Aloha Editor – Content editing the HTML5 way

The number of times I’ve built a website based on a CMS only to have the client utter the words “Oh I’m confused, it’d be so much quicker if you made the changes”. Right, so the CMS was a bit of a waste of time then! But fingers crossed thanks to Aloha Editor that may be a thing of the past. Often the problem clients have is actually finding the content that needs to be edited in the CMS; Aloha to the rescue!

What Aloha actually does is make the content editable right on the page; no need to jump into the CMS, find the page, make the changes then preview the result. Just click on the text you wish to edit and type away. Done! It’s hard to believe it actually works until you try it. Why not give it a go on their demo page. It incorporates a few HTML5 technologies which could cause issues with older IE versions, but the demo page seems to work (with a few quirks).

An example of Aloha Editor in action
Quickly and easily edit the demo webpage.

The core has been written to be very small and streamlined, with additional functionality being added by the way of user contributed plug-ins. There’s already an extensive API for developers to play with so I’m sure many of the missing features will be plugged very soon.

There are alternatives about such as TinyMCE and CKEditor, but they’re integrated directly into a CMS’ administration pages rather than as an inline editor like Aloha. Now before you get too excited there are a few cons:

  • It isn’t as simple as just dropping the scripts into a page, it needs to be integrated into a backend system for the changes to be saved.
  • Still in early development so could be quite buggy.
  • Doesn’t work with Opera Browser at the moment but this is being worked on.
  • Some features aren’t available yet, like image / media insertion. But I’m sure these will be developed as it matures.

So there are still a few issues to iron out but it all looks very promising! There were even murmurs on Twitter today about a WordPress plug-in and a Drupal v7 module (not 6 though I presume) in development. So it won’t be long before we’ll be able to try it out on a live site; hopefully it’s also simple enough for clients to use too!