Written by Roland Benedetti, Chief of Product and Marketing at eZ Systems

As you might know, our eZ product teams are actively working on a new generation of our product. It’s a big step forward and we are very excited about this next chapter in the eZ story.

A recent post written by André Rømcke, discussed the 2015 release plan, and I have commented on the global scope of eZ in a post published during our release of eZ Publish Platform 5.4. Today, I’d like to provide more insights on the new generations, eZ Platform and eZ Studio.

In our previous posts, we presented our plan to introduce a new product, “eZ Studio,” and to better package our solution’s user interfaces (UI) into products: eZ Platform and eZ Studio. In terms of functionality, the natural question for many is to ask what exactly will be in eZ Studio and what will be in eZ Platform. Let’s try to give some answers!

Less is More

Before diving into specifics on the functionalities, the idea that, “less is more,” is an important thing to understand. eZ Publish has been built organically for more than 10 years. We are continuously adding features to the existing platform, sometimes in an organized fashion, but sometimes in ways that were a bit disorganized. By doing so, we created software with a very wide scope that had many features and many UI elements, which led to a suboptimal user experience (UX).

This is why we decided to redesign the UX of eZ. By redesigning the user interfaces, we are simplifying our scope. This means that eZ Platform and eZ Studio won’t cover the entire spectrum of what is possible with the latest eZ Publish. But with this renewed focus, we will always try to solve problems with the simplest solutions.

Because we are building the eZ Platform and eZ Studio UI in an iterative manner, some functionalities that are present in the legacy user interface won’t be available in Studio or Platform in the first iterations, even if the plan is to build them back into the platform.

eZ Platform: The Content Platform 

eZ Platform is really the content platform in the sense that it is content centric. It covers all APIs and is the development framework and technical platform to build on. It is built to be extended and customized, which is the generic concept of eZ Publish. eZ Platform is also a key component of the user experience.

First, it is the user interface to access all generic content operations: create, update and delete any content. This is the core component and will come with a wide range of field types.

A screenshot of the platform UI - the content object view.

The UI for editing the different field types has been designed to be a strong improvement compared to our previous user interface.

In particular, there will be a significant update to the rich text field type and it's specific user interface known as the Online Editor, which will greatly enhance the user experience. The Online Editor is being rethought and deeply redesigned.

A mockup of the new online editor.

eZ Platform will also be the tool that is used by administrators to create and configure their installation: managing the content model and the content types, the users, the roles and their permissions.

What eZ Platform Won’t Be

eZ Platform is focusing on the content repository, not on sites.

  • eZ Platform will not cover front-end editing (the ability to edit content as you navigate a site)
  • eZ Platform will not cover functionalities like in-site landing page management (this is covered on previous generation with the eZ Flow extension and it's being also redesigned in a much more visual and simple way)

This will more than likely be the biggest difference between the previous eZ Publish old user interface and eZ Platform. In other aspects, eZ Platform will be very close to the old legacy administration interface, except simpler and better. 

eZ Studio: The Content Studio

eZ Studio is the “content studio” built on top of the platform. eZ Studio focuses on the editorial user interface as it has no real back end (it’s back end is eZ Platform). With eZ Studio, our goal is to maximize user efficiency in the acts of creating, managing and delivering content in a specialized and optimized way.

eZ Studio is targeted to a different user group: business users, marketers and editors. It’s simpler to apprehend (for instance, there is no need to understand the content model), and more efficient in performing specialized tasks, such as running specific content campaigns or optimizing front pages without the limitations that multi-channel delivery imposes. eZ Studio will be less focused on the content and more focused on the delivery: the sites themselves, the way the pages are composed, how they are behaving, and the collaboration and workflow.

The first iterations of eZ Studio will focus on building the smallest minimum viable product, which we will expand on with many additional features in the future. The targeted scope for the first iteration consists mainly of:

  • In-site editing: The ability to browse the website and create or edit content from the website itself (as our web toolbar used to do, but once again, simpler and better).
  • Landing page management: This is being totally rebuilt. We are taking the best things from eZ Flow and using them as a conceptual basis. We are designing it to be simpler, more visual and more intuitive.
  • The “flex” workflow: We are simplifying the editorial workflow for editors by making it easier to collaborate on content reviews and approvals.
  • The form builder: This will be integrated into the landing page management tool.

Visual and simple landing page management.

There are many more functionalities that are being designed and planned for later on down the road, but it is not relevant to speak about them now.

Technically speaking, we will be changing the way eZ Flow pages are managed. We will definitely come prepared with tools for you to move from the previous generation to the new one, but there will be some things which will be different and that will not be done in the same way.  

eZ Studio+: All About Delivering Relevant Content

Lastly, we will add a third layer to eZ Platform and eZ Studio. A layer called eZ Studio+. This layer will be all about delivering relevant content thanks to advanced cloud-based services that track users’ behaviors. The goal here is to offer the customer a more relevant experience thanks to features such as:

  • Content personalization
  • Content recommendation
  • Content testing
  • Content analytics
  • Marketing automation

eZ Studio+ services will be delivered in a different way due to their nature. They will be sold as cloud services and will be made available either for eZ Platform, eZ Studio or both, depending on the service.

A Simplified Roadmap for 2015

If you are interested in eZ Platform and eZ Studio, here is an extract from our roadmap focusing on upcoming milestones. The chart below will give you a better idea of what is coming, and when.

Studio+

  • 15.07
  • Recommendation bundle
  • 15.09
  • Content analytics for Platform UI
  • 15.11
  • N/A
  • Further releases
  • Real-time content analytics

Studio

  • 15.07
  • In-Site content management
  • Landing page mgmt. v1
  • 15.09
  • Landing page mgmt. v1.1
  • 15.11
  • Flex workflow
  • Form builder
  • Monitoring
  • Further releases
  • Page tag manager
  • Workspace
  • Team collaboration
  • Adaptive content delivery

Platform

  • 15.07
  • Content-centric content
    mgmt. (CRUD)
  • New online editor v1
  • Admin UI v1
  • 15.09
  • Search views
  • Admin UI v1.1
  • Theme system
  • 15.11
  • LDAP authentication
  • Further releases
  • Content tagging
  • Content variation
  • Content deployment
  • New generation cluster

Now that we have started to dive into the details, we will continue breaking this down further as we progress. If you would like to better understand what will be coming in version 1 as opposed to version 1.1 or even version 2, please stay tuned in and follow along on our channels. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that even though we will not be releasing any new major releases of eZ Publish Platform 5.x, the 5th generation is far from dead. It will be maintained and we will definitely be bringing sub releases to 5.4 for those that are really loving it and relying on it.

We will continue to post more information about our roadmap on this blog, so follow along and please comment in the section below if you have any questions!

If something above is preventing you from sleeping at night, please email us at productmanagement@ez.no.

Cheers,

Roland

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