SDL released a new on-premise version of SDL Web (formally SDL Tridion) in December 2016. Here's a quick review of main new features.
Binary Storage Mechanism
For organization that store binaries in SDL Web, database size and maintenance has been a headache. In SDL Web 8.5 binaries can now be stored outside of the database, on the filesystem or in cloud storage providers (Amazon S3 & Azure Blob Storage).
This can drastically reduce the size of your database, and therefore help with performance.
For more information on setting this up, visit http://www.mrgn.co/2017/01/04/installing-sdl-web-8-5-with-azure-blob-storage
In previous versions of SDL Web (and SDL Tridion) workflow was embargo based. This meant that the person currently assigned the workflow item was the only person who could see and/or interact with the item. In many cases a common "fast forward" work-around was implemented.
Now in SDL Web 8.5 workflows can be collabortive, in which all users can see in-workflow items. These in-workflow items can also be published and sent for translation.
In the past, systems would often have more "administrators" that was desired. These additional administrators where only present to allow users a few specific "power user" tasks.
Now in SDL Web 8.5 the concept of privileges has been introduced, so that users can be provided very specific authority for certain tasks while still restricting others to true administrators.
Topology Manager Visualizer
Topology Manager was introduced in SDL Web 8, and once mastered is a very nice improvement for managing environments. The draw back in SDL Web 8 was there was no way to visualize the Topologies you may have created.
In SDL Web 8.5 a Topology visualizer has been added to the Content Management Explorer.
Simplified Chinese is now an out of the box langauge option for the Content Management Explorer
There is now the ability to surface notifications to users from automation code, like events system, to appear in the notification area.
The deployer architecture has been refactored, and now allows drastically improved scalability. This is particularly important to those high volume publishers, to get items on the web faster.
The caching mechanisms have been beefed up in SDL Web 8.5, to better support scaling, cache invalidation and distributed caching.
Minor Version translation
Minor versions can now be sent out for translation (via Translation Manager,) allowing the item to remain in workflow throughout the translation process.
All in all, some nice features added in this release of SDL Web. Watch this space for upcoming posts on upgrading to this latest version.