The Kentico Kontent team has recently released new capabilities that will make content production and deployment safer for developers and content authors, while also improving the commenting experience for collaborators working in the Kontent user interface.
Corey HamiltonPublished on Nov 12, 2019
We've taken a big step towards supporting continuous development processes as customers can now take a “code-first” approach to managing their content models and deploying changes to their various environments. We've also simplified content production by removing the overhead and risk associated with publishing content items that contain dependent “child” items which may not have already been published. In these cases, the user can now publish all “child” content along with the “parent” item.
Last, but not least, our user experience team has introduced improvements to the commenting interface, making it easier to decipher which comments are intended for different parts of a content item. This alleviates potential confusion when there are many comments within a single item and simplifies the experience when utilizing content groups, as comments are only displayed for the active group at any given time.
Continue reading below to get a better sense of what each of these new offerings entails.
Improved Support for Continuous Development and Deployment
Teams that prefer to take a “code-first” approach to managing their content objects and environments can now update their content models through our Content Management API. This makes it easier to deploy changes from development environments to staging and production. Content models are accessible as standard JSON objects, allowing developers to add, remove, or update fields as needed and then deploy those changes by simply executing their scripts across their other environments.
How does this make deployment safer?
This new functionality removes the overhead and risk associated with manually updating content models across each environment whenever changes are made. Programmatically updating these models ensures they are updated properly in every environment as the same scripts can be run across development, staging, and production.
Key Use Case:
It's common for companies to expand their content models over time—for example, a content model designed to publish articles may include a field for “author_name”. Over time, they may choose to expand the author information to include a photo and bio. The Content Management API now makes it possible to script these changes in development and then duplicate them to staging for testing and then ultimately run them in production to complete the deployment process.
More improvements to come:
We believe these latest changes are a great first step to supporting our customers' continuous development scenarios. However, we're not done yet. In the coming weeks, we will be rolling out additional improvements related to “code-first” continuous development scenarios. While details and timelines are subject to change, we anticipate these improvements to include:
- Ability to create environments within Kontent, removing the need to manage multiple projects to support deployment scenarios
- New tooling for safer content migrations
- New .NET SDK for the Content Management API v2
- The Content Management API v2 will be released from Beta soon, with improved stability compared to the pre-release version
Keep an eye out for additional details about these announcements.
This improvement allows content teams to publish any content items that are referenced from another piece of content when that parent item is published. When a user attempts to publish a piece of content, they are presented with a window that allows them to select any child content they would like to be published as well.
How does this improve the authoring experience?
Previously, there was no way to publish a content item that had un-published “child content” associated with it. The user was forced to click into each piece of dependent content and publish it individually before they could publish the parent item. This release adds the ability to detect those dependent items and publish them together with the parent, reducing the overhead associated with content production and removing the risk of publishing links to items that are not yet available.
- When publishing a page with linked content items, the author can make several changes to different aspects of the page with the confidence that all parts will publish appropriately when the page itself is published.
- Content items are often produced as parts of a collection of similar items. In these cases, it's much more efficient for teams to publish all parts of the collection at the same time via a single parent item as opposed to clicking into every individual piece of content to publish it.
- When initially launching a website, many companies prepare their content and set it to be previewed on their staged website before the actual launch. Once everything has been approved, they'll publish all content at once without needing to click into every individual piece of content, which takes a long time and introduces the risk of missing items.
Contextually-aware Commenting Experience
Successful content production requires an easy-to-use authoring experience and intuitive collaboration tools to ensure the highest quality of content possible. This is why our User Experience team remains laser focused on refining our commenting experience so it provides powerful collaboration capabilities without adding complexity to the interface.
This latest improvement displays comments right alongside the content they pertain to, making it much easier to determine which comments apply to different parts of the content. When a content item includes content groups, comments are displayed specific to the group a user is currently working in. An indicator will display on the tabs of other content groups to inform users when additional comments are included within those groups.
How does this improve the collaboration experience?
Previously, all comments in a content item were displayed in a single list regardless of where in the content the comments were actually placed. This release adds context to the comments by making it clearer which portion of the content they apply to. When content groups are used, the interface is simplified for authors who may only be concerned with a particular portion of the content. These users will now be able to collaborate on their content without regard to comments that don't apply to them.
Additionally, we've made the following UX Improvements based on customer feedback:
- Improving legibility with bigger font and better contrast to the comments interface.
- Adding colorful avatars to further distinguish which user created each comment.
Keep an eye out for additional improvements coming soon and remember to reach out to the Kentico team if there are other capabilities you'd like to see added in the future.