Magnolia 5.3 is personal

Published on June 24, 2014 by Antti Hietala



Magnolia 5.3 has arrived. With this release we move from platform delivery to feature delivery. The platform is now mature and solid so we can ship new features that add value for users.

 

Personalization

Personalization adapts content to the visitor according to his or her personal preferences, needs and capabilities. A personalized website is more relevant and engaging than a static non-personalized site. It turns push to pull: a visitor indicates their interest and the website pushes matching content.

Magnolia’s new personalization feature is based on page variants. Variants are alternative content that replace the original content in personalized delivery. You can target page variants to visitor according to traits such as country, date, or new vs. returning. Dedicated apps support creating segments and personas and impersonating visitors.

 

 

Try it yourself:

 

Tasks

Tasks are better than messages for collaboration. Anyone who uses email knows the problem: you don’t know who took ownership of the job or where the work currently stands. Messages don’t have a status or assignee. Finding out what is going on requires a lot of messaging between the recipients.

With Magnolia 5.3 we start using tasks to track the publishing workflow. A task has an assignee and a status. They are displayed in the Pulse. When an editor publishes a page, Magnolia sends a task to the publishers group. Any publisher can assign the task to himself. The task is now removed from other recipients queue but they can still see who the current assignee is and where the work stands. This enhancement adds visibility into the publishing process. At a technical level, we take advantage of the jBPM user task feature.

 

 

Content connector

The content you manage in Magnolia is typically stored in the JCR repository but it doesn’t have to be. With Magnolia 5.3, we decouple content management from the storage location. A content connector defines where the content is stored. With a custom content connector you can store content in a database, cloud storage or a Web service. Users can still manage the content in a familiar content app. They don’t have to leave Magnolia.

 

All native Magnolia JCR content apps in community and enterprise editions are updated to use the new content connector automatically. You need to migrate your own custom JCR content apps. Add the ContentAppMigrationTask to your module version handler.

 

 

DAM API

Magnolia 5.3 introduces an improved DAM API. The rewritten API is simpler and more basic, making it easier to understand and extend. It is also generic in the sense that it is not coupled to the JCR anymore. You should be able to integrate external asset providers and other systems. Although not yet implemented, it will be possible to plug in external asset providers such as Flickr, YouTube or a file systems, and integrate the DAM with WebDav and CMIS.

Changes:

  • DAM module is now split into submodules. The API resides in its own module and the JCR implementation in another.
  • AssetProviderRegistry replaces DamManager. See DAM and the STK and DAM templating for how to use assets in your templates.
  • AssetProvider and Asset support folders. This makes navigating the asset hierarchy via the API easier.
  • Industry standard media types replace Magnolia own media type configurations.
  • Easier to extend the API and create your own asset providers for external systems.

 

Video previews

A new DAM Preview module creates thumbnail previews for PDF and video assets. The thumbnail image displays the first page of a PDF or the first frame of a video, making it easier to choose assets with a quick glance. The module is an optional add-on to the DAM. The previews are generated by the Imaging module. A configurable image provider renders the images for the newly supported asset formats.

 

Delegating property transformers

Two new field transformers – DelegatingMultiValueFieldTransformer and DelegatingCompositeFieldTransformer – allow you to nest fields. For example, you can create a switchable field that contains a composite field. The new transformers delegate the responsibility of storing field values to the parent field. They also support i18n. Examples to come.

 

Marketing tags

A new Tags Manager app is a central place for managing marketing tags or third-party code snippets. The app allows you to create tags and insert them on pages. Tags typically collect analytics information such as how many visitors view the page and how long they stay. Tags can also integrate third-party content such as social media on your site or insert ad campaigns.

 

 

 

UI improvements

Keyboard support in dialogs:

  • ESC closes a dialog.
  • ENTER submits a dialog or triggers the default action such as go to the selected tab.

Pulse:

  • New tabs: Tasks and Messages
  • Task flow, assigning a task to yourself

Alerts and notifications:

  • Adhere to visual design guidelines, more subtle
  • Buttons are now all green. The default button always looks the same. Hovering on a default button keeps the colors readable.
  • Element in focus has a border (in all dialogs, not only alerts and notifications)

Long running (asynchronous) actions:

  • Notify if the action takes long
  • Notify on success and failure in Pulse
  • First step in improving visibility to background events

 

Usability improvements

  • Number of selected items is indicated in views
  • Number of items to be deleted is mentioned in delete confirmation alert.
  • When you close an app, the app launcher is displayed rather than the previous app in the stack.

 

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About the author Antti Hietala

Antti Hietala is a product manager at Magnolia. He is tasked with articulating Magnolia's value proposition to sales and professional services. In constant contact with users, he feeds the product roadmap with front-line input. Antti's key responsibilities include internal communication, product roadmap and feature specifications. Follow him on Twitter @antarctic74.


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