Kentico 7 - Little Things That Make a Big Difference

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After attending the Kentico Connection 2012 in Denver last week, I’m excited about all the new features and improvements that Kentico 7 has to offer. In this post I would like to point out some of the little things in Kentico 7 that make a big difference. These features demonstrate Kentico’s focus on improving user experience, decreasing developer time, and increasing productivity which ultimately brings more value to the client.

Improved Notifications in CMS Desk and Site Manager

Have you ever clicked ‘Save’ and wondered if the document was saved? In Kentico 6 the notifications to the user were not all that obvious, however In Kentico 7 the notifications have been improved providing a better user experience by making messages more noticeable. This is a small change, but it’s this attention to detail, and focus on user experience, that sets Kentico apart and makes it easier for users who are new to Kentico.

Kentico 6 Notifications Kentico 7 Notifications
Notifications in Kentico 6 Notifications in Kentico 7

Modules that require enabling not only notify you, but optionally allow you to enable them in place, saving you the effort of navigating away to settings and then back to the module.

Kentico 7 notification with option to enable module in settings

On Site Editing

On site editing is not entirely new to Kentico, but previous to Kentico 7 it required a developer to add and configure web parts to each template for it to work. Now you get on site editing out of the box with no configuration. This was a smart move by Kentico because it removes the developer’s time from the equation, making sure that this feature is always available to the content editors. One click on the ‘Edit page’ button in the top left and you can perform tasks such as: adding a new document, editing the current document, configuring web parts, and navigating to the current document in the CMS Desk.

Kentico 7 on site editing

 

Kentico 7 on site editing tool bar

Automatic Code Names

In Kentico 7 you will no longer have to type in code names, Kentico will automatically create the code name based on the display name. This is a productivity enhancement, saving you the time of retyping the display name without the spaces for the code name. For those of you who prefer to set your own code names, Kentico still allows you to manually enter them.

Kentico 7 automatic code names

Open conditions and loops with K#

This is one of my favorite new features, as I’m a big fan of K# and use it extensively. K# syntax, introduced in version 6, allows you write code within various parts of the Kentico’s interface giving you a greater degree of flexibility with existing controls and modules. One thing missing from K# in version 6 was support for intermixing HTML markup within the K# syntax. With support for open conditions in Kentico 7 you can start a K# statement such as an ‘if’ statement, insert HTML mark up outside of the K# syntax, and then end the ‘if’ statement back in the K# syntax. This is a powerful feature as you can see demonstrated in the image below.

Kentico 7 K# open condition

Conditional Visibility on Form Fields

Speaking of K#, have you ever want to toggle the visibility of a form field based on a condition? In Kentico 7 each form field now has a property for ‘visible condition’ and ‘enabled condition’ allowing you to set a K# statement to toggle the visibility or access of that field. This can be useful in situations where you need to make a field’s visibility dependent on the value of another field or make it visible only to users with certain roles.

Kentico 7 form field conditional visibility

Inheritable Headers in Page Templates

Prior to Kentico 7 values in a page template’s header were not carried down to the documents that inherited that template. Now you can choose to allow child templates to inherit the current header, and also choose if the current template should inherit headers from parent templates. With this improvement you now have the flexibility to include javascript and CSS style sheets that can be limited to a particular subset of your web site.

Kentico 7 inheritable headers

Web Part Tool Bar

Here’s another feature that will save you time and is just fun to use. The web part tool bar shows up on the right of the screen when you are in design mode, allowing you to simply drag web parts from the tool bar to the page. You can also search, filter by category, and drag web parts from the page to the recycle bin.

Kentico 7 web part tool bar

With each version Kentico is becoming a more refined product with better usability and productivity , not only by introducing new features, but also by continuing to improve the existing functionality. To see the full list of features Kentico 7 has to offer, download the ‘KenticoCMS 7 Features’ PDF from Kentico http://devnet.kentico.com/Blogs/Martin-Hejtmanek/September-2012/Kentico-CMS-7-Final-Full-feature-list.aspx.

Leave a comment and let me know what’s your favorite new Kentico 7 feature.

 
Posted by Ryan Williams on 9/24/2012 11:36:21 AM
  
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