Ever make a change to your website and wish you hadn't? Soon if you find yourself in that position you can view the 'Revision History' for your Web Page, find the previous version, and revert to that version with the click of a button. Since most of your Editors aren't technically savvy, there is a greater chance they'll make a mistake while updating their Website. Now they don't have to worry anymore because they'll be able to easily revert to a previous version. This also will prevent you from getting frantic phone calls at all hours of the day.
To give you and your editors the best possible experience, we've made the revert process complete. It includes both the source and editable images. Not only that, but you can preview a previous version before you decide if you want to revert to it. Due to the cost associated with the storage required to save these backups, we've decided to make this functionality an Add On. The good news is that people who purchased the Bundle Add On previously will get this functionality for free! This also means there will be a price increase for the Bundle Add On for new users only, so if you're thinking about buying the Bundle now would be a good time.
Our plan is to keep previous versions of content changes available for a year and a half. The thought is that websites that change their web pages seasonally would benefit from being able to review changes from the prior year. If you think this is too long or too short let us know and we'll see about adjusting the policy.
As I mentioned in the last blog post, one of the new features in the next release of FreeCMS is the ability to edit your Web Page source code directly within FreeCMS. This is a feature I'm personally really excited about, so I figured I'd share the excitement by giving some possible uses for the new feature.
- Integrate with FreeCMS - Using this feature, you can now easily integrate your client's Website with FreeCMS from within FreeCMS. If you log in, configure a Website, and add Web Pages you can then go into the source code of each Web Page to mark the regions of editable content. This is really useful for quick changes and testing your setup.
- Changes on the Go - Using this feature, you can now easily make quick changes to your client's Website even when you're not in the office. All you need is a web browser and you can respond to client requests on the go.
- More Advanced Content Updates - You can give your more advanced Editors permission to edit the source code directly. Using this feature, along with comments in your source code, you can now allow your Editor to make much more advanced changes than they could in a rich text WYSIWYG editor (especially with languages such as PHP, etc).
Those are some of the ways I plan to use the feature, what about you? If you have any additional ideas, let me know and I'll add them to the list. The release is coming soon; I'll post again when its available with details on how to use it.
Want details about the latest FreeCMS update we released last night? Read on...
You can now upload videos! We added the ability to upload most standard video formats (.flv coming soon). You can also use the embed code from YouTube to embed YouTube videos. Just like with images and documents, you can specify a video upload directory for your Website and override it for any Web Page.
As a result of adding support for videos, we were able to improve the way images, documents, and links are handled as well. Feel free to log in and check out the new image browser, document browser, and insert a link functionality. Over time we'll be customizing even more to make them as easy to use as possible.
In our next major release we will be doing even more work around the WYSIWYG content editing control. The biggest improvement will be the ability to control which buttons / functions in the WYSIWYG content editing control are / aren't available for a specific editor. This is a great feature since it allows you to turn off features if you aren't confident in an editor's ability to use the feature correctly. We'll also be adding source code editing, more to come in a future post...
Finally as always we reviewed our log files and fixed any issues we came across. I think there were only one or two this time. Its exciting to see that the system has finally reached a state of being very solid and bug free. As always we welcome your comments and questions!
Another update to FreeCMS was released today. As we've been doing over the last few releases, it included a number of changes that are all about making the site a little nicer to use. We added support for paging in a few additional areas, some more helpful error messages, and improved error handling. It wasn't all little changes to polish the site though, there were a couple of nice features added.
The first larger feature added was better support for documents. The WYSIWYG editor now supports uploading and linking to documents of any type. This is great for those PDF documents you need available on your website. We allow you to specify a documents directory at the Website or Web Page level, just like with images. Hopefully you find this new feature useful. To test this out:
- Select a Website to test with and click to view the Web Pages.
- Click the name of a Web Page to edit it.
- Select a Content Block that uses the WYSIWYG editor.
- In the WYSIWYG editor you will now see a 'Documents' drop down next to 'Images' and an 'Upload Documents' button.
The second useful feature we added, is the ability to hide the 'Preview Changes' button on the content editing screen. Some pages on your website may require dynamic data to render correctly and as a result don't work well when an editor previews the changes they make to it. We allow you to hide the button now. To test this out:
- Select a Website to test with and click to view the Web Pages.
- For a single Web Page, click the cog icon (Update Optional Settings) to get into the Web Page Options.
- Uncheck the box labeled 'Enable Preview' and save changes.
- Edit content for that page to test that the preview option is no longer available.
Finally we put a lot of time into expanding our test plans to catch more bugs before they get released. We came across a few ... I blame Phil ;) and fixed those as well. As always we'd love to hear any feedback or suggestions you have: good, bad, or ugly.
Do you like our new look? We've finally done enough work on the members part of our site to justify a little work on the public site. We tried to simplify it and really focus in on explaining what we do and why we do it better than anyone else. If you have any feedback definitely let us know.
Another big change in this version is improved FTP error messages. Previously if you got an FTP error because your server had no disk space left, the server name was wrong, etc you'd just get a single message that an error occurred. That made it pretty difficult to figure out the problem. We now watch for and notify you about exactly what happened (when we know) so that you can take steps to fix it. We'll also be watching our logs and adding messages as time goes on.
I'm not sure yet what's coming up in the next version, we still need to figure it out. As we decide we'll be posting it to our twitter account (twitter.com/freecms) and our Facebook account (facebook.com/freecms). Follow us and friend us for the latest updates!
As part of our latest release, you now have the ability to brand FreeCMS with your own logo and colors! Check out this Add On if you would like to integrate FreeCMS into your clients' websites without them even knowing you use FreeCMS. You can choose to brand each website with it's own logo and colors, or have them all share the same logo and colors. Not only that, but you will get a branded url to give them. You can get a subdomain on one of our domain names (your-site.web-admin.com or your-site.cms-admin.com) or even use your own domain (edit-content.your-domain.com).
Even though branding was our biggest change, there were a handful of other important changes we included in this version. We now support FTPS (FTP over SSL Explicit and Implicit) when connecting to your server. To my knowledge, we're the first CMS to allow you to securely connect to your FTP server using these secure protocols. We want to make sure your site stays safe, and using SSL during all connections is a key component of this. You'll also notice a handful of smaller changes that make working with FreeCMS even better.
Up next are a handful of new features, and improvements on existing features. We'll be updating Branding to better support iframes and updating the wysiwyg editor to support uploading images. We'll also add support for rolling back content updates and make a few other minor changes. Remember we try our best to work on what our users want, so if there's a feature you want shoot us an email or add it to our uservoice account (http://freecms.user-voice.com).
The Add On to let you brand FreeCMS as your own is almost complete. I'd expect we'll launch it in the next 2 - 3 weeks, and it will be awesome!
We've introduced a new concept into our site called a 'Theme'. You can create as many themes as you need. A theme allows you to customize the color scheme used by FreeCMS as well as the logo. It also lets you specify a url used to access FreeCMS when viewing a theme. You can have a subdomain of cms-admin.com (e.g. yoursite.cms-admin.com) or if you control the DNS of your site you can set up your own url (e.g. cms.yoursite.com). We'll allow more customization in the future, so let us know where you'd like more flexibility.
Once you've created your theme(s) you can start using them. You can edit your Profile and add a theme so that whenever you access FreeCMS you see the color scheme you'd like to see. You can also add a theme to a Website so that when an Editor goes to edit their site they see their logo and color scheme. Not only that, but you can use the code we give you to create an iframe in the website so that FreeCMS looks 100% integrated into their site. The best part is that each Website can have its own theme so you can give each client a totally customized experience!
There are even more exciting features, but we'll save that for release time. If you have any feedback please let us know and we'll do our best to incorporate it.
The main focus of our latest release was on adding support for marking <img> tags as editable, and I must say Phil out did himself on this one. If you haven't tried it yet, you should. Editors will have the option to upload an image from their computer, choose one of the existing images already on the website, or point to an image on another website. Let us know what you think and if you have any ideas on how to make it work better.
We did come across one issue that we've been debating internally. If you mark an <img> as editable and your editor uploads a new image, how do you think it should work. Do you think it should name the new image the same as the old one so that every place that image was referenced on the website gets updated? Or do you think that a new name should be given to the image and only the page the editor is working on gets updated. The first option is useful with things like logos, or template images that appear on a number of pages. The second option is nice if you don't want to lose the image you are editing in case you want to use it again.
We also debated adding both options, but it makes the user interface a little more complicated for the editor. So if both situations would be useful we can choose that option. Let us know if you have any feedback.
As I mentioned in my last post we finally released a major overhaul to FreeCMS. Since then we've spent the last 2 weeks perfecting what was released. We've focused on small usability enhancements and resolving every bug reported and every error in the error log. The site is now completely solid and ready to grow, which leads me to my next topic - new features.
We already know the next few features we'll be adding to the system. We still have existing FreeCMS customers running on the old version of the website. We want to end their pain and get them on the new system as soon as possible. Before we can move them over we need to get all of the features of the old site into the new site. So the first 2 features we will be adding are better image handling and a branded editor interface.
The better image handling is actually a few image related changes rolled into one. For starters you will now be able to mark an <img> tag directly as editable. When an <img> is presented to the Editor it will have a special interface to make working with the image as easy as possible for your Editor. We will also be adding an image upload and management capability to the WYSIWYG editor. So if you guys have any specific requests related to images, now is the time to let us know.
The second change is a branded Editor interface. This gives you (the web designer) a way to let your clients edit their websites without ever knowing they are using FreeCMS. We will actually be offering two different types of branded Editor interface. The first is an <iframe> that can be embedded into any existing website so that it uses the same template as every other page on your client's (or your) website. The second option will be a separate page they can go to <their_site>.web-admin.com to log in and update content. We may only do one of the two to start with, but we're still trying to figure out the effort to do both. If you have a preference between the two options or any feature requests please let us know.
We look to feedback from our customers to make sure our site works as well as possible, so please comment to this blog or email us if you have any feedback.
Usually an update to FreeCMS involves a few new features. This update was so comprehensive, we had to call it version 2.This release is redesigned from the ground up and gives us a solid base to work off of for years to come.
Below is a feature by feature overview of the changes to the system. If you are familiar with the old version of FreeCMS you'll notice some features from the old site are missing from the new site. Don't worry they'll be back in future versions and better than ever!
- User Interface - By far the biggest and most important change is our updated UI. We've tried to simplify each screen and remove unnecessary items. The new look is much simpler than the old site, and gives us a consistent style to follow for future updates.
- Help - We've started integrating more help into the pages of the website. As time goes on we'll add even more help and have some How-To videos.
- Blog - We've added this blog to keep you up to date on new releases (which we plan to do every 1 - 2 months). We'll also post some articles on tips & tricks for using FreeCMS.
- Forums - We've always done email support, but now forums will be an important way for us to help you resolve any issues you come across.
We've also got some great features planned for our next release (including a way for editors to upload images and a way to brand the editor's experience as your own). If you have suggestions for new features, or want to vote on suggestions made by others please visit our UserVoice account.
As always, feel free to let us know what you think and don't hesitate to ask for help if you get stuck.