I am looking for new features that have been added for Magento 2.2 CE since 2.1.x and whether or how will it change anything major for Magento developers.
The below is all for Magento Open Source, formerly known as Magento Community
Release notes for 2.2 and other versions can be found in the Magento Devdocs
Here is the highlights excerpt from the release notes
Magento Open Source 2.2.0 includes a wealth of new, exciting features, and hundreds of enhancements and fixes. Look for the following highlights in this release:
- Bundled extensions. This release of Magento includes the first third-party extension that we are bundling with Magento Commerce – Magento Social. This extension establishes a connection between your store and your corporate Facebook account, and creates a page with products from your catalog. When shoppers click a product, they are redirected to the corresponding product page in your Magento store.
- Significant enhancements in platform security and developer experience. Security improvements include the removal of unserialize calls and protection of this functionality to increase resilence against dangerous code execution attacks. We have also continued to review and improve our protection against Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks.
- Upgraded technology stack. We’ve dropped support for PHP 5.6, and Varnish 3. We now support PHP 7.1 Varnish 5, and MySQL 5.7. All third-party libraries have been upgraded to the latest stable version.
- Pipeline deployment, a new deployment process, enables build and deployment stages to minimize production system downtime for site updates. Resource-intensive processes can run on the build server. Pipeline deployment supports easy management of configuration between environments, too. Read more about pipeline deployment here.
- Performance gains from improvements in indexing, cart, and cache operations. Customers can browse and shop on a storefront while indexers are running with no visible impact to their experience. Additionally, long-running indexers operate in batches to better manage memory and run times. Cart improvements enable a buyer to create a cart with more than 300 line items, and merchants can process a cart with at least 300 line items. Varnish cache configuration now includes saint and grace mode to ensure Varnish is always presenting a cached page to a shop’s customers. Enhancements to cache invalidation logic and optimization of edge side include blocks for frequently changing data that significantly boost cache hit ratios.
- Substantial contributions from our Community members. Our Community Engineering Team has been working with skilled and enthusiastic community members, and together they’ve added hundreds of pull requests to the Magento code base. For more information about our Community Engineering Team. see Magento Community Engineering.
More here Dev Docs
Magento 2.1.X release notes can be found here Dev Docs