So I’ve read the announcement of TYPO3 CMS 6.2 beta1 and proceeded to check out the new stuff under the hood of the newest version of TYPO3, which by the way will be an LTS (Long Term Support) version. For a long time i wasn’t impressed by new TYPO3 releases. But now i must admit the core developers surprised me. The sheer amount of new stuff under the hood is just impressive. And I think we’re on the right track with the development. New features are coming which were long overdue in TYPO3 and i think they will help in making TYPO3 more popular on the long run.
But let’s see which are the new features that will be shipped to us in early December with the final version of TYPO3 6.2.
No more dummy stuff!
The first thing which surprises right away is that the Dummy package is now obsolete and no longer needed. You install TYPO3 and all necessary files and folders (like fileadmin, typo3conf and uploads) are created automatically.
TYPO3 introduces the Package concept from Flow and has now also Composer support. What this means ? Well, extensions can be a special kind of packages and they can provide a composer.json file with dependencies. You must not take any special action however. This will work with old extensions too and when you first open your updated website it will redirect you to the Install Tool. The silent updater will take care of creating the PackageStates.php in typo3conf which actually replaces the old extension list from LocalConfiguration.php (or localconf.php in older days). There will be also a LocalConfiguration.beforePackageStatesMigration.php which is a backup of your old LocalConfiguration.php file.
Reworked Install Tool
The Install Tool got a major overhaul and i think it’s better then ever, providing a lot of useful information about your site’s settings allowing you to change things and now it has even a better organisation of the information presented. One advertised feature is the Core Updater (i couldn’t see it in action yet) which will allow you to update TYPO3 with patches and minor updates right from the Install Tool.
Configuration presets in the Install Tool
These are predefined collections of settings, allowing you to make . One very nice use of this is that you’re able to switch between Production mode, Development mode and even a custom mode for settings.
A new module in the backend showing all the manuals of your installed extensions
Broken extensions check
It happened to me often and probably to you too that one broken extension would make your TYPO3 installation unusable (crashed). Now firing up the Install Tool -> Important Actions you can check for incompatible/broken extensions and uninstall them if needed.
Extension Manager updates
Although i’m pretty fed up with how often the Extension Manager was changed during the last few major TYPO3 releases now the addition of Distribution Management is a welcomed change. I was a long time advocate of TYPO3 Distributions, even created some distributions based on TemplaVoila Framework. I retired this summer the project for a major overhaul of the way I wanted distributions to work and now i have to rethink it having the official way of using the Distribution Management in mind and this will be one major subject of interest for me in the coming year.
File Abstraction Layer
The FAL project comes with lots of new additions like Translation Support, Advanced Metadata, Categorization, Permissions and so.
Backend Layout Data Provider
An other interesting topic for me is creating themes for TYPO3 and I’ve been trying to do that in several ways, none of which were in the end satisfactory to me. I presented last year at the TUG Meetup a session about Fluid Websites. That was the closest i got to creating independent TYPO3 Themes that could be moved from one TYPO3 site to another. One major problem was the i couldn’t move the Backend Layouts with the extension itself because they were stored in the database. Now the new addition to 6.2 is a Data Provider Interface which will allow to store Backend Layouts in files also and then I can pack these files to the theme extension and distribute the themes as such. This will greatly improve the distribution of the themes.
And other changes…
Of course there are also a lot of other smaller or bigger changes in the new TYPO3 6.2, i will let you discover those by reading the announcement.
And the bad …
There are also some things i didn’t like when testing the latest TYPO3 version
Increased execution time requirement!
Recommending the setting of max_execution_time to 240 seconds is just plain senseless to me. Why would you do that ? On frontend rendering i cannot imagine anyone waiting even 30 seconds after a website so 240 is an overkill. In the backend when you do some import operations i can imagine scenarios where you would need more time but this should not warrant a site wide max_execution_time increase to 240 seconds. There is a big chance if your script didn’t run in 30 seconds it will not run in 240 either.
Performance should be the most important thing kept in mind by the core developers and encouraging badly performing scripts/extensions should be their last thing to do. Unfortunately i see this as an encouragement to bad performance.
Directory structures on my server
I get some strange red warnings in the Install Tool that my index.php and typo3 directory (the TYPO3 source) are not stored “as specified”. I understand there is a recommended and used way by the TYPO3 core developers but frankly how i organize my TYPO3 sources on the server is my and only my problem, it should not be TYPO3’s or any other CMS’s problem how my storage is organized on the server. I like to store all sources in one directory and symlink them to the needed webroot and it does not affect TYPO3’s functionality and and use.
This having being said (written down), i can hardly wait to see the final product shipped. I think this will enable some very good side projects for me and for others as well.