A Square Look at What’s New in dotCMS 3.0

Will Ezell

It’s time to let our community and customers know more about what’s new with dotCMS 3.0. The list of improvements, enhancements, new features and fixes is long. Thus, here’s a “square look” at the highlights of dotCMS 3.0 - 3 things you need to know; 3 things you should know and 3 things that are nice to know about dotCMS 3.0.

3 Things you Need to Know about dotCMS 3.0

  1. Multi-type Containers
    Maybe the most powerful, yet fundamental improvement for the site and web app builders among us is the new Multi-type Containers available in dotCMS 3.0. Previously, containers in dotCMS could only support a single content type (structure). With 3.0 you can design Containers to include and render any number of content types. For example, now you can have a single container that allows a content contributor to choose any kind of content object to display, be it News items, Events, Promos or even a widget, all in the same content area.

    For those of you using the outstanding multi-site capabilities of dotCMS, Multi-type Containers add extreme flexibility to what content a template can render. Even more, you’ll be able to greatly reduce the number of templates you maintain and improve your ability to re-use container code. Using Multi-type Containers will add powerful possibilities to the way you build websites in dotCMS.
  2. Cluster Auto-scale & Auto-wire
    This next item is cool, especially if you are involved with system administration on a dotCMS cluster or large-scale dotCMS implementation.  DotCMS 3.0 includes auto-scaling & auto-wiring of clusters. Built right into 3.0, the auto-scale and auto-wire features eliminate much of the headache associated with configuring a cluster of dotCMS servers. Gone are the days of diving into properties files to configure your server – now you can provision servers, add or remove them from a cluster, and respond to peaks in traffic with additional capacity right from the dotCMS server management UI. New dotCMS servers will automatically detect other nodes in the cluster on startup, and set up their clustered network settings and indexes automatically. A little pain relief that’s included when you upgrade to the new dotCMS 3.0.
  3. New Enterprise Support Portal and Enterprise Licensing
    For dotCMS Enterprise customers, a new self-service support portal and new server licensing protocol (1 server, 1 license) will be in place allowing Enterprise customers to retrieve, renew and manage their licenses at will.  We know support and licensing seems like a rather mundane feature yet it’s actually very important for every customer to understand, especially the next time you need to get your license key. With the release of dotCMS 3.0 you’ll want to be sure can log into the Support Portal to pick up your keys in advance (contact support for more information). Way more convenient - no waiting on us to deliver your keys.

3 Things you Should Know about dotCMS 3.0

  1. Sass and LESS Auto-compiler
    This handy feature will make front-end developers grin from ear-to-ear. With the release of 3.0, dotCMS becomes the first Java open source CMS to build the power of CSS preprocessors directly into our CMS. You’re probably familiar with how CSS preprocessors can speed development and enhance the performance of modern CSS driven sites.  With dotCMS 3.0 you harness all the power of Sass and LESS without the headache and hassle of local set-up or compiling – your web developers just “Edit & Refresh” on the fly.
  2. Ace Editor
    For enhanced readability and performance while using the text editor in dotCMS, we’ve built in the Ace code editor. (You would be using the Ace editor in the authoring environment for modifying a CSS file, for example.) Ace is a high performance code editor and highlighter for web developer’s that offers improved stability, performance, and productivity for those modifying code using the authoring environment in dotCMS 3.0.  A strong benefit to the lives of dotCMS HTML'rs, the addition of the new editor includes many popular features such as code folding, line wrapping, and auto-indentation.
  3. Get More REST with dotCMS
    Remember JSON, he’s got a cousin JSONP that is now a proud member of the dotCMS RESTful API family - You know that JSONP provides cross-domain access to an existing JSON API, by wrapping a JSON payload in a function call and so you’ll understand why we’ve now adopted this important cousin into our API family. Good to know your CMS is keeping good company with today’s most popular APIs and giving developers all the tools they need to build more awesome into their projects.

    Also included in 3.0 is RESTful support for simple HTTP form POSTs (Maybe the easiest way to get content into dotCMS!) and support for anonymous content contribution - think discussion posts or job/resume submittals. Like we said, developers get more REST with dotCMS

3 Things that are Nice to Know about dotCMS 3.0 (“Need to know” for Java developers)

  1. Standard WAR Based Deployments & Embedded Database
    The war with WAR is over - for a few of you, this actually might be your number one priority. With the introduction of dotCMS 3.0 we’ve moved away from a bundled Tomcat installation and have moved to a standards-based WAR file deployment.  This means that while dotCMS is easier than ever to install, the file structure and landscape has shifted a bit. A completely vanilla Tomcat 7 runs the new install and now you can easily redeploy dotCMS on almost any application server including Tomcat, Weblogic, Websphere, Jboss and/or cloud based VM vendors.

    Additionally, dotCMS 3.0 is now ready to run with an embedded database “out of the box”.  (Actually a .tar.gz file, dotCMS does not literally come in a box).  DotCMS 3.0 includes H2, Java SQL db.  The easy setup, and running with H2 is perfect for POCs, quick testing, and small projects (we do not recommend or support the embedded database for use in your production environment).
  2. Maven, Gradle and Modern Build Infrastructure
    With version 3.0 we’ve officially moved into the future with newer, more modern build and code management tools. We’ve officially adopted Github, Artifactory, Maven, and Gradle. For developers, this is a good day.
  3. Repackaging of 3rd Party Libraries
    Heads up to plugin developers considering the upgrade to 3.0. We have moved away from our bundled Tomcat install of the system. Additionally, in order to improve our support of various environments and to avoid code and package conflicts, we’ve repackaged many of the supporting libraries used in dotCMS. This means that minor modifications to plugins will need to be made when you upgrade.  Before you upgrade, you’ll need to modify the locations of a couple file directories/paths in order for your plugins to run in the new 3.0 version. We’ll be providing documentation to help you upgrade and test your plugins on your dev server, once 3.0 is released.

    There you have it. A 3x3 square view of dotCMS 3.0. We hope you enjoy using the new features we’ve baked into this new version. Get ready, and start planning for your upgrade to dotCMS 3.0 today, coming soon to a server near you.

More Information and Resources:

Multi-Type Containers – Download (PDF) presentation notes from dotCMS developer conference.

Saas and Less Autocompiler – Live webinar recording with Training and Education Director, Dean Gonzales and Freddy Montes, dotCMS Front End, Engineer

XML Sitemap – Documentation for the now included feature

Mobile App Examples – Overview presentation from dotCMS Bootcamp

Links to dotCMS Starter Apps:
Google Play:

Apple iTunes:

Introducing dotCMS 3.0 – Video Excerpts from the dotCMS Developer Conference with Will Ezell, CTO, dotCMS.

Online Demo of dotCMS 3.0 – Check out version 3.0, live online with the newly redesigned Starter Site

dotCMS 3.0 Quick Set-up Guide

The New License Manager – Important info for applying and requesting licenses

Development and Integration with 3.0

dotCMS 3.0 Developer ChangeLogs – lists all the changes and fixes addressed in the update

Download dotCMS 3.0 Today – Get dotCMS Community Edition plus a key to unlock a free, 30-day trial of dotCMS Enterprise Prime

Will Ezell
Chief Technology Officer
November 19, 2014

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