Most importantly: we added static caching to the configuration management system. This paves the way of further speedup by utilizing
cache_get_multiple instead of loading each object one by one. While Drupal always had the capability to override certain variables in
settings.php this is now much nicer and even has its own little API,
settings()->get(). The separation of these settings necessary for bootstrap versus the CMI overrides was badly needed. Also, the new Entity Query system now has relationship support (that has been a frequent request). The last piece to the Entity Query puzzle before making it the default Views query plugin is the aggregation support, which now can commence -- it entirely relied on the revamped codebase of the relationship patch so it couldn't get further.
Meanwhile, others have been busy too and blocks are now plugins. This adds a real lot of flexibility. Most importantly, it's possible to place a block multiple times and now blocks use CMI. Custom blocks are now a separate module and soon will be entities. While there is a mongodb_block / mongodb_block_ui module for Drupal 7 it does not integrate with the system at all, it's basically a copy of the whole block module with small pieces replaced with MongoDB queries. That's ... not effective maintenance-wise to say the least.
Of course, there were many bugs fixed, I am very grateful for being able to spend the necessary time on some really gnarly, extremely hard to pin down bugs -- one issue have seen no less than 51 patch submissions over just a few days.
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