TYPO3 Structured Content Initiative: How we want to make TYPO3 even better and how you can help us

Annett Jänichen, TYPO3 Team | Technologie | Veranstaltungen

Creation and maintenance of content elements and content structures in the TYPO3 Content Management System should become clearer and more intuitive for editors thanks to better UX. This is the goal of the Structured Content Initiative, in which I, my webit! colleagues Lidia and Rodger as well as further members of the TYPO3 community are involved in. Why this topic is so important for us, what we achieved for the Structured Content Initiative so far, and how you can support us, will now be explained.

Die TYPO3 Entwicklerin von webit! stellt die Structured Content Initiative vor.

Background of the new initiatives concept of TYPO3

TYPO3 is a Content Management System (CMS) that develops through its community. March 2018 was the first time that innovations were concentrated on the TYPO3 initiatives. Those consist of people with a common interest in improvement of a certain part of TYPO3. Active members of the initiatives meet regularly, e.g. at the TYPO3 Initiative Week, to intensely work on their development away from the daily business. The last one of this week long, full time event, took place in October 2019 (see recap of the T3INIT19 below).

The initiatives concept should strengthen the community’s influence, according to Benny Mack, project leader of TYPO3 in an interview with entwickler.de, “[...] the people with an idea are often those who burn for it the most. [...] For us it’s – especially regarding the strong community – important that the innovation comes from the community and not from a limited amount of people in the core team.”

TYPO3 Structured Content Initiative – why we burn for it

The web needs well structured content. It doesn’t matter if it’s about a text, list, or form. Therefore editors need tools to make it easier for them to prepare semantically correct and hierarchically structured content. Sadly, in our daily work we often experience that creating such content is not always easy for editors in the TYPO3 Content Management System. We are not alone with this, for awhile now there is a constant demand for better structured contents or content structures in TYPO3 core. To make content creation in TYPO3 more intuitive, easier and faster in the future we formed the TYPO3 Structured Content Initiative.

What will become better?

We see great potential of improvement in three big areas. First, the User Experience of the TYPO3 backend: Better UX and more intuitive usability of the system should enable editors to create content faster and easier in the future, thus sparing labor expenses which can also be mapped in costs.

The second area is the quite complex workflow to create new content elements in TYPO3. We want to simplify that workflow on the one hand and on the other hand achieve that third-party extensions, like grid elements or flux, become unnecessary in the future.

In frontend we see the third and final area with potential improvement, namely in the simplification of content dispatching (rendering) and data interpretation in the visible area of the website. Therefore the initiative plans to create concepts. To sum up: what will our initiative improve in perspective in TYPO3?

  1. Better UX of the backend
  2. Easier creation of content elements
  3. Better content rendering in frontend

To achieve this, three groups work parallel and constantly share the current state and ideas with all members of the initiative. During the last TYPO3 Initiative Week in October 2019 we accomplished a lot already.

T3INIT19 – What we achieved at the Initiative Week in October 2019

In October the time had come: the Initiative Week in Festenburg in the Harz (Germany) was just around the corner. Which means, 25 TYPO3 developers met, it felt like it was in the middle of no-where, to work on the eight initiatives, completely away from daily business. I’d like to put the conclusion of this, in front: TYPO3 community rocks! The focused working on our initiative’s tasks brought us miles ahead. Without this whole week of work and its coordination would have taken much longer. But what did we achieve in particular? Despite a total internet outage that luckily could be repaired quickly - again great thanks to Kay Strobach and organizer Petra Hasenau - we have advanced the initiative on five key points:

  1. Definition of personas
  2. Draft of a user survey to create user stories
  3. Evaluation of other systems regarding their UX
  4. Overhauling the documentation for creation of new content elements
  5. Concept for easier content element creation

As most of our members met in person for the first time at the T3INIT19, we also used the time to think about our main goals more intensively and to develop a road map for the future.

TYPO3 user survey – participate!

A major result of our work is the elaboration of a wide spread TYPO3 user survey. We want to appeal to all TYPO3 website operators and editors for participating in the survey, thus helping to make future TYPO3 even better. Do you want your work to be easier in the future? Tell us, what we can improve! Start the anonymous survey – it requires only 15 minutes of your time.