New features launching Thursday

Well, it’s been a little over a month now that we’ve been talking about our new interface and branding improvements and those features are scheduled to launch tomorrow. We’ve given a lot of advance warning on these changes because we know they will impact your clients and we wanted you to have plenty of time to plan for them. We also gave you the opportunity to customize your toolbar colors ahead of the launch, so hopefully you’re all set and ready for tomorrow’s upgrade. If you want to review our previous posts on the subject, please out the first feature upgrade post and the toolbar customization post. Read on for a recap of what’s coming, updated screenshots, and a few extra goodies we’re planning to throw in as well.

Laying the groundwork

I want to reiterate that this is a pretty major upgrade, touching nearly every screen in the system. It represents a complete rework of how the system handles administrative screens. But this update is really just a first step in what will be a series of improvements. Think of it as laying the groundwork for many more changes to come. By unifying the administrative interface across all system pages, we offer ourselves the opportunity to bring you even more improvements in features and UI in the future.

New look and feel

The most visible changes are in the look and feel of the top toolbar and the administrative screens you encounter when editing content or adjusting settings. I want to point out that this does not change how our admin controls overlay on top of your website content. Rather, these change only impact the top toolbar and the screen you access when you click to edit content or settings.

The toolbar no longer uses drop down menus. Instead, available functions are listed horizontally as menu items. A new menu item, “content,” provides an easy way to get back to viewing the website with admin controls overlaid. The other menu items should be familiar as they are the same as those that exist currently in our drop down menus.

The settings screens follow familiar conventions, but offer an updated and polished look and feel. See the images below for more details.

Control bars overlay your website content just as they have previously. The only differences when browsing the website are the changes to the top toolbar. Note that the LightCMS logo can be replaced with your own logo and you can set the toolbar colors however you like as well.

Here’s a look at the new editing interface when using the WYSIWYG editor. This same, unified interface is utilized across all settings screens.

Customize the toolbar colors

You can change the colors used on the top toolbar for all websites under your account (for details and a screen shot, see our previous blog post on this). This feature gives you even more control over the private-label branding of the system. You’ve always been able to upload your own logo and place it on the toolbar, but now you can also set the colors of the toolbar to blend seamlessly with your own brand. You access all of these branding controls under My Account –> Account Settings. You’ve had the opportunity to set your toolbar colors for a few weeks now. If you set them before our launch tomorrow, your color scheme will go live immediately when the new features are released. If you don’t set them yourself, we’ll roll out the toolbar with our default “gray” color scheme (that’s the scheme you see in the screenshots on this post). Of course, you can update your toolbar colors at any time.

No more admin templates

Once these features are live, you will no longer need to include an admin.html file with your templates. That’s one less file you have to create! For backward compatibility, if you have an admin.html file already, it will continue to be used for your login page, unless you override it with a login.html template (more on this below).

An easier way to view and change design templates

When viewing a web page, you’ll see an information button (“i”) and an indication of what page you are viewing on the bottom left of the toolbar. Clicking the information button will show you the template used by the page you are viewing and give you the option to change the template right there.


A few more goodies

Alongside these massive changes, our team has been working on a few other little features we’re rolling out tomorrow as well. We haven’t announced these until now, but here’s what you can look forward to.

  • Login page template. Include a login.html file in your design and that template will be used on the default login page (/login). If you don’t have a login.html file, the admin.html file will be used (this is for backward compatibility, see above about “admin templates”), and if you don’t have a login.html or an admin.html, the default template of your website will be used.
  • Comment moderation alert. If you run a blog with comments set to require moderation, an alert box will now inform the user that their comment has been submitted for moderation whenever they submit a comment.
  • Blog post list on blog delete confirmation screen. If you choose to delete a blog element, you’re already presented with a confirmation screen asking if you want to merge posts into another blog or just delete the blog element. Now that confirmation screen will present a listing of all the blog posts in that blog element, making it easier to see what is about to be deleted.
  • Specify body CSS class in page settings. Under page settings on the advanced tab, you’ll now have the option to specify a CSS class that will be inserted into the body tag for that page. This advanced feature makes it easier to create CSS styles that target specific pages on the site.

Launching tomorrow

This upgrade is scheduled for tomorrow morning, likely between 6am and 8am CDT (GMT-5). We don’t anticipate any downtime with this upgrade. We will post updates to our Facebook page and Twitter feed when the upgrades are live. We look forward to bringing you these upgrades. Enjoy!