The last few Publii releases have added many new features and bugfixes, but users who have been with us a while know that we're always beavering away at a bigger update behind the scenes. And today, as Christmas gift, we're able to release version 0.32.4, which revamps the backend interface to make it more intuitive, easier to use, and overall just a better experience, with a particular focus on the Post Editor where users spend the majority of their time.
Save options, ordering and typography have all been improved in this release, and a lot more besides, as well as a batch of bugfixes and feature improvements. It's a big update to be sure; if you'd like to dive right in and see what's new for yourself you can download the latest package from the Download section; run it and it'll take care of the update for you. But if you'd prefer to find out what's new before diving in, take a look below, there's a lot to get through!
Improved Post Editor typography and editing
Publii has quite a few options, but for the most part, you'll be spending your time in the Post Editor, so it's important that we make it the best experience possible. There's a lot of little changes that'll be useful implemented in this release, but we've also improved the overall look and feel of the Post Editor to make it easier to read and see exactly what your post will look like on the live site.
The post content has been centralised on larger desktop screens (ones that are over 1600px in width). In earlier releases, the content in the Post Editor didn't really match what you'd see on the live site, which meant that minor spacing or sizing issues wouldn't be obvious until the preview was generated. With the changes, the Post Editor is much better at showing how your content will appear on the live site, making it easier to change things up on the fly.
That's not all either! The inline-toolbar behavior has also been fixed up, so it now disappears when it's no longer needed. Users can now set a date to publish the post during creation, rather than needing to save the post first, then set the publication date. And finally, an option for setting links as "nofollow" has been added to the Insert link popup, so no need to manually add attributes. Though these small changes might seem irrelevant, for long-term Publii users they can help speed-up the process when updating content on their sites, which is a boon when you're updating several sites a day!
Revamped Post Save and Publish options
Some users found the save button in the Post Editor to be lacklustre and unintuitive; the options were limited to only Save as Draft and Publish options. With this release, the default behavior for the button can be switched at any time right in the post editor; by clicking the down-arrow next to the save button you can switch between Save and Close, Save, and Save as draft.
This addition means you can choose to save changes as you go, rather than only saving once all the changes are complete. Combined with the new option for setting a publication date, users can feel more in control of their posts without fretting over whether their options are being saved correctly.
Auto-Generate Table of Contents
The last Publii release added an option for inserting anchor links, but many users reported that this wasn't an optimal solution and found the tool unwieldy and ineffective, so this time around we went back to the drawing board with an eye to keeping things simple.
The anchor links option has now been removed, and in its place, we have added an option to automatically generate a table of contents for your page. How does it work? It's easy. Hit the Table of Contents icon at the top-right of the editor, and it will catalogue all of your headings and subheadings (that is, all the H1-H6 HTML tags), put them in order, and create a clear table of contents at the beginning of your post with each of the heading tags individually listed.
On the live site, users will be able to click on the items in the table and immediately jump to it through an anchor. And if you should add more headings later, you can just click on the table in the editor to open the inline options, then click the Update button. No fiddling around with anchor tags, or fighting with the editor to get the link inserted in the right place.
Note: Since each Publii theme has its own typography and styling requirements, all the available themes have been updated to better support this option. So you'll need to make sure to update your theme as well as the app to make sure everything looks the way it should! You can double-check how to update your theme in our Publii Documentation.
Post, Tag and Author Ordering
One of our most long-awaited additions, it's now possible to change the order that posts, tags or authors are listed on listing pages in the backend by clicking on the name in the column of the title bar, which opens a drop-down list for you change your preference. This way, you can easily keep track of your items, and to make it even easier we've added a ID column too, for even more ways to identify posts.
General App UI/UX changes
The Post Editor isn't the only place that had a bit of attention paid to it; a whole new set of icons has been added to the website switcher so that you can give each site an individual icon from 32 available, to clearly identify each site in the list. The system for displaying lists has also been improved; the list will no longer 'jump' when the content has a lot of items and needs to load the scrollbar, for smoother transitions. And the search bar has a couple of changes; it's now shorter and easier to manage than before, without taking up masses of space in the top bar.
New getPost helper for developers
For the theme developers among us, a new getPost helper has been added which will allow you to create post context on any subpage. Which is nice.
File Upload Error Detection for S3 and FTP Deployments
There's not much more frustrating than creating a site, running a sync, and then finding out that something, somewhere has gone wrong and your site isn't working. Though we can't fix all the possible issues that could occur, we can make figuring out exactly where things have gone wrong that little bit easier by adding detection for any issues that occur when uploading files, whether through FTP or S3. With it, diagnosing the cause of your woes will be less hit and miss.
Well, what do you know; as well as the bunch of new features we've already covered, there's loads of improvements to highlight too! These changes won't be on the scale of new features, but they will make general usage of the app a bit less bumpy. Here's what's coming your way in this release:
- The Preview directory is now emptied instead of being removed entirely when generating a preview (important for some local development configurations).
- Inline toolbar disabled for some elements.
- Handlebars object now available in the theme helpers.js file.
- Multiple menus can be added to the same menu position.
- Added to the list of valid elements.
- Fixed SEO option descriptions.
- SEO: Removed canonical URLs from noindexed pagination subpages.
- Improved performance of the 'Regenerate thumbnails' view when the list of items was longer than standard.
- Electron updated to version 3.0.11.
- Implemented additional check on app start to prevent the window appearing outside of the screen space.
- Implemented additional check for corrupted theme.config.json files.
- Added cache headers for S3 objects.
- Inline toolbars now hide when scrolling through the post editor content.
A day may come when no bugs must be driven from our app's doors, but that day is not today. Here's a list of all the smaller fixes we've added in this release; as you can imagine, such a big update brings a lot of fixes:
- Removed unnecessary featured image removal on post save/cancel.
- Fixed issue when a single image is used multiple times.
- Fixed issue with Open Graph fallback image being cleared when the theme settings are saved.
- Fixed issue with incorrect responsive image dimensions being removed when using the 'remove image' option.
- Limited the available post templates view to only the selected theme.
- Fixed featured image structure in the post preview.
- Fixed issue with string value handling in the post config custom settings.
- Removed false-positive warnings about missing image dimensions.
- Fixed non-working notifications from the getpublii.com website.
- Fixed HTML compression option not working correctly under specific conditions.
- Fixed EventEmitter memory leak in RenderingPopup.
- Fixed issue where thumbnail regeneration stops if an error occurs.
- Fixed issue with images when a post is saved but the editor is not closed.
- Fixed incorrect first-page detection when noindex is enabled for tag/author/homepage pagination.
- Fixed inconsistencies between post and page preview.
Wow, that took a while! We're not done with the improvements yet though; our next release will continue the theme of improving the look, feel, and general usability of the Publii app. With such a big release there's always a risk of new bugs popping up, so if you discover any make sure to drop in to the forum and let us know so we can send out an extermination squad.
We hope all of you have a wonderful, Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and we'll be back soon with more updates.