What’s New in Ektron 8.6?

Ektron 8.6 was released on June 28, 2012, without much fanfare. I did a quick Google search but was hard pressed to find much about it. So, I’ve decided to post my own findings, based mainly on Ektron’s product release notes and from my own quick installation and testing.

This is not an extensive review of all of the updates in 8.6 — but more of an overview of some of the major changes.

Adaptive Image Resizing for Mobile Devices

Responsive images for mobile devices have been gathering a lot of attention lately, and fortunately, Ektron is now offering the ability to serve up images based on the user’s screen size. Unfortunately, it relies on device detection to do so, but as there is no real standard yet for handling this problem, I commend them for taking the time to implement this useful feature.

Ektron has been trying really hard to be a leader in the CMS mobile market, and changes like this help to reinforce their dedication to that position.

New WYSIWYG Editor

I’ve never been a fan of Ektron’s default WYSIWYG editor, so I’m glad to see them moving toward third-party alternatives, such as Aloha Editor. Aloha is a great editor, especially when editing content in-line, and is a huge step forward. Personally, I’m relieved that I won’t have to deal with that annoying bug where <p> tags are removed when only one paragraph appears in content.

Improved Search

Microsoft FAST is available as a search provider, and popular features such as “did you mean…” and auto-suggestions are now included as well. Each new Ektron release tends to focus very much on search improvements. In the future, however, I would like to see a little less attention paid to this area. Although better search results and features are nice, I rarely hear complaints from clients about how slow the search is or how they wish the results were more accurate. Maybe that’s just me, though.

New URL Aliasing Options

In addition to the automatic and manual URL aliasing features, you can now use improved regular expressions to determine the URL structure. There are also options for managing URL redirects — very helpful when a URL needs to be changed.

Other Updates

Version 8.6 also offers three more templated server controls (Content, Menu, and Access Point), updates to eSync, and a ton of bug fixes. Overall, this doesn’t seem to be a major update unless you’re sick of the eWebEditPro editor or have a vested interest in regex URLs or serving up mobile-optimized images, but there appears to be some clean-up going on, and I think Ektron is heading in the right direction by placing more emphasis on mobile devices and making it easier on authors through third-party WYSIWYG editors.

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