August 2011 » Top 5 New Features for Content Editors in Kentico CMS 6.0
Aug 30

Top 5 New Features for Content Editors in Kentico CMS 6.0

In this blog post series:

  1. Top 5 New Features for Developers in Kentico CMS 6
  2. Top 5 New Features for Designers in Kentico CMS 6
  3. Top 5 New Features for Content Editors in Kentico CMS 6 (this post)
  4. Top 5 New Features for Site Administrators in Kentico CMS 6
  5. Top 5 New Features for Internet Marketers in Kentico CMS 6

 

In my last two posts I talked about what should make Developers and Designers happy. With this post I will shift my focus to the actual end users of the product, or what we like to lovingly refer to in the industry as the Content Editors.

In my opinion, it is neck and neck between Developers and Content Editors for when it comes to who will receive the most benefits from the 6.0 update. So lets get right to it.

 

1. New CKEditor replaces the old FCKEditor

The CKEditor is a derivative of the original FCKEditor. The people who created the WYSIWYG tool stripped it down to it’s core and recreated it to have more functionality and above all gain better performance.

For someone who creates or maintains a lot of web pages as part of their daily job, they will really appreciate the faster load time.

 

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I feel that the buttons are easier to identify and that the look and feel matches the skin better than before. There are also a few new buttons like Create New Div Container. Also creating tables seems to be easier now.

 

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In the end it’s not a huge change but it should work better and across more browsers as well.

 

2. Syntax Highlighting throughout the UI

This may be one of my top favorite new features for any user of Kentico CMS. I know it may seem like a small thing to just add some colors to the HTML markup or CSS, however, it makes a huge huge difference. Of the two samples which would you rather read below ?

<div class="title">
    <h1>
        Kentico CMS Rocks
    </h1>
</div>

or

<div class="title">
   <h1>
     Kentico CMS Rocks
   </h1>
</div>

 

Kentico 6 will properly highlight syntax and/or markup everywhere through the CMSDesk and CMSSiteManager UI. And yeah and don’t forget both of those admin interfaces have gotten completely re-skinned and look great. The first screen shot below shows the old 5.5 R2 Transformation Editor without Syntax Highlighting, and the second shot shows the new one.

 

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Next I will show you the difference between the old CSS editor and the new one.

 

image

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3. Upgraded E-Commerce Tab

E-Commerce is becoming a bigger and bigger part of Kentico. It’s a very powerful solution when you think about having your businesses website, online store, blog, and marketing campaign all in one spot.

With the 6.0 release Kentico has promoted E-Commerce from being part of the regular tools modules to it’s own tab in CMSDesk. I’ve shown this change to one of our customers at BizStream, and they absolutely loved it. They asked to be the first one on our upgrade list after they saw it.

 

image

 

If you look close in the next screen shot, you will also notice that the new tab let’s you easily get to the store configuration. Once your there you can now even setup multiple shipping costs by weight.

 

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4. Dashboards

The My Dashboard section of the My Desk tab in CMSDesk is a great place for getting a view on what’s going on with your Kentico CMS site. The My Desk tab is a great feature for Content Editors all by itself. With the introduction of these configurable Dashboards it has gotten even better.

 

image

 

The new Dashboards tab in the CMSSiteManager allows admins to place any widget they want on a single page. But a single place to see any errors, a snap shot of how the installation is performing, any possible email bounce backs, or whatever else the admin wants will be very powerful. Again this is one of those features that is not 100% complete yet though.

One thing that would be very cool to me is to have a widget of just action buttons that combines the most common actions. A set of action buttons would be very cool as well. I could see a nice right hand column of the most common actions that an admin has to take. I’m, thinking like the button to Clear Cache, Restart the Application, or Rebuild a Smart Search index, or even run any Scheduled Task all within one zone. I may be just dreaming here though.

 

image

 

5. Full WebDAV support

WebDAV stands for "Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning". It basically extends the HTTP protocol to allow for users to edit and save documents remotely to a server, or in our case with Kentico CMS a Microsoft IIS webserver. The Microsoft Office suite also is need to make this work effortlessly.

The huge gain here is that the Content Editor does not have to try to download and save a copy of a document, open it up in Word from their local computer, and make changes to it. Instead when the user clicks the document link on the web page, the document gets served to them automatically and Word opens it up right away. Then when they are finished editing it and click save, Word knows to send the updated document back to the server. This all happens without the user having to upload anything.

 

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Conclusion

As you can see Content Editors got some great upgrades. I really struggled with narrowing it down to only five. In fact I really have a 5-A and a 5-B. For 5-B I really considered the update that places informative icons at each node in the Content Tree. The various icons give you colors for if a document is published, checked out, or locked. In the end though I had to give the edge for WebDAV.

Here’s one last bonus screen shot that show’s off the new Tools tab. I just really like the way this looks.

 

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Next time I will cover my Top 5 New Features for Site Administrators.

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