Exactly one year after the first preview at XML Prague 2012, eXist-db 2.0 has finally been released. Version 2.0 changes the way we look at developing applications in XQuery. Instead of being a monolithic collection of documents and scripts, eXist-db 2.0 provides an ecosystem for modular, self-contained packages and apps, which can be easily passed around or distributed as part of a customized system. eXist-db has thus become more than "just" an XML database, providing the necessary tools to build growingly complex applications. Features like like expath packaging, HTML templating, RestXQ, full XForms 1.1 support, the new dashboard or eXide all play an important role in this bigger picture. eXist-db 2.0 now covers the complete stack of tools needed for building applications that use XML from backend to frontend.
While the changes on the surface are immediately visible, a lot has happened in the background as well: many of the above mentioned features would be impossible without the powerful language constructs provided by XQuery 3.0. Higher-order functions, closures and annotations enabled us to write XQuery library modules, which would simply not have been possible before.
Apart from XQuery 3.0 support, the query engine has seen quite some redesign to enable better optimizations, supported by a rewritten structural index. Efficient indexing of binary resources (e.g. PDFs) made it necessary to improve the Lucene-based full text index and the handling of binary values inside a query.
Finally, 2.0 provides a tightened security model with multiple realms (LDAP/AD/OpenID...) and access control lists (ACLs). I could add more changes and features, but this announcement is not meant to be comprehensive - and I really can't remember everything which happened during the past two years.
When upgrading to 2.0 from 1.4.x, you should first check if the permission settings of your collections and XQueries are in line with the changed security model. Please refer to the upgrade guide for more information: http://exist-db.org/exist/apps/doc/upgrading.xml.
If you look at the new homepage, you'll also notice that we're preparing a new support model to improve the adoption of the software. This new offer is the result of a tight cooperation between eXistSolutions and betterFORM, which has been the driving force behind some of the most visible changes in eXist-db 2.0. Together we want to make sure eXist-db grows and remains Open Source as you know it, while offering our joint competence in XML technologies to the professional user.