TYPO3 v8 LTS Release Notes

by Benni Mack, TYPO3 Core Team Leader and Michael Schams, What's New Team Leader

The TYPO3 Community proudly presents the next milestone in TYPO3 history, exactly 18 months after TYPO3 v7 LTS was released in November 2015. The open source enterprise content management system TYPO3 v8 LTS is available for download.

Read more about the most important highlights of the new release below.

Performance

First and foremost, users will notice a significant performance boost that comes with TYPO3 v8 LTS. Thanks to PHP version 7, which is a minimum requirement of the new release, the overall performance of TYPO3 was improved substantially.

Working in the backend has never been so smooth and slim before, which is also based on the fact that “Standalone Fluid” powers the interface (see further details below). In addition, most parts of ExtJS were replaced and jQuery is used more intensively.

Mobile Responsive Backend

Some aspects of the responsive backend were introduced in version 7, but integrators and editors will embrace the new features in TYPO3 v8 LTS. Due to the fact that Twitter Bootstrap and jQuery are used more consequently, the backend is fully mobile responsive now and even works on smartphones like a charm.

The module menu (left column), as well as the page tree can be folded/unfolded with a click of a button.

Image Manipulation

The positive feedback from editors and agencies around the world about the recently introduced image manipulation functionality in the backend of TYPO3 convinced the TYPO3 developers to take image cropping functionality one step further.

Cropping images as part of the TYPO3 system without the need to install additional software is one thing. Displaying images in the frontend perfectly positioned is another kettle of fish - in particular on small screens, e.g. mobile devices.

Since TYPO3 v8 LTS, areas and aspect ratios can be predefined for specific devices (for example "mobile" and "desktop"). Due to the nature of cropping, areas are sometimes lost when an image is cut. Here comes a technology called “Focal Point” into play. Editor can not only crop images in the backend, but also select the focal point of an image. TYPO3 takes care that this area remains visible in the frontend by positioning the cropped image accordingly.

Form Framework

How often do you or your editors build or update forms on your website? How long does it take and how much fun is involved in this process? Forget everything you know about form creation!

A stunning “Form Framework” was introduced in TYPO3 v8 LTS, that allows editors to create all kind of amazing forms of all sizes and complexities with just a few mouse clicks. No programming knowledge is required and the usage is so intuitive, even documentation is (almost) redundant.

Simple contact forms as well as complex surveys across multiple pages, image uploads, data validation and the option to group input fields are just a few features, which are supported by TYPO3 by default.

Do not reinvent the wheel: every form created is stored as a template and can be re-used across the website as often as required. A form template can also be cloned and the copy adjusted to achieve a variation of the first form. Every form template is stored as a YAML file, which means it can be exported, shared and optionally maintained in a Git repository for example.

Rich Text Editor

A new, contemporary Rich Text Editor (RTE) is shipped with the TYPO3 core. The well known “CKEditor” replaces the previously used editor “HtmlArea“ and lays the foundation for much more sophisticated frontend editing features in the near future.

Read more about the upcoming frontend editing features in this news article.

CKEditor is fast, much easier to configure and comes with a lot of awesome features.

Database Abstraction

Most web applications are developed to use a particular database management system from the ground up. For many PHP-based systems, MySQL is the database backend of choice. However, TYPO3 is a modern enterprise-level CMS and supporting one database system only is not state-of-the-art anymore today. With the introduction of Doctrine DBAL in TYPO3 v8 LTS, this dependency has been eliminated now.

Doctrine is a database abstraction layer, well known and widely accepted in the PHP universe. By decoupling the application from a specific database system, TYPO3 v8 LTS can use MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL and MSSQL now.

Presuming extension developers have used the Extbase framework and abstained from using direct SQL queries (e.g. the $query->statement() ), no code updates are required.

Languages and Translations

There are not many open source content management systems on the market which can compete with the powerful multi-language capabilities provided by TYPO3. The sophisticated translation concept was extended even further in version 8, which enables editors to choose if a label should be inherited from an existing language or overwritten by a translation.

To achieve an unprecedented flexibility in this regards, this works for almost all fields in the backend (e.g. an image title or page subtitle) and is selectable per content element rather than a global configuration.

The decision falls to the editor/translator, who creates and maintains the content.

Standalone Fluid

The powerful templating engine “Fluid” has been part of the TYPO3 core for a long time already. Do not worry - this has not changed!

However, Fluid is much more flexible, comes with tons of new features and was decoupled from the core. This means, several components of Fluid, which were completely internal and impossible to replace, have been fitted with a public API and can be replaced as required now. This gives developers unprecedented control over almost all of Fluid's behaviours.

Developers and integrators working with Fluid as a modern template rendering solution only will not notice many differences. Standalone Fluid is not only faster, it is also fully backwards compatible.

Check out the new ViewHelpers shipped with TYPO3 v8 LTS and be amazed what you can do with them in your next project. Speaking about projects: you can now integrate the template engine Fluid in other frameworks such as Symfony or Laravel for example.

Important Extensions

Some features and components developed for TYPO3 by the Core Team are now available as extensions, as most projects do not require them. In case you are confronted by a specific requirement, the following extensions for TYPO3 v8 LTS are available for free in the TYPO3 Extension Repository (TER).

Compatibility Layer

The extension “compatibility7” (Compatibility Mode for TYPO3) provides an additional compatibility layer with legacy functionality for sites that have not fully migrated to TYPO3 v8 LTS yet. Please note that using this extension possibly has an impact on the performance of the website.

Frontend Editing

The original plan was to integrate frontend editing in TYPO3 v8 LTS. For several good reasons (as explained in this news article), the decision was made to continue developing this complex features as an extension on GitHub for the time being.

This extensions will be available on TER named as "frontend_editing".

Form Legacy

This extension implements the old form builder functionalities, which were replaced by the new Form Framework in TYPO3 v8 LTS.

Rich Text Editor "HtmlArea"

The previous RTE solution is still available for systems with complex requirements or configurations, specifically targetted for HtmlArea, and can be installed in exchange for CKEditor with no problems from TER.

Upgrade and Support

TYPO3 v8 LTS can be installed via composer or the traditional way, by downloading and extracting the freely available package at typo3.org/download. Existing instances can be upgraded, if they use TYPO3 version 7.6 or later. Have a look at the upgrade wizards shipped with TYPO3 v8 in the Install Tool which guide you through the migration. Make sure, the underlying infrastructure meets the minimum requirements (e.g. PHP version 7).

As a LTS release, TYPO3 version 8.7 marks the last version of the 8.x series and will receive maintenance and bugfixes for 1.5 years, and security updates for at least three years until April 2020.

For a detailed, technical explanation of what has changed including new settings and descriptions please refer to the Technical Release Notes or the "What's new" slides.

Thanks to all contributors

The TYPO3 Core Team would like to thank all contributors for making this milestone become reality. Everyone involved played an important part in this project and without your time and enthusiasm we would not be where we are today.

Many thanks for all your development work, reporting bugs, reviewing and testing fixes and new features, maintaining the infrastructure, sponsoring an event, spreading the word about the system we all love: TYPO3.