Sitecore Experience Editor vs Content Editor

Sitecore Experience Editor vs Content Editor
27th August 2019

Which Sitecore editor is best suited for your enterprise’s needs?

Formally known as Sitecore page editor, Sitecore offers two great tools to edit content, the Experience Editor (EE) and Content Editor (CE). Both editing tools offer different user interfaces to edit page content, ranging from simple to advanced. To build an effective page, content authors need to utilise both EE and CE editing tools. Enterprises who choose to focus on just one platform will miss out on the benefits we gain by grasping and utilising both.

What is an editing platform?

The Sitecore Experience Editor is an intuitive editing platform that allows to you make edits directly on the page. This means editors can view real time updates of the changes that are made to a page. The Sitecore Content Editor is designed for users who are a little more familiar with the Sitecore architecture and its ins and outs. For experienced Sitecore developers, Sitecore CE offers more tools to play around with. The way our content is presented within these two editors is very different and it is important that as authors, we are familiar with both when it comes to maintaining our Sitecore website.

What is the Sitecore Experience Editor?

The Experience Editor is a WYSIWYG platform for editing your Sitecore websites content. WYSIWYG stands for “what you see is what you get”. When you are using the Experience Editor, you are essentially viewing the page as-is. When set up correctly, you’re able to click and edit text fields directly on the page. EE makes it easy to add new components and change their parameters. Authors can see the end-result in real-time, as new content and elements are added to the web page being viewed. This means authors can understand what works best on the page and what doesn’t, through real time updates.

The personalisation of components is best done in the Experience Editor. Authors can create rules that change the content that is being displayed for different users on the site. This will essentially allow us to see the personalisation in real time which is not possible in Content Editor.

What is the Content Editor?

The Content Editor offers the entire structure of the Sitecore website, navigated through a content tree. It may look daunting at first-glance but imagine this being similar to viewing all the files and folders on your desktop, very much like Windows Explorer. Folders, pages, and other media are all neatly organised with unique, identifiable icons. Content editors can expand and collapse items that have sub items just like the Windows Explorer by clicking the “+” or “-” icons. Editing items is a little less intuitive, unlike in the case of the EE, we don’t see what the final component looks like as we are editing it.

In the CE we edit items through the content area. By clicking on an item, you are presented with all the item fields, labelled with their respective name, and the appropriate editor (i.e. text box or dropdown selection).

Now that you’ve edited your content, you might be asking yourself ‘how can I view it at this point?’

The easiest way to do that is with the ribbon at the top of the Content Editor. The tabs on the ribbon displays all the functionality of the editor. Let’s say you’ve made some edits to a component and you have saved it.

You next find and click on the page in the tree that the component is being displayed, select the publish tab and either click Experience Editor or Preview. Preview would bring you to a read-only view of the EE, while edit would bring us to the EE mentioned above.

In either case, you are looking at unpublished content. You will note that the EE also has a ribbon on the top of the page with similar functionality. It may sound like it would be easy for a user to make some mistakes in this editor but that is where having defined roles is very helpful.

How do I minimise mistakes in my content?

Depending on your role, the actions within Sitecore Experience Editor vs Content Editor might be limited. Sitecore security allows for the grouping of users such as administrators, sales, and managers. You can then define security access that gives users different rights to different areas of the website. These also define who can approve content through the use of the Sitecore workflow.

Remember that when working on the same content in Sitecore Experience Editor or Content Editor, the last save will decide what is saved in Sitecore. For example, you may be editing a page in the CE with another tab open with the EE. If you make changes in one editor and hit save, make sure you click refresh on the other to get the latest updates. If you hit save on the other editor before doing this, your updates will be gone!

Which is the best, Sitecore Experience Editor or Content Editor?

If you’re well-versed in Sitecore, you’ll probably find both editors straight forward to use. For marketers, the Experience Editor is often a favourite due to the ability to visualise edits. Learning how to use each one gives you access to benefit from the great features across both editors and cherry-pick the most suitable tool for the content. For instance, the experience editor might be a preference for editing personalisation.

How can Sitecore help me?

Sitecore is a leading digital experience platform used by enterprises globally to create seamless and optimised customer experiences.

We have over 20 years’ experience designing, building and optimising sophisticated website solutions for enterprises. Contact us to talk to one of our Sitecore experts to find out how we can work with you on your next Sitecore projects.