already. However, the necessary steps and configuration had to be completed again with each new TYPO3 installation. This time-consuming procedure is obsolete now. Web accessibility is now activated by default with TYPO3 version 4.7 and an integral part of the TYPO3 core. This is a great improvement – and not only for those who maintain more than only one TYPO3 website.

Increasing accessibility: The new Government Package

With TYPO3 version 4.7 a dedicated Government Package is available for authorities and other interested parties for the first time. It is tailored to the specific needs of public authorities websites. Initially the Government Package will be available in German only, but an English version is already being planned.

The Government Package is a collection of best practices to enhance the level of web accessibility on the website. The contents are rendered in HTML5 based on the famous HTML5Boilerplate. Navigation and content elements are defined to be accessible for screen readers and keyboard navigation. HTML5 semantics are used to add more meaning and structure to the accordant elements. Since web accessibility guidelines are strict on contrast ratio and readability, an alternative view to use a different, contrast enhanced stylesheet, has been integrated to the Government Package as well.

In general this package makes use of the new HTML5 features, like the improved media element and the overworked frontend rendering.

More information about the Government Package can be found on the official demo website (German language only): http://government.v4.demo.typo3.org/ 

About the Backend User-Interface and new tools for Editors

Steadiness is one of the great and successful supporting pillars of TYPO3. Not breaking with these habits, no deal-breaking changes have been introduced within the TYPO3 backend in version 4.7. It's about these small details which help out editors according to their daily work. Orderings and positions of icons changed to be equally positioned throughout the modules as well as white-spaces and separators have been introduced for a better grasp on first sight. Therefore "not recognizing" changes, just because it feels right is the feature of the work which has been done on this topic.

In addition, editors adding downloads, images or files in general while working in a record are silently pleased by the possibility to select more than just one file within the file selection window: The upload-field has been extended by the HTML5 attribute for multiple upload as once.

Improvements within the Rich Text Editor

New possibilities within the RTE

As a central component for editing content the Rich Text Editor based on htmlArea has been extended by new functionalities. On the one hand these possibilities please the new HTML5 possibilities on the other hand basic and simple things which for sure every editor already asked for at least once have been integrated.

Naming these I think of data-Attributes for HTML5 tags, sections, articles and aside configurations within the editor as well es inserting soft-hyphens. For sure every editor starting web-editing at least once asked how to control the line-breaks within words they've known well from f.e. MS Word. The news soft-hyphen button now allows editors to prepare possible linebreaks within their texts.

A new possibility for tagging MicroFormats within the Rich Text Editor has been implemented, too. Whenever you select an Element and use the "Edit Element" you are able to select all currently present RDF Schema from schema.org as item scope. Doing so, for sub-elements you can select the according properties. This enables editors to do perfectly fine semantic tagging out-of-the-box. For sure, you can supply your custom schema to the Rich Text Editor.

TCEforms - record editing in TYPO3

Looking at TCEforms - the central place for rendering editing forms in TYPO3 - smaller improvements have been made:

  • The TCA tree which has been introduced in TYPO3 4.5 (allowing you to show record trees for example category selection) was extended to allow recursive selection. Using this feature editors may spare many clicks - depending on their use case.
  • Any Administrator who ever has configured access rights most likely got confused within the "exclude fields" sometimes. Granting more orientation, all entries within this field are now grouped by the table they belong to - with according readable headline instead of being prefixed with the table title. 

Furthermore a neat addition to the TypoScript Object Browser has been implemented - if an error is found, the flash message now includes a link to directly jump to the problem.

Working with Workspaces

Primarily driven by the workspaces team and supported by our usability experts, the page tree got some small changes. An administrator knows the TYPO3 soul as "Page 0" - the Root-Page containing some system records. Working as a regular editor this root node was not present and lead to inconsistency in the UI. Furthermore some additional drawbacks came to light while working on workspaces:

If an editor had review/publish access to more than one DB-Mount (pagetree mountpoint) he solely could review changes per mountpoint. Having the new virtual root in place for editors as well, allows to view all changes at once by clicking at the super node.

Making Life easier for Developers and Integrators...

Most requests for new features or changes naturally come from developers and integrators. Even though we cannot only concentrate on developers while creating our beloved CMS. Anyhow read upon the following developer related features:

On large environments many tasks will be hand over to scheduler tasks or CLI scripts to be done asynchronous. Starting with TYPO3 4.7 the execution these CLI tasks will return a correct code-value representing the success state enabling shell scripts to react properly.

Building complex domain models for TYPO3 developers often struggle with limited possibilities in IRRE and TCEforms. The TCA has been extended on several places building more complex relations, having placeholders (HTML5 attribute) in TCEforms, as well as many new options individualizing IRRE have been introduced.

In addition many new hooks have been introduced which for example allow a completely custom cache hash calculation, exchange of search engine in indexed search modify TCA after all extensions have been loaded. As already started with TYPO3 version 4.6 we continued to clean-up our code base and removed deprecated methods, classes and files.

New possibilities in TypoScript

TypoScript it the powerful heart of TYPO3. Version 4.7 ships with several new possibilities for TypoScript we shortly :

  • multiple ordered stdWrap execution
    Often integrators had to construct solutions using innerWrap.stdWrap, outerWrap.stdWrap, after before etc. to achieve complex stdWrap solutions. All these work-arounds are not needed anymore as the integrator now is able to define multiple stdWrap processing in a custom ordering.

  • if-Clause on CSS and JavaScript includes
    When defined the "if" function is now checked for every file included with page.includeCSS and  page.includeJS* which allows for example you to include Lightbox Stylesheets only when activated.

  • Cache control via TypoScript
    As possibility for a more flexible cache handling in TYPO3 page-caches can now be tagged through TypoScript as well as it is possible to redefine the cache-lifetime. In combination with new PageTS options for Cache-Clearing you are able to implement a very flexible handling of page-caching.

  • More smaller possibilities
    There are some more smaller things like the feature to add http-equiv Meta Tags, changing the separation text for page-title generation as well as changing the icons used by the "filelink" function.

TYPO3 - true open source

About 100 people actively contributed lots of modifications to the codebase of TYPO3 4.7. An amazing team effort which brought the current release to life. As an Release Manager I want to thank all contributors for sharing their spare time with our beloved product and/or agencies allowing their developers to improve the OpenSource Product during working hours.

The following people contributed to TYPO3

As the list has been compiled automatically from our review system Gerrit, it might not be complete and does not mention people which had been working in teams, or on things not related to the actual codebase. If you consider yourself missing in this list, please get in touch with your team-leader and kindly ask her or him to submit name as well as the Forge user id.