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Announcing Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0 with a new way to manage links

Silverstripe 5.2.0 has just landed. In this release, we’re most excited about the new LinkField module that makes it easy to manage all types of links. Developers and content authors can expect numerous improvements. Working and building with Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0 is easier than ever!

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Silverstripe 5.2.0 has just landed. In this release, we’re most excited about the new LinkField module that makes it easy to manage all types of links. Developers and content authors can expect numerous improvements. Working and building with Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0 is easier than ever!

A new way to manage links in Silverstripe CMS

A big part of managing content on the web is having the ability to link to resources like external websites or documents. Silverstripe CMS has always allowed you to manage links in its content editor. But sometimes, the links need to exist outside the editor.

With Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0, we’re introducing a new way to manage links with the LinkField module.

Basic link management that works

LinkField provides all the functionality you need from a link management solution in an intuitive and easy-to-use interface.

  • You can manage links one at a time or in a sortable list
  • Links use the standard Silverstripe CMS data model that developers know and love
  • LinkField can easily be added to any page types or content blocks or any other DataObjects.
Single link field screen shot

Manage individual links with ease.

Multi LinkField screen shot

Manage sortable links lists.

The common link types you would expect are built-in:

  • links to pages in the CMS (on this site)
  • links to external pages
  • links to files managed in the CMS
  • links to email addresses
  • links to phone numbers.
Selecting a link type screen shot

Select from many built-in link types.

Advanced link management to meet bespoke needs

Silverstripe CMS is all about empowering developers to deliver bespoke solutions for their end users. LinkField is no exception.

Developers can easily create custom link types to match custom business needs.

Advanced link modal screen shot

Work with developers to create bespoke link types that exactly match your needs.

From incubation to production

LinkField began as an Innovation Week project and was initially released as a proof-of-concept solution. Silverstripe and many community members have used previous iterations of LinkField in their own projects. The feedback we’ve gathered from the Silverstripe CMS community and our clients allowed us to incubate a solution focused on the needs of our users and get LinkField to a production-ready state.

LinkField is the perfect example of how open-source software enables a community of developers with diverse requirements to collaborate on a comprehensive solution.

Learn more about Silverstripe’s latest Innovation Week in November 2023.

Improved user experience for content authors

Here are a few of the user experience improvements for content authors that you'll see in Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0.

The content block status is now communicated explicitly with textual labels.

Elemental block screen shot

Clearly see the status of content blocks.

An improved searchable dropdown field makes it easier to find and choose items, especially from long lists.

Searchable drop down field screen shot

Find items with ease with the searchable dropdown field.

The URL field we developed for LinkField can also be used in other contexts.

URL field screen shot

Easily input URL in the URL field.

Making life easier for developers

Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0 comes in with a slate of technical improvements that will empower developers to deliver innovative solutions for their users.

Official PHP 8.3 support

Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0 brings official support for PHP 8.3. The release has been fully tested on PHP 8.3 and all our continuous integration builds are now running on PHP 8.3.

Read the official PHP 8.3 changelog to discover all the new features available to you when upgrading to PHP 8.3.

Don’t worry if you are not quite ready to upgrade to the latest PHP version. PHP 8.1 and PHP 8.2 are still fully supported in Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0 and will be for the entire lifetime of Silverstripe CMS 5.

Unlocking the possibilities of file variants

Silverstripe CMS has always allowed you to create variants of files such as thumbnails. A common use case for this is to resize or crop pictures. Until now variants had to be of the same type as the original file. For example, if you are creating a thumbnail for a PNG image, the thumbnail has to be a PNG as well.

In Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0, this restriction has been removed. This opens a lot of new possibilities for developers to explore. For example, you could start generating thumbnails for PDF documents. Or you could convert images in different formats to provide an optimal experience for all browsers.

We’re looking at doing some follow-up work on this feature in Silverstripe CMS 5.3.0, but the API is available right away for developers who want to experiment with these possibilities.

Getting more out of GridField

GridField has been a staple feature of Silverstripe CMS. It makes it easy for content authors to interact with managed tabular data.

Until now, GridField was targeted to the Silverstripe CMS data model. This limitation made it difficult, if not impossible, to use a GridField to manage data from outside Silverstripe CMS.

With Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0, we’re removing a lot of the implicit assumptions that made it difficult for GridField to work with third-party data. We’re also providing clear guidance on how to implement these new GridField use cases.

This opens some exciting new possibilities. For example, a developer could build an integration with a third-party API and allow content authors to access and edit their data in the familiar GridField interface.

Better type hitting with generics

Imagine if your development environment suddenly became smarter and was able to better understand the nature of the variables you are working with.

With the introduction of “generics” in Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0, this dream becomes reality. Developers can expect better code completion suggestions. Static code analysis tools like PHPStan will now become even more useful.

VS code suggestion screenshot

Better code suggestion from VS Code.

Developers can spend less time guessing method names and more time solving their clients' problems.

Developers, check out our documentation

These are just the headline changes. Developers can look forward to:

  • faster performance with eager Loading improvements
  • more flexible validation with Symfony validator support
  • easier debugging by printing out where queries are coming from in their SQL logs
  • more nuance permissions for build tasks.

This release announcement does not cover the full details of what is included in the release. Be sure to review the full changelog before planning your next site upgrade.

Review the Silverstripe CMS 5.2.0 changelog in our developer documentation for all the details.

Keen to get your upgrade underway?

Talk to your digital agency or developer about upgrading

Haven’t got a developer or agency? No problem! As the people who made it, Silverstripe Limited are experts in Silverstripe CMS.

Reach out to Silverstripe directly to upgrade your project if you are based in New Zealand.

Or browse the Silverstripe CMS Developer Network and filter by location to find a Silverstripe CMS developer near you.

About the author
Maxime Rainville

Maxime is the CMS Squad Team Lead. The CMS Squad is the team inside Silverstripe that looks after Silverstripe CMS day-to-day.

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