EPiServer 6 CMS 6 R2 Beta comes with some pretty powerful editor focussed features such as personalisation and improved on page editing.
However there are some more subtle additions that can make administrators and developers lives easier. An example of this is the addition of two new property types called "Drop-down list" [EPiServer.SpecializedProperties.PropertyDropDownList] and "Select list (multiple selection)" [EPiServer.SpecializedProperties.PropertyCheckBoxList].
From an editors perspective these new properties act in exactly the same way as "Dynamic list (one option)" and "Dynamic list (multiple options)". To demonstrate I will use an example of a simple colour picker shown as shown in edit mode:
The "Dynamic list" properties both use appSettings.config to retrieve the list of available options so we’d have entries appSettings.config to set the list options. This is an easy way to provide a configurable list of options. But these options are in a config file which is only accessible on the server by server admins or developers. So it can be clunky if the options need to be changed as editors/CMS admins cannot easily change them.
Using the example above the colour options can now be set in admin mode by using a "Drop-down list" or "Select list (multiple selection)" property when editing the “Custom settings” of the property:
Obviously this means the options are stored in the database which is better for admins and developers alike. Also if the option values are set up the same as in the .config file then the property type can simply be changed to the new database driven types with no changes (I have confirmed this on the CMS R2 Beta release).
Before EPiServer CMS 6 R2 if we needed a editor/admin configurable list then we'd have to resort a custom property or plug to edit the appSettings.config file. Neither of these options are ideal. The EPiServer developers have solved this problem with the "Drop-down list" and "Select list (multiple selection)" properties.
There will always be a place for Dynamic list properties but the two new properties push the power into CMS administrators hands and out of the hands of developers which can only be a good thing.
These properties are available in the EPiServer CMS R2 Beta release and are obviously are subject to change in the final to release version.