Posted by xjm on April 20, 2016 at 7:48am
Drupal 8.1.0, the first minor release of Drupal 8, is now available. With Drupal 8, we made significant changes in our release process, adopting semantic versioning and scheduled feature releases. This allows us to make extensive improvements to Drupal 8 in a timely fashion while still providing backwards compatibility. Drupal 8.1.0 is the first such update.
What's new in Drupal 8.1.x?
Drupal 8.1.0 comes with numerous improvements, including CKEditor WYSIWYG enhancements, added APIs, an improved help page, and two new experimental modules. (Experimental modules are provided with Drupal core for testing purposes, but are not yet fully supported.)
Experimental UI for migrations from Drupal 6 and 7
Drupal 8.1.0 now includes the Migrate Drupal UI module, which provides a user interface for Drupal core migrations. Use it to migrate Drupal 6 or 7 sites to Drupal 8. The user guide on migrating from Drupal 6 or 7 to Drupal 8 has full documentation. Note that the Drupal 8 Migrate module suite is still experimental and has known issues. Read below for specific information on migrating Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 sites with 8.1.0. (Always back up your data before performing a migration and review the results carefully.)
BigPipe for perceived performance
The Drupal 8 BigPipe module provides an advanced implementation of Facebook's BigPipe page rendering strategy, leading to greatly improved perceived performance for pages with dynamic, personalized, or uncacheable content. See the BigPipe documentation.
CKEditor WYSIWYG spellchecking and language button
Drupal 8.0.0 included the CKEditor module (a WYSIWYG editor), but it was not previously possible to use your browser's built-in spell checker with it to check the text. With Drupal 8.1.0, spellchecking is now enabled within CKEditor as well.
Another great improvement is the addition of the optional language markup button in CKEditor. When configured to appear in your editing toolbar, it allows you to assign language information to parts of the text, which is useful for accessibility and machine processing.
Improved help page with tours
Drupal 8.0.0 included a new system for help tutorials called tours with the core Tour module. In Drupal 8.1.0, we made these tours easier to discover by listing them in the administrative help overview at /admin/help.
The help overview page is also more flexible now, so contributed modules can add sections to it and themes can override its appearance more easily. You can read more about the new system in the change record for the updated help page, or refer to the Tour API documentation for how to add tours for your modules.
Rendered entities in Views fields
Drupal 8.1.0 now includes a rendered entity field handler for Views, which allows placing a fully rendered entity within a view field. For example, this feature could be used to display a rendered user profile for each node author in a table listing node content. (This feature was provided by the Entity contributed module in Drupal 7, but had not yet been available in Drupal 8.)
Improved Composer support
Starting with Drupal 8.1.x, Drupal core and its dependencies are packaged by Composer on Drupal.org. This means that sites and modules can now also use Composer to manage all of their third-party dependencies (rather than having to work around the vendor directory that previously shipped with core).
Developer API improvements
Minor releases like Drupal 8.1.0 include backwards-compatible API additions for developers as well as new features. Read the 8.1.0 release notes for more details on the many improvements for developers in this release.
What does this mean to me?
Drupal 8 site owners
Update to 8.1.0 to continue receiving bug and security fixes. The next bugfix release, 8.1.1, is scheduled for May 4, 2016.
Updating your site from 8.0.6 to 8.1.0 with update.php is exactly the same as updating from 8.0.5 to 8.0.6. Modules, themes, and translations may need small changes for this minor release, so test the update carefully before updating your production site.
Drupal 6 site owners
Drupal 6 is not supported anymore. Create a Drupal 8 site and try migrating your data into it as soon as possible. Your Drupal 6 site can still remain up and running while you test migrating your Drupal 6 data into your new Drupal 8 site. Note that there are known issues with the experimental Migrate module suite. If you find a new bug not covered by one of these issues, your detailed bug report with steps to reproduce is a big help!
Drupal 7 site owners
Drupal 7 is still fully supported and will continue to receive bug and security fixes throughout all minor releases of Drupal 8.
The new Migrate Drupal UI for Migrate also allows migrating a Drupal 7 site into a Drupal 8 site, but the migration path from Drupal 7 to 8 is not complete, so you may encounter errors or missing migrations when you try to migrate. That said, since your Drupal 7 site can remain up and running while you test migrating into a new Drupal 8 site, you can help us stabilize the Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 migration path! Testing and bug reports from your real-world Drupal 7 sites will help us stabilize this functionality sooner for everyone. (Search the known issues.)
Translation, module, and theme contributors
Minor releases like Drupal 8.1.0 are backwards-compatible, so modules, themes, and translations that support Drupal 8.0.x will be compatible with 8.1.x as well. However, the new version does include some string changes, minor UI changes, and internal API changes (as well as more significant changes to experimental modules like the Migrate suite). This means that some small updates may be required for your translations, modules, and themes. See the announcement of the 8.1.0 release candidate for more background information.
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