The Strucured Content Initiative came across this question developing a concept for simplifying the registration process for Content Blocks (Content Elements). We introduced this question into our editor survey in January/ February 2020:
“Do you use this option to switch between types of content elements?”
The result: 158 answered yes; 45 no
However, the majority of the participants were tech savvy or even developers. Here are some thoughts why this question still bothers us:
TYPO3 currently supports switching between content types with no data loss, even if the new CType doesn’t have the all the same TCA fields (for example, changing from FSC’s Textmedia →FSC’s Text →FSC’s Textmedia, the Textmedia asset relations are still in place). However, the “mystery” of where the images went, and that they magically appear again, is confusing for editors, and in many cases CType switching doesn’t really improve UX.
The CType feature is most useful when realizing that a Header CE needs bodytext, or a Text CE needs an image (for example, in WordPress there is a defined mapping for which types can be changed).
CType switching isn’t helpful when switching from complex CEs like an Accordion to Textmedia, because the related records are completely different, causing more editor confusion.
In our discussions we thought about things like defining data fields like “header,” “bodytext,” “media,” and “files” that support CType switching. Or to intorduce a “switchable to” mapping (similar to WordPress) to limit the choices for switching in the editing interface, so that only reasonable switches can be made.
We’d like to have your thought about it as well. Please give us a hand on this topic!