DMS 2 will be released in the last week of March 2014. Accompanying it will be a revamped pricing/licensing model.
DMS 2 includes several great new features, new sections, and even better usability (and templates work too).
10 Highlights of DMS 2.0
In no particular order…
1. Faster loading of the DMS editor
When the DMS editor is loaded on every page you view while logged in, the speed of loading the editor is an important factor. It’s considerably improved (i.e. not slow) in DMS 2. Saving changes is also speedier.
2. Better aesthetics and usability
There are nice touches like the DMS editor’s loading spinner being your site’s chosen link color and like the prettier buttons and button text for the Post/Page Pagination section and Read More links.
The page building usability is improved by the subtle but descriptive editing region headings:
Overall, the aesthetics in the editor and for the site visitor are more pleasing.
3. Several new sections
New sections include Masonic Gallery, Navi, Docker, Maps, and more.
The full-width Section Area section was renamed to Canvas Area (more about Canvas Area below).
The Content/PostLoop section has been renamed to WP Content/Loop and is now compatible with all those things you might want to throw at it (e.g. post formats, BuddyPress, bbPress, WooCommerce, etc.). It has fewer customizations/options, but you can enable Legacy Mode to get them back.
4. The Canvas Area can be used to create your own blocks of sections (i.e. your own custom section)
You can use the Canvas Areas to create your own section. Basically, you add a Canvas Area, drag other (non-full-width) sections into it, and then you can save it (just like Templates) so you can re-use it elsewhere on the site.
5. All full-width sections get new Background Options, including Video Backgrounds
The DMS 1 Section Area had some background options. Now all full-width sections get these Background Options:
- Background Image (was in DMS 1 Section Area)
- Background Theme (was in DMS 1 Section Area)
- Background Video
- Background Color
Here’s the thing about video backgrounds: different browsers like different video formats. It’s a web browser issue, not a PageLines issue.
These aren’t YouTube video links; they’re actual video files (.mp4 and .ogv).
In addition to needing some video exporting skills to make sure you have web-optimized video in the proper formats, you’ll want to make sure they’re hosted properly so you keep good page load times.
If you don’t want to mess with that and would prefer to use a YouTube video, you could opt for the Video Backgrounds section from the PageLines Shop (Disclaimer: I haven’t tried it personally).
6. Templates work very well
One of the issues with DMS 1 was that templates could be created and applied, but they could only be applied via the DMS editor (the front-end), and you’d have to visit each page to change its template. Additionally, if you edited/updated a template, it wouldn’t push the changes to the other pages with those templates unless you went back and re-applied the new version of the template.
All that is fixed in DMS 2. Thank God.
Templates created via the DMS editor also show up in the wp-admin (back-end) page setup metabox.
However, you’ll need to understand that everything is the same across a template, including each section’s options. Templates (and all their settings) are global. If you want to change a section’s options for a single page(s), you’ll need to unlink from the template (easy), and if you want you can save it as a new template and apply that (again, easy).
7. No more confusing “global” and “local” scopes for sections
While some users considered the ability to override settings in a global region (e.g. header and footer) for a single page a feature, PageLines considered it a bug. It’s now been squashed.
Whether a bug or a feature, it wasn’t easy to always remember to check which scope you were editing. Many users I tried assisting sans screen sharing didn’t see it even via screen shots and detailed written steps. So, personally, I’m glad it’s gone (at least the way it was implemented).
8. Add PL_DEV to wp-config.php for a whole new DMS editor panel
Adding PL_DEV to wp-config.php will add a new panel to the DMS editor:
The plprint() function will only work if PL_DEV is true, and its output will be in the “Logging” tab of the Developer panel of the DMS editor.
plprint() can be useful when building your own sections and plugins, whether or not it’s a DMS-specific extension.
9. New License key registration and automatic updating system (standalone plugin)
The new “PageLines Updater” plugin will be in your PageLines account. You’ll only be able to activate your DMS License Key via wp-admin and no longer via the DMS editor.
This is an improvement for multisite installs because you won’t have to register each site/install individually. Additionally, it’ll keep all those PageLines sections updated, and the changelog messages show up on multisite too.
10. DMS’ folder structure is now designed in such a way as to let you create your own parent theme (i.e. standalone theme based on “DMS core”)
Child themes were all the rage, but now DMS can become your framework for creating your own standalone / parent theme. You use “DMS core” as your starting point and create your own WordPress theme around it.
Here are some “ah ha” moments:
- Before: You had a multisite installation with DMS + a custom child theme. Then you had to figure out a way to customize each install’s theme without changing the child theme that affects all other sites. Or you had to create a separate but extremely similar child theme for each site.
- After: You create your own DMS-based parent theme and create child themes for each sub-site. There’s no more including the same 99 lines of code for each of your child themes; just put that in the parent theme.
- Before: All the DMS sections were loaded by default, which created unnecessarily-large CSS files if you weren’t using several sections anywhere on your site.
- After: Feel free to delete the non-required sections and only add them to child themes or don’t use them at all.
- Before: You could create child themes to share on the PageLines Shop.
- After: Consider creating a parent theme to share on the PageLines Shop or even places like ThemeForest. (Note: It’s a new thing so it’s not fully documented and not 100% optimized for selling outside of the PageLines Shop, but such things are on the to-do list.)
It may also help in a few instances where you’d like to control updates if you aren’t sure that your child themes will be compatible with the latest version of DMS (i.e. automatic updates).
DMS 2, Quite an Improvement
DMS 2 is an excellent drag-and-drop framework. It’s not perfect; nothing is. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
What do you like most about DMS 2.0?