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Robert Angle

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    Robert Angle reacted to Matt Finger for a blog entry, Invision Community 5: The all-new editor   
    Invision Community 5 has a brand new editing experience powered by a lightweight, fast React text editor built for mobile and modern browsers.
    The venerable CKEditor v4 at the core of our current editor is starting to show its age, so we wanted a clean slate with Invision Community v5 with an editor that was optimized for mobile use, easily extensible and had a feature set that would take us into the next era of Invision Community and beyond.
    The obvious choice was to consider the latest version of CKEditor, but it didn't fit our needs as it wasn't easily extensible, external plug-ins would no longer be possible, and its large footprint would affect page speed scores and be painful to use with a mobile connection.
    After a long search, we settled on Tiptap as the base for our editor. Written in React, loaded in chunks when needed for optimal performance and with many APIs and extensibility options, it was the perfect fit.

    Aside from the technical improvements, the editor offers new tools and a great base for writing our own plugins. I'll walk you through the main features throughout this blog. If you want a more technical deep dive, then please see my development blog.
    The Toolbar
    The toolbar has been redesigned to put the most commonly used styles first, with the least used styles and functions into an ellipses menu. The new paragraph menu contains the header styles, as well as the code block. The plus menu adds lists, boxes and quotes. The benefit of this new compact menu is that it displays just the same on mobile. Currently, there are different editor styles for desktops, tablets and mobiles with some style buttons removed to save space. With Invision Community 5, this is no longer the case. Even the smallest display gets all the functionality.
    mobile-toolbar.mp4
     
     
    Emojis & Icons
    Emojis have become a great way to embellish writing and express emotion. The new emoji picker has been modernized with larger emojis and tooltips to showcase the emoji shortcodes.
    The Icons tab, new for Invision Community 5, allows you to add Font Awesome Icons directly to your content.

    Lastly, both the emoji selector and the shortcode suggestion dropdown support arrow-key navigation, so you don't have to move your hands from the keyboard to the mouse.
    Content Boxes
    The feature I'm personally most excited about is boxes.
    The concept started as an abstraction of spoilers because sometimes you just want "a box" - a section that stands out from the rest of the content, something we do manually in our documentation and guides on this site. Each box has a tile and the following options:
    Expandable - You can mark a box as "expandable" which is functionally the same as a spoiler. One improvement is that expandable boxes use native HTML details and summary elements instead of plain Javascript animated divs. Colors - You can optionally keep it grey on grey like spoilers, but I think that's so boring! The colors automatically adjust to the theme colors, so it will look great in dark and light mode. Float (left/right/none) - You can make the box align to the left or right of other content just like you can for images Width - When the box is floated, you can set the width to big, medium or small. Boxes.mp4
    Link Expansion
    Invision Community has long expanded some links, such as YouTube, offering more context or even a mini-player where appropriate.
    With Invision Community 5, we've added support for embedding dynamic link previews using site metadata. This is a preview of a topic on our forum.

    For those unaware, the Open Graph (OG) Protocol is essentially a way webpages can specify a title, image, and description to be dynamically embedded on another platform. This is the underlying technology when you see the link preview in Meta, X, Slack, or iMessage.
    Code Blocks and Inline Code
    The new editor adds inline, syntax-highlighted code blocks and inline code. Both formats can be applied via the toolbar, or optionally, you can wrap text in a single backtick (`) to convert it to an inline code block or triple backticks (```) to convert it to a code block.

    The code blocks also support numerous languages for syntax highlighting, including a new custom highlighter for the Invision HTML Template Syntax (Invision Community theme creators and application developers, you're welcome!)
    Semantic Headings and Relative Sizes
    Invision Community 5 adds a block selector with headings 1 through 6 in the new editor. It's possibly the most common request I hear so that people can use consistent styling rather than just big bold text in a paragraph tag. Semantic headings are also ideal for SEO and accessibility.
    In addition to the block selector, you can create headings with the corresponding markdown shortcut. Consecutive pound signs (#) at the start of a line followed by a space (the number of pounds corresponds to the "level" of the heading). For example ### creates a Heading 3 (<h3/>) creates the heading for you.
    Using clear header tags means screen readers and search engines can better understand your content as using absolute font sizes, such as 16px, can make it unclear what type of element is actually being used. Is it a heading or just a paragraph with large bold text?
    Furthermore, you may want different sizes depending on the content and device type. Mobile devices may benefit from a large base font size. So we added percent-based font sizes which change the font size based on whatever the default would be for that block.
    text-menus.mp4
    Further UX Improvements
    The new editor in Invision Community 5 has several tangible improvements, including a mobile-first design.
    In the current editor, some functionality was hidden behind modals and double clicks, which are either not obvious on mobile devices or not possible at all. The new editor no longer relies on modals and instead uses buttons and dropdown menus that work perfectly with mobile and other touch-based devices.
    New Line Arrows
    For block content, such as boxes, images and quotes, we've added the ability to create a new line before or after the block with the click of a button. This was an issue of frustration for mobile and touch devices where it was not always clear where the cursor was and a finger is a much less accurate aiming device!

    Sticky Toolbar
    Anyone who has authored a long piece of content knows the pain of scrolling up and down to get the toolbar in view. To make writing longer content less stressful, we've made the toolbar sticky so that it will always be fixed at the top of the editor after scrolling down.
    sticky-toolbar.mp4
    Markdown Style Shortcuts
    One common request is to support markdown in the editor. While we opted not to include full markdown support, the new editor recognizes many markdown-style formatting shortcuts.
    markdown.mp4
    Colors
    A common challenge with rich text editors on sites with multiple themes is colors often need to consistently look right across all themes. This is even more important with Invision Community 5, as it has a native dark mode feature. For this reason, we opted to offer a reduced set of color options that all adapt dynamically to the theme. I mentioned this about box colors above, but this is also true of the font color. The difference in shade is slight, but it's very noticeable without it. Toggling between light and dark mode will never produce unreadable text.
    colors.mp4
    We can't wait for you to try the new editor; it has already been very popular with our small testing group. Which feature are you most looking forward to trying?
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