There're a few functions lacking in 8.1 from 7.8.5, what are ways to get the same thing

To check tag quality from script, use this at the bottom of Paul's post:

While the old tag read function still exists, it's gone from doco an thus you should probably move to the new system.tag.readBlocking or readAsync in 8, which now take lists.

Maybe have a look at some things I found migrating from 7 to 8 as well that aren't obvious from doco: