The WordPress post and page editors can often feel like a part of the software that is lagging behind the rest of the platform. Constantly switching between the editor and the front-end view of a post is a less than ideal way to work, especially when trying to get the presentation of your content just right.
With that in mind, it is exciting to know that the WordPress development team are working on adding in-line editing – where you work on your posts as they appear to readers, through the front-end of your site – to the software.
In a recent post, Tom covered the implications of the imminent arrival of in-line, front-end editing to WordPress; but if you can’t wait until it becomes a part of the core functionality, here are some in-line front-end content editing options you can try today.
WordPress Front-end Editor
This plugin is being worked on by the some of the members of the WordPress core development team, and is expected to be included in the core functionally of WordPress in the future. This means front-end in-line content editing is finally coming to WordPress!
The features so far allow you to edit the title and content of a blog post directly from the front-end of your website, provided you are logged into the site. To add and edit content, it’s simply a case of clicking on the text and typing – it’s surprisingly easy to use.
To allow you to edit the content as you would via the standard post editor, this plugin adds a fixed horizontal menu bar to the top of the screen, which contains all the post editing tools. This includes formatting options, buttons for inserting links and images, and the ability to manage categories and tags, plus more. You can also save or publish your post from the front-end and if at any point you want to switch to the traditional WordPress post editor, there is a handy button for that too.
If you can’t wait and want to start editing content in-line on your site now, you are free to install the WordPress Front-end Editor plugin. Be warned though, this is a work in progress and isn’t yet the finished product.
Pros: free, easy to use, nice interface, and seems to work well.
Cons: still a work in progress, doesn’t include page layout options, only editing and formatting content.
Users who want something more polished might find the other plugins on this list more appealing, however if you want a preview of the future, then you can install this plugin directly from your WordPress admin dashboard.
Visual Composer by WP Bakery is a premium plugin you might have heard of; mainly due to the fact it’s the one of the top 3 selling plugins at the CodeCanyon marketplace. While this plugin has been a very popular WordPress back-end page builder for some time now, a recent update added front-end content editing to Visual Composer, making it a more than worthy addition to this list.
As well as the 40+ content elements that can easily be added to your pages, and then moved into position using the drag and drop editor, you can now edit the content as your readers would see, thanks to the true “What You See Is What You Get” editor, all from the front-end of your site. The front-end editor of Visual Composer is now being integrated into the most popular themes by WPExplorer, which should give you a good idea of just how good this plugin is.
Pros: tried and tested by 1,000s of users, many content elements, front-end drag and drop editing, lots of plugins for extending the features.
Cons: not free, lots of feature to become familiar with.
Barley – Inline Editing Plugin for WordPress
Barley is a front-end in-line content editor that is now available for WordPress. This option works in a similar way to the WordPress Front-end Editor plugin, and once its installed, logged in users can click on their post content to begin editing it through the front-end of their site.
Any part of the post can be edited including the title, simply by clicking and then typing. Instead of showing a fixed toolbar containing the formatting options, Barley displays a context sensitive menu, depending on what you are doing. Like the in-development Front-end Editor, you can edit the categories and tags of a post, through the front-end view. Adding images and setting a featured image is also easy to do through the front-end.
While Barely works really well, there isn’t much to separate it from the work in progress WP Front-end Editor, and if that plugin does get rolled up into the WordPress core, it’s hard to see where Barely for WordPress will find its audience.
Pros: works really well, nice interface, support forums, help videos, and tickets.
Cons: not free, not able to create advanced layouts.
Live Composer is an affordable premium plugin that allows you to build custom layouts for your pages through the front-end of your WordPress site. We published a full overview of Live Composer recently, where you can find out about all of its features, so today we will just look at its front-end editing capabilities.
Although this plugin includes a lot more features than the two options covered so far, this comes at the cost of ease of use and simplicity. Live Composer can’t really be considered an in-line editor, as although you can edit the fonts, and other presentation aspects through the front-end of your site, you can’t edit text directly on the page. To do so you must activate a modal overlay window and then begin typing.
If you want a front-end page builder tool that gives you a live preview of your layouts and designs as they take shape, all through a drag and drop interface, then Live Composer could be a good value choice. But for those who just want a simple way to edit their content directly in-line, then this isn’t the best option.
Pros: create page layouts, change fonts and styling of text, add multiple modules to the page, relatively affordable for a premium plugin.
Cons: no real in-line text editing,busy interface,lack of simplicity, not free.
VelocityPage has more in common with Live Composer than the WordPress Front-end Editor plugin, thanks mainly to its page building tools. However, as this plugin does aim to do away with the WordPress admin interface, in-line editing is definitely one area the developers have got in their sights.
Once installed on a site, logged in users who are viewing a page can click on the ‘Edit’ button to begin making changes to the content in-line from the front-end. The interface for editing page content is similar to Barley, in that a context sensitive menu is displayed when interacting with the content. However this plugin goes beyond just allowing you to edit content in-line.
VelocityPage can be used to build layouts, insert many different elements into pages and comes with a selection of high quality page templates. But ignoring the other features, as just an in-line editor, this plugin does a great job. However one big omission is that it only works on pages, and not posts. If you are simply looking for a way to edit your content in-line from the front-end, then VelocityPage might be overkill for your needs and budget. However, if you want to create layouts and add a range of page elements into your pages too, then it’s a quality product.
Pros: does in-line content editing well, easy to use, feels like a part of WordPress, lots of page builder features.
Cons: doesn’t work on posts,relatively expensive, perhaps overkill for those seeking just an in-line editor.
As you can see, there are a number of developers working on adding in-line content editing to WordPress. Whether you like this way of using WordPress or not, with the software expected to soon include front-end editing, it looks like this feature is here to stay.
What do you think of front-end editors for WordPress? Would you use this feature on your site?