BloomReach Experience V12.0 Beta & Hippo CMS V12.0 Beta Release Notes

BloomReach Experience V12.0 Beta, Hippo CMS V12.0 Beta

July 7, 2017

Hello everyone!

We are excited to announce the release of BloomReach Experience and Hippo CMS 12.0 Beta! This release is a major release and the first one in the 12 series. We spent considerable effort to create a version which includes many architectural improvements that can be used as an innovative, robust, and reliable foundation to maximise your agility and, more importantly, the customer experience of your end-users.


Joining the BloomReach product family

After the acquisition of Hippo by BloomReach in 2016, we have been working on integrating the product portfolios of the merged company. An important part of this integration process has involved the alignment of the ‘Hippo’ product naming with the BloomReach products. We are happy to announce that along with the release of the V12 Beta, we have implemented this alignment in our products and therefore introduce the following new product naming for the ‘Hippo’ products:

  • Hippo DX will be called BloomReach Experience

  • Hippo CMS Community edition will be called Hippo CMS

Product Highlights for this release

Like always with a major release we took the opportunity to do several architectural improvements and modifications in our software. The V12 Beta release is largely focused on underlying, internal optimisations which will support the appearance of new functionality that will become increasingly visible in the coming minor releases.

This is not to say that the V12 Beta only includes architectural changes, we have of course also implemented some awesome new features which will be further expanded upon in further minor releases within the 12 series.

What is new for end users

Visual editing (BloomReach Experience as well as Hippo CMS)

For users of the channel manager, we introduce the first version of visual editing. With visual editing, the user can edit content directly within the page context of the channel manager, without the need to navigate to the content perspective and perform the editing there. Visual editing is the perfect tool to quickly make in-page text edits. Most interesting is that we implemented this feature without breaking the separation of content and presentation. This means that for instance, when you are proofreading a page and find an error, you can easily correct it in place. But even more importantly, by correcting this error you found on the page, you also automatically correct it in all other channels and even in e.g. your connected mobile app and remote display units as well!  

Projects (BloomReach Experience only)

In V12, we introduce the concept of projects in the authoring environment (not to be confused with a ‘project’ in the developer context). With this concept we take the first step towards advanced workflow management in the BloomReach Experience product. The purpose of workflow management is to enhance the transparency and collaborative control of content across content-teams; the new ‘’projects’’ element within our solution will already support this purpose by:

Publishing a single user's changes. Isolate the changes that a single user is doing in the Channel Manager in order to push these changes through a review process and publish these without having interference from changes other users might be making within the same channel.

Collaborating on a set of changes. If multiple users want to work together on changes, they can use the project functionality to keep track of these changes and allow each user to take over from where the previous user left off. This ensures that all the changes being made are recorded in a single location and can be reviewed and published as a single set.

Preparing for a future change. Projects can be used to separate work that is intended to go live at a future date by isolating these changes from the core website experience. Other users will continue to be able to make and publish their changes whilst leaving pending changes within a project unavailable until the project is reviewed and merged.

Reviewing a single isolated change. If you have a very important change that you want to get reviewed and published, but your colleagues are busy working on a plethora of other changes, projects can help you by allowing you to set aside your changes which can be independently reviewed and published. This is particularly useful for standalone items such as new landing pages.

Moreover, as we are a multi-channel content managementment system, all workflow operations fully take the multi-channel capabilities of the platform in consideration and seamlessly work across and span all channels.

Usability Improvements (BloomReach Experience as well as Hippo CMS)

We improved the usability of the software as a result of customer and field feedback. This includes many small but useful improvements, to mention a few:

  • We removed the ‘’View/Edit’’ toggle button from the Channel Manager menu bar. It is replaced by two switches: a ‘show/hide components’ toggle that enables/disables editing on component level, and a ‘show/hide content’ toggle that enables/disables editing on content level. When using the new toggles, the right toolset, modification icons and frames are shown automatically on the page depending on if the user is editing on content level or on component level.

  • The Channel Manager now has automatic horizontal scroll while scrolling components. This is convenient when editing wide pages.

  • Searching on images now returns results including thumbnails of the images. This makes interpreting the results much easier.

  • Other than the existing phone, tablet and desktop edit modes there is now a responsive edit mode as well. You can use this mode to check the responsiveness of the site while editing.

  • The screen sizes for phone, tablet and desktop edit mode can be set pixel-accurate to match your requirements.

  • Many dialogs have been improved, including ‘Change password’, ‘Publish / de-publish all in folder’, ‘Edit allowed content’, ‘Reorder folder’, ‘Copy document’ and ‘Dashboard document wizard’.

  • Several German language improvements were incorporated in the CMS user interface.

  • The second column in the Content perspective has been made resizable.

  • Content in the root folder can be sorted alphabetically now.

  • Closing the channel can be done via the channel menu.

What is new for developers

As part of our ‘developer love’ initiative, we did a lot to make developers love us even more:

Hippo Configuration Management (HCM) - (BloomReach Experience as well as Hippo CMS)   

We improved the system bootstrapping by introducing YAML as the configuration language, replacing the former XML format. The new YAML is much easier to read, maintain and merge, allowing for easier upgrades and transitioning from, for example, development to production environments. Upgrade tooling for older versions of the product will be provided.

  • It is a very compact format, much more compact than the former XML format.

  • Sequence numbers are obsolete now, the declaration determines the order. Manual reload-at-startup is not needed anymore.

  • Error detection and reporting are superior to the old situation. Reports point back to the problematic source files directly.

  • Binary files are stored as external resource files with ‘human friendly’ names instead of as inline, encoded XML. Large strings can also be placed in external resource files. This makes it easier to use native tools such as image or code editors with content you plan to import.

  • Auto-export now "catches up" to changes while it was disabled, so you don't accidentally miss important data.

  • Improved support for multi-dev and multi-team workflow, with dependencies declared at module level and flexible division of data into source files.

  • A saved baseline copy of previously-applied config to help with debugging diagnosis.

Explicit separation of config and content with distinct handling for each, e.g. don't reload content in production, don't save large content files in the configuration baseline, support more expressive replace/merge/override operations for config.  

Improved integration architecture (CRISP) (BloomReach Experience as well as Hippo CMS)

In V12 Beta we introduce the common resource interface and service provider (CRISP) API as a gateway to connect to external micro services. This API takes care of routing requests to the right services and caches data when appropriate. This means that integrations will become easier, quicker and better performing. Components using this API on a page will become non-blocking and will process asynchronously.

CaaS/Headless (BloomReach Experience as well as Hippo CMS)

BloomReach Experience has a Hybrid architecture: we have a natural separation between content and its representation. This means that the BloomReach Experience is suitable for many more applications than HTML delivery alone. The system can operate with a full HTML experience delivery, but it can also serve snippets to be injected in other systems, or if required, it can operate as a pure headless content delivery tier to feed, for example, your mobile app.

In V12 Beta, we improved on our headless API by implementing more sophisticated content sorting, giving you much more control over the order that content is delivered. You can now sort on any piece of data in your content and the system will deliver the content based on this sorting.

Essentials improvements (BloomReach Experience as well as Hippo CMS)

We improved the architecture of Essentials. Every Essentials plugin or tool now has its own plugin descriptor and additional category metadata. This enables us to add and remove individual plugins/tools to Essentials and is a big step towards the development of a marketplace of plugins/tools that can contain first, second and third party plugins served from various repositories.

URL rewriter (BloomReach Experience)

On popular demand, we have pulled the well known and widely used URL rewriter plugin into the BloomReach Experience as a core feature. This is an indispensable plugin that almost everyone who builds a serious website will need. The URL rewriter add-on provides the capability to manage URL rewriting rules in the CMS to your development project. The URL rewriter will now receive full support from Bloomreach; software updates and will match our backwards compatibility schemes.

The URL rewriter will be a BloomReach Experience feature. Users of the open source Hippo CMS will not have access to future versions of the URL rewriter. The current version of the existing plugin will of course remain available in open source, neither updated nor supported by BloomReach (as it never was in the past as well).

Google Maps API

We have added support for developers to add their own Google Maps API key to enable the Realtime Maps UI as well as any Maps components being added to sites. In the event that the key is missing, incorrectly registered or has reached it's quota with Google, error messages will be alerted within the console and browser where possible.
The Google API key can be registered within the console here: /hippo:configuration/hippo:frontend/cms/hippo-targeting/experience-optimizer-perspective.

Commerce Components

With V12.0 Beta we introduce new commerce-related functionality as part of the BloomReach Experience: the Commerce Components. This is the first release of a set of Essentials plugins that wrap the BloomReach Personalization widgets in first-class-citizen CMS components. With these plugins, you can leverage the BloomReach Personalization APIs that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to personalize the offering for the visitor. Components for personalized product grids and queries and ‘more like this’ components are available now as part of the Commerce Components.

Note: in order to access these components you must have licensed Bloomreach Personalization.

Major release

V12 Beta is a major release. This means that we did a lot of work under the hood that is not backwards compatible with previous releases. We made  some fantastic architectural improvements leading to new feature functionality that would never have been possible without allowing ourselves to do this major release.

This also means that the update process to this new major version requires more effort from you as a customer than the rather effortless and backwards compatible minor releases.

Don’t worry if you are not ready yet to go through a major update cycle. Our previous release (11.2) is a long-term-supported (LTS) version that will live for another two years (if you have a premium support subscription). If you want to learn more about major/minor/micro versions and update plans you can find more information at [1].


V12 Btea is also a Beta release (formerly known as an FCS release). This means that the release is not supported for everybody, but is actually supported for a select set of initial customers only. This Beta period gives us time to harden the release in the wild, process feedback from the field and create upgrade scripts and documentation. After this initial introduction, we will release  V12 GA (General Availability). That version will be available in Autumn 2017. If you want to know more about Beta and GA, and how to become a Beta customer, you can take a look at [2].

System support and requirements

Numerous changes in the system requirements have been made. The full system requirements can be found via this web page: Highlighted are:

CentOS (BloomReach Experience extended stack option)

We now support CentOS in V12 and V11.2 as extended stack option in the Premium support package. The versions of CentOS we support correspond with RHEL releases we support.

Edge (all products)

We have included official support for Microsoft’s Edge browser in V12 and V11.2 for our products. After dropping IE11 in spring we made effort to support Edge as the Microsoft browser of choice.

End-of-life and support


This release of this version will change the support status and trigger the end-of-life status of Hippo CMS 11.1. It will become end-of-life now.

Currently actively maintained versions are the most recently released patch versions of 7.9, 10.2, 11.2 and 12.0 Beta. Please be aware that when 12.0 GA will be released somewhere after summer, 7.9 will become end-of-life and will not be supported anymore. Also, when you have Standard support, support of version 10.2 will end. If you want to learn about our end-of-life policy, you can take a look at [3].

The current support table applies as of today:

If you are on version:


You will receive support until the release of:



If you have Standard support

If you have Premium support



No support

12.0 GA



12.0 GA

13.0 GA



No support

No support



13.0 GA

14.0 GA

HST Configuration Editor

The HST Configuration Editor is End-of-life in this release onwards. Much of its functionality is covered in other parts of the system already. We are focusing on the development of new/modern tools to improve the user experience that will become available in coming releases.


We discontinued support for Elasticsearch 2.4 and moved to Elasticsearch 5.2.



Support for some custom plugins for CKEditor, as developed by customers, will be dropped in the future. This mainly applies to plugins that are communicating directly with the Wicket backend, and should not effect any front end only plugins. This will not happen overnight but approximately in about a year’s time when we initiate re-design of the Content Perspective. If you have use cases that will be severely impacted due to this, please get in touch with your relevant Hippo contact in advance so that we can see if we can support these typical use cases directly from the product.

MS SQL Server support

Support for MS SQL Server 2012 will be discontinued in an upcoming release in favour of the newer MS SQL Server 2016 release. Please note we do not support any of the MS SQL products for the Relevance application.

Windows Server 2008 R2

Support for Windows Server 2008 R2 will be discontinued as part of  the BloomReach Experience and Hippo CMS 12.1 release.

Known issues

The list of known issues at release time of this release can be found here.


BloomReach Experience and Hippo CMS are available as Beta version for a selected audience as from July 7th, 2017 onwards and will be available for GA (General Availability) in Autumn 2017.

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