First Impressions of Adobe Experience Manager's Next-Gen Editing Capabilities
A defining characteristic of content management systems (CMS) is their user interface (UI) which empowers users to effortlessly edit and manage content. In the realm of UI Editors, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) has made a name for itself with its diverse range of tools like the Page Editor, Asset Editor, Content Fragment Model Editor, and Single Page Application Editor.
In this post, we will explore Adobe’s latest advancements in content editing and how they are shaping the future of digital experiences.
Adobe is driving a generational change by going beyond the traditional CMS model. They are introducing a new “CMS services” layer instead of a “CMS server,” thus revolutionizing how a CMS works. This paradigm shift extends to content sources (Next Generation Composability) and editor capabilities (Next Generation Editing), ushering in a new era of digital content management.
Curious about Next-Gen Editing? In a nutshell, it grants you the power to edit content within a unified user interface (UI), regardless of its location and architecture. This seamless experience is made possible through the Universal Visual Editor, also known as the AEM Universal Editor. Don’t worry about getting caught up in the terminology—you can freely interchange these terms because they both represent the same tool.
Why is it called a “Universal” Editor (UE)?
The answer is simple. The solution aims to resolve a “universe” of scenarios regardless of its architecture, content source, and type of content. From the Universal Editor’s official documentation, we learn that this can be used with:
Any Implementation: The Universal Editor can be instrumented by any implementation regardless of its Architecture, Framework, or hosting.
Any Content: The Universal Editor can edit and persist any form of content.
Any Aspect: The Universal Editor can perform in-context editing of any aspect of the content, it can be applying styles, layout, adding personalized content variations, etc.
How does it work?
We won’t do a deep dive into the technical details here, but we will at least scratch the surface of how this works.
First and most important, the Universal Editor is a SaaS service, short for Software as a Service, which refers to a cloud-based model where software applications are provided to users over the internet as a subscription. With SaaS, users can access and use these applications through a web browser without needing local installation or maintenance. Within its “Remote App” module, the Universal Editor will load an “Instrumented Document Object Model (DOM)”—in simpler terms, a website with specific markup (HTML) that the UE will readily identify. After the website is loaded into the “Remote App,” this module seamlessly interfaces with a persistent layer via an API layer, comprising various services like GraphQL, RestAPI, and others. This integration enables the storage and retrieval of any modifications made through the Universal Editor.
Let’s look at the big picture:
For a comprehensive understanding of the architecture behind the Universal Editor, the official documentation provides an in-depth explanation.
What does it bring to the Universal Editor?
It’s worth mentioning that the UE is currently a work in progress. As of the time of writing this blog, the UE can edit text through both inline mode and a Rich Text Editor. Additionally, Content Fragment Models can be edited using the Content Fragment Model Editor, accessed from the Universal Editor. The upcoming features include image interaction, component reordering, property rail visibility, and component insertion. According to Adobe, these enhancements are the milestones on the horizon.
A noteworthy aspect is that the Universal Editor incorporates Adobe Sensei , the AI offering from Adobe. While various custom AI integrations are available for Adobe’s UI Editors, leveraging Adobe Sensei specifically provides a notable advantage. The unique benefit lies in the ability to train Adobe Sensei using your own content, resulting in highly relevant outcomes tailored to your brand.
In what scenarios would it be a good choice?
The Universal Editor claims to work with any website but of course, it is something you shouldn’t consider unless you are under Adobe’s umbrella. Specifically designed as an AEM feature, it was initially introduced as a solution to complement Next-Gen Composability, also known as Project Franklin. If you already use AEM Franklin, the Universal Editor seamlessly integrates with your existing setup.
When can I start using Universal Editor?
As previously mentioned, the Universal Editor is still under construction. Similarly, as the Next-Gen Composability, Adobe allows customers to use this tool under a supervised “VIP program”. To participate in the program, you can submit an application outlining your specific use case. Adobe will then review your request and provide guidance on utilizing these tools.
Adobe is at the forefront of revolutionizing the editing landscape by introducing the AEM Universal Editor, which perfectly aligns with the “Next Generation” paradigm. This initiative marks a significant shift in content editing, offering a fresh and innovative approach that reshapes the creation and molding of digital experiences.
With the upcoming releases of the Universal Editor, content authors will be empowered to deliver extraordinary experiences, accelerate content production, and revel in a cutting-edge developer experience. While the AEM Universal Editor is still in progress, its potential to shape the future of content editing is immense and brimming with possibilities. Stay tuned for further updates.