Improve widget display in rich text editor
Editors have difficulty differentiating widgets in the rich text editor / CKEditor, especially in large amounts of content. For example, the BlogPostBody field may contain multiple instances of our "Article Image" widget, but they all appear as only an icon.
I don't know what the limitations are, and realize there may be efficiency issues since the lifecycle of the widget and web part have to run for the widget to display, but I'll put forward a couple solution ideas:
Option 1) Have "Show preview in editor" checkbox and preview dimension fields in widget instance properties. Instead of the widget thumbnail, an iframe which renders the widget instance would be placed with the defined dimensions. Pro: this would execute the lifecycle of each widget, providing a true view of the widget output. Con: that's a lot more code to run than outputting an image, and the iframes may cause UI performance issues.
Option 2) The global widget definition could have a field for "Preview HTML" which would be a Text / HTML template with access to the Widget's properties. Pro: this would not execute the widgets lifecycle and would not be a true view of the widget, but it would be much more efficient, and it would be more customizable than an icon. Con: Not a true preview of the widget's output, and the HTML snippets might create problematic output if not created correctly.