Written by Geir Arne Waaler, eZ's Lead Engineer for Documentation

You might be wondering what is new in the eZ Publish 4.6 release? And what do the changes and enhancements relate to in the business benefits department and will they have an impact on your daily business operations?

Let us try to summarize for you! We will also draw the line from the 4.5 Matterhorn release through the 4.6 Annapurna to the 4.7 Etna release due in May 2012.

The REST API - Bringing the mobile world to the eZ Publish customer

The big thing with the Matterhorn release was the REST API developments, and now we are starting to see the implications of that. Did you know that this infant is growing up and adding muscles and brains? And now allows you to do mobile developments for your customers regardless of whether they carry iOS- or Android-driven phones? And now we support your developments with a whitepaper, Mobile Kit and tutorials for developing applications for those platforms?

In this new release, named after the beautiful Annapurna in the Himalayas, the developments are moving in two directions. We are building a new Public API that is being tested and commented on by the eZ Community in the community edition of eZ Publish. And these innovations will reach the enterprise version of eZ Publish in the Etna release for May 2012.

The Public API - Web projects done faster

What is an API, and what will it bring to you? An API is an Application Programming Interface, and it will simply make web developments easier with the eZ Publish platform. You will also complete the developments quicker, with less errors and with less maintenance of the new website. On top of that, it will make integration easier. In business terms, this will mean that any new web development project that you start with eZ Publish will be shorter, cheaper and better. You will not want anything else for Christmas!

Hold your horses, you say! What is this API really? It is an abstraction layer, a set of "development templates" for developers to be able to develop applications in eZ Publish. This abstraction layer is a programming interface serving the developer with all the building blocks he or she needs to develop without needing to understand every nitty, gritty detail in the eZ Publish core. All of the above will give rise to shorter development projects – which in turn will give eZ Publish a business advantage over its competition.

Annapurna

But what about the 4.6 release itself, what do we serve you, the enterprise customer? Well, we have dished something up for you as well!
 
For now the most important changes and enhancements to the eZ Publish 4.6 are:

  • Direct upload (AJAX) support when dealing with object relations: This means you can upload and store a related image/object while editing content. Store the object, and it will be connected/related to the article you are working on. This function is introduced to save time for content editors. This is a daily operation for content editors and takes up much of their time if they want to have a nicely categorized media library and reuse the images in articles as front page images or thumbnails.
  • The eZ Form token extension for Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) protection: This extension aims to stop any CSRF attacks against eZ Publish. To accomplish that, input and output filter events are used to verify all POST requests using a per-user session form token. This is all done transparently for html/xhtml forms, but requires changes to all AJAX POST code.
  • New eZ Find 2.6 with Apache Solr 3.1: Along with the changes and enhancements made in the mid-release eZ Find 2.5, our versatile enterprise search plug-in is emerging leaner and meaner in a new 2.6 coat running on Solr 3.1
  • A new enterprise Upgrade Kit with a more automated approach to upgrading eZ Publish has also been introduced in 4.6: This will make it a simpler and more automatic task. The Upgrade Kit has migration guidelines and a tool set to migrate sites from eZ Publish 4.x versions to eZ Publish 4.6 and detailed guidelines help to speed up migrations while minimizing the risk.
  • The online editor comes with a face lift with TinyMCE 3.4 (Initial WAI-ARIA and iOS 5 support, also a lot of bug fixes).
  • Custom tabs in the administration interface: It is now possible to define custom tabs in Content Full View from extensions. See settings/admininterface.ini
  • eZ Flow provides a new template operator called 'pagelink': It takes a content object ID and returns an array of front pages and blocks if associated with. 
  • The REST API now supports PUT and DELETE methods.

New extensions

With the new release comes new extensions. Added to an already sizeable catalogue of extensions, you may now personalize content with the eZ Recommendation Service provided by Yoochoose. You can also get web statistics and advanced web traffic analyses reports from eZ Web Analytics provided by odoscope.

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