MODX Revolution 2.5—PHP 7, Performance and More

by Ryan Thrash

Published on April 21, 2016

MODX Revolution 2.5 is now out and brings PHP7 compatibility, ability to have faster performance for anonymous users, improved Manager interface when accessing from mobile or tablet devices, enhanced accessibility and much more.

Highlights of Revolution 2.5

MODX Revolution 2.5 continues the tradition of enhancing functionality and performance for MODX Revolution, augmenting security, and fixing a variety of bugs. The excellent new features include the following areas:

Preparing for the Future

MODX CMS has alway been forward thinking. We adopted PDO for database access years before others even considered it, and you could power HTML5/CSS3 mobile responsive sites with our first release in 2005, even though those technologies didn’t exist at the time. We continue this tradition with a few things that are here today, and that will be huge soon:

  • PHP 7 compatibility (it’s coming soon to a server near you). PHP 7 performs significantly faster than any previous release before it so your sites should be able to handle more visitors and serve them more quickly, keeping them engaged and returning for more.
  • Accessibility improvements worked into the core Manager experience including screen reader and keyboard navigation on the Login screen. The work that is going on for the Accessible Manager theme that takes this much further, works in MODX Revolution 2.5, too.

Improved UX

3 screens of the MODX Revolution 2.5 Manager simulating how it would look on a mobile device

Our quest to improve end-user and developer experiences will never be over. To that point, the following areas received attention for 2.5:

  • New default content for new installs provides helpful resources and information. Instead of the empty blank page in all previous versions of MODX Revolution, you now get a nice intro page with some important links to assist and orient new users..
  • Much more mobile-friendly Manager. As a stepping stone towards a new Manager in the future, this allows you to make edits and access the Manager much more easily than was possible before, thanks to the intense efforts of JP Devries.
  • Add ability to unpack zip files in the file tree / media manager

Developer Sugar

Sometimes you need to create custom functionality that available MODX Extras do not address. Often this involves creating a Custom Manager Pages and interfaces inside a Component.

Previously, this required a dive into the “exciting” world of ExtJS, with which most people have a loathe-hate relationship. Now, views for applications you build into the MODX Manager are much easier to create using plain old HTML/CSS and MODX Tags. A special thanks goes to Romain Tripault and Susan Ottwell for this example of the new Custom Manager Pages in 2.5.

Faster Performance

Google loves fast sites, as do your visitors. MODX has always been performant when serving cached pages, now it’s even more so:

  • Parser optimizations which improve pre-caching performance. This means visitors will be served more quickly, and Google will give your site a little more respect, which it clearly deserves.
  • The new anonymous_sessions setting (enabled by default) can significantly speed up the performance for sites that don’t need to have PHP sessions or logged in users. When this setting is disabled, and a page is fully cached, having sessionless anonymous visitors eliminates the need for a database connection for that visitor on each request. If your site serves even moderate traffic, this can significantly reduce the amount of processor required to operate.

Changes in MODX Revolution 2.5

Previously created sites, currently on Revolution 2.3 or above, should work when upgrading to 2.5, but we do suggest testing on an clone of your site, first. Earlier versions may take a bit of extra effort and code updates if they use non-public APIs or directly access the database.

Release Contributors

Let’s take the time to thank the individual contributors to this release (in no particular order):John Peca, Jason Coward, Thomas Jakobi, Ronald Exterkate, Mike Reid, inreti, Zaigham Rana, Jan Tezner, Elizabeth, Romain, argnist, Anton Pastukhoff, Илья Уткин, Gildas NOEL, Ivan Klimchuk, JP DeVries, Kirill, Mark Hamstra, Mat Dave Jones, Nikolay Lanets, Sergey Shlokov, and Vasily Naumkin, along with many other contributors who log & triage issues, review PRs, and commit code. The MODX Community is Amazing.

Get Started with Revolution 2.5

Here’s what you need to get started or upgrade to MODX Revolution 2.5:

It Takes a Global Village

MODX is only as good as it is because of the many individual community members and users, from around the world, who take the time to report issues, request new features, and submit code to the project. Make sure you read the documentation,post feedback and share your experiences in the MODX community forums.

On behalf of the entire MODX Team,

We thank you!

Millions Rely on MODX

In 2005, MODX could power a fully mobile-responsive website using HTML5 and CSS3, even though those technologies weren’t invented yet. And with MODX today, you’re ready not only for what you need now but also what comes next.

Try MODX Right Now