We’re excited to announce our latest minor release for the Common Web Platform, CWP 2.5. Based on the latest Silverstripe CMS 4.5 release, this version brings you the outcomes of our ‘experience debt’ initiative, focusing on enhancing your content management experience. We’ve defined ‘experience debt’ as “the accumulation of friction points that a Content Manager experiences when performing common tasks in the CMS”.
Focusing on features that you may have expected after upgrading from CWP 1, and areas that have been reported to be cumbersome, the CWP 2.5 release improves general content editing tasks, file management, and lifts the accessibility of the content you create.
As usual, this release follows semantic versioning(external link), so it’s ready to be used in any current CWP project right now.
What’s new in CWP 2.5?
For this CWP release, our development teams—with the support of the open source community—have been focused on introducing a number of minor features to make sure Content Managers are getting the experience they need, including:
- Speeding up aspects of the Files area, especially for sites with a large number of assets
- Introducing new ‘tips’ to assist in creating accessible information for images
- Including a new download action for quick access to a download link in the Files area
- Adding quick size presets to choose from for images inserted in the WYSIWYG, like ‘best fit, or ‘original size’
- Introducing the Better Buttons functionality to user forms—allowing you to create new fields a lot faster
- Reordering a number of labels and fields, with the aim of prioritising important information to be entered first, or common things grouped
- Increasing the contrast ratio of many areas in the CMS with the aim of increasing the visibility for people with reduced or impaired vision (and those who just prefer bold colours!)
- The action to add content blocks between existing ones is now more visually accessible
In addition to our new minor features, we've made a number of notable bug fixes, such as:
- Stopping image alt text defaulting to the filename when the field is left empty
- Preventing the deletion or move of the Home page
- Introducing functionality where archiving a content block means it will now be unpublished from the live site at the same time
- Making accessibility improvements to the comments module, ensuring focus is sent to the submission message in order to confirm the user action
And for Developers, there are new things with Silverstripe CMS 4.5 that will also be available for CWP sites such as:
- A new Silverstripe CMS login-forms(external link) module which can be added to new and existing sites
- A new Tip component(external link) that can be added to any React-based text field in the CMS that may need a longer description or ‘tip’ to complete
- The ability to set image size presets in the WYSIWYG, like ‘small fit’, ‘font size’, ‘best fit’, etc.
That’s not all! Here are some notable changes which are further described in the CMS 4.5 change log(external link), which is the underlying Silverstripe CMS version for this CWP release:
- New PasswordExpirationMiddleware now proactively invalidates members with expired passwords. This may conflict with a custom password validator implemented in projects
- Introduced a markdown loader to the Component Library (Storybook)(external link). We’ll be looking to introduce more information and code snippets for individual components in the future
- Removed the Silverstripe web installer user interface into its own composer package
- Updated existing .htaccess configuration in silverstripe/assets and silverstripe/recipe-core to be inline with recent Apache syntax updates and depreciations, specifically, a change to how permissions and access to files are managed in Apache 2.4
We've included some highlights below to show you what you're getting from your experience with CWP 2.5. If you’re keen to get your upgrade underway now, we’ve got some next steps for you to get started.
For Content Managers
For this release, we haven't focused on headline features. Instead, we've cleared the decks on some areas of Silverstripe CMS where you've been asking us to improve your user experience. This is something we’ve defined and grouped into an initiative focused on experience debt (we've written about it in a recent blog post(external link)).
Although this has and will always be a focus of our product development teams, this release marks a consolidated effort in this area and it’s something we hope you’re looking forward to seeing in your CMS too!
Here are some of the exciting new features you can expect from CWP 2.5:
Introduced new ‘tips’ to assist in creating accessible information for images
We've created a new 'tip' component to guide Content Managers through writing image alt text, ensuring images are more accessible to your audiences. However, your Developer can also add it to any custom React-based fields that may need a longer description or 'tip' on completing.
A new download action for quick access to a download link in the Files area
Finding the download link for files in the CMS hasn't been easy in the past. Now, the actions menu for individual files includes a download link for Content Managers to quickly share the link or download the file directly.
Quick size presets to choose from for images inserted in the WYSIWYG
Silverstripe CMS makes quick work of scaling images with a high resolution down to a default resolution that fits on your website's page. However, this default setting would result in small images being scaled up which could result in a pixelated image. Now, we've made it easier to remove this default setting with a quick toggle between 'Best fit' or 'Original size'.
Adding content blocks between existing ones is now more visually accessible
Heavy users of content blocks will appreciate an improvement to a little feature that adds blocks inline of existing ones.
New Silverstripe CMS login form
A new login form is available for all new and existing sites. With the option to add a custom logo, this replaces custom login forms that have previously been embedded in a website's theme.
New ‘Tip’ component
We’ve introduced a new Tip component when more information on completing a form field is needed. As well as including the ‘tip’ content, you can also set an icon, and different colours to imply certain levels of importance. This feature is currently exposed in React-based TextFields. More information on the component can be found in the Component Library (Storybook)(external link).
Create image size presets in the WYSIWYG
New default image size presets have been created for Content Managers to toggle between a ‘Best fit’ and “Original” when editing an image in the WYSIWYG. Developers have the ability to extend this functionality to create other presets to match requirements such as a ‘Small fit’, or ‘Match font size’.
More information can be found in the Developer guides(external link).
Important information in the change log
Be sure to check the CMS 4.5 change log(external link), the underlying Silverstripe CMS version for this CWP release, for important information that should be reviewed before a site is updated including depreciated PHP support, and the addition of a password expiration middleware that may affect custom implementations.