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
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.).
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 metadata of a Page or Component
… and to open a Page or Component directly (within the normal CME interface) from the XPM interface.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.