Version 14.2 of brXM has arrived - release notes

RELEASE NOTES

Bloomreach Experience Manager V14.2

Bloomreach Experience Manager Developer Edition V14.2

Highlights for V14.2

Hello all, we have released a new version of Bloomreach Experience Manager (brXM). This minor release introduces new functionality and a number of useful improvements. In this document we will give a brief overview of the highlights in this release. You can also find these release notes at: https://documentation.bloomreach.com/about/release-notes/release-notes-overview.html

Please note that we have amended our security release policy slightly. For previous releases we set the public availability of the community source code and artifacts to six weeks after the original release date, even when there were no security fixes done in our product but only in third-party dependencies. Since these security fixes are typically common knowledge at the time of the release, we have decided to change this policy and release the community source code at the same time as the enterprise release, unless security issues were found and fixed in our own codebase.

Everything mentioned in this document is an integral part of Bloomreach Experience Manager (brXM) and the developer edition, unless mentioned otherwise. If a feature only applies to brXM and not to the developer edition, this is explicitly mentioned. Features that are mentioned as part of brXM also apply to brX.

Key New Features

Revamped and improved integration for front-end applications

Bloomreach Experience Manager has supported integrations with Single Page Applications and other decoupled front-end applications since version 12, and has continued to invest and improve upon this functionality in recent releases. With v14.2, we are adding another significant improvement in this area: native support for configuring an externally hosted preview, removing the need for a reverse proxy or the URL Rewriter. Highlights of this improvement are as follows:

  • In the ChannelInfo, an external preview URL can be added through a new configuration option. This URL is then loaded when the channel is viewed in the Channel Manager. The can be used with both a deployed preview front-end application or a locally running version.
  • JWT-tokens are used to secure the interaction between the front-end application and the Page Model API. When using our JS SDKs, this interaction is handled automatically. For other integrations that do not use our SDKs this can be configured manually in the front-end (documentation can be found at [1]).
  • All additional functionality needed to enable preview and editing in the Channel Manager (such as container and component overlays) are automatically added to the front-end by our SDKs, and communication between the front-end and brXM is handled through the PostMessage API. When not using our SDKs, this configuration is a manual step (documentation can be found at [2]).
  • With version v14.2 it’s now possible to send the server ID through a ‘server-id’ header instead of through a SERVERID cookie. This change is optional.

Additional Javascript SDKs

With v14.0, we launched a completely revamped JavaScript SDK, as well as a new React SDK built on top of this new SDK foundation. Together with brXM v14.2, we are adding an Angular SDK and a Vue.js SDK to this offering. The Angular SDK will be launched together with brXM v14.2, documentation can be found at [3]. The Vue.js SDK is expected to be released within a few weeks of the v14.2 release, documentation will be published on NPM.js similar to our other SDKs.

Dropping components in place

This new feature improves our component management in the XM Channel Manager. It specifically gives users the option to drop components in a specific position in the Channel Manager, instead of always at the end of a container. Especially for pages that use a single container on a page, having to drop the component at the bottom and then drag it into place led to a poor user experience. Now with brXM v14.2, when adding a component, the Channel Manager overlay presents the user with visual cues on how a component can be placed above or below an existing component. This can be seen in the following screenshots:

Before

After

Open UI improvements

The following additional functionality has been added to the Open UI feature:

  • It is now possible to navigate to another document from an Open UI document field plugin. This allows linking between documents and more flexibility in building a new field extension.
  • Open UI extensions can be configured using a relative URL, which is useful when the extension is deployed in the same webapp as the CMS. Previously the full URL was required, leading to issues because the configuration would not adapt to deployments on upstream environments. This issue is now fixed.

Ongoing Improvements

For end users

  • In previous versions of brXM and brX, it was not possible to be logged in twice with the same account. As of v14.2, this limitation has been removed. Please note that using brXM in more than one browser tab remains not supported and may lead to unexpected behavior. It is however possible to use different browsers, or a separate incognito browser session.
  • Building on the overhaul of our look-and-feel introduced in v14.0 and v14.1, we have delivered the following UI improvements and fixes;
    • Labels for optional compounds have been re-added.
    • We fixed the display of checkboxes.
    • Improved the UI for merging Projects.

For developers

  • In previous versions of brXM and brX, our product featured a ConcurrentLoginFilter that prevented users from being logged in to the system multiple times (see also the related note for end users). The historical reasons for this filter were found to no longer apply. To keep backwards compatibility, the ConcurrentLoginFilter has been nullified, we will remove it in the next major version.
  • A new user role has been added to allow configuration of more fine-grained access to the URL Rewriter: xm.urlrewriter.admin. By default, access to the URL Rewriter is not yet restricted to this role, but this can be configured in end projects. We will make this the default option in future product versions.
  • For brXM & brX projects that are deployed to multiple environments (such as testing, acceptance and production), a HST host configuration that covers all environments is typically part of the bootstrap configuration. This configuration can get quite verbose, although in many cases the environments follow a similar naming convention. With v14.2, we introduce a property placeholder that can be replaced at runtime with the environment name. More details can be found in the relevant documentation at [4].
  • It’s now possible to set a multi-valued property on a document using derived data, even when the property was not present before the derived function runs.

Notices

Release includes maintenance patch

After setting the initial tag for the v14.2 release, we discovered a few additional issues. Instead of releasing a maintenance release at a later date, we decided to include the fixes in the new release immediately. The result of this decision is that v14.2 will be released with a 14.2.1 version number. Please note that since these release notes are published slightly later than the actual release, we have since put put another maintenance version: 14.2.2. We advise all customers to use this latest version when upgrading to v14.2.

Maintenance of minors on latest majors

Up to and including the release of brXM v14.2, Bloomreach always released a maintenance version for the minor before the next release (in addition to maintenance releases for older supported major versions). For instance, with the release of v14.2 we also release a v14.1.1 maintenance release. In practice, this additional maintenance release provides almost no value to customers as the effort of upgrading from 14.1.0 to v14.2.x directly is typically less effort than adding an intermediate upgrade to v14.1.1 before moving to v14.2.x. We have therefore decided to change our release policy to remove that additional maintenance release. This means that as of the next brXM release (v14.3), we will release maintenance releases for v12.latest and v13.latest only. As always, customers are encouraged to upgrade to most recent minor or maintenance releases at their earliest convenience to benefit from bug- and security fixes.

Minor release

V14.2 is a minor release so it is backwards compatible with the previous minor release. Also, updating to this version from the previous minor version should be of little effort. Please see the upgrade and update documentation [5] for details.

Supported Technologies

There are no changes to the supported stack with this release.

The full system requirements can be found in the online system requirements [6]. This page also includes a detailed table of maintained third party compatibility.

End-of-life, support and maintained code

Nomenclature refresher

As the terms ‘end-of-life’, ‘supported’, ‘maintained’ are used in various ways in our industry, we clarify the nomenclature we use for this below.

Supported product version

When a product is supported, this means that the customer will receive help from the helpdesk when issues arise as described in the service level agreement (SLA) that the customer has with Bloomreach. There are several service levels available.

Please note that if a bug is acknowledged in a supported, but not-maintained version, and a fix is needed, this fix will only be applied in the maintained product versions. This means the customer will need to move to a maintained version to receive the fix.

Maintained product version

When a product is maintained, the product code is updated and security- and bug fixes are made to the code. For maintained products, the system requirements for third party libraries and components is kept updated as well. Please note that we do not provide support for system requirement providers (e.g. databases, java, etc…), but we only support the usage for mentioned certified system requirement providers.

If a product is non-maintained, this means that the code is not maintained anymore and therefore might contain bugs and/or security vulnerabilities due to newly discovered issues in our code, or the libraries used.

End-of-life product version

Products that are not maintained and not supported are end-of-life. These might be available from our archives but could be removed without notice.

What does this mean for the current release?

Please note that this release does not change any maintenance or support mode.

In the table below you can find the support status of your product and when support will end; this is dependent on the version currently being used and license level. Please note that versions that are not listed are not active and not supported, and therefore end-of-life.

Availability

This version of brXM is available as of May 22nd, 2020 onwards. Please note that due to our release policy the release of the open source CMS / developer release will follow in approximately six weeks after this date.

Links

[1] https://documentation.bloomreach.com/14/library/concepts/page-model-api/jwt-authentication.html

[2] https://documentation.bloomreach.com/14/library/concepts/spa-integration/editing-integration.html

[3] https://www.npmjs.com/package/@bloomreach/ng-sdk

[4] https://documentation.bloomreach.com/14/library/enterprise/installation-and-configuration/configure-virtual-hosts-in-an-environment.html

[5] https://documentation.bloomreach.com/about/upgrade/introduction.html

[6] https://documentation.bloomreach.com/library/about/system-requirements.html

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