Introducing Crafter CMS 3.1
- General, Crafter Studio, Crafter Engine, Crafter Profile, Crafter Social, Headless CMS, Decoupled-CMS, SPA, Elastic Scalability, DevOps, Architecture
Crafter CMS 3.1 Community Edition just released and we couldn't be more excited! It's a huge release that continues to re-define CMS as a pivotal component of a best-of-breed digital experience stack for highly innovative organizations. That sounds like marketing speak but it’s not. The Crafter CMS 3.1 release doubles down on our mission as a CMS platform to help organizations build and operate cloud-scale digital experience applications using modern tools and methods. Crafter CMS is great for authors and at the same time gives developers and operations the ability to innovate quickly with the technology, tools and processes they want. Let’s take a look at some of the new capabilities in Crafter CMS 3.1 that makes this possible.
Headless CMS In-Context Editing, Anywhere
Crafter CMS lets your content authors manage content for any applications, websites, portals, kiosks, VR or AR experiences, native apps, chatbots and other experiences using easy-to-use web-based tools with the drag-and-drop style tools that they had before headless CMS came along and re-introduced clumsy forms and publish-to-preview workflows. Crafter’s in-context editing, drag-and-drop, multi-channel preview, targeting and other tools make editing headless content just as easy as it was with traditional CMS tools. Crafter CMS 3.1 improves Studio’s ability to integrate authoring capabiltiies with any application, running on any server, written in any language/framework.
Planet-Scale Serverless Dynamic Content Delivery
Crafter CMS 3.1 supports planet-scale, elastic content delivery in a whole new and truly serverless fashion. You can now elastically scale up or down to any size, anywhere in the world more easily using standard cloud orchestration technologies and tooling with our new serverless architecture. To achieve this we’ve added diskless support to Crafter Engine that integrates directly with globally-distributed, cloud-based blob storage APIs (S3, S3 compatible) and Elasticsearch services. Further, we added native support for containers and container orchestration through out-of-the-box support for Docker and Kubernetes. Operating and scaling your CMS has never been easier, more reliable or more scalable.
Crafter CMS is a GraphQL Server for Content
Crafter CMS is now a full-featured GraphQL server! What is GraphQL? GraphQL is a popular open-source data query and manipulation language for APIs. GraphQL offers a platform-agnostic interface for retrieving content and data through an interface that is widely adopted by the development community at large. Further, GraphQL has bindings for nearly every programming language. Crafter CMS 3.1 introduces native GraphQL support that makes your content available as RESTful APIs via standard GraphQL query language mechanics. Crafter's GraphQL server is blindingly fast and easy-to-use. We automatically manage your schema for you based on content type definitions and we provide out-of-the box integration with GraphiQL interface to help you quickly create your GraphQL queries.
Native Elasticsearch Support
Crafter CMS now has native Elasticsearch support. Elasticsearch is an open source, lucene-based search index and information retrieval engine. We automatically index all of your content including rich documents and media into Elasticsearch. Our Elasticsearch integration supports keyword search, fuzzy-matching, "more like this", "did you mean?", suggestions functionality and other advanced features to support content search, query and other sophisticated content retrieval use cases. Elasticsearch is alterative to Apache Solr, a lucene-based search platform that Crafter CMS already supports.
Crafter Studio Updates
In addition to all the powerful content delivery capabilities we've added in Crafter CMS 3.1, we've also made some major upgrades to Crafter Studio. There are too many to list in this blog but let's take a quick look at some of the major updates.
Crafter Studio clustering just got a major upgrade with Crafter CMS 3.1 release. Our new clustering has a master-master topology that gives you a much higher level of reliability and improved write performance. Further, because Crafter Studio’s repository is Git-based our clustering is much more distributable than what you see with traditional CMS platforms that attempt to cluster on top of pure database and JCR stores. Is the cluster hard to set up? No. It’s a snap. With Crafter CMS 3.1, Studio configuration is extremely simple. Studio nodes automatically discover and join the cluster when they come online.
Crafter Studio is a multi-tenant web-based authoring application that supports fine grained permissions per site and per role. Crafter CMS 3.1 introduces the concept of organization into Crafter Studio’s management and authorization scheme enabling you to more easily group and manage sites across multiple departments or organizations.
New CMS Search Interface
Crafter’s Studio content search just got a major capability boost and a facelift! Search inside the CMS is now more beautiful / visual and we’ve introduced out-of-the-box filters that make search easier than ever to use. Under the hood we’ve also done a lot of work to Crafter Studio's search capability. You can expect to see much more search-driven authoring tools in the near future.
Rich Text Editor Upgrade
We updated our Rich Text Editor (RTE) to TinyMCE 5. Great rich text editing capabilities are an extremely important part of any CMS platform. Crafter CMS 3.1 now lets you take advantage of TinyMCE’s latest and greatest stable feature set.
New Code Editors
New Video Center Blueprint
In recent years video has become one of the most important mediums for marketing, corporate communications, education and training. Organizations are looking for feature-rich, secure, branded distribution channels for both live and on-demand video content. To this end, Crafter CMS 3.1 introduces a brand new Video Center blueprint. Now you can quickly spin up and configure any number of private "Youtube-like", consumer-grade video sites to manage and distribute your live and on-demand video content. The blueprint is beautifully built on React JS as a Headless SPA application. It’s fully extensible and it is integrated with Youtube and AWS Elemental Media Services right out-of-the-box
You can find more in-depth coverage of Crafter CMS architecture here along with complete list of features and other updates for the release in the Crafter CMS 3.1 Release Notes. You can download and try Crafter CMS 3.1 for yourself here.
Russ Danner is VP Products at Crafter Software and is responsible for product management, product development and support, and client and partner success. Russ brings over 20 years of software architecture, design, and implementation experience. Prior to Crafter Software, Russ was Web Experience Management Practice Director at Rivet Logic and project lead for the open source Crafter CMS project.