Surreal CMS 5.1


5.1 is launching later today!

This release doesn’t have any drastic changes. The UI is a bit more modern, but still familiar. Your users won’t have any trouble finding things :slight_smile:

The login page is the biggest change (inspired by Postleaf). No more box! Here are some previews, and below are additional notes on what’s to come.


Here are some screenshots for comparison:

Login in 5.0

Login in 5.1

Pages List in 5.0

Pages List in 5.1

And here’s the editor (I used a very basic test page so it’s less distracting):

Live Editor in 5.0

Live Editor in 5.1

As you can see, 5.1 is still very familiar. It ships with a lighter font weight and a subtler blue. It’s a bit flatter (no more aluminum) and overall it feels cleaner. The base font is a tiny bit lighter too, which makes a huge difference in how the app feels.

What’s New

  • Modernized UI
  • New, generic pencil favicon (that globe icon is pretty ugly!)
  • The navigation menu (tabs and mobile) has been improved
  • The Live Editor and Region Editor are both full-screen (no more header in these views)
  • The gray pencil “bubbles” have been removed from the Live Editor (these often conflicted and caused confusion on pages that have regions placed close together; hovering still shows editable guides as expected)
  • The Live Editor and Region editor now properly support viewport CSS units (e.g. 100vh)
  • All available toolbar buttons have been enabled for mobile devices
  • The Code Snippet and Media modal has been removed in favor of the embed modal
  • Embedded media now shows up in the editor (instead of a black placeholder)
  • oEmbed has been added with support for over 60 providers (works via paste or embed)
  • Custom paths to documents and media have been removed and “images” has been renamed to “uploads”. (Due to a bug, the documents path didn’t actually do anything and media is no longer used either. The biggest change here is really the name.)
  • A top-of-the-screen progress bar is now used to indicate loading states (except in modals and a handful of exceptions where progress can’t be determined)
  • The payment info form has been simplified
  • Invoices now support customizable details (your billing department will be happy!)
  • A number of internal updates and improvements
  • Tables are no longer directly editable due to a TinyMCE update (see this post)

What’s to expect with 5.2

We’re not done yet. Here’s what to expect in the coming weeks:

  • Drag & drop uploading in the Live Editor and File Manager [COMPLETED]
  • Custom snippets [COMPLETED]
  • Webhooks! This is HUGE. You’ll be able to do all kinds of things with webhooks: git integrations, Zapier applications, this is a really powerful feature.
  • Editable background images We’re still looking into how feasible this is, but we’re going to try to get this into 5.2.
  • Safe writes during publishing Surreal will copy the old page, write the new one, verify the new one was written properly, and then delete the old one. This will prevent an uncommon but frustrating issue where pages become empty after certain FTP/SFTP operations.)
  • Predefined gallery types Galleries have become a bit of a pain point, so we’re trying to address this by supporting some of the most common photo gallery/slider plugins out of the box.

That’s it for now. Back to work! :nerd: :computer:

More options for uneditable regions

I take that back — the final touches are taking a bit longer than anticipated, so we’re holding off on 5.1 for a day or two.

Aside from what I mentioned above, we’re also improving onboarding by adding a custom demo site for every new user who signs up. This doesn’t affect existing users, but that’s where the hold up is right now. It needs a bit more testing and some content review, so we’re probably looking at Saturday afternoon or possible early Sunday.

Also, an updated screenshot of the live editor was posted above — the header and breadcrumbs have been removed. This concept is so nice! It’s just you, your content, and of course the editor’s toolbar.

Not sure why we didn’t do this when 5.0 came out. :thinking:


And 5.1 is live. Thanks for your patience!

I got onto CMS this morning, and can't get back to summary of sites

No, it ISN’T nice. It’s confusing. I can assure you I will be getting phone calls from my customers wanting to know what’s wrong with the editor! You NEED to add back the breadcrumbs, and make an intuitive easy way to find the file manager.


In the past, we’ve gotten this sort of response from almost every noticeable change that comes to the app. I believe the initial shock of anything changing tends to make some users upset before they’ve had a chance to get used to it.

We listen very carefully to what’s being said both on the forum and in private help requests. It may not feel that way every time, but we really do. We’re a small bootstrapped SaaS company, and we aim to please users, not investors.

That said, I ask that you take a moment to try to understand where we’re coming from with these changes. The goal is to improve the service and make it easier. I believe the longterm usability gain far outweighs the short term shock of the UI being a little different.

In the meantime, I’d like to clarify a couple points:

You NEED to add back the breadcrumbs

They were only removed from the Live Editor and the Region Editor to optimize room and eliminate distraction while editing content. When one opens a page to edit content, the logical action that follows will always be to 1) save your changes or 2) cancel them. Both of these actions are still available in a prominent location.

The breadcrumbs are on every other page in the app. But inside the editors, they serve little purpose aside from adding more links that can accidentally bump you to another page. This change lets your clients focus more on their content, which is probably how it should have been since V5 came out.

For what it’s worth, we’ve tested this approach out in Postleaf and it’s been incredibly well-received. All I ask that you give it a try :slight_smile:

and make an intuitive easy way to find the file manager.

There was no access to the file manager from the header or breadcrumb menu. The file manager is still accessible from the Insert Link and Insert Image modals as they’ve always been. You can also access it from the Sites page. (Apologies if I’m not understanding this point.)


I think I’ve identified something that was causing confusion. There was supposed to be a redirect to the pages view after saving. This wasn’t happening, so I can see where this might have been poorly received.

This has been patched, and I think it will make more sense now. Apologies for that!


Is it already possible to edit background images of editable regions? I’m desperately looking for this. So far surrealcms seems like a great tool for my clients but having to adjust background images via css is not going to work for them.


This isn’t possible without modifying the code, but it’s planned in 5.2.


When roughly is 5.2 due?


We don’t set hard dates, but 1-2 months is a fair guess.


As of today, you can quickly access the File Manager from the Edit menu.

This does exactly the same thing as Manage Files in the page view, just a quicker way to access it from the editor without having to go to Link > Browse or Image > Browse.


Any news about 5.2 development?
Eager to have background image control.


Just a quick note to say I haven’t forgotten about 5.2 — I’ve decided to roll these ideas up, as well as some really exciting new features, into a new major release: 6.0

Again, we don’t set hard launch dates due to the nature of software development, but I can say with confidence that 6.0 will be available later this year.

I’m looking to introducing a new, modern interface reminiscent of Postleaf’s UI, which has been really well received. I’m also planning to add some game changing features that will make Surreal more useful than ever. For example, you’ll have more flexibility with editable regions and repeatable regions, code snippets (i.e. “blocks”) will become a first-class citizen (you’ll be able to insert galleries, carousels, and other complex blocks into editable regions), and you’ll even be able to create new websites from scratch with a handful of responsive, boilerplate templates.

That’s about all I can say at the moment. Right now, 6.0 is still in the design phase. I expect development to start in the next 2-3 weeks, and I’ll be posting development updates along the way at @surrealcms and here in the forum. :smile: