Ben Vallack's unique CMS, SetSeed, has just seen a major new update. SetSeed 7 beta.
The idea behind SetSeed has always been to create a central website development platform for developers to create complete websites for their clients. Developers can build websites using the powerful template system, and their clients get to edit their own content using the CMS itself. As such, the CMS application is designed to be wonderfully slick and easy to use.
It's that distinction between content and style that is the absolute backbone of SetSeed's design and user experience principles.
That's why, when editing content in the CMS, you won't see a WYSIWYG editor or, in fact, any stylistic representation of content. You simply see your content. Each paragraph and heading is it's own selectable item, making it effortlessly easy to apply formatting, reorder, delete and copy or paste. Just double click an item to edit text using a standard bullet-proof plain-text editor with short-codes for inline formatting.
Speed of development is also at the heart of SetSeed's raison d'etre. SetSeed is fully featured right out of the box – that means no plugins to faff about with. It also powers all your sites from a single installation, which means you don't need to install the same software over and over again each time you deploy a site. What's more, it means you can update your application just once to keep all your clients' sites up to date. They'll love you for that.
SetSeed 7 adds a host of exciting new tools at the developer's disposal as well as radically reinventing the CMS user experience. SetSeed 7 even works gracefully on iOS devices and desktops thanks to a completely responsive application interface.
Creating a responsive interface for a CMS is not a challenge for the feint hearted. Most CMS's try and emulate the front-end page layout within the back end, or overlay editing tools on the front-end itself. That just isn't going to happen on a 320 pixel wide device.
The solution is to make a bold decision to do away with front-end emulation completely. For example, multi-column layouts in SetSeed are represented by full width droppable content zones. No room for ambiguity and it all works just as well on a tiny screen as it does on a big one. When you use it, you'll wonder why all CMS's aren't like this.
Editing content efficiently requires a streamlined interface; not one distracted by front-end styles. WYSIWYG and front-end live editors need not apply.
Another significant improvement with SetSeed 7 is workflow. The all-new user interface has been built from the ground up to make working in all areas of the fully-featured CMS consistent, fast and enjoyable. Keyboard shortcuts play an important role in that for power users, and a familiar list + toolbar graphical UI makes it foolproof if your'e only using a mouse or touch.
One area that's always posed a problem for CMS's is how to handle image scaling and cropping. As a design, you'll probably have designed a beautiful page layout with a certain image size/ratio in mind. So what happens to your layout when your client uploads an image straight from their camera and in the wrong ratio?
SetSeed 7 now features an elegant and powerful way of handling images. Your clients can go ahead and upload whatever size and ratio image they like. They can then choose from a list of present crop/size profiles which you create when building the theme. You can choose to constrain or crop images and scale by one or both axis. Images can also be rotated in the CMS too. This all happens on the server-side and the images and cached once they've been modified. Your clients won't see all this happening, but they'll love how their website always looks ‘just right'.
SetSeed has always included a comprehensive set of training material to help your clients get to grips with the CMS. SetSeed 7 takes this to new levels with a fully integrated interactive step-by-step walkthrough mode. Gorgeous animated arrows guide the user through complete tasks, showing them how to work with the system as they proceed with the walkthrough. This is going to be a much loved frustration squasher.
SetSeed 7 has also seen a big update to the email newsletter system. Email newsletter templates can now feature multi-column layouts and use template Sections. This really makes SetSeed a solid contender for a business-in-a-box platform.
Other highlights in SetSeed 7 are the Embed Codes feature, theme variables, multiple gallery styles, cut/copy/paste (when working with content and pages) and loads, loads more. Check out http://beta.setseed.com for more information.