We are excited to announce the release of Magento Community Edition 1.8.0.0- alpha1, available now for preview. This release focuses on major quality and stability improvements, performance enhancements and security

Key highlights include:

Performance Improvements

This release provides better performance in a number of ways, including improved performance of the checkout process, optimized cache adapters for single-server systems and speedier large database lookups. You can even load a large number of tax rates (3,000+) without any impact to performance.

Enhanced Tax Calculation Algorithms

This latest version of Magento Community Edition improves tax calculation algorithms, eliminating potential rounding offsets that can be displayed on buyer facing screens. This release also provides additional support for Canadian tax requirements.

Functional Improvements

We have made approximately 350 functional improvements in key areas, including the web store, shopping cart, admin order creation, import and export functionality, web API components and payment methods.

Security Enhancements

Through a number of enhancements, we have also strengthened the security of Magento Community Edition. Check out the full list of enhancements in our release notes.

We encourage you to take this preview release for a test drive and experiment with it. Please note that we do not recommend that you use this release in a production environment. We will incorporate the feedback we get from the community along with any open issues, in an upcoming production-ready version. Learn more about alpha releases and the Magento Community Edition release process.

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