Initiative: Improve search results in reference editor

The reference(s) editor has quite some limitations in bigger website projects. Currently it fetches all Node and Asset data as JSON and does some filtering in the frontend. If you have a lot of assets or nodes with similar names, you might not even reach the search result you need.

After a discussion on Slack, @christianm, @dimaip, @gerhard_boden and me had a video call during the Neos Sprint in Vienna. We came to the following conclusions:

  • For smaller websites with only a few pages and assets, the current state is ok.
  • For complex websites, an extended “search” interface as secondary editor should be developed.
  • @christianm already developed a custom solution for a client. This solution looks like the current reference editor, but opens as secondary editor in full width and the possibility to properly scroll inside lots of results. This very pragmatic approach is a good first step.
  • A solid solution for the problem would require an implementation using a search engine, e.g. Elasticsearch. This would be an additional requirement, but we think that websites affected (having lots of nodes and/or assets) will use Elasticsearch anyway.
  • It will be a challenge to do a search over both Nodes and Assets. Nodes are stored in the Content Repository, while Assets are stored in the database. (There are plans to store Asset Metadata in the Content Repository, but those are no short-term plans.) Elasticsearch allows having queries over multiple indexes, but still we would have to solve how to deal with the different schemas of Node and Asset.
  • Besides a search, it would be desirable to have Faceting (only showing Nodes, only Assets, only Nodes of a certain type, e.g. News).

We decided on doing some research about Link Editors and meet again for a second meeting as soon as possible. @lorenzulrich will check how other CMS integrate reference editors and post the findings here (similar to how @sebobo did it with the Redirect Handler UI).

People interested in the topic are very welcome to join the discussion and/or further video calls.

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TYPO3 CMS

  • :white_check_mark: Distinguish different link types (Page, File, External URL, E-mail)
  • :white_check_mark: Allows adding different link handlers to any database item (e.g. News, Events)
  • :white_check_mark: Anchor linking possible (yet a bit hidden)
  • :x: No search (apart from the Suggest Wizard)
  • :x: Linking to other language only with additional extension

Sitecore

Not tested myself, but seen documentation at https://doc.sitecore.com/users/92/sitecore-experience-platform/en/insert-a-link-in-a-text-field.html

  • :white_check_mark: Distinguish different link types (Page, File, External URL)
  • :white_check_mark: Has a search function

WordPress

The extended reference editor looks like this:

image

  • :white_check_mark: Has a search function
  • :x: No way to link to an e-mail address apart from writing mailto: yourself.

Drupal 8

If the demo I used is correct, Drupal 8 offers no interface for internal linking without an additional plugin. You can however use a module such as Linkit:

  • :white_check_mark: Has a search function
  • :white_check_mark: Grouping by data type by default

Adobe Experience Manager

I have no access to an installation, but I found this screenshot. It seems to be a link plugin for the Touch UI:

Joomla

In Joomla, the link editor does not seem to be able to link to internal pages. However, the Text Editor has buttons for different content types, such as articles, that generate a link to a selected article:

  • :white_check_mark: Has a search function
  • :white_check_mark: Extended search
  • :white_check_mark: Allows linking of pages in a specific language

Craft CMS

The type of content is selected before the link editor is opened:

image

“Link to entry” editor:

  • :white_check_mark: Distinguish different link types (Page, File, External URL, E-mail)
  • :white_check_mark: Search is available
  • :white_check_mark: Grouped by different content types (Entries, News, Services etc.)

This is a work in progress. Of the CMS listed here, I’m only familiar with TYPO3 CMS. If you have more insights into CMS mentioned here or have additions, please reply to the post and I will incorporate your findings. Thank you!

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