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PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

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Eric Steele Eric Steele
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PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

Hi all,

The FWT has asked that I pass along http://dev.plone.org/ticket/12227 to you. #12227 adds a through-the-web editor for Diazo/plone.app.theming customization. The Framework Team is happy with things from the code side, but feel the UI definitely warrants a closer look.

Also, if anyone is willing to assist Martin with improving the look of things, he's looking for for help (https://dev.plone.org/ticket/12227#comment:11).

If there's anything I can do to get someone up and running with a demo version, I'm happy to help.

Eric

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Re: [Framework-Team] PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

Just a random comment that as one of Martin + Nathan's beta-testers on
this, I think this PLIP is one of the most exciting things to land in
Plone recently (and that's saying a lot).

This is where we finally surface all of the awesome power of Diazo for
the "I just wanna get this done" themer, who has zero interest in
wading into Plone's internals.  I also think it sets a standard for
technically sane, user-friendly TTW editing of lots of Plone
configuration/text files (e.g. Dexterity views) that will continue to
have big payoffs for us in the near future.

So, try it out with your designers/HTML/CSS folks, any UI feedback we
can get now makes a HUGE difference.

:jon

On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 5:28 PM, Eric Steele <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> The FWT has asked that I pass along http://dev.plone.org/ticket/12227 to
> you. #12227 adds a through-the-web editor for Diazo/plone.app.theming
> customization. The Framework Team is happy with things from the code side,
> but feel the UI definitely warrants a closer look.
>
> Also, if anyone is willing to assist Martin with improving the look of
> things, he's looking for for help
> (https://dev.plone.org/ticket/12227#comment:11).
>
> If there's anything I can do to get someone up and running with a demo
> version, I'm happy to help.
>
> Eric
>
> _______________________________________________
> Framework-Team mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.plone.org/mailman/listinfo/plone-framework-team
>
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Re: [Framework-Team] PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

Hi,

On 6 March 2012 03:00, Jon Stahl <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Just a random comment that as one of Martin + Nathan's beta-testers on
> this, I think this PLIP is one of the most exciting things to land in
> Plone recently (and that's saying a lot).
>
> This is where we finally surface all of the awesome power of Diazo for
> the "I just wanna get this done" themer, who has zero interest in
> wading into Plone's internals.  I also think it sets a standard for
> technically sane, user-friendly TTW editing of lots of Plone
> configuration/text files (e.g. Dexterity views) that will continue to
> have big payoffs for us in the near future.
>
> So, try it out with your designers/HTML/CSS folks, any UI feedback we
> can get now makes a HUGE difference.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. :)

I'd also like to add that I hope we can avoid letting perfect be the
enemy of good enough here.

I obviously believe this is a very important feature. It is not,
though, something every end user of Plone will use: it's
admin/integrator/designer/developer UI only.

If there are bugs or things that are actively confusing, let's fix
them. If there are things we think could look a bit prettier/more
consistent with the content management UI, let's try to fix them, but
let's not let that hold off a feature that could change the
approachability of Plone for integrators and designers who will never,
ever be comfortable changing a buildout.cfg and may not have
filesystem access or a local dev instance.

Martin
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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

In reply to this post by Eric Steele
Hi Eric,

> If there's anything I can do to get someone up and running with a demo
> version, I'm happy to help.

Do we just build with the plip's config? If it's possible to get a
demo up and running instead of building the thing locally I would be
happy to review.

--
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Denys Mishunov

http://mishunov.me • twitter:@mishunov
Denys Mishunov Denys Mishunov
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Re: [Framework-Team] PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

In reply to this post by Martin Aspeli
Hi Martin,

On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 9:38 AM, Martin Aspeli <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I obviously believe this is a very important feature. It is not,
> though, something every end user of Plone will use: it's
> admin/integrator/designer/developer UI only.

Thank you for pushing this. I totally agree that this might be a
game-changer for the approachability of Plone among the front-end
developers. But even though I am excited about the visual editor for
Diazo, I am not comfortable with letting yet another tool "built by
developers for developer so that even developers don't like it" in. We
have plenty of those. If we spoil the tool and tell people — you
*just* need to hack around in order to understand how the thing works,
it will not do any good neither for Plone nor for Diazo. It's my
personal opinion.

The main points to me are (and these are just on the surface — I
didn't review the UI yet):
    - having a visual editor is great. I am all for that.
    - having visual editor that works weird, unexpected and gives
unpredictable results is worse than not having a visual editor at all.
And this part is not about prettier/more consistent with the content
management UI for sure. It's about proper UI and UX decisions.
    - the editor should be very well separated from the rest of the
Plone in order to not leak it's stuff to the public interface on the
running sites — this editor is something you use while developing.
Maybe some times, very rarely, when you need to tweak something. But
not more. So it has to be pretty well isolated from the public
interfaces.
    - if some features or UI elements/ideas are not ready for a
prime-time it's better to strip them out for the release than shipping
them raw and hope for a fix after the release.

Once again, I don't know how does the PLIP stand against these points.
The only thing I saw about the editor in action is the screencast. I
know that partially the UI flaws that might be here are because of the
UI team being inactive after you have asked for a review. Sorry for
this.

That being said, I will do my best to give my review of the PLIP from
UI perspective as soon as possible.

--
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Denys Mishunov

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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

In reply to this post by Denys Mishunov
On 6 March 2012 08:41, Denys Mishunov <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi Eric,
>
>> If there's anything I can do to get someone up and running with a demo
>> version, I'm happy to help.
>
> Do we just build with the plip's config? If it's possible to get a
> demo up and running instead of building the thing locally I would be
> happy to review.

Build the PLIP buildout. Make sure p.a.theming is installed in the
site, then go to the Diazo Theme control panel. You can create a new
theme based on a template (which is super-simple, and needs to be made
more representative) and go from there.

Martin
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Re: [Framework-Team] PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

In reply to this post by Denys Mishunov
On 6 March 2012 08:55, Denys Mishunov <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Martin,
>
> On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 9:38 AM, Martin Aspeli <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> I obviously believe this is a very important feature. It is not,
>> though, something every end user of Plone will use: it's
>> admin/integrator/designer/developer UI only.
>
> Thank you for pushing this. I totally agree that this might be a
> game-changer for the approachability of Plone among the front-end
> developers. But even though I am excited about the visual editor for
> Diazo, I am not comfortable with letting yet another tool "built by
> developers for developer so that even developers don't like it" in. We
> have plenty of those. If we spoil the tool and tell people — you
> *just* need to hack around in order to understand how the thing works,
> it will not do any good neither for Plone nor for Diazo. It's my
> personal opinion.

That wasn't the point. All I'm saying is that we don't have anything
equivalent in Plone that we can borrow UI from (apart from maybe in
the ZMI). The content management UI is at best a partial fit. It needs
to be functional and easy to understand. I'm not sure it needs to be
consistent with the way you edit a content item.

> The main points to me are (and these are just on the surface — I
> didn't review the UI yet):
>    - having a visual editor is great. I am all for that.
>    - having visual editor that works weird, unexpected and gives
> unpredictable results is worse than not having a visual editor at all.
> And this part is not about prettier/more consistent with the content
> management UI for sure. It's about proper UI and UX decisions.
>    - the editor should be very well separated from the rest of the
> Plone in order to not leak it's stuff to the public interface on the
> running sites — this editor is something you use while developing.
> Maybe some times, very rarely, when you need to tweak something. But
> not more. So it has to be pretty well isolated from the public
> interfaces.
>    - if some features or UI elements/ideas are not ready for a
> prime-time it's better to strip them out for the release than shipping
> them raw and hope for a fix after the release.

I don't disagree with any of those points.

> Once again, I don't know how does the PLIP stand against these points.
> The only thing I saw about the editor in action is the screencast. I
> know that partially the UI flaws that might be here are because of the
> UI team being inactive after you have asked for a review. Sorry for
> this.

Note that Alex at least was involved in some of the decisions, and
Nathan did a lot of the work on the file manager, so it's not like
no-one has looked at it with a UI focus.

> That being said, I will do my best to give my review of the PLIP from
> UI perspective as soon as possible.

I hope you will. :)

See also the PLIP comments, where Rob has suggested some areas for
improvement/concern.

My main concerns are:

 - That we don't end up waiting "indefinitely" for some UI
review/suggestions that then stops us from shipping something
potentially useful.
 - That we don't end up with a list of subjective comments. Actionable
and constructive criticism only, please.
 - That we don't demand 'perfection' if we can ship something that is
'good enough' to add value.
 - That we don't heave this off as something that "could be an
add-on". I don't believe much of the target audience here will be
installing add-ons and running buildouts. They'll only use this if it
ships with Plone.

To get there, I hope someone in the community will step up and help
with some of the UX/CSS elements. I also hope (and had some takers,
who've since gone quiet) we can ship with a better skeleton/base theme
than the super-simple one that's there now, which is really just a
technology demo.

Martin
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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

In reply to this post by Denys Mishunov

It'd be something along the lines of:
> git clone -b aptitude-ace git://github.com/plone/plone.app.theming.git
> cd plone.app.theming
> python2.6 bootstrap.py
> bin/buildout
> bin/instance fg

I'm working on setting up a demo site that you can try out as well.
Eric

On Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 3:41 AM, Denys Mishunov wrote:

Hi Eric,

> If there's anything I can do to get someone up and running with a demo
> version, I'm happy to help.

Do we just build with the plip's config? If it's possible to get a
demo up and running instead of building the thing locally I would be
happy to review.

--
Best regards,
Denys Mishunov

http://mishunov.me • twitter:@mishunov


View this message in context: Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor
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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

On 6 March 2012 16:06, Eric Steele <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> It'd be something along the lines of:
>> git clone -b aptitude-ace git://github.com/plone/plone.app.theming.git
>> cd plone.app.theming
>> python2.6 bootstrap.py
>> bin/buildout
>> bin/instance fg
>
> I'm working on setting up a demo site that you can try out as well.

The PLIP buildout basically does the same checking as well.

Martin
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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

In reply to this post by Eric Steele

On Mar 6, 2012, at 5:06 PM, Eric Steele wrote:

>> git clone -b aptitude-ace git://github.com/plone/plone.app.theming.git
>> cd plone.app.theming
>> python2.6 bootstrap.py

We are still on python2.6? Not 2.7?

--
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Denys Mishunov

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@mishunov








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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

On Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 12:36 PM, Denys Mishunov wrote:

On Mar 6, 2012, at 5:06 PM, Eric Steele wrote:

git clone -b aptitude-ace git://github.com/plone/plone.app.theming.git
cd plone.app.theming
python2.6 bootstrap.py

We are still on python2.6? Not 2.7?
Either one will work now.

 


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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

I've played a bit on this, amazing !

right now is not usable as it's quite complicate to define a new rule IMHO. I've added a playing theme to have a rich real example.

You can test it at :

Not skined : http://i.iskra.cat

Skined : http://demo.iskra.cat

admin/theming

On 6 March 2012 18:39, Eric Steele <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 12:36 PM, Denys Mishunov wrote:

On Mar 6, 2012, at 5:06 PM, Eric Steele wrote:

git clone -b aptitude-ace git://github.com/plone/plone.app.theming.git
cd plone.app.theming
python2.6 bootstrap.py

We are still on python2.6? Not 2.7?
Either one will work now.

 


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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

On 7 March 2012 11:17, Ramon Navarro Bosch <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I've played a bit on this, amazing !
>
> right now is not usable as it's quite complicate to define a new rule IMHO.
> I've added a playing theme to have a rich real example.

Can you define 'quite complicated'?

Can you provide some actionable feedback that would enable people to
work on making it better?

Can we consider whether this is an improvement or not on status quo?

It would be really, really good if we could test on some target
audience users. I'm not sure how we achieve that, though.

Martin
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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

In reply to this post by Martin Aspeli
Hello Martin, all

On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 1:54 PM, Martin Aspeli <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Build the PLIP buildout. Make sure p.a.theming is installed in the
> site, then go to the Diazo Theme control panel. You can create a new
> theme based on a template (which is super-simple, and needs to be made
> more representative) and go from there.

I have submitted my UI review to the plip ticket. I am not sure
whether I have had to add it somewhere in the buildout though, but I
didn't find Rob's review anywhere on FS, only in the ticket so did the
same. If the review should live somewhere else, please let me know and
I will copy it there.

--
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Denys Mishunov

http://mishunov.me • twitter:@mishunov
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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

On 8 March 2012 08:52, Denys Mishunov <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello Martin, all
>
> On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 1:54 PM, Martin Aspeli <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Build the PLIP buildout. Make sure p.a.theming is installed in the
>> site, then go to the Diazo Theme control panel. You can create a new
>> theme based on a template (which is super-simple, and needs to be made
>> more representative) and go from there.
>
> I have submitted my UI review to the plip ticket. I am not sure
> whether I have had to add it somewhere in the buildout though, but I
> didn't find Rob's review anywhere on FS, only in the ticket so did the
> same. If the review should live somewhere else, please let me know and
> I will copy it there.

Hi Denys,

Thanks for this - all very good feedback. I'll try to answer in detail
and see what we can do to fix.

One request, though: you said the structure of the theme mapper is "a
mess". Could you perhaps do a quick mock-up (low-fidelity is fine) of
the type of structure you think would work better? I didn't quite
follow the textual description.

Marint
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On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM, Martin Aspeli <[hidden email]> wrote:
> One request, though: you said the structure of the theme mapper is "a
> mess". Could you perhaps do a quick mock-up (low-fidelity is fine) of
> the type of structure you think would work better? I didn't quite
> follow the textual description.

Sure, I was thinking about it myself (I know my textual descriptions
can get really messy as well ;)) just didn't quite have time at
01:30AM :-P Will see what I can come up with today in the evening.
Will try to so some Balsamiq mockups for the start

--
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Re: [Framework-Team] PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

I've shown it to our designers in order to recive feedback, they said to me :

* It's now understable how the mapper works, the feeling that you can choose the elements on content and theme makes you feel that you can assign rules only saving the elements and is not easy to understand.

* One suggestion they made is  not showing the rules files by default, just show the new rules button, then the two screens of origin-theme , with the result at the end and a option of where you want to store the new rule ( a list of levels on the rule's xml so you decide to add it on the visual-wrapper, ... any other point.

* The option to add the rule with conditional

* On the new rule option should be a first option of which kind of rule, new static file, ...

* There should be an option to see the rules file ( that is on the editor ) so people dont' get messed with it.

I'm sending an image that as we say in catalan: it's more important a image than 1000 words

Ramon



On 8 March 2012 10:38, Denys Mishunov <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM, Martin Aspeli <[hidden email]> wrote:
> One request, though: you said the structure of the theme mapper is "a
> mess". Could you perhaps do a quick mock-up (low-fidelity is fine) of
> the type of structure you think would work better? I didn't quite
> follow the textual description.

Sure, I was thinking about it myself (I know my textual descriptions
can get really messy as well ;)) just didn't quite have time at
01:30AM :-P Will see what I can come up with today in the evening.
Will try to so some Balsamiq mockups for the start

--
Best regards,
Denys Mishunov

http://mishunov.me • twitter:@mishunov
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mockup_plone.app.theme.png (106K) Download Attachment
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Re: [Framework-Team] PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

Hi,

Thanks for this! Let me digest more fully in light of Denys' comments as well.

One thing I wanted to say, however: The goal of this is not to
completely hide the XML rules syntax. We want to help people write the
rules file, but we are not, yet, mature enough to be able to make
theming a fully point-and-click experience, and you need to be able to
think about things like conditionals and sequence. If we hide the
output, people will be confused when it doesn't work perfectly as
they'd expected.

I'm not sure if this was clear to the reviewers?

Martin

On 8 March 2012 10:44, Ramon Navarro Bosch <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I've shown it to our designers in order to recive feedback, they said to me
> :
>
> * It's now understable how the mapper works, the feeling that you can choose
> the elements on content and theme makes you feel that you can assign rules
> only saving the elements and is not easy to understand.
>
> * One suggestion they made is  not showing the rules files by default, just
> show the new rules button, then the two screens of origin-theme , with the
> result at the end and a option of where you want to store the new rule ( a
> list of levels on the rule's xml so you decide to add it on the
> visual-wrapper, ... any other point.
>
> * The option to add the rule with conditional
>
> * On the new rule option should be a first option of which kind of rule, new
> static file, ...
>
> * There should be an option to see the rules file ( that is on the editor )
> so people dont' get messed with it.
>
> I'm sending an image that as we say in catalan: it's more important a image
> than 1000 words
>
> Ramon
>
>
>
> On 8 March 2012 10:38, Denys Mishunov <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM, Martin Aspeli <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>> > One request, though: you said the structure of the theme mapper is "a
>> > mess". Could you perhaps do a quick mock-up (low-fidelity is fine) of
>> > the type of structure you think would work better? I didn't quite
>> > follow the textual description.
>>
>> Sure, I was thinking about it myself (I know my textual descriptions
>> can get really messy as well ;)) just didn't quite have time at
>> 01:30AM :-P Will see what I can come up with today in the evening.
>> Will try to so some Balsamiq mockups for the start
>>
>> --
>> Best regards,
>> Denys Mishunov
>>
>> http://mishunov.me • twitter:@mishunov
>> _______________________________________________
>> Framework-Team mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.plone.org/mailman/listinfo/plone-framework-team
>
>
>
>
> --
> Ramon a.k.a bloodbare
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Re: [Framework-Team] PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

In reply to this post by Ramon Navarro Bosch
Hi,

Ok, so some answers here. I still need to digest Denys' comments.

First off, I think the mockup is great. :)

On 8 March 2012 10:44, Ramon Navarro Bosch <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I've shown it to our designers in order to recive feedback, they said to me
> :
>
> * It's now understable how the mapper works, the feeling that you can choose
> the elements on content and theme makes you feel that you can assign rules
> only saving the elements and is not easy to understand.
>
> * One suggestion they made is  not showing the rules files by default, just
> show the new rules button, then the two screens of origin-theme , with the
> result at the end and a option of where you want to store the new rule ( a
> list of levels on the rule's xml so you decide to add it on the
> visual-wrapper, ... any other point.

I think it makes sense to show it at the bottom. I am nervous about
hiding it. The Diazo rules syntax is sufficiently flexible that any
scheme to hide this could lead to unexpected behaviour, even broken
themes, with little or no ability for the user to understand.

Making it possible to build themes entirely through point-and-click is
a laudable goal. However, it's going to need to be the next version of
this, and Diazo itself will likely need to evolve somewhat for this to
be possible in a safe way. The mapper is there to *help* you build the
theme, not take away all need to understand Diazo. That's also why we
put in the inline help.

> * The option to add the rule with conditional

We could add this as text input, maybe, but I don't know how to make a
UI for all the different types of conditions. It also gets complex
because you'd often put conditions on a nested <rules /> element.
Again, this is where you as a themer need to have some understanding
of how Diazo works and make some choices about how you structure your
rules. A system like Plone - and most static web designs - are simply
too complex to make simple point-and-click anything more than a neat
technology demo.

> * On the new rule option should be a first option of which kind of rule, new
> static file, ...

What is 'new static file'?

> * There should be an option to see the rules file ( that is on the editor )
> so people dont' get messed with it.

Maybe an option to temporarily hide it? Or having it appear minimized
but opening when necessary? I want to make it quite clear that there
is that file there, and that the file is very important to how the
theme works.

Martin
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Re: PLIP 12227: In-Plone Theme Editor

In reply to this post by Denys Mishunov
H Denys,

On 8 March 2012 09:38, Denys Mishunov <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM, Martin Aspeli <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> One request, though: you said the structure of the theme mapper is "a
>> mess". Could you perhaps do a quick mock-up (low-fidelity is fine) of
>> the type of structure you think would work better? I didn't quite
>> follow the textual description.
>
> Sure, I was thinking about it myself (I know my textual descriptions
> can get really messy as well ;)) just didn't quite have time at
> 01:30AM :-P Will see what I can come up with today in the evening.
> Will try to so some Balsamiq mockups for the start

Awesome!

I'm going to copy your review here and respond a bit - trac isn't very inclusive for this type of discussion.

Create theme tab

  • When on "Create theme" tab it should allow me to upload the theme right there wihout switching tabs back and forth. This is important — the form doesn't allow me to create completely new theme from scratch so it has to allow me to upload a theme here.
Great idea! Of course, this assumes some kind of pre-step where we build locally and then upload. I think that's one workflow. I think others, especially those mainly tinkering/playing with Plone, will want to do everything inside Plone.
  • Having some pre-installed themes out-of-the-box is confusing. I have no idea what are those. If you want to provide a demo theme it should be only one. Not 2. And should probably be renamed to something simple like "Demo theme".
The idea is that starting completely from scratch (needing to manually add the rules file, or having a blank one) is going to be a steep learning curve. We want to encourage some good practices as well and help people make good choices. So, the idea was to have a skeleton/starting point theme that made some useful choices about theme structure and provided a way to start.

Of course, the current one is a complete throwaway for testing. One of the final steps identified before we can ship this is to come up with a good skeleton/starting point theme. Some people volunteered, but nothing has been done yet.
  • If we ship with a demo theme, it should at minimum resemble a real-life theme and look completely different from Plone. The bundled examples look like either plain HTML or not finished Plone. If you want, I could come up with a basic boilerplate theme or we could take one of the GPL ones.
I was thinking something really minimal, boilerplate-like, possibly based on Twitter Bootstrap or similar. If you could do it, fantastic! I think it should be thought of more as a template/skeleton than a demo, so hence I wasn't too keen on the 'rich' GPL themes.

Manage theme files view

  • After I put the basic information about my theme I get a screen with the file browser for a theme. The theme, most probably, has been finished in my desktop application. 
I'm not sure that's always the case, especially for people tinkering with Plone ("how do I theme this thing?"), rather than designers. We want to support both use cases, though.
  • So there is no need to give me the file browser for a thing I have already finished in a much friendlier environment. I would like just 2 buttons — "Manage theme files", "Map the theme". Or, even better, go straight to the mapping process. This is important — if there is no ability to create a theme from scratch, this means the theme should have been completed in a desktop application. This means I don't need file browser for my theme. Ideally, after I fill out title and description for the theme, I need the tool to add rules.xml, manifest.cfg to my theme in the background (if they are still not there) and let me map the theme immediately after that.
The idea is you create a theme from scratch by starting from the skeleton theme unless you explicitly choose another starting point to copy.

However, I like the idea of having that intermediary step and making the choice more explicit.
  • If we will give the ability to edit the theme itself TTW is it possible, to let people preview the theme (not the mapped content + theme result, but the plain theme itself) after the changes they've made?
Yeah. You can do that in the mapper, but there was a suggestion to have a preview in the file manager too. Any UI suggestions/mockups on how that would look? You'd need to pick which HTML file to start from, since there could be multiple to preview.

Theme mapping view

  • Map theme view is a mess. It should have much better and prominent structure. Text should be consistent. If we call a panel "The Diazo rules" in the description, the corresponding panel should have this exact title and not just "Rules". Would be great instead of the page description have a short paragrpah with explanation and an unordered list of in-page links to the panels for easieer navigation.

Mockup appreciated, as I said.
  • Content and Theme panels should come first in my opinion. Moreover they should be layed out with some logic. For example

Theme → Content

Rules → Preview

If we see both content and the theme in 50% of the screen we can not show the result in 100% — it doesn't match. Moreover it's better to put preview right below the content to make comparison of the before/after states easier.

  • Rules field shows that it is re-sizable, but I could not "catch" the corner and re-size the field.

Strange. Bug I guess.
  • Any reason the panels have no editor as we had on the theme files view? It is very confusing to get different tools for editing the same information on these 2 screens.
You do have an editor for theme files, and the rules file, and a readonly source view of the content. Did it not work for you?
  • The title of the "Preview" panel should be changed. Having "Preview" as the title and "preview" as an action is confusing. "Result" as a title could be an option.
Good idea.

  • "Hover over an element to see its selector." information should be above the panel, not below. Before noticing that, I was wondering whether I should constantly switch back and forth between the "Preview" and "Source".
Good idea.

  • "Last saved:" information should be much more prominent after one has saved a selector. Something like color highlight that dims down after some time. Right now it is using the same font color as the content of a panel located on a really light gray background and you should really know where to look for in order to notice it.
Good idea. Can you suggest some styling that would be clearer? Or help fix? ;-)
  • The interaction betwen the panels should be more interactive. I have saved some elements in the panels without adding a new rule. What do I do next with that info? The info is not copied in my copy/paste buffer, the information is not copied to my rules file, for example. Probably it's not a task for this phase but this experience should be thought through. For now at least a toolbox (and the functionality of course) with a hint of what should I do now ("Want to create a rule for this selector?") should popup. Or we just don't allow selecting the elements outside of the add-new-rule process.
Interacting with the copy/paste buffer is a bit tricky if not done by user action, at least in some browsers. 
  • Why do overlays with Diazo help and new rule have such a tiny font-size?
CSS bug, I guess.
  • If I tried to add a new rule and then changed my mind there has to be a way to cancel the creation like Esc, or some button or click-event outside of the panels.
Good idea.
  • If I click "Cancel" on the final stage of adding the new rule I don't need the same "Flash" effect as when I have added the rule successfully. This makes me stare in the rules panel thinking I have actually added something. Harsh stop without any animation or flash is more suitable in this case.
Right. The 'flash' is not so much an effect to say something has happened, but caused by the rules editor coming back into view (it was faded out during the rule selector operation). 
  • On the other hand, when I click "Save" for the rules file, I would like to see some feedback from the preview panel like that flash we have after adding a rule. Just local for the preview panel. Otherwise, if I work with an element in the footer I have no idea whether preview has been updated or not — the element I care about is not visible in this case.
Good point. Could you suggest a better feedback mechanism than flashing the editor? A portal message maybe?

  • Nothing tells me that by changing and saving the rules I make permanent changes immediately available on the site. In this case we should get rid of all "preview" labels and titles since there is no preview — there is an end result in any case. Or I would prefer to somehow keep the changes I make and then have a large button "Update the site" or something like that that would push the changes to the site.
It does if the theme is currently active. It doesn't need to be.

We should update the text.

Making a 'working copy' model for this is a next-generation feature, I think. We should do it, but it's probably too much to bite off now.

  • I would eliminate "preview" from "preview/source" toggle and would make just a simple 'source' button instead. Preview is the default view anyway and it is preview at any moment when it is not source.
Good idea. Would that need to be a modal button, though? Do we have UI components for this?
  • Is it possible to save selector in the panels on click and not on Enter? This would be much more intuitive way of doing things. When I am working with applying rules I don't need to interact with content. If I need to check other pages I go to the site (that has the theme already applied by now) and check it there. Or we can have another button like "Interactive mode" for example. It should be disabled by default and no interaction should happen.
I thought it worked on click. It's supposed to, certainly - there's JS to intercept clicks when the rule selector is active. Which browser did you use?

So, seems like we have a number of tweaks to make, and some flow/layout things to change. I'm hoping to get some mockups to help guide those as per the comments above.

My last question is for the FWT: What is the deadline for getting any of this done? I could help with some of it, but I have realistically only a few hours a week for hacking these days. I'd really like some help (hint hint).

Martin

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