This week Nick Haskins launched an update to Lasso, which introduces real time revision restoring. Lasso, a plugin originally designed to improve the experience of using of Aesop Story Engine, is currently one of the most user-friendly and well-supported attempts at bringing frontend editing to WordPress.
The plugin works with or without Aesop Story Engine. Lasso brings a minimal, unobtrusive approach to editing that keeps the focus on content creation. Haskins hopes to ship version 1.0 of the plugin this fall, and the source was recently made available to developers and testers on GitHub.
“Our goal is simple: be a front-end editor that negates the use of the WordPress post editor,” Haskins said. “One of the last areas to tackle in this endeavor was revisions.”
Lasso 0.9.6 allows users to restore revisions in real time while editing a post on the front end. The plugin introduces a new and unique approach to displaying revisions, removing the default “diff style” comparison in favor of a simpler sliding interface.
Lasso displays the last six revisions and users can click on the time to restore a revision live. It functions like a little piece of magic on the front end.
“Because Lasso already operates within the post_content, there wasn’t really a huge technical challenge to overcome,” Haskins said. “The biggest bottle neck was finding a way to do this that would cause no confusion.
“WordPress revisions use a “diff style” comparison, which I don’t think benefits 80% of WordPress users. After all they’re not coders. So we decided to restore the post as it was, and most importantly, the context that it lives in,” he said.
The live revisions restoring supports images, markup, and everything else that you would expect to be parsed into HTML, but Haskins has a few outstanding items he hopes to polish up.
“Things like shortcodes and ombeds are not processed into HTML as they need a page refresh, so finding a way to parse these live is just about the only technical challenge that we still have to overcome,” he said. “This doesn’t prevent things from working, but I think a user expects these items to show as they appear on site.”
This is the first time a plugin author has done anything like this with revision display and restore. It transforms the process of reviewing revisions into a visual and interactive experience. Removing the “diff style” comparison makes it much easier for the average content creator to decide on which revision to restore. If you want to test it out or take a closer look at how it works, check out Lasso on GitHub.