Front-end Editor Meeting 20 January

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 23.18.25

With @avryl (me), @melchoyce, @helen, @samuelsidler, @gcorne, @obenland, @azaozz and @ubernaut. (Log.)

We changed the meeting time to Tuesdays 17:00 UTC since that’s going to be much easier for some of us. Next meeting is Tuesday, 28 January 2014, 17:00 UTC in #wordpress-ui.

There’s been a lot of updates since the last post. You can now create posts and pages from the front-end. I’ve added some more TinyMCE tools and a meta modal that looks very similar to the media modal and holds meta boxes based on the ones on the back-end. Because they’re just a copy, the lay out still needs to be improved. It looks like this:

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 23.00.50

All bugs/tasks/ideas/suggestions are now centralised in the plugins Trac. At the moment it’s a fairly small list of the things that popped up in my mind, but hopefully you test the plugin, stumble upon a bug and report it and share all your thoughts. Make sure you’ve added the ticket to the wp-front-end-editor component. Sometimes it ends up as not-listed and I won’t notice it.

If you’re interested in contributing, this is also the place where you can find things to do.

If you’d like to join our Skype conversation, just add jannekevandorpe and mention the front-end editor.


Front-end Editor: Quick Christmas Update

  • The plugin had a few updates recently: it now automatically embeds links that are supported by oEmbed, it generates a preview of galleries and captions, you can add/edit/remove the featured image and the toolbar moved into the admin bar. If you quickly want to see what that looks like, take a look at this video:

  • We’ve had some good Skype conversations lately. If you’d like to join the group to help with the design and development, add jannekevandorpe (but do mention the front-end editor in your request).
  • Normally the next meeting is Monday, but since a lot of people are busy around this time of the year, I’m going to cancel it. I should be around though, so feel free to come anyway. So now the next meeting is Monday, 6 January 2014, 16:00 UTC on the #wordpress-ui IRC channel.
  • TinyMCE will most likely be updated to 4.0.x (the version on which the Front-end Editor depends) by 3.9. Here’s the ticket if anyone’s interested to test/help @azaozz: #24067.
  • There’s also a ticket regarding the new styles not being applied to the Media Modal on the front-end (as you can see in the video). Would be nice if there’s a patch by 3.8.1. #26677.
  • So, what’s next and what can you do?
    • TinyMCEThis toolbar should also move into the admin bar. I wonder whether we should keep the default API, or completely create a new one that fits the admin bar’s API. There was also talk about creating an inline toolbar with some basic tools, but it’s probably best to develop this next to the one in the admin bar and show/hide them to test which one scores best in terms of user experience.
    • Shortcode previews. Along with oEmbed previews, this is something that could be used for the back-end editor too. It might be good to split this from the main project, but it’s obvious that this is important to any project that tries to improve WYSIWYG. Creating previews of core shortcodes isn’t that difficult because we know exactly what they do. Adding support for all shortcodes could be a nightmare as they can do anything. It’s also quite difficult to detect if the shortcode is going to represent a block or inline element, currently the code just assumes it’s going to be block. One solution could be to make the shortcode define whether it’s compatible, but it’s nicer if things just work out of the box. Still, it’s better than nothing.
    • Add things such as date and time, visibility, permalink, status and format next to the categories and tags, and think about where these should go. It might be easier and interesting to put them in a modal (similar to the media modal). The main things to keep in mind are accessibility, space and extendibility.
    • Also note that switching between categories, tags, format and status actually requires the html to be updated. Not only could the theme have some CSS for the content based on these, it might also changes its lay out.
    • Creating/drafting posts through the front-end.
    • Add support for CPTs.
    • Responsiveness/mobile interface. Only keep the most basic TinyMCE tools.
    • It would be nice if some people could continuously check the security of the plugin.
    • Low priority, but autosave (and local storage), post locking and expired sessions.


Front-end Editor Update

I’ll briefly summarise some of the things we said in last week’s meeting, at WordCamp London and on Skype.

  • We’d like to experiment with the toolbar (or part of it) popping up on selecting some text, even though it’s not easy to discover without clearly pointing it out to the user, and there’s no way all the options could fit in. It’s probably best to keep a fixed and permanent toolbar on top and develop a smaller inline toolbar next to it. We can then hide one of both to do some user testing. Some inspiration here, here and here.
  • For now, it’s better to focus on the most basic TinyMCE functionality, keeping in mind that it should be extendible. Let’s also just focus on the most used WordPress options, things like Custom Fields, Discussion, Author and other custom meta boxes are low priority and maybe not even in scope.
  • In the next version of the plugin, the toolbar will move up, like this: Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 17.06.14
  • It now also depends on WordPress 3.8-alpha or higher, so you’ll need to update your install to test it.
  • Another thing that needs to be done is, apart from experimenting with different editing interfaces and taming TinyMCE, designing and developing a way to preview oEmbeds and shortcodes/galleries and thinking about other ways to insert shortcodes other than manually inserting them. If we want a real WYSIWYG editor, having a preview for those is a must.
  • A Skype group has been set up, so if you’d like to join, add jannekevandorpe and let me know.
  • The next meeting will be Monday, 2 December, 16:00 UTC on the #wordpress-ui IRC channel.


Front-end Editor Meeting Recap (November 11)

Attendees: @avryl, @helen, @melchoyce, @samuelsidler, @shaunandrews, @ubernaut

We had a good chat today about the status of the front-end editor plugin and where it’s going. To recap, we talked about the following:

  • The overall list of tasks is on a spreadsheet now. It will probably grow considerably over time. If you’re interested, comment here to sign up!
  • The color scheme of the front-end editor was based on the MP6 customizer being black. The customizer (as has landed in core) has changed to white/grey, so we should update the plugin as well.
  • On the color scheme topic, it may be possible to use color schemes for the editor in the future, but it’s not worth looking at until much later in the process.
  • The plugin currently has an MP6 dependency, which is no longer needed given that MP6 has landed in core.
  • The fade of the edit bars is a bit too much and should be removed, though this won’t exist when the toolbar moves up to the admin bar.
  • In edit mode, things might look better if everything but the content fades out, but we need to determine how to do this right.
  • The project is still in its early stages. It might be worth working up some other concepts before we get too far along in one direction.

Next steps:

  • @avryl to remove the MP6 dependency, add the wordpressdotorg author to the plugin, and fix the permalink issue. Done.
  • @shaunandrews will explore some other concepts.
  • Setup a Skype group for those interested in contributing.
  • The meeting time will change to Mondays at 16:00 UTC going forward.


Front-end Editor #2

I apologise for disappearing like that, but here’s a small update for the front-end editor!
Just as a reminder, the link to the previous post, the plugin and the GitHub repo.

We need your help!

Here’s a list of some of the things that need to be done. Currently it’s just a draft and it will probably expand over time. I’ll start tackling them one by one, but if you’d like to take one of them, or if you have suggestions, let me know. Also feel free to fork the plugin, transform it with your thoughts and share the results!

There will be a meeting Monday, 11 November, 16:00 UTC on the WordPress UI IRC channel, and I’ll definitely be there. If you’re interested, please join! Or leave a comment if you can’t make it.

I’ll try to publish a post every week with the progress we’ve made.


Front-end Editor

This is the first Front-end Editor post (see Inline Editing Front-end Editor on the Features as Plugins Tracking page).

If you haven’t heard about it before, you should definitely take a look at the overview, where you can read about the problems we’re trying to solve and where we’ll keep all the information.

A prototype is currently in development, it can be found in the plugin directory and on GitHub as a mirror.

Here are a few screenshots:


Editing mode


TinyMCE 4.x




Distraction free writing?


Post updated



Of course this is just one approach. Another could be @scribu’s Front-end Editor.

Excited? Get involved!

We’d really like to hear (and see) your thoughts! Whether it’s feedback to the current prototype, or ideas, examples of how other platforms implement front-end editing, wireframes or even working prototypes – everything is welcome.

We’re still looking for more people to join us: developers, designers, users… If you’re interested, please leave a comment.

Our weekly IRC chats are on Thursdays, 20:00 UTC. The next one will be on September 19 20:00 UTC.