Clover Sites 3: Text Editing
Editing text on your website may not seem as exciting as bigger features like section management or the media player (which we'll talk about next week). But making a great text editor is incredibly important... and harder than it might seem. Here's a little peek at the process behind how we approached this for Clover Sites 3:
For starters, the experience a text editor offers in a website content management system (CMS) can make or break the entire editing experience. And it's one of those pieces that website solutions don't pay that much attention to in most cases. As a result, actually using it to write or edit text ends up being a big headache and in some cases can be the most buggy piece of the product for the customers to use. Whether it's due to poor craftsmanship or simply trying to force-fit a plug and play, off-the-shelf solution to save a bit of time, either way, it's the end user - the customer - that suffers for it.
Because of how much the web has progressed over the years, when we first started to design the tool that would handle creating and editing all the text anywhere it appears in Clover Sites 3, we thought we would give an open-source tool a try. With all the work put into some of the tools out there, we were hopeful that we could use something that was already developed. This would save us development time and ideally provide a robust editor.
So, we spent some time researching all the available tools out there. We then selected one we thought would fit great, and began using it as a starting point, and also started customizing it a lot to make it really work with Clover and the Greenhouse editing experience. However, as we got further and further into it, we realized we were customizing it way more than we thought we would have to.
Long story short, after finding something we thought would be great, and working through a lot of code to try to make it fit beautifully within the new Greenhouse, we ended up seeing that it just wasn't ever going to be the right fit. So, we took a version of our own that we had built from scratch and decided to use that instead and really make something amazing.
The justification was this. Text makes up such a large portion of anyone's website, and we really want to make that whole experience flawless so the tool itself becomes secondary to your content, and it just simply works. We think we've done that with the new text editing experience and we can't wait for you to try it.
And of course, as with everything there's a lot more we could say about how this will all work. We could talk about how you'll have simplified controls automatically when in easy mode, so things are as clean and uncluttered as possible. And how if you toggle to advanced mode you'll get additional options to really customize everything, down to line height, inline images, and even the HTML source if you're inclined to tinker. And of course you'll have the ability to change fonts, text size, and colors - even on a word by word basis if you really want (though we'd probably suggest keeping it a bit more simple for those who have to read what you write).
Bottom line? The text editor is one of those things you probably won't ever think about when using the new Greenhouse, and that's exactly the way it should be. A powerfully simple editing experience that just works and doesn't get in your way.