While a lot of changes took place in the config files Sitecore has really made improvements to the UI as well.
After first installing the 5.3.1 version what hits you right away is the new login page. With an improved appearance and additional features such as browser identification and phishing filter detection, along with the easy (and understandable) selections you can make this is really a step forward and will make many customers happy.
(on a sidenote i personally find it a bit annoying that if you login to the content editor directly there's really no easy way to log out or access the sitecore 'start' menu, but hey - that's just me i suppose - you can always wait for it to time out or hit the sitecore logo and close the content editor)
Given i haven't yet had a chance to dig deeper into the new version i'll just leave you with some screenshots & comments. however, one thing i did notice (and really like) is that the ribbon is now easily configurable via both a context menu and it's very own wizard/application. good stuff!
there is one more thing i noticed, and it really struck a curious nerve in me - there's now a __inherits security field on the edit user wizard.. for what i'm not sure, but it did indeed make me curious..
So what's the verdict? well.. given the improvements seen so far and the anticipation i have on future releases, i too will give this release an 8. Excellent work by the lads indeed.
well, that's it for now.