Guy MacArthur Team : Web Development Tags : Technology Web Development Umbraco

Is the Grid Layout property editor for Umbraco ready for primetime?

Guy MacArthur Team : Web Development Tags : Technology Web Development Umbraco

The Grid Layout is one of the most ambitious property editors in the Umbraco CMS arsenal. It’s a tool that allows you to create and/or place content (text, images, video, all kinds of content) in a configurable grid layout. Which is great for sites that use grid frameworks such as Bootstrap, Foundation, etc… Frameworks other than Bootstrap will need some extra setup and configuration on the users part.

And it looks like this…

Grid Layout property editor for Umbraco

It’s a similar concept to inline page editing, however, the page template design isn’t included in the editing screen. The frontend presentation is decoupled from the property editor, and the layouts are configured via the backend.

I’m still on the fence about presenting the layout of content in this manner though. It implies a direct relationship between frontend design and the Grid property editor’s layout, even though, as stated earlier they’re decoupled. It could cause problems down the road, for instance, if you have a design change throughout the site, and the content you’ve laid out no longer fits the new design. I can already imagine working into the wee hours of the morning re-entering content.

Grievances aside, it definitely has its pros. It’s fast, easy to use, great for visualising how your content works together, incredibly flexible and customizable for creating in page content and using other content within your site. And it does all of this really really well… mostly.

The airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with this property editor!

Exhibit A. - Content control insert borkiness

Missing insert control UI

I found this issue while attempting to insert a content control into a row that I had just removed all of the content out of. The only workaround I came up with was to delete the row and create a new one. Annoying, but not a deal breaker.

Exhibit B. - Embedded videos vanishing act

Just added a YouTube video using the embed control…

Embedded video

Save the page and….

Broken embedded video

It’s gone. It’s still in the content of the page, as I can play it when navigating to the page, however, it’s not longer rendering in the grid layout. Annoying and potentially really confusing to a backoffice user trying to edit the page.

Umbraco HQ is on the case… dropping the Mortein bombs

As of writing this article there were 36 unresolved bugs regarding the Grid property editor in the Umbraco issue tracker. It’s a fair few, but to be fair there were more that they’ve already worked through and fixed in previous releases.

These guys are quick and put out quality product. Over the next couple of maintenance releases I think we’re going to see these issues and more sorted out. I don’t know if this is a game changing feature but I think it does have potential.