So after months of wanting to have a play with Sweet Tooth's offering Better Store CMS I finally got round to installing it... and I wasn't disappointed.
On the face of it this Magento extension looks like a nice addition so you can track revisions of your content in your CMS in a similar way to WordPress. There is also a nifty new editor option for making changes to the content of pages and static blocks. However as I started looking closer I realised there are so many other features that could really take a lot of the headache away from managing your Magento store's content.
Here is my take on some of the features and my discoveries along the way.
- First I will start with the main features. The revision control. This I love: if you are familiar with Wordpress you will know about this type of feature allowing you to go back to earlier version of your page. Many is the time when I have committed to saving a change only to face palm and realise that is not what I meant to do... and when I say many is the time, I really do mean that. Magento saves no revisions of your changes so I've ended up putting coping mechanisms in place such as copy all the content into a text document prior to making a change so I can copy if back if/when I screw up. Well now that problem has been taken away and that is great for someone like me. With Better Store CMS installed I now have at the base of every static block and content page a Load Previous Revisions. From here you can look at previous revisions of your content and load it into your editor if required.
- Switching between the inbuilt CMS and the Better Store CMS editor. Some of us like to work in just HTML and the Better Store CMS editor is so much better for editing HTML code than Magento's own built in editor. Why? It introduces line numbers on the left and colour codes opening an closing tags for html, which make it much easier to read and make changes to. Compare the two screenshots below
Standard Magento HTML editor
For me the second one wins.
Now if none of the above made any sense then you probably prefer to work using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. To use this you have to disable the Better Store CMS editor. You no longer get the lovely colour coded opening and closing tags in the editor but you do still get revision control. You can enable and disable the Better Store CMS editor on demand, so if you prefer to work in HTML but another content editor prefers WYSIWYG you can simply turn this on and off in the configuration.
The Better Store CMS HTML Editor
- Who changed what? Keeping track of changes. Once you have installed Better Store CMS a note is made on each future revision of which user made the change. So no more hiding if you made the wrong change, but also being able to identify who made a change and when can speed up problem solving. To see who made a particular change just select See Revision History. This will open a new window.
In the Edited By column you will see the username of the person who edited that particular revision.
- You can actually preview static blocks! This is something that I've always believed has been missing from the standard installation of Magento. The ability to preview a page has been available but now with Better Store CMS static blocks can also be previewed. When editing a static block press the See Revision History button and alongside each revision is a Preview option - press it and hey presto you get a pop-up with a preview of the static block. It may not look exactly the same as how it will look on your store but hey it is better than nothing (this is to do with Themes and CSS, but I won't go into detail here) and it will give you a fairly good representation for you to go on.
- There is one final feature that intrigues me and that is the export and import facility. It looks like Better Store CMS allows you to export CMS pages and static blocks, and looking at the configuration there is an option to import these back. This could be a great way to edit content en masse via an external editor and then import all the changes at once. Perhaps a good idea if you want all your content to change in one instance (maybe at a change of season) rather than having to go through each page and static block individually. To export go to either the Pages or Static Blocks list.In the left column select the pages you want to export. Using the Actions dropdown select Export.
This will initiate a download to your computer of the pages/ static blocks you requested. To import go into the configuration where there is an import option. I am yet to play properly with this feature but I will let you know how I get on.
So that is my whistle stop tour of Better Store CMS by Sweet Tooth. I'm sure there are other features that I've missed and over time I will update this post as I discover them. As with all Sweettooth products this has been built with skill and appreciation of how good Magento extensions should be delivered.
Well done guys I look forward to future products!
More Information on Better Store CMS