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XNAT 1.8 builds and improves on the XNAT 1.7 development framework, but most of the code will be familiar to experienced developers. As always, there is a combination of old and new under the hood. For example, there are still Velocity templates for common report pages, but the new Admin UI is built in JSP using a YAML spec and the HTML Element Spawner service.
As such, expect to find a lot of new content and controls in this section.
There are multiple ways to stand up a packaged developer instance. Choose the one that is most convenient for you.
External developers can contribute to XNAT in a number of ways: adding functions, services and data types via plugins; adding processing capabilities via pipelines; or adding connectors between their own applications and XNAT data.
With the advent of a mature XNAT API, it is easier for external developers to create a free-standing UI using whatever technology they choose, and connect all functions of that front end to XNAT services using the API. It is even possible, using CORS, to connect that front end to a remote XNAT.