What’s new in Umbraco 7.6?

  • Umbraco

Did you notice it yet? Umbraco released a beta version of Umbraco 7.6. And this isn’t just any upgrade but a real ‘major minor’ as they like to call it. In other words, this new release contains so many new features that it’s quite the upgrade. All in all, they tackled 100 outstanding issues! Time for us at Perplex to cast our critical gaze towards this new beta version and find out just what exactly was changed.

A lick of fresh paint

Everyone knows it, the striking, bold orange that is so characteristically Umbraco. In this new release, that is no longer the case. The first, and most obvious of the changes, is the colour. From orange to…purple and green? Why was this changed? The new colour conforms to the new style guide Umbraco came up with some time ago. And after the update of Umbraco.com, they couldn’t leave out the content management system (CMS) now could they? So, goodbye orange and hello Umbraco ‘green and purple’. We’ll be honest, it does take some getting used to. But, we shouldn’t judge too fast because the back office does look a lot more modern with these new colours. Expectations are that version 7.6 will be released within a month. So, enjoy the orange for now because soon the new turquoise logo will be stealing the show!

These changes, also affect the secondary buttons like ‘preview’ and ‘actions’. All of the important buttons are more noticeable thanks to the complementary green and purple colours. And with the new rounded corners, the whole interface looks a lot more ‘friendly’ as well. You can now also personalize the background image of the login screen. Fun times!

The logon screen also got a major visual update. Slide the pink circle to the right to see the logon screen in Umbraco 7.5 and to the left for Umbraco 7.6.

Logon screen Umbraco 7.5 Logon screen Umbraco 7.6

Highlights Umbraco 7.6

  1. Content selection

By far the biggest and most important improvement in Umbraco 7.6 is the content selection. Just this feature alone makes it worth upgrading. Thanks to the new breadcrumbs, it is now (finally!) possible to easily distinguish where the selected element can be found within the site. You can also easily see whether a selected item is published or unpublished.

Another long awaited change is the support of list views. In previous versions of Umbraco when opening a list view with the content picker the user first had to type and search to get to the nodes. Well, no more! Navigating list views with the content picker has never been this easy and intuitive while keeping the option to ‘search’ in the chosen list view to help you find your node even faster.

The option to ‘open’ a page straight from the content picker hasn’t changed however. Especially if a node has many different properties this is far from an ideal approach. As such, we usually disable this function. Up until now, we have preferred the RJP.MultiUrlPicker. The add-ons creator has indicated to be working hard on a new version that will be compatible with Umbraco 7.6. We can’t wait!

The 'old' link picker in Umbraco 7.5.

The new and improved link picker in Umbraco 7.6, with support for list views.

  1. Sorting of the "Properties" tab

The order of the items on the ‘Properties’ tab has been changed. The most important item, the actual link for the node, is now at the top of this panel. In previous versions it could be found all the way at the bottom (and sometimes even below the fold) which could make it hard to find. Thankfully, this has been changed. We do wonder however, how long this panel will remain in its current form. There is one more outstanding slated for version 7.7 which could indicate that more changes are coming.

  1. Changes to the Template- and Script-editor

Both the template- and script-editor have received quite some attention from Umbraco. Everything has become a lot more user-friendly. Extensive descriptions have been added to all items, really helping a novice user getting started. We at Perplex tend to only use Visual Studio. So, we never really deal with any of these changes. If you’re interested though, be sure to check Niels Hartvigs video on the matter.

Umbraco has turned green and purple. Slide the pink circle to the left to see Umbraco 7.6 and to the right to see Umbraco 7.5.

"Keep in mind that you will need to change your old rewrite rules to use the IIS rewrite-module while upgrading to version 7.6."

  1. URLRewriting no longer supported

In version 7.6 we (at long last) say goodbye to the UrlRewriting.config. This was announced a while ago alongside the warning to no longer use the UrlRewriting.net-module, but instead to trust the build in IIS-module URL-Rewrite. The most important reason for this change were performance issues. Sites with a high number of rewrites (200+) would stop performing well for example.

  1. Property Value Converters in the core

Version 7.6 of Umbraco has also assimilated the Property Value Converters package into the Umbraco core. This great package, created by Jeavon Leopold, makes it easy for programmers to retrieve strong typed data from Umbraco, or in layman’s terms; our programmers are happy. Having this package integrated into the core assures us it will continue to receive support in future versions giving us the ability to put our faith in it.

  1. Security by default

In version 7.6 Umbraco finally decided to follow a ‘secure by default’ approach by no longer leaving the ‘legacy encoding’ option on by default with a new installation. Of course, we would have preferred it if Umbraco had implemented PBKDF2, or something similar, into the core. Still, encrypting with a HMAC-SHA256 hash combined with a 128-bit salt by default is a huge step up compared to previous versions. Before users had to manually switch off legacy encoding in the web.config which could act as a road block, especially for less technically inclined users. However, from now on, users no longer have to worry about this as the most secure of the available options will now be automatically selected during installation.

  1. Prominent installation screen

The installation screen has also been changed in Umbraco 7.6. This new version shows a picture taken at the Umbraco CodeGarden 2016 event in the background. Can you spot our colleague Fedosja amidst the female Umbracians?

What Umbraco 7.6 doesn't offer

Sadly, some features shown at CodeGarden 2016, slated for a release with version 7.5, that we'd secretly been hoping for did not make the cut. In particular these are merge 'Nested Content' into the core and added functionality to usermanagement, especially 'User groups'. The former is a great package for any project while the latter just adds some much needed extra options to the Usermanagement-section of Umbraco. For now it is on the list for Umbraco 7.7 and hopefully these two issues are therefore included finally.

Bunch of other stuff

Besides everything mentioned just now, many other issues were tackled. The entire overview can be found here. Expectations are that Umbraco 7.6 will have a stable release within the coming month. Can't wait? Well, you could always download the beta and start developing! HQ is only planning bug fixes at this point, so no more features are to be added in this release.