It’s been a long, hard road but yesterday afternoon the engineering team finally announced that the EditLive! for Java 6.0 release is complete 😀

While I was in Thailand, Ephox released the beta that I was talking about before I left. You can still play with that beta if you want, I recommend the online demo if you just want to see what I’ve been doing for the last 12 months. I was going to blog about the beta when I returned from holiday but we’ve been flat out with testing and other things for the release. That link should continue working after the release goes live in case you’re reading this after the fact.

I’m confident that we won’t get swamped with bug reports, new beta builds have been deployed to our internal systems almost daily and so it’s had a lot of regular day-to-day user testing. Speaking of which, I want to highlight my favourite feature in this release which is completely user oriented. And funnily enough, it’s only going to get a footnote on the release notes next to the big fanfare that is Track Changes.

The best feature is content preservation. Apparently great minds really do think alike because AJ posted the same thing about three weeks ago. I found it funny that people in his comments tried to work out how we’ve done it, I wonder how many of those were actually developers on competing products. As much as I’d love to show off and point out the technical genius that was involved, we need to get paid somehow and this is a huge competitive advantage (even if it’s not a very marketable one) 😉

The way it works is deceptively simple. Short of a browser crash, there is no way for users to lose their content when accidentally navigating away from an editing session. They simply hit the back button (or forward if you accidentally hit back) and the editor reloads with your content still intact.

The end result is completely automatic and allows the user to relax and forget about the fact that they’re in a stateless editing session. Ever since WYSIWYG editors became popular I’ve had countless frustrating experiences of losing content due to accidental navigation. The most common one for me is hitting the backspace key when the editor doesn’t have focus, I tend to change windows a lot and at one point I disabled the “backspace == back button” binding in Opera so that I would stop
doing it accidentally.

It’s something we have wanted to add to ELJ for quite a while, but it wasn’t until AJ came up with the basic concept that we were able to push forward. It took a few days of bashing my head against a wall and redesigning large portions of the original idea, but I’m extremely proud of how well it’s turned out – it just works!