The new Projects feature

Views: 5420
Number of votes: 3
Average rating:

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.

Project collaboration

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.

Project preview

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.

 

Comments

Great to see Projects in an updated version. Is there (I could not find this in the documentation) an option to UnPublish a project? Say the editor has published a campaign, and it must be revoked - how do we acheive this without finding all content related to a project and unpblishing each page?

No, there is no option to unpublish a project today. But thank you for your feedback, it has been noted. If an "unpublish project" feature is requested by many, we may revisit
this and see if it is something we can include in our backlog.

+1 for Unpublish!

Also, does the preview facility for projects work properly with blocks?

Page preview for only shows the published versions of blocks, whereas we'd want to to see the blocks that are being edited.

Also, do you have a target date for when workflows for projects will be implemented?

Mark, +1 for unpublish is noted. :-)

Yes, the preview of projects works with blocks in draft. When previewing a project, you see blocks that are part of it even if they are in draft and not published. Preview shows you how the site would look if all items in the active project were published.

I don't have a target date for workflows but I have heard "during the spring" for workflows for content items. Workflows for projects will probably come after that.

I followed the article and enabled project feature on Alloy sample site.

EPiServer version is : 9.6.1.0

Everything works great as explained in the article except the email notifications.

I do have smtp settings in config file. "defaultNotificationEmailAddress" and "defaultNotificationEmailDisplayName" in applicationSettings have some default values still email is not sent.

Schedule job "Notification Dispatcher" is also running with no error.

am i missing something in configuration due to which email notification does not work?

Are your smtp settings configured as in the code example in this topic: http://world.episerver.com/documentation/Items/Developers-Guide/Episerver-CMS/9/Deployment/configuring-your-email-server/ ?

Thansk for your quick response.

Yes it is configured and is in sync with the article you shared.

The only change i can see is in my setting is, I am using deliveryMethod="SpecifiedPickupDirectory" instead of deliveryMethod="network".

Can this be an issue ? Although i can see that emails are being triggered from other pages, like Contact Us page.

I have also verified that the user whom i am tagging to while adding comment does have email address.

deliveryMethod="SpecifiedPickupDirectory" means "save e-mail to server harddrive", so no e-mails will be sent untill you set it to "network" instead.

If you have a specified pickup directory, you can have a look at that location on the server, and see if you find your e-mails there (saved as .eml files).

Yes, i do understand the details you shared and thanks for that. I don't see any emails stored in the configured folder for Comments from episerver projects.

Although i do see emails in the folder from other section of site like contact us.

What does the messages say under the Notification Dispatcher job > History? If you perform a number of project tasks that should trigger emails, does the job history say that these emails have been sent?

Thank you for the quick responses and details shared. 

Looks like i was stepping into the scenario where email is not sent out which sounds reasonable.

Scenario in which email is not sent, and I believe that this is a functionality: Please Confirm

If logged in user and tagged user is same then no email is sent.

Functionality seems to be working fine still i see errors in console window.

URL i am sharing will not work still posting it for reference and will help in justifying the issues.

When i load the  sample site project : http://localhost:62746/EPiServer/Cms/#viewsetting=viewlanguage:///en&context=epi.cms.project:///1

I see error message in console window.

{message: "Unable to load /EPiServer/cms/Stores/notification-…rs/pa?dojo.preventCache=1457902396137 status: 404", response: Object, status: 404, responseText: "<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Stric…↵ </fieldset> ↵</div> ↵</div> ↵</body> ↵</html> ↵", xhr: XMLHttpRequest}

Reason: http://localhost:62746/EPiServer/cms/Stores/notification-users/pa?dojo.preventCache=1457902396137 is being triggered instead of 

http://localhost:62746/EPiServer/cms/Stores/notification-users/pankajp?dojo.preventCache=1457902396137

Is this something known or is there anything wrong in my setup.

NOTE: I installed Alloy mvc sample site using Visual studio integration plugin. CMS version is 9.6.1.0

Please guide me on this.

Not sure what was wrong, i did new alloy site installation to validate and error is gone.

Kind of strange as I don't know what has changed form last installation to this one, unless I messed up in the alloysite which caused the error.

Good to hear that everything is working now! :-)

Sorry, I missed to confirm your suspicion, Pankaj. Yes, if you are logged in and tag yourself in a comment, you won't get an email notification.

How do I preview as the project.  I am not seeing that capability

Project preview

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.

How?

Bernard, you use the Preview button (with the eye symbol) just as you would when not working with projects. The Preview button changes behaviour depending on if you have a project active or not. If you don't have a project active, you'll see the primary draft versions when you preview your site. If you do have a project active and preview, you'll see whatever version that is associated with the project (this might or might not be the primary draft version).

How can I switch off this project feature with episerver 10.9.1.0? Its now default "on" without a checkbox to disable it. 

Hi Pascal, sorry I have missed your question! I hope you have already found the answer, but if not: You need to add an entry to appSettings in your web.config file, episerver:ui:IsProjectModeEnabled = false to disable the project feature.