There is no universal blueprint to building a great product that will provide value for end-users. However, every product requires you to take many small steps and decisions that, as cumulative, will provide a blend of innovative and familiar features for users. Today is one more of these steps toward our new version 3: we're happy to release a new beta version of eZ platform v3.
Our journey towards eZ Platform version 3 LTS takes us through a lot of substantial changes in how the software works internally, changes that are not noticeable for the end-user but that matters a lot for developers. To ensure a solid foundation for version 3, we decided to release a new beta for this Winter release, after the ones of the Fall and the Summer. Indeed, the clean-up and the definition of solid sustainable APIs are still progressing and could not be frozen now to guarantee a strong future forward base. Still, this release does include some exciting improvements that both editors and developers will greatly appreciate. Read on.
Redesigned Universal Discovery Widget (UDW)
The biggest improvement included in the Beta 4 release is the redesign of the Universal Discovery Widget (UDW). The UDW was introduced to provide editors a universal way to navigate the content repository and find and select content items. Over this past year, we have made substantial improvements to this feature thanks to our users' feedback. The redesigned UDW will improve the experience both for developers and editors alike. It will be easier for developers to extend and customize the UDW as it has been rewritten in a very modular form. We have defined clear extension points. Also, this integration improves the overall performance and speed of the UDW.
The editorial experience has also been greatly improved as we have introduced new capabilities and removed unnecessary clicks. Editors can switch easily between the edit and view mode, enabling them to work more quickly and productively. Users will also be able to increase or decrease the width of each column, making it possible to read the entire name of the content item. Additionally, editors can use search filters that will help them easily find content while in the UDW mode.
Flex Workflow Becomes Quick Review
Another major improvement pertains to the Flex Workflow which was implemented prior to the Editorial Workflow in v2.4. We decided to recode Flex Workflow so that it embraces the engine used in the Editorial Workflow, instead of using its own code logic. As we have recoded it, we have also decided to rename it: "Quick Review". The Quick Review feature is basically a regular Symfony workflow that is easily customizable by developers. By default, users will have access to Quick Review when publishing content, unless a specific editorial workflow has been configured.
Localization of Admin Interface
For this beta release we have made the admin interface compatible with different siteaccess languages. Moving forward, the global interface will select the prioritized language of the system. In the past, this was a major pain point for editors because they had to manually select the translation for all content items (e.g. content view tab) to their local language.
In v3.0, we made the admin interface compatible with languages that are defined in the siteaccess. For example, if you have two teams from different regions (Germany and France), the German team will be responsible for creating content in German while the French team will be responsible for creating content in French. Now it is possible to configure two admin siteaccess (German and French), i.e. The German editors will use the German admin siteaccess to automatically load the German translation of content items, likewise for the French, they use the French admin siteaccess.
Query Field Type
Developers will like this new field type which will let them create queries to retrieve content as part of a field in the content architecture they implement. This new field can be added to every content type that fetches and lists other content items, and will ensure these listings are dynamic. For example, this can be applied to fetch store locations by defining longitude and latitude in the parameter section. Additionally, this field type will be compatible both with GraphQL and REST.
The Query Field type provides additional capabilities to information architects when they implement their information architecture and accelerates the work of developers that now can rely on simple configuration and templating to implement complex navigations.
Beta 4 also comes with a list of bug fixes and minor improvements. We are getting much closer to a stable stage in the build up to releasing v3.0. Meanwhile, your help is very welcome, please give this Beta 4 a test run as it will help you better grasp the potential of the new version. Additionally it will help us improve the product further by responding to any comments or issues you feed back to us. This beta is available as usual on our partner portal and on ezplatform.com and composer.