Content Hub ONE developers did a great job in such a short time. However, from my point of view, there are a few issues that make it hard to use this platform in its current stage for commercial usage. Let’s take a look at them.
- Part 1: Mastering Content
- Part 2: Developing Client App
- Part 3: Feedback and Afterthoughts
- Lack of official support for many in-demand media types other than four types of images is a big blocker. Especially given that there is no technical barrier to doing that in principle. Hopefully, that will sorted with time.
Many times while working with CH1 I got phantom errors, without understanding the cause. For example, I wanted to upload media but got
Cannot read properties of undefined (reading 'error')in return. Later, I realized that was caused by session expiration, which was not entirely clear. Also frustrating – I got these session issues even after just navigating the site as if navigation did not reset the session expiration timer. But since that is SaaS product – it’s only my guess without having access to internals.
Another issue experienced today was CH1 got down with UI showing me a failed to fetch error. That also occurred with my cloud-deployed head app which also failed to fetch content from CH1. Unannounced/planned maintenance?
- Not being able to reference more than 10 other records limits platform usage. With my specific example, I had around 50 items of whisky to be exposed through this app but was able to include only max 10 of them. What is worse – there are no error messages around it or UI informing me about the limitation in any other way.
When playing around with the existing type I cannot change the field type, and that limitation is understood. The obvious solution would be deleting that field instead and regrating it with the same name but another type (let’s assume there’s no content to be affected). Sadly, that was not possible and ended with
Failed entity definition saving with name: 'HC.C.collection'error. You can only recreate the field with a new name, not the same one you’ve just deleted. If you got lots of queries in your client code – you’ll need to locate them and update them correspondingly.
Not enough field types. For example, a URL could be simply placed into a small text field, but without proper validation, editors may end up having broken links if they put a faulty URL value on a page.
There is some UI/UX to be improved
Content Hub One demands more clicks for content modeling creation compared to let’s say XP. For example, if you publish a content item, related media does not get published automatically. You need manually click through media, locate it and publish explicitly. On large volumes of content, this adds unwanted labor.
To help with the above, it would make sense to add a publish menu item into the context menu upon an uploaded item in a draft state. That eliminates the extra step of clicking into the item for publishing.
- On the big monitors the name of a record is mislocated in the top left corner making it unclear to edit it. Given that, it is not located with a form field, so not immediately obvious that is editable. That is especially important for records that are not possible to rename after creation. Bringing the name close to the other fields would definitely help!
- Lack of drag&drop. It would be much easier to upload media by simply dragging the files onto a media listbox, or any other reasonable control.
Speaking about media, UI does not support selecting multiple files for an upload. Users have to click one after another.
Need better UI around grouping and managing assets. Currently, there are facets but need something more than that, maybe the ability to group records into folders. I don’t have a desired view on that, but definitely see the need for such a feature, as my ultra-simple demo case already requires navigational effort.
I don’t want to end with the criticism only leaving a negative impression about this product: there are plenty of positives as well. I would mention decent SDKs, attention to the details where the feature is actually implemented (like the order of referenced items follows up the order you select them), an excellent idea of a modern asynchronous UI powered with webhooks that can notify you about when the resource gets published to Edge (just needs to sort out the session expiration issues).
Content Hub One is definitely in the early stages of its career. I hope that the development team and product managers will eventually overcome this early stage of the product and deliver us a lightweight but reasonably powerful headless CMS that will speed up the content modeling and content delivery experience.
One of the strengths of a SaaS application is that Sitecore is going to continue adding functionality without needing to upgrade every time to do it. The foot is already in the door, so the team needs to push on it!