27 Apr 2022

How you'll get your best work done with Wagtail 3

Join us for a quick tour of Wagtail 3 and see how the new features help everyone on a content team — from developers who deploy code to editors who craft content — do their best creative work.

Meagen Voss

Meagen Voss

Wagtail community manager

What many people love about Wagtail is that it supports everyone's creativity. Whether you're a developer who wants the freedom to build a custom feature or an editor who wants to focus more on content than code, Wagtail supports the ingenuity of each member of a content team.

With Wagtail 3 out in the world now, we've rolled out many new features and changes. Let's have a look at how these changes will help people focus more on the creative sparks that make their content unique.

A slim, yet powerful, sidebar

Our new sidebar in Wagtail 3 has a slim mode that gives editors more room on the screen to work with their content. This feature will be especially useful for anyone who prefers to modify their content on a tablet. Hovering over the menu items in slim mode also provides useful tooltips that help you find the settings you need. The new sidebar also provides more options for supporting users who need assistive technologies to use Wagtail.

A slimmer page editor too

As promised, we're working hard on new page editor updates, and the first set of changes are in Wagtail 3. The bulky header has been replaced with a new slimline version, with the meta data and actions moving to a new side panel that gives your content more breathing room.

Track pages better with descriptions

Pages in Wagtail 3 have a new description field. Much like a Page Type, this description is set by a developer and is used to help editors choose which page type they should choose when creating a new page. For example, if you had a Wiki Page, the description could say "For short informational pages that give advice and guidance to our users.

This is a screenshot showing examples of the Wagtail 3 Page descriptions in the list of page types.

Goodbye teal, hello indigo

That’s right - we’ve reskinned (almost) every page in Wagtail with new styles. The biggest and most obvious way this shows up is the teal to indigo switch, but there are heaps of other changes too. Fonts now use system fonts, so they are clearer and more accessible, most icons have been switched to scalable vector graphic (SVGs), and the button styles have been updated. The newer tabs are sleeker and more accessible because they can be tabbed through (no pun intended). Oh, and we also updated all the full capital labels to help screen readers, which typically assume you’re shouting when it’s all capitals. “PUBLISH” is a little more forceful than “Publish,” and no one needs to feel like their computer is yelling at them when they're working on content.

Split Rich Text blocks with Streamsplitter

Editors who find themselves with a huge block of Rich Text that they want to move around can now split rich text blocks in two, which will save your time and hassle when perfecting your formatting. Say you’re writing some content in Rich Text and realise you want to format some of your text as a quote block. Now, you can simply split the block in two and add a new quote block between them. That means you'll need fewer clicks to make your page look how you want it to look.

This is a screenshot showing the new streamsplitter tool in Wagtail 3.

Protect your most important fields

The fine-grained permissions in Wagtail are now even finer. Fine enough that your system administrator might ask them out to dinner. Wagtail fields can now have permissions against them, which means that administrators can choose which users can see and edit them. This means editors won't have to worry about accidentally changing your most important fields.

Quashing duplicate images

As you manage more and more content, duplicate images often become a major frustration for many content managers. Our first step for banishing them from your system is included in Wagtail 3. This new feature automatically detects exact duplicates when they are uploaded, and offers the user the original to use instead. This is only only our first step towards vanquishing duplicate images, so stay tuned!

Want more details?

You can visit the Wagtail documentation site for the full Wagtail 3.0 release notes if you want to dig into the code. If you're super stoked and eager to upgrade, here's our guide for upgrading Wagtail. If you run into any challenges during your upgrade, you can ask the community for help in our #Support channel on Slack or post a Wagtail question to Stack Overflow.

Phil Dexter contributed copy to this article.

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