I am not a fan of WordPress, but I am beginning to realise they are making a much better job of editing content than other CMS’s…
Simple question from the client - How do I add a centrally aligned PNG icon to the content area. I can add an image, but getting controls to align and resize it are just a nightmare. Be it in CKeditor, or Redactor. In CKeditor, its not html, so I cannot manually do it. IN redactor, the editor strips everything. No controls to stop this that do not get overridden on update. CKeditor does allow you to align the images, by applying a class, but resizing is relative to the content area width. Getting a client to put in a icon at 5.5% size, and make it display correctly, never going to happen.
Next question - How do I create a button link - exactly like EE does on their home page - FREE DOWNLOAD You can clearly see they have applied my pet hate of 101 classes to the link to make it display as a button. But neither Redactor or CKeditor lets you do this. And… No, getting the customer to do it in raw html is not really a solution.
I could use a block based system and setup 101 fields for a button to allow for classes or padding or alignment, etc. But again, that is terribly cumbersome.
What are people doing to allow clients, or even themselves easily edit content - as currently I hate it, even with decades of experience. I could never hand this over to a client.
Yeah, a more modern approach to content management in EE is to use either native Fluid Fields or the third-party add-on, Bloqs. Utilizing one of these will give you and your editors are lot more freedom and control over various page elements—text, subheadings, images, CTAs and buttons, etc.
Yes, I am using bloqs.
But having to create a block for an image, and to then set size, alignment, link, new window, alt, etc. Or a block for a button, text, link, new window, class, colour, etc.
Or what if I wanted that button inline with text, or the image floated right with text wrapping it. Not unreasonable requests… But borderline impossible.
I’m not saying the horrible markup on CKeditor4 was great either. But they at least gave you options and flexibility.
I just see we are heading in to a direction of far more work for developers to configure and setup, and far less ease for the client when editing.
Believe me, I sympathize with you. But, allowing an editor to stick whatever they want where ever they want on a page is a bit unreasonable. The website use templates that has the expectation of displaying a set of standard, pre-defined page elements is there for good reasons—usability; accessibility; SEO; brand enforcement; etc.
I suppose the only other option is to add custom style classes to the CKeditor menu so if they need to float an image to the right, the can make sure they wrap the div element and the right class value in the editor.
You are completely missing the point on using EE here.
What you complain about has nothing to do with Expression Engine but rather the WYSIWYG editor. Those editors basically convert content to HTML and in most cases it’s an absolutely total mess and they should be avoided except for specific parts. Don’t give users the choice to use HTML if you want to control the content output.
WordPress uses TinyMCE. Nothing stops anyone from using it with an Expression Engine website. In fact, recently I did integrate into a page on which I required one but decided not to use it because its more work to edit content on them than having code fixed. But works just fine. Now it does not come as an option in the control panel but you can absolutely use it if you wish on a template and then you have exactly the same features WordPress has when it comes to posting content.
Now here comes when they are useful, and you probably want to use them. Example, written long content post, like a blog post or full articles. No surprise WordPress uses one as default for most content because well…, it’s a blogging CMS.
Writing articles, blog posts, and major content pages, then yes using an editor makes sense. Otherwise for content on pages, no, not even news announcements. How many commercial sites let their users freely paste HTML content?
What you described is not when you use one. The whole idea of EE is not letting users mess with your design content. They should absolutely not be placing HTML, or having to align an image, or set the dimensions, or change the font type or colors, or anything else. Why would you non designers play with CSS for example?
Assuming you had such an editor in every place you allow someone to edit something, how do you think your web pages will end up looking?
One page with a huge red title, another blue, another one with images on the left, another on the right. H1 tags that should not be used or incorrectly used. Uppercase in one part, not other pages…Your pages will look awful once people start changing content.
Your content writers are not web designers, once you allow them to paste HTML it will results in completely inconsistent pages that look just terrible. And visual editors like that tend to generate very bad HTML, even incorrect in some cases. In the end you still need to edit the code inside them which creates even more work.
The idea of EE is that you have all the HTML code hardcoded on templates. Your image on a page, already has all the CSS, and align settings and dimensions, same goes for a headline, and text and everything else.
Your user would just log into EE, and upload the image, nothing else, and to change a headline just update the text. That’s it!
This approach is far better than them having to pick or mess around with options, positions and colors. Regardless of who puts a headline, or an image or writes content, it will look and match your page design. Users will not be able to mess around with HTML or design even if try. It seems to me you are using EE wrong if you let users change how the design looks.
Now if you are talking about specific areas on which you absolutely want users to edit HTML, most of those editors, even the one build into EE allow to change the HTML before posting. If your users don’t know how to do that, then maybe it means they should not.
Nothing stops you from using any editor you want, including TinyMCE or building a custom one. I don’t see how this is a problem with EE but rather how you are letting someone edit content and the tools you give them.
And HTML content posted by the editor should still limited to a specific area, example, the article content. You either let someone use HTML or not, and if you let them, you have no control on the CSS or image alighting or anything else they can do. Something like TinyCME or CkEditor are in the end just that. They are just a box of HTML, no different to a user pasting HTML directly (which they can). All those tools do is having a click and point interface than turns actions into HTML in the background, but if you think of them as just a big box on which users can paste HTML it’s the same.
Hey all, And thanks for the responses - but I think maybe I am being judged incorrectly here! I have been with EE since the transition from pMachine! So i really do know the point of EE!
If I were laying out a directory of companies, or staff profiles, etc, etc. Then certainly, they would have their own channel, fields for specific information and this would clearly be defined in strict templates keeping the layouts bang on. That is where EE, and similar CMS’s excel.
However, whilst this is a massive strength of these CMS’s, in contrast to that, the Editors are a weakness. Again, this is not limited to just EE, Craft uses Redactor too, although that is easier to customise.
My comments above are not about laying out a consistent set of logos, or a gallery, or a profile page. They intend to point out that in the editors uses have very simple basic needs that are not easily being met.
One off cases, like I mentioned, where a user wants to have a small 50-100px icon placed within text. Or more reasonably, the need to convert a link into a button within the content.
This is not talking about multicoloured titles, random font sizes, and users going back to 10 years old and using comic sans. This is simply turning a link into a call to action button within content.
Editors of old were just as cumbersome, but some features really did hit the point. They allowed classes to be applied, you could apply style sheets to the editor so the user could get a real idea of what the content looks like, for example.
But the editors we are being offered now do not allow for these basics. Classes on an image, or a link, no option to define a style sheet for the editor, etc.
Put simply, we have lost some substantial contributors to the 3rd party addon market. These have been replaced or taken over by core functions and new vendors. However, the new addons just seem 30% behind where we were at in late EE2 and EE3. For example the loss of datagrab is huge for most of my sites. Yes we have Smart Import Export - but it is no where near as good as datagrab.
Other CMS’s seem to have picked up on this and run with it. Crafty CMS’s have realised the power of, for example DataGrab and made it core - FeedMe, and that is a million times better than solutions on EE.
This is all pushing me away from EE. I want to be able to get clients in front of EE and sing its praises, and show them it meets their needs without having to stress (like you do with WordPress). But when the first thing they ask is, this looks great, so i put the the content in here and there, it looks great. But this one case needs a button… I am stuck, I cannot honestly give then a neat solution. Its sad.
EE6 has made up huge ground, and the momentum is growing. But it has lost ground, and probably become too Developer centric (jump menu) over the real day to day users - our clients.
I see your point but how do you achieve something similar with WordPress?
But I do remember in the past the HTML code they output was not only not standard compliant but really messy. I think this is the reason so many systems moved away. Even Dreamweaver which I used many years back generated really bad HTML.
I think it’s really hard to come with a visual editor that generates proper code.
I understand creating a channel might be too complex if you need to have a switch or button for every little type of content. The open-source ones are still lacking in many areas. I might research into this but TinyMCE from a quick search does seem to support adding CSS:
You could create a backend template for the user with that editor. Its free if you keep the powered tag and integrating just involves uploading the library files and one div output in a template, then connect it to a template channel form. Assuming you trust the user here to post HTML to a channel.
It seems CKEditor also supports CSS inside:
Just curious what did you do with DataGrab that helps with content? Interested on having more usage myself as well. I purchased it some years ago to migrate from WP to EE but then never used it again. I did receive an email from them a week ago, its updated and works with the latest EE version.
While EE suffered the last years under EllisLab, I see plenty of addon developers are now thankfully coming back to EE. Even the community here seems to have new users and people interested.
I think it is not just editing that is cumbersome. Even these forums! I click the email link, have to login, but it after logging in I am redirected to the home page! This is the sort of thing that generally makes EE cumbersome.
Editors - TinyMCE does not have a plugin for EE currently, and to be fair I do not have recent knowledge of it. CKEditor - V4 was so extendable, it made clients lives easy. But yes messy code. V5 I believe stores the content as JSON or something and so you never actually have HTML to edit, so you cannot even manually add a class to a tag! Redactor - I originally hated it when Craft started, but there are plenty of extras now which make it more than useable - I just think EE needs to improve the integration, but thats User focus, not Developer focus, and I think thats is the issue here.
DataGrab / Smart Import / FeedMe at Craft It’s initial use is predominately moving content from old sites to new. Datagrab handled WP formatting quite nicely. But since then it has become quite handy for integrating 3rd party tools and information. Rather than needing a custom plugin to say import latest jobs from recruitment software, we can usually grab one of their feeds and process it accordingly. More so these days, we create a side script to process the the data from an API, and then output it in a format we can easily process through Datagrab, or similar.
The advantage is, the EE upgrade part is handled by the plugin, and the API/feed part is much more of a minor task. It brings costs down for clients that are not great big corporations.
There have been other uses, for properties, calendar processing, events, recruitment, news feeds, the lists go on. But you et the idea.
Thanks for posting all of this.
This post is really intended to be a reply to your initial post on the image controls and the button question.
On the png front. With the native CK editor 5 that ships as part of ExpressoinEngine 6 when you click on the png, you should receive a little pop-up just above or below the image with positioning and text flow options, that allow you to position it in the content accordingly. you can also use the handles on the side of the image to resize it accordingly.
If I follow correctly I believe this should address what your looking for?
On the link as button front. On the EE site, I believe we just targeted links in that area and applied a few tailwind styles we wanted to make the links appear as buttons. (For those sections on the EE site we do utilize a grid as a whole.)
It’s probably also worth mentioning that DataGrab was recently picked up by boldminded, and a new version has been release.
Hope this helps!
Hey Tom, Datagrab - good to see it back, and it appears to a be a reasonable price.
PNG - you are correct, however in the content area the image size is set as a percentage, you have no choice on this. It also throws a class onto the image for alignment, that you then need to reflect in your website, without really knowing how they are styled in the editor! For example, the output is:
<figure class="image image-style-align-center image_resized" >https://www.cliftonsearch.co.uk/v2/files/general/gavel.png</figure>
I uploaded an image at say 150px, it then is 9% of the content area it is going in, with no thought to how that content area will be formatted, let alone if it is responsive!
Buttons - Your example where you suggest you have used grids. I totally get it, a block for a button. But does that mean you have fields in that grid for: link, text, target, class, id, etc. That is without referrer, rel, media, type, language, etc. But for simplicity, lets just say link, text, target and class. If you were handing this over to a client, you could not expect them to use tailwind classes! But yes maybe 3 or 4 predefined options for classes.
But the issue with grid and blocks, etc. What if they want the button inline with text. Or image inline, or something like that. It is just not possible.
Again, this is not necessarily EE, or any other CMS. But it is a case of too much focus on what a dev can do, and not what the end users can do.
As it currently stands, I have clients asking for certain CMS’s, and EE has fallen from that list due to usability (and the mess of the last few years).
I am not saying percentages are wrong, it makes sense in some use cases. But not in all, where i might want a fixed size, etc. And to be honest, clients would find the percentage measurement very confusing. The clients would not be thinking about responsive layouts, that is for sure.
Sorry, and while I have you all on the line….
I am am really missing the neatness of being able to put fields into columns, not all stacked one after the other!
For example using Bloqs, I add fields for column width, min-height, padding, margin, bg-color, etc. Having those stacked one after the other is just so ugly. Does it stop me working, no… But is it neat, hell no.
Whether this is native, as per Craft, or plugin specific as per ACF for WordPress, its just a needed evil. But Crafts Tabs and 4 column grid probably is the nicest solution.
I had to work on a Wordpress site recently. The site was already developed by another studio, but the client was unhappy with the design. So I came to do basic design clean up with whatever the plugin Beaver Builder (more like a drag and drop page builder). At first I was really awed by Beaver Builder, and could see why my clients love it – You could build accordions, faqs, sliders within seconds. I could see why developers love it too – You just build the skeleton, and let clients go wild with their page builders with functions that you don’t even need to code. But after a while, it was really cumbersome and impossible to make sure the styling was consistent throughout the entire site of 100+pages… page by page… And the loading is really slow. I cannot look at the site now without inwardly crying at the different padding/margins on different pages.
Had a client thank me last week for using EE actually! They work with different agencies for different projects, and found it easiest to work with EE because all content are in separate fields! Don’t need to remember how to format particular paragraphs.
My current workflow is a combination of Fluid + Wyvern/Wygwam. I have my own starter template for the fluid field, with the usual blocks like full width image, writeup, list with image+writeup etc. Wygwam makes is easy to apply class, referrer, target etc to hyperlinks. I’ve found out that clients are just have that few needs usually – alignment, buttons, colors – and those are easily addressed by Wygwam/Wyvern
I think I complained about that login issue on the forums before. I agree, it’s annoying but this is probably because EE does not have that function. Symfony has this, you can set the URL that will be redirected after login and so do other frameworks. I do agree that would be helpful to be able to redirect to the previous page after login. Another thing related to this forum is that the remember me option does not work. At least for me it never did, and I always have to login again even after a few minutes.
As for the content posting here, its markdown which I also adopted for most things since I don’t feel comfortable allowing people to create posts that include HTML on them. Going back the subject, I think some of the stuff you need is possible but requires a bit of work. There is sadly not magic solution. I actually like that EE is heavily focused on developers. There is no point to try to be another WordPress CMS. We have enough WP wanna be CMS already. One of the best things about EE is templates, which are your own code as you like and you only have to use channels and tags if you want, not by force. I love this about EE, they don’t force you to use anything in particular as opposed to other systems. Its your code and you can decide to use some EE native functions or not at all.
Most people that start with WordPress because its easy to get running and posting things eventually want to move away when they start to realize they need to hack everything to get it to work they want, its really a huge disaster for complex websites. It gets messy extremely fast as you need to do everything how WP requires in terms of functions. My customers that have heavy complex WP sites rarely update them for that reason. I suspect this is also why WordPress has such a bad reputation in security. The thing is that once you hacked WordPress that much, its pretty much impossible to update without having to re-do almost and code everything, as opposed to EE on which templates and content is completely separated from the core system.
Yes there are 101 different builders and some are great and some shocking. I’ve mostly been stuck using Avada Builder, and Elementor, and they have their issues, but if you build with them correctly from the start (i.e. setup your sites fonts, sizes, colours, etc.), then you can build stuff really fast with them. However, as you experienced 90% of people do not do that, and so every page and piece of content is a one of piece of art. This is fine for a 5 page site, but when you hit corporation level 100s and 1000s of pages, it is not viable.
I understand your Fluid and Wyvern setup - but this is one dimensional stacking effectively. This is where I tend to build a row + column + blocks setup via Bloqs or via Neo in in Craft CMS. I have to say Neo is lovely! Have a look at the screen shot, I tinted each level to make it clearer for the client. The tabs to the top right of each blog are great for settings areas too. (I collapsed most blocks to hide user content!)
Wyvern/Wygwam - I think is actually still using CKeditor 4, and so has a lot more control and I may go to that if I get too frustrated. I used to use Expresso which was also CKe 4.
Wordpress being slow… Yes and No. Wordpress is not slower than any other CMS. Wordpress themes and plugins make it a beast and slow. If you have a good theme, not excessive plugins, good hosting, it is 99% of the time very good. In fact most of the big themes now have compilers built in to reduce requests, reduce file sizes, etc. But choose one without, you are reliant on hosting with optimisers and CDN’s which can also achieve the same. But yes, I prefer build from scratch lean and mean in the first place - like you and vw000 velow.
@vw000 By default EE used to track each user for their last 3 page visits. So unless that has changed, it is possible!!! And if not, it is a case of adding a variable to the login address and picking it up on form submission. All sounds very much possible to me - but again, user benefit that not is the main focus.
EE being Dev focused. Yes, I love it for me… But once I have finished spending 2 to 30 days on a project, I then hand it over to the client that uses it daily for many years. Client focus is 100% necessary. Yes, get developers on board first, they then spread the love… And often users do like it, especially those coming from old wordpress. But those coming from new wordpress blocks, builders, etc, the flexibility and ease is just not present.
For me Wordpress is just different. Yes I agree I hate the functions file. But it works if you get your head around it. Working with WP and ACF Pro, CPT UI, I can do what I do in EE and people are happy that it is WordPress!
WP security, these days yes - 90% of issues are not updating, or updating quick enough. Less of an issue as you can auto update in the background now. Cleaning up WordPress - I actually find this quite easy! I literally delete all files, reupload WP, addons, Themes from originals. Thats usually enough - the DB content is normally not touched too bad, and searches on it can identify what they have done compared to a older snap shot.
But in the last twenty years of CMS 95% of hacks have been on WP. The other 5% were typically hosting hacks.
@anyone and everyone. Another example of EE niggles. Why can I not select a default value for Select drop downs? Nightmare!