The new Projects feature
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Last year, EPiServer released the project gadget allowing editors to work on multiple content items and publish them at the same time. Now, a new and extended version of this feature, called Projects, has been released. This blog post provides an overview to this feature, check out the user guide for a detailed description and instructions on how to work with projects.
Just like the project gadget, the purpose of the projects feature is to let editors work on and publish a number of items at the same time. This is especially useful when you are working with related items, such as a Christmas campaign or new product launch, and want to publish a set of new or updated content at a specific time.
One of the major additions is the possibility for editors to collaborate in preparing a project for publishing. While you work on items in a project, you and your coworkers can comment on the project or on individual items in the project, and users can be notified of comments through e-mails.
New user interface
You enable the project feature from the admin view (Config > System Settings > Editing > Enable Projects). The project feature is visualized with a project bar at the bottom of the EPiServer CMS window.
When you create a project and it is active in the project bar, editing actions (such as creating and updating items) automatically associate the items with the project. You need to manually deactivate the project in the project bar to stop EPiServer from associating items with the project.
Another new feature is a project overview and a project items navigation pane which display content items associated with the active project. From the overview, you can set multiple project items as Ready to publish and then publish them by the click of a button. You can also schedule items for later publishing.
In the project overview, you can also add comments to projects or project items. This is a great way to let your coworkers know what you have done, ask them to review or just to keep track of what remains to be done.
You can tag a coworker in a comment and the coworker is notified of the comment in an e-mail. If someone comments on something you have done in a project, such as setting a page to Ready to publish, or replies to one of your comments, you receive an e-mail notification.
When you are working with a project, you can preview the website as it would appear if all content items in the active project were published.
Setting up the project feature
To use the project feature, an administrator must enable it from the admin view. An administrator must also configure the e-mail server for EPiServer to send e-mails to users.
What is happening to the project gadget?
The project gadget is still there, with an updated user interface, and works as before when the project feature is disabled.
So, what's next?
Are we happy with this and are now leaning back drinking coffee? Yes and no. We are very happy with Projects and hope that a lot of editors will use it as we feel that it will make their lives easier. We also hope to get feedback to be able to continuously improve EPiServer. But there is no rest for the wicked so we have already started on the next big things to make the lives of EPiServer users even easier. We are currently working to make notifications a part of the user interface, to be used with both commenting and workflow collaboration.
Speaking of workflows, we are also working on implementing workflows to let you control at what stage and by whom content can be published.