Introducing the New Design Editor

Today, we're excited to announce a groundbreaking new addition to LightCMS — the new Design Editor. This new tool makes design customization accessible to everyone, even to web novices, with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get editing interface anyone can use.

Using the new design editor, you can easily modify and customize any of our built-in website designs with simple to use tools. You can make changes to fonts, colors, background images, and much more. Every change that is made is previewed in the Design Editor in real time and, when finished, you can publish the changes live or save your work to return later.

The image below gives you a look at one of the editing panes in the new design editor alongside the preview of the design being edited.

Click the image above to view actual size.

The Best of All Worlds

The addition of the new Design Editor allows LightCMS to provide world-class design options for everyone from web professionals to web novices. As always, professional designers have full code access, FTP access, and the ability to create designs from scratch using HTML, CSS and JS standards with no special languages to learn. Designers also have the ability to download the source code to any of our built-in designs and use them as a starting point for their own code customizations. Now, with the new Design Editor, users who don't have any knowledge of code can make their own customizations as well.

Empower Your Clients

If you use LightCMS to create websites for your own clients, the new Design Editor has some additional advantages for you. You will be able to enable part or all of your designs to be controlled by the Design Editor and give your clients the ability to edit their own designs, if you so choose. This will be made possible through two exciting new features:

  • The Developer Role: a new role in the system that can be assigned to any user and will allow that user to access the design area of their site. Currently, only account owners (not clients) can access the design area.
  • Design Editor Integration: a simple process of decorating your code with a few attributes will enable your designs to work with our new design editor. You can allow editing of the entire design or just small areas or regions.

These two new features give all LightCMS designers many more options in how they allow their clients to interact with their own designs. Of course, as always, we keep control in the hands of the designer. Unless you choose to give your clients access, they won't ever see the design editor. In fact, they won't notice any changes at all with this update.

Rolling Out Over the Next Few Weeks

The upgrades described in this post will roll out in phases over the next few weeks. Only LightCMS account owners will be able to see any of the changes resulting from these upgrades. Clients of LightCMS resellers will not see any changes when they log in (unless their account owner gives them access via the new Developer Role).

The first phase of the upgrade is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 1st. This initial phase will include the Design Editor with future phases adding the Developer Role as well as additional features and enhancements to the Design Editor. We will keep you informed of more details regarding the roll out on our Twitter feed and Facebook page. You can also get detailed information about system changes on the aLightCMSserver Twitter feed.

We look forward to bringing you these exciting new features! Thanks for your continued support of LightCMS.

18 comments (Add your own)

1. Jason wrote:
Well done! Very exciting improvement!

Tue, February 28, 2012 @ 4:18 PM

2. Gloria wrote:
Yeah, nice. But too bad it has problems with Chrome.

Tue, February 28, 2012 @ 6:13 PM

3. Jonathan wrote:
Wow, this looks great! Can't wait to play around with it. Thanks for consistently improving an already great product.

Tue, February 28, 2012 @ 6:38 PM

4. Ed wrote:
Gloria, how can you say it has problems with Chrome when it isn't even out yet!

Tue, February 28, 2012 @ 7:29 PM

5. Derek wrote:
As a designer and reselller of LightCMS, this is not at all an improvement for us - it is a huge step sideways. This may be fantastic for novices, but as a professional this does absolutely nothing for us.

For us, we want to see truly full control over the HTML (unlike the claim in this blog post). Embed a blog and have absolute control over every character of code and not force us to use the HTML you say a list of blog posts should have. When clients are paying us to design their site, why do we care about giving our clients tools to design themselves? There is a reason they are paying us - so they don't have to do it! Saying this is a benefit for us shows that EF doesn't seem to understand our needs from the platform and it makes it seem like EF is only concerned about their novice users and not the professionals and makes me wonder if we will ever see the updates we need to take Light to the next level beyond just basic "brochure" sites.

Tue, February 28, 2012 @ 11:59 PM

6. Jake Whitton wrote:
Very nicely done! While this won't help all my clients, I have many that have been wanting something exactly like this. Some of my designs might not look like I wanted them to look after my customers are done with them, but I like that I can pick and choose what I get them access to. Thanks for this and keep up the good job.

Wed, February 29, 2012 @ 9:27 AM

7. Tim wrote:
Hi everyone,

Thank you for the feedback, both positive and constructive. We always appreciate hearing from our customers and we read and carefully consider every comment we receive. Please keep them coming!

Derek, when I state that designers have full code access, FTP access ... etc., I am referring to the design files. We do realize that you don't have this level of access to the dynamic markup generated by our elements. That said, providing more control over generated markup is something we are exploring and hoping to offer in the future. There is much more to come!


Wed, February 29, 2012 @ 10:28 AM

8. JoEllen wrote:
As a graphic/WEB DESIGNER I think this is GREAT for the simple fact I'm transitioning from freelance to a full marketing company. Now that I'll be offering other services I won't have time to really dig deep in coding a website. This is great for me & WILL not make it available to my clients. The last thing I need is my creative work that I did in photoshop to create the psd design & they go changing it to something that doesn't look so hot. The whole main purpose of hiring a web designer is because we can see what they can't when it comes to designing a website. But I think this is great! When I read it I got really excited lol.

To the person wanting full control over the blog coding & whatever else, if you're looking to change that much of the lightcms frame you minus well just buy regular hosting (godaddy) & use wordpress/joomla/drupal for your clients (where you have all the control). The whole reason behind lightcms is so that it is LIGHT (simple) for EVERYONE (designer/client). Right.

Wed, February 29, 2012 @ 7:20 PM

9. Keith Storm wrote:
How does this work relative to the stylesheets? Is this putting inline styles in the html templates? That would make an awful mess I believe. I prefer to have all the style separated into the stylesheet.

Thu, March 1, 2012 @ 9:31 AM

10. Tim wrote:
Keith, great question. The design editor actually generates its own stylesheet that gets included with the design being edited. It becomes a normal file that can be accessed through the built-in code editor or via FTP, just like any other stylesheet. The stylesheet is dynamically updated every time the design editor is used to save new changes.

Thu, March 1, 2012 @ 9:37 AM

11. Jesse wrote:
I'm with Derek on this. While I can appreciate the effort the EF team has put into this, it really adds no improvement to the system for us as designers and developers.

I will be looking forward to when we can get more control over each element on our sites.

Thu, March 1, 2012 @ 12:19 PM

12. Crystal Kelly wrote:
Right now I'm neutral on the subject. I can see where a handful of my clients can benefit from this but would just create a mess of a site in the end.

I was looking through the help and noticed the availability to change the font and there were alot of non web safe fonts listed in there.

Where are the font foundries coming from? google, typekit, etc..
Just hoping not to run into any problems here.

And another question, can we limit which page templates that get the design editor? For example if I build a 520px x 800px facebook template page can the editor only be available for that template page only? Now that I can see being very helpful to my clients.

Mon, March 5, 2012 @ 3:12 PM

13. Tim Wall wrote:
Hi Crystal,

Thanks for the question. Regarding the fonts, they are coming from Google and it's all built in to work out of the box.

Regarding limiting which page templates can be edited, absolutely! In fact, you can even limit what areas of each page can be edited. You have a lot of control. I am currently working on a blog post and documentation about how to integrate your designs with the editor. We should have that published this week and it should answer all of your questions about how this works.

Thanks again,

Mon, March 5, 2012 @ 3:26 PM

14. Robert WIlliams wrote:
I'm very excited about the new editor. Great work! I have a question...

When I give my clients access to the editor, am I also giving them access to the entire design tab, including design gallery and design home. Or, will there be an option that allows them to only access the editor that you just released? I am hoping it is the latter or else we would no longer be able to hide lightcms behind the scenes??? Is this correct?

Thanks again!

Wed, March 14, 2012 @ 2:57 AM

15. Tim Wall wrote:
Robert, LightCMS branded content will be hidden so that clients will not be exposed to our brand when using the developer role. Thanks for the question! Tim

Fri, March 16, 2012 @ 1:19 PM

16. JessicaMarie wrote:
sweet! LOVIN this update. Now all we need is the ability for new sign-ups to choose their template at the start. But kudos' on this, very cool improvement. Thanks Light!

Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 8:08 PM

17. Neil wrote:
Tim, is this out already and I just missed it, or is it delayed from the "over the next few weeks" projection stated above? Perhaps because I am using my own templates, I am not seeing it yet, I will try creating a new site or testing a LCMS template...

Wed, May 30, 2012 @ 6:02 PM

18. Tim Wall wrote:
@Neil, yes the Design Editor is fully rolled out. You should notice a lot of difference in the entire design section (when you click the "Design" button on the top toolbar) but the Design Editor itself can only work with designs that have been enabled to work with it. All of our built in designs are enabled to work with the design editor. You can enable your own custom designs to work with it as well, if you choose. Details are on our support site at

Fri, June 1, 2012 @ 8:59 AM

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