Burning Board 4.1 will introduce the new editor Redactor, a lightweight and jQuery based WYSIWYG editor. It is superior to the currently used CKEditor in many different ways, it is a lot smaller and loads in fractions of the time required to load CKEditor. Completely built upon jQuery, it provides a better and more stable support for different browsers and mobile devices. Furthermore it offers an awesome Plugin interface, granting us full control over the editor both in terms of resolving issues or extending it with custom functionality.
We have spend a lot of time tweaking the editor and working on its visual appearance, it inherits all style properties and automatically adapts to the used style. The message tab menu below has been redesigned to integrate visually into the editor, providing a more streamlined design. The CKEditor in Burning Board 4.0 always looked like a foreign object and did not integrate itself into the overall appearance at all.
Enhanced Quick Reply
Over the time many users adapted to the quick reply features introduced in Burning Board 4.0, but it provided just a simple message input and simple tasks (e.g. adding attachments) required one to go for the extra-mile, namely the extended quick reply. The message tab menu has been added and will aid you to write messages without the need of accessing a different page. One of our primary goals during the redesign of the message tab menu was the ability for users to instantly recognize the interface they're already used to. Depending on the context there may be a different set of features presented. By the way, you can still access the extended quick reply if you like to, that's entirely up to you.
The tab menu is collapsed by default to prevent visual clutter, clicking on one of the tabs will show its contents. The shown tabs (if they're shown at all) depend on the context, while the first tab is automatically open on the extended message form, a different tab will be initially shown when inline editing.
The smilies are available in an own tab and are available in every context. Burning Board 4.0 was rather limited when it came to smilies, the system present you only the general ones, completely leaving a user unaware of the other categories. With Burning Board 4.1 all categories are available and their contents will be loaded once needed.
As I said earlier, not being able to manage attachments in place is a rather bad thing. The quick reply (and the inline editing) are pretty straightforward: You can write your message instantly and still be able to scroll up to take a glimpse at the previous messages, preserving the context and ideally your thoughts. We're closing this gap with Burning Board 4.1, attachments will be available directly, without the need of changing to a different page.
Last but not least the tab settings is intended to provide useful options depending on the context, for example it will show different options in the inline editing process. In addition plugins are able to add new tabs and extend this tab to allow for better integration with existing systems.
Images uploaded as attachment are now displayed using their preview image, while non-images will continue to show the raw BBCode since there is nothing else to display. We're hoping that this addition will help you to write messages while referencing to your attached images, generating a better WYSIWYG experience:
The inline editor provides you with the same interface you're already used to when creating or replying to threads. Again you have the same features available as during the quick reply, including the attachment management. The screenshot above illustrates the context-sensitive message tab menu I've mentioned earlier: It offers you to append/remove the edit notice (if you have the permissions to do so) and asks for an editing reason. It is worth noting that I did not open the tab, it expands itself once you're inline editing, trying to provide you with the most useful action.
Redactor will be available on all recent versions of desktop browsers and mobile devices. We'll be focusing on keeping the support up for different mobile devices, the aforementioned plugin interface provides us with the ability to selectively apply modifications to ensure everything is running smooth on your smartphone or tablet.
That's it for now, the next spotlight will dive deeper into our Redactor integration, including drag & drop uploads, quote management and message autosave.