What exactly is Tridion Experience Manager (XPM)?

In this post in the series I’m going to hopefully answer the question of ‘What is Experience Manager?’.

From a high-level perspective, Experience Manager is the in-context** WYSIWYG editor for SDL Tridion managed sites.

Rather than using the more traditional forms and fields based approach provided by the normal Content Management Explorer (CME) interface, Experience Manager allows editors to modify text, formatting, images and other multimedia content directly on pages in their Staging website. These changes are then automatically saved back into the items (Components and Pages) in the Content Manager.

The screenshots below shows and example of what the editor would see when updating the DXA homepage and Articles page using Experience Manager

SDL DXA Homepage being edited using Tridion Experience Manager

SDL DXA Article page being edited using Tridion Experience Manager

The main benefit of using Experience Manager is that the editor can see immediately how the rendered page will look when modified, without having to wait for the content to be republished. This is especially useful when editing content that has a restricted amount of space (e.g. titles or captions) or is impacted by other visual considerations (text overlaying images, etc.).

Screenshot of black text over a dark image

As well as being able to update the content that’s visible to editors on the page, Experience Manager also allows editors to easily change the content and metadata of a Page or Component using an XPM form view:

Editing metadata using Tridion Experience Manager

… and to open a Page or Component directly (within the normal CME interface) from the XPM interface.

The Tridion Experience Manager 'Open in Form View' button

Additionally, as shown below, any changes made to the content in XPM or the CME tab when using this mechanism show up in the other interface immediately.

Animated gif of content being automatically updated in both the CME and XPM

To help further, Experience Manager also has a Device Preview feature that allows editors to see how the update pages will be rendered on many different devices and browsers.

Screenshot of Tridion Experience Manager Device Preview

Although not a replacement for complete cross-device and cross-browser testing, this does let editors quickly see the impact of their changes on the most common platforms.

As well as editing existing content, Experience Manager can also be used for adding content, creating new pages and components, and reordering items on a page. To keep this manageable, I’ll cover these in more details in a later post.

In the next post I’ll be looking at exactly what functionality Session Preview provides within Experience Manager. In the meantime, if you're having XPM problems then you can ask for help over on the Tridion Stack Exchange site or contact me directly at j.williams@wearestagetwo.com.

**In his Inline vs. In-Context Editing blog post, Alvin makes the clear distinction between the two types of WYSIWYG editors and explains that Experience Manager allows editors to change one or more pages in the actual context of the Staging website, rather than just being able to edit a single page in standalone mode.

Other blog posts in this series include: