We are currently beta testing our next release, 4.1.12, which contains hundreds of bug fixes, dozens of improvements, as well as a handful of new features. I wanted to introduce one of those new features: post preview.
Long-time users of our software will know that a post preview function was a standard feature, but we took the decision to not include it in the initial IPS4 release. It had a couple of drawbacks:
- it only applied to certain pages, such as topic view - other WYSIWYG editors simply didn't get a preview
- the workflow wasn't very good for modern web apps, requiring a round-trip to the server and a full page refresh
When IPS4 was released, we felt that the built-in rendering of the editor was a sufficient preview of how the end result would appear. However, while analyzing ongoing customer and user feedback for IPS4 in its first year of release, we have seen that a preview still has a use. There are some circumstances when a true WYSIWYG experience is just not possible such as using more advanced formatting (like LaTeX) or when admins create certain custom editor plugins.
As a result, we rethought post preview. We wanted to ensure that all editors could be previewed, and that it didn't have a clunky workflow. In addition, since IPS4 uses a responsive theme, we wanted to give users the opportunity to preview how their post would look on different devices.
Here's the result, and what will be available in 4.1.12:
Post preview in IPS Community Suite 4.1.12
The preview is shown by clicking a new button on the toolbar (meaning it can be moved, removed, etc. just like the other default buttons). When the preview loads, the toolbar allows the user to resize it to different device sizes. If they are on desktop, they can also view it at tablet at phone sizes; on a tablet, it can also be viewed at phone size.
So now we not only show a true preview of what content will look like when posted, but we also allow you to preview how it will look on other devices. Of course that preview is just a best-guess since different devices have different window sizes but it does give you an idea.
We hope this reimagining of an old feature for a more modern web will please end-users and make posting content a more accurate process. Stay tuned for more updates on what's included in 4.1.12!
Version 4.1.12 is currently in beta testing and should be released in the next two weeks.