By David Greiner on 22nd July 2011
The feedback so far on our new editor and template language has been nothing short of phenomenal. We’ve managed to save a life, cancel travel plans, and caused grown men to dribble. Not bad for week one.
During this time we’ve also managed to push more than 50 new features, bug fixes and improvements thanks to your feedback. While we’ve got plenty more in the works, I wanted to highlight some of the more interesting changes we made and also say thanks to everyone for their patience as we rolled these out.
While the shift to a vertical split for the editing window makes a lot of sense for letting you see your email as you build it, it also means we had to sacrifice some width of the WYSIWYG editor. This wasn’t a problem for most customers, but there are lots of you who send fairly lengthy emails, and the default was too small.
The WYSIWYG editor now automatically adjusts in size based on how much content you’re adding for that item. It stays small for most of you, but expands to a large size if you’re writing loads of content.
We’ll continue to tweak the sizes and default behaviour to get the perfect balance, but feedback so far has been really positive.
Now that you can have an unlimited number of items in each repeater and the WYSIWYG editor can expand with lots of content, it’s easy for the “Save changes” button to disappear below the fold. To avoid this, we’ve made the save and cancel buttons sticky.
The buttons stay at the bottom of your editable fields, but as soon as the size of those fields is greater than the height of your screen, we stick the buttons to the bottom of your screen in a layer above the editor so they are always available. This is also great for any clients that might be working on low resolutions. You can resize your window to see this in action.
While this was available in the old editor, it wasn’t included in the initial release of the new version, and, well, everyone noticed. Before we added support for the awesome new
layout tag, turns out lots of you were adding a range of repeater designs that could be easily deleted from the email if you didn’t want use them.
It was a handy hack, and we’ve updated the new version to work the same way. Now, if you delete all items in a repeater, we’ll remove all traces of it and simply show an “Add New” button.
One of the more frustrating parts of the old editor was the annoying popup we displayed whenever you guys pasted new content. The idea of this was to clean all unnecessary formatting (such as those from Word docs) before adding it to your email. The problem was it was a horrible three step process.
We turned all of this into a one step, hidden process in the new editor. Whenever you paste new content, we clean it for you automatically and add it to your email. We’ve since added more smarts to this cleaning process to make sure no unwanted formatting gets through, and the email still looks as intended no matter what a client throws at it.
The only downside to this slicker approach is that we’ve had to remove the Paste option from the right click menu in the WYSIWYG editor. There are some fairly technical reasons behind this, but there was no way to include this without reverting back to the ugly popup and three step process. Instead, we recommend telling your clients to use the Edit menu in their browser, or a good old keyboard shortcut to paste their content.
It may come as a surprise to many, but the older editor worked in all browsers all the way down to IE6. Given the UI improvements we wanted to make with the update and the ridiculously small number of customers still using it, we made the call to cut support for the 11 year old browser. Like Microsoft themselves have said, friends don’t let friends use IE6. If a client is in the nasty position where they can’t update their browser, they can always install Google Chrome frame and the editor will then work nicely for them.
Along with a great new design from our newest team member Pete Usborne, our 100+ free email templates have all been updated to the new template language. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next design, or a nice baseline to build from, these templates are the best place to start.
The editor update was a big undertaking for us, and it was a huge challenge to build something that would automatically work with the hundreds of thousands of templates you’ve all imported over the years. While almost everyone had a smooth experience, I wanted to personally thank those that did spot a problem and worked with us to help get to the bottom of it. You guys, along with the crazy hard working members of the CM team, have been amazing.
We’ve got more updates and improvements coming out for the editor soon, along with some other big new features I think you’re going to love.
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