3... 2...1... The First CKEditor 5 Alpha Is Out! What to Expect?

 3... 2...1... The First CKEditor 5 Alpha Is Out! What to Expect?

It's got modular codebase, a whole new architecture, it comes “packed” with lots of new advanced solutions for rich text editing and (well, what do you know!) real-time collaborative editing. In short: in CKEditor 5's case we're talking about a totally new product when compared to its predecessor, CKEditor 4, that we've been using in Drupal 8. 

Looking forward to seeing the real-time collaborative editing features (in particular) brought to Drupal 8.

And to be honest I look forward to an in-browser editor with an equally user-friendly interface, the same approach to usability and packed, right out-of-the-box, with as many functionalities as... WordPress's editor.

OK, now that I've shared with you my expectations regarding a CKEditor 5 implementation in Drupal 8 for the (hopefully near) future to come, let's try and fully assimilate this news.

Let's “extract” the truly "worth getting excited about" type of new features and capabilities that CKEditor's been loaded with: 

But Wait! Does CKEditor 5 Come in... 2 Different Flavors?

It looks like it! 

We have:

  1. CKEditor 5 Builds: they definitely make the most convenient (in terms of speed and ease of use) way of leveraging CKEditor's capabilities into your app. Ready-to-use editors (3 of them, for now), designed to meet different content editing needs, available on CDN, as ZIPs, on npm.
  2. CKEditor 5 Framework: comes as a collection of npm packages (editors, core libraries, build, themes) enabling you to create your custom-fit editor! Embrace your CKEditor use case's “uniqueness”, so to say, and delve into this library put at your disposal to create THE editor having precisely those features that you need and specifically THAT UI that best suits you and your team's workflow etc.

Say Goodbye to “plug-in architecture”, to one-size-fits-all editing needs type of solutions!

CKEditor 5 Builds: Top Features That Will Impact Your Editing Experience

First of all, let's bring forward, into the spotlight, the three ready-to-use builds available in CKEditor 5:

  • inline editor
  • classic editor
  • balloon editor

And now, let me highlight for you the advanced features that these CKEditor builds incorporate, those that will allow you to focus more on creating great content than on striving to edit it:

  • there will be no more uploading and re-sizing pop-up screens for you to handle! With the newly integrated Easy Image feature inserting images does become... “embarrassingly” easy: uploading, resizing and creating as many image sizes as needed for responsive design gets... completely automated. Just insert your image(s) and... let the Easy Image handle the rest!
  • you get a sticky toolbar in the (not so) classic editor and where do you add that it grows, organically, as your content gets lengthier
  • your handy balloon panel is aimed to simplify all the linking you'll need to do in your content editing box. Welcome your new link editing interface!
  • formatting (quotes, lists, italic, bold, code) is nothing but a matter of typing the right shortcuts now. Say Hello to content auto-formatting!

CKEditor 5 Framework: From a Ready-to-Use Editor to Custom-Made Editors

It seems that the team behind CKEditor 5 did listen to their users' suggestions to provide them with a framework that would enable them to create their own editor solutions.

Custom-made editors that would include exclusively and specifically their needed features (both “standard”, yet customized, ones, and brand new ones) and which would have their kind of JavaScript-powered UIs. 

Well, this is precisely what this framework empowers them to do. To put together specific nmp packages from the ones that it incorporates and to come up with their custom-tailored editors.

Editors would perfectly fit their own uses cases of CKEditor 5! 

And There's a Whole New CKEditor ECOSYSTEM To Be Explored!

That's, right! CKEditor 5 might, indeed, enjoy a VIP status, yet there's so much more to this long time awaited release!

Here are the other worth-mentioning (definitely worth taking for a spin) component parts of this ecosystem of rich text editors and real-time collaborative solutions:

1. CKEditor 4, with its 2 powerful editing features

  • CKFinder: the powerful and easy to use file manager which integrates seamlessly with CKEditor
  • Accessibility Checker: a more than handy tool which will help you make your content accessible in no time

2. CKEditor 5 Itself, available as ready-to-use builds and as a framework 

3. Letters

And with Letters we get to one of the CKEditor team's groundbreaking initiatives: to make it possible for users to integrate real-time collaborative functionality with their apps!

In this respect, Letters are the ready-to-use tool that can be used for real-time collaborative writing and which, moreover, “spoils” its users with an impressive UX

4. CKEditor Cloud Services

The SAS cloud, which makes implementing and deploying real-time collaborative editing... piece of cake!

And this is where I should mention, once again, the Easy Image feature (whose functionality I've already detailed), since it's a plugin offered by the Cloud Services.

Now I feel I should stop here with my presentation of the “shiny and new” and so very promising CKEditor 5 (along with the ecosystem that it's a part of). Since we're talking about an alpha release of CKEditor 5 (the first one), the team is still “issue tracking”, feature previewing, user feedback collecting and code revising. So, it's still early talk.

Nevertheless, I can't hide that I'm eager to see these advanced features, these collaborative (in real time!) solutions and the great UI (even the new approach to API, which I haven't mentioned here) being implemented in Drupal 8. Hope this will happen sooner than later!