Content Management Systems, abbreviated as CMS, have been an integral part of web development since their emergence. This is because they help web developers build their sites a lot faster while providing enough customization options. They’re also essential for those who don’t want to put too much time into building a website from scratch. Thus, Content Management Systems are ideal tools for non-developers, coding beginners, or expert developers looking to save time.
The most important part of a CMS is, well, content, specifically the means to create, share, and manage it. To carry out its content needs, a CMS makes use of a WYSIWYG HTML editor (or WYSIWYG editor). A WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) HTML editor is a popular website component for content editing. It allows users to alter a website’s pages and contents using a user interface (UI), eliminating the need for coding. It’s because of these editors that CMS users are able to publish and edit content easily and comfortably.
In this blog post, you’ll get to know Winter CMS, a new but powerful CMS. You’ll also see how they were able to grow quickly using their chosen WYSIWYG editor.
What is a CMS?
A CMS is a software application where users can create, edit, and show web content without the webmaster’s intervention. It has two major components: a front-end one that lets users change content and a back-end component that handles data and content changes.
Content Management Systems usually have at least two user levels: administrators and regular users. Administrators, being at the highest user level, have the most access rights and control. They oversee the entire website, its content managers and editors, and regular users.
Regular users, on the other hand, have the least access rights, usually limited to viewing content and posting comments. A more complex CMS has more user levels, each with its own set of access rights.
As mentioned earlier, a CMS contains a WYSIWYG HTML editor where its users can write and style content. In the next section, we’ll discuss more about WYSIWYG editors and how they help improve CMSes.
What is a WYSIWYG editor?
We already know that WYSIWYG editors help in the seamless creation and editing of web content and that CMSs use them. But how do they do that? To answer that, let’s first look at its elements.
A typical WYSIWYG editor consists of two elements: the toolbar and the editing space. The toolbar consists of organized buttons that correspond to different format and styling functionalities. On the other hand, the editing space is where content is displayed. CMS users need to interact with both elements of a WYSIWYG editor to publish rich text content.
WYSIWYG editors can also be built from scratch or integrated as third-party solutions. Each method has its own benefits and disadvantages. For instance, if you build one from scratch, you’ll have more control in your hands. However, you’ll lose plenty of development time on both basic and advanced formatting, styling, and upload features. And if you integrate a prebuilt editor, you’ll save plenty of time and have the most advanced editing features. You’ll usually need to pay for the best ones, but this cost is negligible. This is because you won’t have to maintain the editor, and you’ll have a top-notch editing interface and experience right away.
How can a WYSIWYG editor improve a CMS?
To aid CMSs in delivering efficient and enjoyable content editing experiences, the best WYSIWYG editors must have the following features:
- Basic formatting and styling (bold, underline, highlight, font family and colors, paragraph indents, etc.)
- Advanced formatting and styling (paragraph heading formats, line height, quotes, ordered and unordered lists, math and chemical equations)
- Support for links, images, videos, other files, tables, emojis, Markdown, and so on
- Smart content pasting (pasting content from an external source with or without retaining format)
- Toolbar and editor customization and theming
- Spelling and grammar checking
- Real-time editing and collaboration features
- Save as PDF
- Support for other languages
- Accessibility features
If you have an editor that has all these features, then your CMS will most likely have everything it needs. And such an editor was exactly what Winter CMS needed and found.
What is Winter CMS?
Winter CMS is an open-source, Laravel PHP framework-based Content Management System. It is a relatively new CMS, having forked from October CMS sometime in 2021. Since then, it has gained the attention of developers and businesses from all over the world.
It promises power and simplicity, which are both important for CMS users. With its simple but robust features, it helps people build their sites quickly while ensuring an optimized and fast performance. Winter CMS is also backward compatible, which alleviates users’ concerns as time passes.
Winter CMS gives its users a fun and efficient development experience. And when it comes to editing, it’s backed by Froala, a feature-rich WYSIWYG editor that solves their editing problems.
How did Winter CMS find their ideal WYSIWYG editor?
Winter CMS’ core contributors forked their project from October CMS, another CMS that’s not fully free when used commercially. October CMS had already been using Froala Editor even before Winter CMS was born. And when Winter CMS came to be, its core contributors decided to keep using Froala. Luke Towers, Winter CMS’ lead developer and core contributor, said that this is because “it has a clean and simple interface and is relatively easy to extend with plugins.”
How does Winter CMS benefit from using Froala?
Froala’s clean and simple interface is one of the things that make it stand out from other editors. Its sleek design improves users’ efficiency by making sure that they can easily become familiar with its toolbar and features. And we’re talking about a WYSIWYG editor with over 100 features. It’s often a problem among feature-rich editors to have plenty of features and still have a neat interface. Other robust editors usually end up making their toolbar messy, giving users everything they need–that is, if they can find it. Froala overcomes this problem by categorizing its features into button groups and displaying only what is needed at the moment. Developers can even customize the toolbar and create their own buttons. And speaking of customization, let’s talk about its plugin-based architecture.
Froala is plugin-based (or modular), meaning its features are encapsulated into plugins, which developers can include or exclude as needed. Need a spelling and grammar checker in your CMS’ editor for blog posts? Include a plugin. Don’t need any unnecessary features for your simple CMS messaging system? Exclude the other plugins. With a plugin-based architecture, Froala keeps things simple while also keeping the editor lightweight. This ensures that developers have exactly what they need, nothing more, nothing less.
Winter CMS found their ideal WYSIWYG editor in Froala because of its intuitiveness, speed, extensibility, customizability, and features. They continue to use Froala to assist their CMS in making development easy, fast, and fun. Which brings me to the question: how can you start integrating Froala into your CMS, like Winter CMS did? It actually takes only a few seconds or minutes.
How can I start using Froala for my CMS?
Whatever your project is and whatever programming language you’re using, you can easily integrate Froala into it. It has plugins for over 17 frameworks, including WordPress (click here to see how you can integrate Froala into WordPress). You can also install Froala Editor in different ways. For instance, you can use its download page and fill out a form. And if you prefer more technical ways of doing so, you can install it via NPM, Bower, or CDN. This documentation page shows you all the ways you can install Froala Editor. Furthermore, you can explore its pricing page to learn more about its perpetual and subscription plans. Froala’s installation, regardless of the method, won’t take you long. So, it’s worth trying it out for free to check whether you, like Winter CMS, find it perfect for your app.
In this blog post, you’ve learned about Winter CMS, its WYSIWYG editor of choice, and how they synergize to improve the user experience. I’ve also mentioned how you can start using Winter CMS’ chosen editor for your own CMS application. In the years ahead, Content Management Systems will continue to be a relevant and important part of web development. And as long as people need an easy and convenient way to make content, WYSIWYG editors will remain popular, too.
Aaron Dumona former writer for Froala, showcased exceptional talent and dedication during their tenure with the company.