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#21 2011-02-22 19:59:26

maverick
Member
From: Southeastern Michigan, USA
Registered: 2005-01-14
Posts: 960
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

Trying to theme in a way to accommodate all variations of plugins out there is almost impossible at this point. I know from past experimenting it’s time consuming as well.

Just wanted to post known issues in case it helps.

Another example that is not playing nice is MultiDoc. The controls for adding, deleting and moving articles up and down in a collection are way off to the right.

It just so happens I’m developing a demo site for someone at the moment that wants to be able to update twitter when new videos and blog posts go up, be able to tag items, and have an organizational handbook. So I’m using those plugins as I speak and thus finding the conflicts.

It may be that for now not all plugins will cooperate :)

Last edited by maverick (2011-02-22 20:00:41)

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#22 2011-02-22 20:43:04

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 8,813
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

Yes, plugins are a pain aren’t they — especially when they’re badly done like smd_tags!

I’ve been systematically going through my plugins as and when I get time to bring them up to scratch so they play nicer with themes. I’m doing this by removing most of the hard-coded colours and only applying minimal positional styling to let the theme shine through. My current yardsticks are classic and Stuart’s gorgeous Vitraux, which is my new best friend in theme land. If it looks OK in those two then it’s usually ok in most themes.

Huge Extensions tabs are also a problem — mine is colossal. Other themers have addressed this by switching to a remora-style dropdown if the number of item is greater than a certain number. Others just handle the wrapping by allowing a double-height row area or just forget fluid and go with suckerfish menus (or, in mrdale’s case, a combination of the two which works surprisingly well).

As you say, it’s taken having themes being written to find the shortfalls with the admin side, and the only thing we can do is try to make our plugins play nicely with themes, and maybe have theme authors expand the theme guidelines on the wiki to write about things that work best, things that don’t work as well, and so on so we build up a knowledge base that helps other themers and plugin writers to co-exist on the platform.

My 2p.


The smd plugin menagerie — for when you need one more gribble of power from Textpattern. Bleeding-edge code available on GitHub.

Txp Builders – finely-crafted code, design and Txp

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#23 2011-02-22 20:58:13

philwareham
Core designer
From: Farnham, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,210
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

Not wanting to teach you to suck eggs, but I think the best way forward with TXP5 admin-side is to create a selection of UI widgets that cover most conceivable structures that plugin authors would need, and then document them to hell.

Tabs, accordions, form layouts, navigation menus, buttons, etc. No small task in itself though.

And no tables for layout apart from actually for tabular data.

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#24 2011-02-22 22:05:17

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 8,813
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

philwareham wrote:

create a selection of UI widgets that cover most conceivable structures that plugin authors would need, and then document them to hell.

Agreed. Doesn’t help us now of course — all I can do is try and make my plugins as low impact (in terms of styling) as I can — I’m getting there slowly — and hope that other authors do likewise over time. btw, if you spot anything in smd_tags (or any of my other plugins) that would help make things run more smoothly / interfere less, then do let me know. Stuart does that and it helps immensely.

Tabs, accordions, form layouts, navigation menus, buttons, etc. No small task in itself though. And no tables for layout apart from actually for tabular data.

Yep. And a smattering of AJAX where appropriate to ease workflow. As you say, no small task. No doubt we could use some UX/UI expertise when the time comes.


The smd plugin menagerie — for when you need one more gribble of power from Textpattern. Bleeding-edge code available on GitHub.

Txp Builders – finely-crafted code, design and Txp

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#25 2011-02-24 15:03:30

philwareham
Core designer
From: Farnham, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,210
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

Stef, you can PM me when you come to relook at the admin side layout (and UI), I’ve got some ideas about how it could all be made more of a semantic, simpler, consistent framework and above all a lot less work to theme.

In fact I’ve done an unstyled HTML scamp of the write page already – it would be relatively simple to make a theme around that, which could also scale down to use on mobile devices. Other pages and UI elements would require a bit more thought though.

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#26 2011-03-02 16:58:01

philwareham
Core designer
From: Farnham, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,210
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

Just a quick update to beta4 – properly fixed wet_quicklink display now.

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#27 2011-03-02 17:31:11

maverick
Member
From: Southeastern Michigan, USA
Registered: 2005-01-14
Posts: 960
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

maverick wrote:

Another example that is not playing nice is MultiDoc. The controls for adding, deleting and moving articles up and down in a collection are way off to the right.

In case it helps, this is an easy fix:

Issue

  • soo_multidoc_admin css right float

Fix

  • Edit soo_multidoc_admin
  • Almost to the bottom is the css for the plugin.
  • You want: .soo_multidoc_admin .edit_widget { float: right; margin-left: 2em;}
  • Add margin-right —- { float: right; margin-left: 2em; margin-right: 40em;}
  • I went with 40em and it looks okay.

As I’ve been mucking around several plugins and source views of my websites lately, I’ve realized how much styling is in the plugins. With an admin plugin it’s just inconvenient to find and change it if needed. With plugins for front side, it’s disheartening after working diligently to separate structure, content, and styling.

It leaves me wondering – is there an easy way to move styling out of plugins?

I know some install their own forms and it seems like one or two add a style sheet. I can envision a collapsable header called plugins on the style tab, under which each plugin installs it’s css style sheet. Still dreaming out loud . . . ied_plugin_composer could have a separate section for plugin style sheet editing, similar to it’s help section.

I know, I know – a crazy idea. :)

Last edited by maverick (2011-04-14 20:23:46)

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#28 2011-03-02 18:06:02

philwareham
Core designer
From: Farnham, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,210
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

I agree entirely. It was only once I started on an admin theme of my own that I realised how inconsistent styling is in the admin side, though I can’t really point the finger at plugin authors since there does not to be any ‘styling bible’ and reusable UI widgets system (or at least nothing I can find in the Wiki pages).

I’d be quite happy to provide UI widgets, HTML structure and styling documentation to TXP5 for the admin side, and I think the aim of the new TXP5 Mercurial repo is to make it easy for non-devs to commit code to the project for review and possible inclusion.

But some harsh decisions are going to be needed on what to do with existing plugins support (especially some of the older orphaned plugins) – best bet is to get this new structure nailed down and documented early in TXP5 development and then certify each new or updated existing plugin conforms to the new structure in a timely fashion.

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#29 2011-03-11 13:07:27

philwareham
Core designer
From: Farnham, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,210
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

I’ve updated this theme to beta5 now, fixes for arc_twitter display issues – requires latest version of arc_twitter
from https://github.com/drmonkeyninja/TXP-Tweet

I’m going to change the navigation to s suckerfish type menu for the next release since this is a much better way of supporting long lists (such as having loads of extensions loaded), after that I’m going to finally submit it to textgarden and move onto watching/helping TXP5 development so that theming is much simpler to do in future TXP versions.

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#30 2011-03-21 18:30:29

philwareham
Core designer
From: Farnham, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,210
Website

Re: New admin-side theme

I’ve update this theme to beta6 now. Changes as follows…

1. Changed to a dropdown navigation system. Better method for supporting long lists (such as the extensions tab when lots of plugins are installed).

2. Added confirmation dialog box on logout.

3. Fixed missing styling on links page form.

4. Added !important to hiding CSS in custom.css, previously in some cases it could be overrode due to the cascade (culprit: evil styling code directly in HTML pages).

This is the final beta (hopefully), so unless any horrible errors are reported within the next week I’ll send if off to textgarden.

Cheers,
Phil

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