Give Your Authors the Ability to Select Placholders Instead of Typing Them with the Placeholder Dropdown Module

A good development team will always work to ensure Experience Editor is the preferred method for authoring a page's layout. Of course, this isn't always possible, so our clients need to know how work with Placeholders in the Content Editor. It's good practice to set the default Placeholder for a site's Renderings as it can help a great deal, but there's times when one must be entered manually, and this is the sticking point.

As you can see there's no way to know what Placeholders are available unless you either have a list in front of you, or you go looking for it in /Sitecore/layout/Placeholder Settings. Hardly the optimal experience for your client and I would expect more.

The module Placeholder Dropdown is a good step in the right direction, which adds the ability to select a rendering while editing layouts in the Content Editor. While there are installation steps beyond just the simple installation of the module, I found they were only required for those who have modified the standard site configuration settings as it related to itemwebapi, so if you don't know what I'm talking about, you're good!

Here you can see the  interface has changed. It's a bit tricky at times to initiate the dropdown, and I found I had to click all the way in the left of the input or select a Rendering first, but the Placeholders are selectable.


What more could you want?

I think this is an excellent start, but I do have some critiques that you as a developer should know about.

  1. Empty Folders are selectable as a valid placeholder, so this can be confusing if not addressed since Sitecore comes with several of them out of the box.
  2. You cannot restrict which placeholders are selectable to an author. I tried to tweak the IA of Sitecore to work around this, but no luck. This can be resolved with proper Author training.
  3. In order to make room for the selection dropdown, the “Add to Placeholder” input is moved to the top of the Select a Rendering Dialog, but this can be counterintuitive if the selection limits itself based on the selected Rendering, which doesn't happen at this time but I think it would be another improvement. 

All in all, I think this module adds value to the Author experience, and well be implementing it in our current project. Modules such as this help our community and I commend the effort!