typo3_logo.jpgThe TYPO3 (newssite) core team and community have announced the first long term support release of TYPO3 -- version 4.5. The latest release of the popular open source web content management system is chock-full of enhancement goodness and a 3-year support promise for those who like sticking with a good thing.

What’s Inside the Release?

Version 4.5 LTS is a significant release with several enhancements that are sure to benefit some of the 500,000 websites worldwide that use the Web CMS. Multiple themes that drove the development of the latest release of TYPO3 included:

  • Introducing a stable Long Term Support version
  • Ensuring maximum compatibility
  • Improving TYPO3 usability
  • Focusing on Enterprise features
  • Introducing APIs for easy further development

Support That Keeps Going and Going and Going

Extended support was such an important feature for version 4.5 LTS that the TYPO3 team included it in the release name -- the “LTS” in the moniker indicates “Long Term Support.” The latest release of the CMS is the first version that will be maintained significantly beyond the normal 6-month release cycle.

TYPO3 moved to a fixed 6-month release cycle in 2010, providing users with more predictability and faster fixes and enhancements. A fixed release cycle is generally beneficial, but in the case of TYPO3, the change also had the impact of reducing the support lifetime of each version. In the 6-month release model, the team only actively maintains the previous three releases.

LTS versions, starting with version 4.5, will be supported for at least 3 years. Long-term support versions are a good option for users that don’t need or desire to update every 6 months.

Backwards Compatibility

Compatibility was a key focus in the development of version 4.35 LTS. The development team was dedicated to ensuring maximum backwards compatibility with older releases, which minimizes the effort required by users to migrate to the latest release.

Features being removed from the CMS use a deprecation strategy -- older features are supported, but not advised. The use of deprecated features can be tracked in a log file and removed over time.

Pretty and Useful Too

Version 4.5 LTS has a number of usability enhancements. The look and feel of the administrative interface (Backend) was updated. Developers streamlined icons, colors and the general arrangement of elements. Additional changes were implemented to provide a more consistent appearance and workflow.

The TYPO3 page tree, which provides node based navigation in the backend, is fully based on the rich internet application framework Ext JS. This change positions TYPO3 to have better desktop integration (e.g. drag & drop) in future versions.

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TYPO3 4.5 LTS tree navigation

Other new usability improvements include:

  • Live search -- a find-as-you-type and always visible tool to reach the needed elements more quickly.
  • Removed the help icons and included contextual help that displays on mouse-hover
  • Easier bulk adding of pages

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Version 4.5's live search

Enterprise Features

TYPO3’s workflow management user interface (UI), Workspaces, is redesigned in version 4.5. The new interface leverages RIA technologies to provide a richer and more interactive user experience. In
addition to the new interface, additional features like custom workflow stages were added.

A new library for sending mail was added to ensure RFC-compatibility on outgoing e-mails. Plenty of other features will make sure 4.5 stays competitive for the next 3 years: UTF-8 by default, HTML5
support, ExtJS based Backend, etc.

Potential users should be aware that TYPO3 Version 4.5 LTS is the last TYPO3 version to support Internet Explorer 6 for the Backend.

Getting TYPO3 4.5 LTS

TYPO3 Version 4.5 LTS is available now. The software is available for download directly from http://www.typo3.org/download/. If you would like additional details on what is included in the new version, technical documentation and release notes are available here.