Sitecore offers a choice of different editing interfaces for authors with different organisational requirements and skill levels. Novice content authors can use the basic Page Editor interface which exposes only the functions that they require, whereas site administrators can access advanced tools via the Sitecore Desktop.
The Page Editor interface is new to Sitecore 6. I have worked with this type of interface on a couple of other platforms and always found it to be a frustrating experience – the interface was often cluttered and the positioning of the editing tools compromised the design (true WYSIWYG editing was difficult to achieve for these reasons). The Page Editor was probably the feature which I was least excited about in version 6, but the guys at Sitecore have produced something which is really fresh and exciting.
The Page Editor provides a simple, intuitive interface for content authoring. Authors edit content within the webpage as if they were a user browsing the website. The author logs on to Sitecore then navigates to the area of the website where they wish to add or edit a page. A single button click switches them to the Page Editor interface. The example screenshot below shows an author making a modification to an existing page (click the thumbnail to view a larger version). I’ve pointed out some interesting aspects of the interface within the screenshot.
Once in Page Editor Mode the author is able to click in any area of the page and immediately begin making changes. Sitecore will ensure that the author is only able to use appropriate formatting features as dictated by the associated page template.
The author is able to save their changes by simply clicking on the ‘Save’ button at the top of their browser. Clicking on the ‘Close’ button will exit editing mode and return the author to the standard view of the website.
The Page Editor is designed to provide the simplest interface possible to the content author. It presents a very clean, unobtrusive interface which allows the author to see their content changes as they will appear in the published version of the website. If the author requires access to advanced features they are able to do so by clicking on the ‘Ribbon’ button at the top of the screen.
The editing ribbon provides access to features beyond simple content authoring. For example, workflow, page naming, validation, and content sorting tasks are all available within the ribbon interface. The ribbon can be hidden again by simply re-clicking the Ribbon button. The screenshot below shows the Page Editor interface with the ribbon displayed.
So, you can see the the Page Editor interface can make the editing experience as simple or complex as the author needs it to be. It is a powerful interface which is going to make web content management accessible to a whole new audience – and I love it!