How we decide what will be part of Perch Runway

Perch Runway is still under wraps as we prepare to get a version out as a beta. However as mentioned in our Blog post about Perch 2.6, a lot of the groundwork is in place.

We’re having to make a lot of decisions about what is a Perch Runway feature and what will end up in “regular” Perch. A great example of that is the Categories feature that we launched in Perch 2.6. We knew we needed Categories for Runway, however with that feature on the table we then had to decide whether it was a Runway only feature or if it belonged in Perch.

Does this feature add complexity?

It turns out that making that decision was easy through the lens of “Does this feature add complexity to Perch implementation, or the editing UI?”

Categories adds no complexity if you choose not to use it and for content editors should actually make life simpler. Once Categories are rolled out through all of the apps they will only have to look to one place to manage Categories no matter which app their content is from. So Categories felt like a Perch feature and it is now a Perch feature.

Enhanced versions of Core features

In addition to features that only make sense on larger more complex sites, or that are difficult to do unless you are using some kind of front controller pattern, you can expect to see enhanced versions of core features in Runway. What do we mean by that? A good example is some of the work on the History Stack.

Perch allows you to “Undo” an action. If you edit some content and realize you have made a mistake, you can Undo and go back a step in the History Stack. You can actually keep hitting Undo to step backwards until you hit the end of the number of history items you have set.

Undo is a simple construct. Do something wrong, hit Undo. To provide more ability to navigate through the history stack requires more interface, it requires content editors to understand what will happen if they decide to make live something midway through the stack. It adds complexity. However that complexity may well be justified in a larger site, with a large number of content editors.

We know from talking to you that the Undo feature is a great selling point for clients, it makes them feel safe in making edits, however it is rarely used on typical sites where there are only one or two editors. So Perch Runway will enhance that Undo functionality with management of the history stack, adding the complexity and requirement for understanding only to those larger sites that are likely to benefit from it.

Perch continues to keep simple things simple, Perch Runway aims to provide more complex functionality in as straightforward a way as we can. However it will expose more complex constructs that become useful with a larger site and more content editors.