Hopefully, in the next release of the Joomla content management system, Joomla 3.1.2, we will see the introduction of a new feature called, "content version control" for Joomla.
This is a long time requested feature and it is finally going to happen.
A few weeks ago I saw some buzz and information go out about the new feature and requests from the community for feedback.
This video podcast goes through the new feature and how it works in the latest BETA release.
Overall I personally think that the addition to it is great and the way that it has been thought out is great too.
Mark Dexter has done some fantastic work putting it all together. You're awesome Mark. I hope to meet you soon.
I do have a few suggestions though and in no particular order.
Mandatory Version Comments
It is hard to tell which version is which before previewing the version manually and doing a compare. It would be great if the version comment is a required field or marked automatically to help distinguish between versions in a more human like way.
Auto Version Saving
I would love to see the ability for the system to now automatically save a working copy of the current version. Similar to how WordPress works with its versions, the CMS will auto save every 5-10 minutes and save a temp version as "working copy", this way you will always have a save version in case there is a black out or your building burns down, or the cat knocks a glass of water over the keyboard and kills the computer.
Active Version Indicator
An indicator to visually show which version is the active state would be useful. At a glance users will be able to see which version is the currently active version that is published. It might not always be the one at the very top of the list as the latest version on the top of the list may be unpublished and pending review by internal management.
While we're at it. We might as well add in the workflow approval for the versions here too. This is the last step for a lot of corporate websites that we work on and the ability to click button which sends off a link and email to content approvers, editors etc would be the icing on the cake for myself.
I suggest having the approval email addresses set up in the category that the articles reside in or the option to add in additional email addresses when submitting for approval.
This will take a bit more work and a bit more thought behind the approval side but why not take it that one step further and put a bucket of icing on the cake.
Manual Deleting of Old Versions or Content Version Clean Up
Does this title make sense? I've seen on a few WordPress sites in the past where users have saved 50+ versions of a piece of content and this is all taking up precious database space and creating many many database entries. The 50+ versions across 500+ articles would be more than 25,000 database entries for the data. That's getting pretty big, so an option to be able to purge and clean up older revisions manually would be great. A popup confirm the deletion would be really good too allowing you to delete all but the active version.
Now there is an option in the configuration of the feature to limit versions e.g. maximum of 10 versions would will help with this but would still be good to be able to purge and delete older versions.
Colour Change for Visually Impaired Users and the Colour Blind
At the moment, the colours red and green are used to distinguish between old and new content in a version. Since 10% of the worlds male population you'll be making something that isn't accessible to a lot of Joomla users. Ideally these colours should be changed and I hope they do. Red and green are fine but when they are used together, that will cause issues.
Action Buttons on Modal Popup
The action buttons when view the different versions in my opinion should be on the left to be consistent with the rest of Joomla, at the moment they're all floating right. Shifting left will just make sure they're all inline with the rest of the Joomla action buttons.
More User Friendly Information
At the moment when looking back at an older revision you're presented with all the information from the older versions and the comparison versions. The data that appears is simply numbers and digits for some of the values. This is fine for a programmer or someone who is really well versed in the content management systems and understands what the values and numbers mean. For example, User 499 doesn't mean much to most people unless you know that 499 is the ID number of the user that edited the article.
This may be just the next step that will be implemented as it is still early days and still in BETA and to be honest, if I was programming this, I'd leave out the extra MySQL calls at this point of build to to save time and get it out for comments.
These are just a few of my own suggestions and if you have any of your own, join in on the conversation and contribute to the CMS. I know you're awesome so lets make Joomla awesome