Magento is expanding!
Recently it has conquered the famous Bluefoot CMS extension from Gene Commerce. The news is that it is going to merge this extension into Magento 2.3 Enterprise Edition as a major component of the typical core product.
Magento at present
With the present version of Magento, themes or modules having layout files that have access over the block positions on a page could be created. The layout files are nothing but the ‘codes’ in terms of Developer’s language.
So what is done with these codes?
The codes are written and tested which is then consigned to a Git repository which is finally moved to production.
The condition is that the merchants and members of the admin panel could create their very own widgets and link them with the pages. Through Admin interface the content is inputted and saved in the database by the Admin users. Data, which is the final developed product, is stocked up in the production database.
Have glimpses of the existing features of Magento
- A new page can be created where contents and widgets are added to it. If the URL is not known by Magento, ‘404 page’ is displayed which use CMS pages.
- The allocation of widgets to a particular page is bound to several rules. A drop down list with the widget, specifications are displayed in the Admin. Though this functionality seems to be potent, it is a way more complicated to use.
Bluefoot extension in Magento
The embedded widgets in Bluefoot CMS extension would help in the creation of rich content in a drag-and- drop interface easily.
Right after integrating the Bluefoot CMS extension into Magento, the widgets in Magento are dropped in the drop-down box easily.
So there is no restructuring of the Magento CMS actually, but the only thing is that the Bluefoot CMS extension is an HTML editor which would list down the widgets of Magento.
What is a Bluefoot CMS extension?
Bluefoot 1.0 extension hoards its rich content using an internal, private format which actually is not ‘HTML’!
Actually, it could read an HTML attribute and convert the attribute to a format which is understandable only by the internal Bluefoot module. The problem is when the content gets shared with PIM or any other external servers.
When this extension is integrated into Magento Enterprise Edition 2.3, the content would be encoded as HTML making it easy for Bluefoot to interact and operate with other extensions and modules. The usage of separate tables would be eradicated and steps would be taken to make imports and exports easier. This is achieved by including the data within the HTML content and making the attributes self-contained. The usage of HTML simplifies the upgrades.
CONS of this approach
The only disadvantage is that some special HTML markup attributes will be understood only by the Bluefoot enhanced Magento.
Magento is still considering about allowing Bluefoot markup in WYSIWYG which is flexible.
Rich and advanced content
So, a rich content is a simple HTML content that Magento supports currently, whereas advanced content refers to the Bluefoot content which is advanced and contains widget references.
Check out the illustration for an advanced content:
The important thing here is that the content may contain an HTML placeholder content which will be useful for the humans to decode it. The above example is just an illustration by Magento and
may undergo changes anytime.
Once Magento delivers the content, it seeks for the ‘magento-*’ CSS class names or something similar to that and replaces the <div> elements with the widget’s output. Even this feature is still in consideration.
In short, Bluefoot edits the HTML and replaces the attributes of products. Since it is not yet a Magento layout file editor, Bluefoot adjusts the parts of an existing page container tree like layout files can.
Some exquisite features that need to be considered
Drag and drop
Build customized sites with just a drag and drop keeping in mind the degree of control and structure.
The Magento developer needs to strike a balance between the Bluefoot functionality and the site’s consistency.
Master Data Management
When the master product data is sourced from an external PIM, ensure whether the richer markup and widget references could be created. Such is the case when Magento is used as a Master data for product information. External systems find it a bit difficult to interpret the content. Think twice before selecting about the attributes (e.g. Product description).
In order to display the content, a Bluefoot page might comprise of widgets to fetch product attributes. This may invariably result in a stage block for the main content or the content of the outer page. The display product attributes fetch the name and description of the product. This might be an advanced content actually which would be merged into the stage through a widget.
Multiple Stages per Page
It is only the frontend developer who decides on the number of stages that should be made available to Admin users for a single page. In this case, the difficulties of editing a single stage at a time are overcome by editing all stages together which makes it easier to drag the contents across stages. Not just contents even the widgets could be dragged along.
Before editing a product page template, the scope (per product id, per attribute set, per category id) has to be mentioned for a particular product. The scopes may be overridden for particular or individual products.
Page Type Templates
Magento is planning to introduce page templates which could be implemented through layout files which are defined per page type. Admin users get influential here in this part since they would have multiple approved page structures. This helps in the maintenance of high-quality HTML and CSS markup that is highly responsive.
What would Magento store for each stage?
- The stage name or id that is defined by the page templates.
- Store view
- The type of page
- Template of page type
- The Bluefoot advanced content
This post is just a preview of what is going to be included in the Magento 2.3 Enterprise edition. Community Edition users might undergo slight modifications to incorporate these features in their Magento platform.
Let’s wait for the Bluefoot CMS extension’s collaboration with the King of development platforms – Magento.