Site Mode / Start page with the Amber Toolbar
Bitrix Amber has two key elements:
(1) A concept involving a simple graphical user interface (GUI) that allows management of a website or intranet portal (i.e. enhanced ergonomics and usability of all Bitrix web applications and software products).
(2) A set of technological recommendations for developers and content managers, allowing them to build and manage web projects created on the Bitrix platform in a more convenient way (i.e. main principles, aids, and usage recommendations present inside the product).
The concept of a simple GUI and enhanced ergonomics
Having accumulated the experience of our partners and clients, who have used our technology for their everyday needs, we are now ready to make a new step forward in the development of the top Control Panel. Now the Control Panel is a complete solution, rather than just a toolbar: it has a brand new look and structure, it employs
Bitrix products used to have four content modes (four tabs): Browse, Content, Design, and Control Panel. However, we established that the second mode (the Content mode / tab) was rarely used by content managers and website administrators, and that the third one (the Design mode / tab) displayed way too many elements, sometimes bringing a lot of confusion about what exactly should or could be modified, added, or removed from the page. To be honest, it was rather messy. The new Amber Toolbar offers two basic modes:
Site Mode - the front end of your website or portal where you can make changes and see them taking place instantly
Control Panel Mode - the back end of your website or portal where you can create, manage or modify any element or setting of your web project.
Site Mode / Front-end page
Control Panel Mode / Bitrix Desktop
Both modes, as before, can be seen and accessed only if you have logged in and have appropriate access permissions.
Amber continues using the concept of an "editing layer": a set of visible access options which allow you to change elements and components on a web page directly from the front end of your website or portal. Content management with Bitrix products remains quick, simple, and efficient. The "editing layer" can be enabled or disabled in the Site Mode.
Site Mode / Editing layer options
Now that the Amber Toolbar has only two modes / tabs and a toggle switch which enables or disables the "editing layer", there will be no more confusion about which mode you should use to edit a component or modify other element on the page. The editing layer allows you to perform instant changes in the front-end of your website. When you enable the "editing layer" in the Site mode, you can:
- manage virtually all Bitrix elements and components placed on a page (including banners, menus, the header/footer, etc.);
Site Mode / Editing layer dialog window
- navigate the mouse pointer over a component or an element to view all editing options on a mini-toolbar which can be pinned vertically or horizontally on the page (your preference will be remembered by the adaptive interface, and displayed the same way the second time you edit the page);
Site Mode / Editing layer options
- modify, add, or remove components in the front-end of your website / portal (you will no longer have to go the back-end of your site, i.e. to the Control Panel, to change a component placed on a page).
Site Mode / Editing options for an element
Roll-back / Undo options
Now, each modification performed in the Site Mode can be rolled back or undone. After you modify, add, or remove a component, or after you change the static content on a web page and click Save, a yellow bar right under the upper toolbar will ask you if you want to undo the changes you've just made. If not, you can either close this yellow stripe, or simply ignore it.
Site Mode / Before any changes were done on the page
Site Mode / After some changes were done on the page
This is basically our first attempt to employ a roll-back mechanism (like a trash can where you can find items mistakenly removed from the desktop) for the kernel of our web applications. In the near future, the roll-back mechanism will be implemented in infoblocks and other modules inside the Bitrix products, as well.
Adjustable and optimized work area
The new Amber Toolbar can be minimized (or maximized), which is ideal for content managers and website administrators who already have developed their editing routines. When you minimize, or "hide" the toolbar, more of the page is visible, but editing functions are still available. By the way, you can minimize or restore the toolbar by double-clicking it. This convenient way to hide/restore the panel is something that you will get used to instantly.
Site Mode / The Amber Toolbar is minimized
Bitrix adaptive interface
The Bitrix adaptive interface proved to be extremely useful when developing and managing a web project, that's why we've decided to make no changes to it whatsoever. Adaptive means that the user interface remembers your preferences, adapts to your content management habits and patterns, e.g. the way you want dialogue windows to appear, or the way you customize columns in result tables, search filters, etc.
Control Panel Mode / Expanded Menu
Although we adhere to a philosophy of continuous improvement concerning the intuitive interface, enhanced tooltips and pop-up recommendations will be a great advantage for all beginners who have just switched to the Bitrix platform. Many tooltips now include references to the learning courses and product manuals available on our official website.
Improved Visual Editor
We know there have been several issues with Bitrix Visual Editor that were quite a pain in the neck for web developers and Bitrix users. The Visual Editor in Bitrix Site Manager and Bitrix Intranet Portal was greatly improved and now supports all major web browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera.
Changes in the Control Panel
As before, you can switch to the Control Panel Mode (i.e. to the back-end of your web project) from any part of your site or portal. There are no drastic changes in the Control Panel mode, just a few improvements to help you manage your web project in the back-end.
Content management aids and recommendations
Under Bitrix Amber, the main front-end dialog windows now have a number of enhancements. For example, when you create a new page or new section in the Site mode (i.e. in the front-end of your website), you can instantly set access restrictions and limit access to this page or section to certain user groups.
Site Mode / Website Structure shown on the "editing layer"
Also, when you type the title of your new page, the name of this page appears automatically resembling the original name but using the symbols allowed by the system (thus removing spaces and creating a SEO-friendly page name and URL path).
Site Mode / New page wizard window
"Cache Dependencies" technology
Along with Amber, we are introducing "Cache Dependencies" technology, which allows smooth, automatic updates of pages that have been changed. This technology enables you to view all the changes make to a page before the page cache is refreshed (which is done by the system periodically, but may not be sufficient to display the most recent changes made).
Bitrix Amber release dates
Very soon you will be able to test Bitrix Amber on your website and/or portal. It is already available through the SiteUpdate System in beta mode, and on the next week we are planning to release Amber and Amber Toolbar officially. So that means that it will be available as a part of regular product update in just a few days.