Real Preview for Joomla! lets you preview changes to Joomla articles in the context of the full site display. We didn't want to see a tiny little pop up window with nothing in it apart from the article text. Nor did the clients we work with.
Client and user feedback is a pain that should be embraced
When training our clients in using Joomla we noticed a disappointment from Joomla admin users when they first use that preview button. Digging deeper into the clients expectation we found that they were expecting to see their article in the context of their website - not to see a joomla pop up window showing them what they can already see in the editor. You couldn't see the real version in all its glory, certainly not with plugins and modules. In addition people often asked questions about can you or why can't you see article version history in Joomla.
Previewing articles cant be that hard why hasn't it been done before?
It seems so obvious really. So we set our minds to the task of getting real previews of Joomla articles before their changes are published. The final solution has to preserve the Joomla article id and the important menu id reference 'Itemid' in order to get a preview with modules showing. The preview also had to render any plugin syntax too. After some head scratching it became clear to see previews you need versions of the article. So what is Joomla missing apart from real previews? Versions!
You can't have preview of Joomla articles without some form of Joomla version control
In short we needed versions of articles for real-time previews otherwise we cant work around the core data model. The result is Real Preview for Joomla - a component that provides two missing pieces of functionality to Joomla: real time previews and simple version control.