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16 November 2011 at 3:41am Last edited: 16 November 2011 4:24am
Up until now I like the way the CMS functions, with templates, tidy and neat interface. That is, except the editor.
My need is for the most part a simple implementation for smaller websites with only one user who most often isn't skilled at using computers. I've made my own small cms, as I've experienced that small scale webhosting doesn't support heavy CMSes and often they confuse rather than ease the process for the end users. However, I kind of got tired of my end users being dependent upon me because of my custom made cms, so I decided to give third party open source CMSes a try. And OMG, the usual problems with every CMS having its faults became apparent once again.
I thought I had found something worthwhile with SilverStripe, however, the editor and its implementation is a serious setback, which I discovered after having installed and built a custom template. I have myself used tinymce often in my own small cms without problems, regularly upgrading as new builds came out.
In the stable alpha version it is partially incompatible with newer versions of chrome and explorer. In the beta version, the editor doesn't e.g. support tiny_mce_popup and I can't even edit the source code or make a custom image (to google maps).
Everything works, except the editor. The editor is at best quirky and at worst faulty. I could tell more about the faults, but frankly, it seems you have a long way to go here. I hope the alpha of v3 of SilverStripe remedies this.
Your implementation of tinymce doesn't seem to be that complex, but rather, for me, it would be more complex to look into your alterations and how your implementation is done rather than, perhaps, find some other solution to my CMS problem. Which is, of course, the usual problem using software someone else has developed.
Sorry about the sarcasm, but spending days cycling through implementing and configuring CMSes, just to discover they don't live up to expectations, kind of does this to you.
Very fine CMS, apart from this very important part of it - the part that the end user will most commonly use.
My advice is that you focus your efforts on the editor, because everything else doesn't really matter if it doesn't work properly. And keep it up to date as much as you possibly can.
16 November 2011 at 5:57am Last edited: 16 November 2011 6:35am
I understand your frustration and have done many different sites that by default use tinymce, generally I just teach the user that tinymce is similar to word, but has some nuances. As for the latest site I did for a client, I left the default tinymce stuff there, but they are having major issues trying to use it. So I'm in the process of stripping out tinymce and replacing it with a Textile-based editor. Then I can just print out a cheat sheet for them on how to use the proper syntax and I dont' need to worry as much about improper formatting or issues that the client might have.
Here is the discussion I had with MisterAC from SSBits:
just scroll down to the last 5 or so comments.
16 November 2011 at 6:22am
Sorry to hear you're not happy with the SilverStripe implementation of TinyMCE. Maybe I've gotten you all wrong, but I would stress that there is no such thing as a stable alpha release and, if you're referring to V3, I don't think it is as ready as you might think it is. As for a beta release - there just isn't one. V3 has only just entered alpha two weeks ago, and V2.4 has been stable for a couple of years now
The stable version at the moment is 2.4.6. and for me in that version TinyMCE works as I'd expect it to. Meaning you get the same old problems with formatting going awry and clients creating havoc as in any other TinyMCE implementation. But I've never experienced the total failure you describe - not in Chrome, FF, IE8, Safari and not even in Opera (yeah...)
So I hope you'll give SilverStripe another chance (246 that is) because you could miss out on a really beautiful CMS - especially if you're a developer!
16 November 2011 at 11:27am Last edited: 16 November 2011 7:02pm
Thanks for your response. The reason i get a bit fired up about this is >because< I do think your CMS is great and I am still looking forward to digging into it.
I got alpha wrong, i meant the current stable release. I tried both the stable and v3 alpha, just praying for the editor to work in the v3 alpha. And it did work in v3 alpha, because it was near the latest tinymce release (i think missing by 0.0.1), apart from missing tiny_mce_popup, which then, of course, made it pretty much useless. Of course, the editor in the stable version works in both the newest chrome and IE that I have installed, it just doesn't work very well.
I would prefer my users not be bothered by technical shortcomings if at all possible. I don't know how often you update your browser, but backwards compability is not always the issue, sometimes it is forward compability. The current implementation of tinymce in the latest stable version of the cms is old, really old, 2½ years to be exact. 2½ years! The problem is just that you don't update the tinymce implementation regularly enough. Ideally for each update of the CMS you should also update tinymce to keep up with browser changes - and that would be like at least every half year.
I'm still considering doing my own tinymce implementation - and that is really a credit on my part to your CMS in general. I might now be floating stuff I haven't yet looked into. I have the impression that you might be doing too much stuff to the editor itself and that might be the reason you're not updating it regularly. Using jquery, as you seem to use, it should be possible to make an interface with tinymce instead of editing the editor itself. Keep things separated and updates go through easier. E.g. image part in jquery, passing information to and from tinymce.
If you could get the v3 alpha working 100% soon, you'd make me a happy man ;)
In the stable version, Chrome 15.0.874.120 m, I can't select a picture after inserting it, but I can do so in Internet Explorer 9. And with chrome, in the alpha v3, you are able to select images.
(I will be checking up on the IE stuff)
16 November 2011 at 1:07pm
Yes, I do recognize that aspect as well. A while ago I also looked into the concept of WYSIWYM (what you see is what you mean) instead of WYSIWYG. So you would have something resembling an editor where the user would explicitly see that they were in the process of writing a paragraf or a bullet list etc., represented more by intent than visual presentation. Like a kind of semi code view.
I believe that a good idea for an editor would be to combine this with a sub templating system, where you could select, say, a paragraph with picture, two columns of text, a row with two pictures etc. For each row of content. But still it wouldn't be explicitly visually represented in the editing field, but in e.g. a section beside the editor.
Often the end user is not quite skilled enough as a visual designer to be able to define the visual appearance of the content to the satisfaction of the site's visual designer.
If you still want to use WYSIWYG, however, by defining editor width and having concise a stylesheet, at least the user doesn't experience a difference between what is seen in the editor and on the website front end. With a fully updated tinymce, the quirks of the editor would be minimized, leading to less frustration for the end user, and with a little education, they might get familiar working with it.
16 November 2011 at 10:50pm
Just so you know: you're talking mostly to the community here on these forums - although the core developers do listen out here - and it's not so much 'our cms' to change as we please .
Having said that - there are lots of community members that contribute hughely to the development of SilverStripe - and maybe you could be one of them There is a (core) developers group here on Google: http://groups.google.com/group/silverstripe-dev/. If you're serious on contributing your ideas and - even more important - possible solutions, you might take a look there.
I think at the moment most of the core efforts go out to the development of V3, so maybe, if you're thinking of serious improvements to the CMS, it'd be best to look to look in that direction as well.
One of the reasons it is not so easy to update TinyMCE in SilverStripe, is the fact that it's so tightly anchored into the CMS, in the way it handles images and links, ensuring that they are integrated in the system, not just URLs. It's still possible to enable other plugins and/or enable different configs for different instances - check out the Editor section of this forums. But I agree that it would still be great to have the editor more or less up-to-date...
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