With winter coming to an end, we are thrilled to announce the release of eZ Platform v2.1. Similar to the Easter bunny, this release bears many wonderful surprises and useful features that the product team has been working very hard on. The features are expected to greatly enhance both the developer and the editorial experiences.

One feature that has been highly anticipated is Custom Tags. Prior to Custom Tags, the online editor and Rich Text field type was difficult to expand. However, with Custom Tags users can now extend eZ Platform Rich Text fields by giving editors a way to include advanced content and information as new structured information in the Rich Text fields. The beauty of a custom tag is that third-party developers can easily create, define and render a new custom tag. Once done, the custom tag shows up as a new button in the Online Editor toolbar. To learn more about this feature, read Sneak Peek of v2.1: Custom Tags.

This release focused greatly on improving the editorial capabilities of eZ Platform. Marketers and editors will be excited to hear about features such as Content on the Fly, URL alias and much more.

Boosting the Editorial Experience of eZ Platform Users

Let’s begin by diving into Content on the Fly. At eZ, we believe that speed and efficiency are key for editor experience. We want to equip marketers and editors with tools that simplify their editorial workflow. We decided in this release to re-introduce the Content on the Fly feature, a previous prototype on v1 of eZ Platform, and now make it a core component of the system.  

Content on the Fly allows users to very quickly create new content items while they are doing other things in the application. Wherever the user is in the application, and whenever he might need a content for any purpose, he should be able to create it without leaving the task he is doing and for which he needs the content. An example of Content on the Fly is when a user is publishing a story with many images and visuals from the media library, but realizes that an image is missing. The user can quickly embed the missing image by clicking the Create button, adding it to the Media Library and then embedding it into the story he/she is currently working on. The editor can do all of this without having to leave the current edit of the story. This feature saves the editor time by reducing the amount of clicks to minimum and to better utilize his/her resources.

Content on the Fly is tied to the Universal Discovery Widget (UDW), a tool that helps users find content in their repository and that is used throughout the CMS application. If users (editors or marketers) cannot find certain content when using the UDW, they can simply use Content on the Fly to create new content instantly with the click of button, or as we like to call it “on the fly”. There are many use cases for which Content on the Fly can be helpful in speeding up the editorial process.

Here is a short video showcasing how the feature works on the editor side:

Developers will also love the Content on the Fly feature because it allows them to extend eZ Platforms capabilities. They can assign Content on the Fly to do different actions for different scenarios thus making certain processes quicker for their users. Developers will be able to create actions that provide shortcuts to creating specific content types, at specific locations.

Filtered Search to Better Find Content in the Repository

Another important feature we added for editors gives them a better way to find content that is being managed in the platform. We have improved the—until now—very basic search function by adding the ability to refine search with different filters. This is just a first step as we’ll add more filters in the next releases, with the target to also add facets that let editors know how many results they should expect behind each filter. For now the filters include Content Types, Section, Creation and Modification dates. Stay tuned, more to come. Please note that developers should also expect an easier way to extend this search with new filters in the future, as we are working on it.

We have also made a range of smaller yet important improvements to the U.I. that will also provide a better editorial experience. One is the handling of version conflicts when editing content items. If an editor is about to create a version conflict, he is very clearly warned about it.

Another improvement is making available a site-access switcher in preview mode. This allows editors to preview content on different sites from the editing stage.

Yet another improvement is the support we provide for “deep linking”. Editors will be able to access and load in their favorite browser an eZ Platform URL that someone had shared with them. If the editor was not logged in on eZ, not a problem, the application will allow her to log in and then remember and redirect her seamlessly to the desired URL location. This feature is a time saver and avoids lots of frustration for the user.  

We also made sure to make adjustments to many usability and visual issues. We wanted to reduce the amount of clicks a user needs to make. We also adjusted the interface design in order to make it more user friendly. All these changes improve the overall editorial experience.

Creating URL Alias from Platform U.I.

The URL aliases feature is a simple yet effective tool allowing editors to easily create different additional URLs to access any content that is stored in the system. This can eliminate the use of the sometimes lengthy system URLs and allow editors to offer a better customer experience by providing URLs that are short and easy to identify.

This feature was one of many features that were present in eZ Publish, and still not ported over to eZ Platform. However, with v2.1 you can get up and celebrate, this feature is now available on eZ Platform. This spring you can start by abandoning that cumbersome legacy admin that you were using just to have this feature.

Let’s take a quick look at how this works in v2.1:

Managing Object States

Managing object states is another powerful feature that we are re-introducing in v2.1. This feature targets administrators or developers who use the object states system. In the previous eZ Platform 1.x we only made this feature available through API but not yet through the U.I. of eZ Platform. With version 2.0, @wizhippo contributed to the first step: the view of object states. Based on @wizhippo’s follow-up contribution that was adapted to our new U.I guidelines, object states” are now fully manageable with eZ Platform U.I. 

Administrators will now be able to create object states as well as object states’ groups in the admin panel. Editors will have the ability to not only view object states but also to change them from the detailed content view.

This fast track release may have been the richest since we launched eZ Platform. To see the full list of our new features, check out our release notes as well as the link to the list of changes on Github.

In parallel to this release, the team is already at work preparing the next fast track v2.2. The main feature in this upcoming summer release will be the new Page Builder (the new name for the Studio landing page manager). We are doing a complete revamp of this feature and it will be based on our latest backend and user-interface architecture of eZ Platform v2. It will work faster, be easier to extend and will provide an overall better user experience.

Stay tuned for more news as we share updates through our blog, and on the eZ forum.

If you have any questions please feel free to drop us a comment on discuss.ezplatform.com or write us at productmanagement@ez.no

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