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BC.NEXT - New Admin Editor

Editing content in Business Catalyst admin could sometimes be a daunting task for partners and customers alike. The standard editor found in pages and in any other interface from the Manage tab has many limitations, such as the lack of contextual information (styles, fonts, etc.), improper automatic code formatting and stripping, or an unusable code view. The In-Context Editor available in the Edit tab is more user friendly, but it only allows edits of static content.

With the upcoming release and continuing through the year, we plan to change all that. Both editors have reached their limitations and we plan to replace and/or greatly improve them, as webpage editing is the most used feature in Business Catalyst.

A new content editor for admin

With the Public beta version, we’ll start by replacing the standard admin editor, found in all interfaces from the Manage tab, with a more modern one (redactor.js) which we already use in the In-Context Editing and Email Campaign editors. Moreover, we’re changing the editor available when using code view, with the same one used in File Manager. This provides a much better editing experience when editing code. 

Overall, the new editor will come with:

  • Modern visual editor that presents the option for contextual formatting
  • New file manager and link manager interfaces
  • New code view editor with code formatting and highlighting
  • Future capabilities like paste image with transparent upload (to be enabled later

At first, the new editor will be disabled and Partners will be able to switch sites to the new editor from the Beta features section in the Site Settings admin menu. Take the time to try it out and provide us feedback to improve the integration and add any critical functionality that is missing.

Visual InContext Editor with dynamic data support

Since version one, In-Context Editing aimed to make web pages easy to update with little or no training by providing a tool similar to what business owners are used to when creating offline documents. Furthermore, it has always been meant to help designers and developers protect the design integrity by restricting the areas a business owner can edit. 

The current version of the editor partially achieves that, but it is limited in terms of which sections of a page can be edited, while also requiring developers to manually set-up editable regions. Thus, ICE can be an effective selling tool, but less of a site management tool.

With the new rendering engine in place, we now have the foundation that will allow us to enable stunning editing experiences for partners and customers alike. So yes, we’re going to update ICE once again, to solve the two major limitations it has: inability to edit dynamic content and the sometimes tedious process to set-up editable regions.

Although it will be only partially be available in the public beta, the new version of the editor will allow you to:

  1. Automatically detect editable content in the page and highlight it - including site wide templates, page content, content holders and module layouts.
  2. Enable in-context editing of dynamic data (like a product name, or product image)
  3. Link to the admin user interfaces when editing is not possible in context (e.g., product pricing, which is too complex to edit in-line)
  4. Seamlessly work with the Liquid language for dynamic data editing
  5. Preserve backwards compatibility with old ICE mark-up
  6. Automatically detect module generated content and allow users to edit just the content without damaging the module definition

We hope these updates will make editing content on BC a stunning experience.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

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Business Catalyst has scheduled it's next major system update on 25 August 1:00AM US PDT. The deployment will take a few hours but we anticipate no disruptions to the Business Catalyst service during this time. The scheduled release includes new features as well as fixes for some of the most important issues reported by our customers.

What’s new in this release of Business Catalyst?

  • Customizable SEO Friendly URLs for Announcements: Continuing the work started with Catalogs and Products, we're extending the support for customizable URLs to the Announcements module. To take advantage of this feature for your announcements, you will need to enable it from Admin > Search Engine Optimization settings page. The new URL will look like: http://www.yoursite.com/announcements/announcement-title. You will also have the option of customizing the 'announcements' folder name not only the 'announcement-title' segment.
  • Updated "Training" Section in Partner Portal: with this release we're rolling-out a number of new training videos to provide standard and premium partners with on-demand advanced technical training. Look in your Partner Portal in the Training Tab and you'll see the new Core Courses and Advanced Courses tabs. You will find a series of training videos covering eCommerce, Webforms & CRM, Email Marketing and Web-Apps. We hope this helps our new Partners build more sites on BC!
  • Improved Image Thumbnail Generation: We’re introducing a simplified method to generate image thumbnails which will replace the exiting ShowThumbnail.aspx method. To use the new functionality to generate an image thumbnail for an image located at /images/cat.jpg users can query parameters in the URL like so: /images/cat.jpg?action=thumbnail&width=80&height=80. By default, the output format of the thumbnail will match the original image i.e if you request a thumbnail for a jpeg image, it will also be generated as a jpeg. A specific format can be forced using the “format” parameter, with possible values including 'jpg', 'jpeg', 'gif' and 'png'. The old method of using ShowThumbnail.aspx will remain available for at least a few months, but we plan to deprecate it eventually as it's usage decreases.

Over the coming week, we will be publishing articles on this blog to describe some of the new features in-depth and show how to take advantage of them. In addition to building new features, the team also worked on fixing the following key bugs.

Bug fixes that will be deployed with the August Release

  • Updated DNS management to allow users to set domain names hosted externally as default URLs
  • Fixed a tax computation issue that was causing the {tag_productsubtotal} to add 0.01 cents to the total price of some combinations of 3 products
  • Deleting an URL redirect from the Manage URL redirects interface no longer deletes the source page
  • InContext Editing Save and Save & Publish buttons are now correctly functioning even when page does include widgets (ex: twitter, bookmark/share this)
  • Fixed an InContext Editing issue which didn't allow users to Save and Publish when the template contained a link to a css file on another domain
  • Updated site search engine so that deleted web app items and products are removed from the search index.
  • Fixed a currency symbols display issue in the secure PDF sent via "Process Offline" payment gateway
  • Added better messaging & warnings describing the steps required to prevent automatic payment of already issued invoices when disabling a recurring payment
  • Fixed a site enable/disable issue causing user disabled web app items to become enabled when the site is globally enabled by the system
  • Fixed a resource problem causing the Main menu in Admin section to remain in English, even when language changed to something else; note: some resources are available only in English;

These fixes will be deployed along with the system update next week.

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Dave and Kim Kolb share experiences in growing their business, Hightouchweb.com – ideas that could help grow your design business.

After meeting at a resort, falling in love and being laid off at the 2000 tech bubble burst, Dave and Kim decided it was time to build their own Web company.

By combining and complementing their strengths in strategy, design and marketing, HighTouchweb.com was born.

MP3 audio interview of Dave and Kim Kolb, has them candidly sharing:

  1. Finding motivation in each other and maintaining a "CAN DO" attitude, to get through the tough times.
  2. Have fun doing it - Love what you do and "whatever you do", do it well.
  3. Taking time to follow up with every client (Kim sends personal welcome cards to every one of their customers).
  4. Dave shares his feelings on building their own CMS and the pain of using lots of 3rd party open source plug-ins, that didn't always work.

In their words:

  • Keep it simple and excel at the basics.
  • Don't be all things to all people, you'll drive yourself crazy.
  • Know who you are and what you do.

A Business Catalyst feature that benefits their clients:

"We view InContextEditing as the strongest sales tool within the tool set that BC offers. You can take a mere mortal and have them updating their website in no time with little or no training. The power this gives the client is priceless. They feel like they are actually participating."

I hope you enjoy hearing some of their story as much as I did.

Adam :)

Click here for the mp3 interview of Dave and Kim Kolb.

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As previously announced, we've recently launched a beta version of our new InContext Editing feature for you and your clients to take for a test drive.

Over the past week, we've received some great feedback from Partners via the Community Forums and would like to address any questions you might have regarding this exciting new feature.

In this post, we'll run through three easy steps to getting started with InContext Editing, pointing you in the right direction with links to the relevant articles and resources.

1. Download the BC Extension

One of the great new features of InContext Editing is the ability to set editable regions for your clients. This allows you to lock down certain page elements while leaving other areas editable while in InContext Editing mode.

The best way to take advantage of this new feature is to use InContext Editings tight integration with Adobe Dreamweaver. To speed up the process, make sure you download the BC Extension for Dreamweaver which allows you to interface directly with BC sites via your Dreamweaver workspace.

DW Extension

While not mandatory for setting up InContext Editing, we recommend use of the BC Extension as it simplifies the setup of BC sites within Dreamweaver, saving you time and streamlining your workflows.

2. Controlling Editable Regions

In addition to using Dreamweaver to control your editable regions, you are also able to define them manually by coding them into the HTML of your pages.

If you're using another third-party HTML editor such as Coda or Expresso, or even a basic text editor like Notepad, this means you can still take advantage of InContext Editings editable regions using your tool of choice.

Property Inspector

By default, your clients are able to edit the entire page (including the Site Wide Template) using InContext Editing - if you'd like to lock the editable regions down, it's important you refer to the following articles:

3. Using InContext Editing

InContext Editing allows your clients to edit their content "in context" rather than having a WYSIWYG editor pop-up over the top of the page. This makes simple page edits a much more user intuitive process, with the new content automatically taking on the previously defined styling.

To enter InContext Editing, simply navigate to Website > InContext Editing from the Admin Console.

ICE

To find out more, refer to the following article:

Once you've set up InContext Editing on your existing sites, this is a great article to refer your clients to.

So why not dive in and take InContext Editing for a spin? We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section of this post and will keep you updated on the final release of this feature over the coming weeks.

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