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Tracker item #292: Scrap standard boxes

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Posted
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#79364 (In Topic #16165)
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Community saint

Would this change allow you to specify things like borders and shadows when a block is created?
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Posted
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#79365
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No.

You can set block styling now via CSS using various techniques, but not when a block is created - that would be a big "separation of concerns" violation (structure and style need to be kept separate).


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  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
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Posted
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#79366
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That said, it would make it easier.

Right now the standard boxes lead to a tonne of complex CSS. With CSS3 we can vastly simplify it, and then it would be easier to write a smaller, simpler, set of CSS overrides to do a per-block rule.


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Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#79368
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Community saint

Chris-

I like the second answer better than the first.  :)

I do appreciate your initial concerns but if you could find some clever way of implementing this, it would be a boon to users who don't really grasp CSS yet know that they want a border of x pixels, for example.

Bob
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Posted
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#79372
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I take your point, but besides from my engineering principles argument (which is a subtle thing engineers uphold all the time to keep the rot away - not following it can be death by a thousand cuts)…

I think it's taking users down the garden path. Sure, they can set some things on blocks, but that is far from the limit of what users want to do. They want to change heading styles, footer styles, individual colours. They even often want to change all kinds of things in context that we could never predict in advance. In that kind of situation you've got to create one good, consistent, industry standard, way of going about editing - and that is good clear and flexible application of CSS.
We've tried to make that easier via the contextual CSS editor, but ultimately the user would need to spend some time.

On the other hand, we could make this a lot better. I have always said in the past desktop tools like Frontpage made it a lot easier to edit stuff. Modern CMSs are far more complex tools as they don't manage documents in such a simple way, they weave together a lot of content, and dynamic functionality – and thus things are a lot more split up. Also design expectations are higher, and web standards are better but lead to more under-the-hood complexity (accessibility etc). But I don't think there's a fundamental reason we couldn't bring back that kind of ease that Frontpage had, with enough investment. Investment is the key word. We're talking 100's of thousands of dollars of engineering, it's really something out of reach, and there's no easy business model for it given users don't expect to pay for software licenses anymore, and the involved parties with the cash (big web agencies) don't need such a tool. If we were to persuade a few big companies to use it internally as a rapid website development tool and fund the development it would be a different story, but to do that, it's a morasse of politics and 'who you know', it's not something readily attainable by us.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
Rating:
#79381
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Community saint

Chris-

I fully take your points and you are certainly a better arbiter of what is best for ocPortal long-term. In fact, one of the things that impresses me so much is that you are willing to say "no" and have worked hard to streamline the code.

That said, here's hoping that some significant benefactors will be able to fund something like this in the future.

Thanks for the clear explanation.

Bob
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Posted
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#79385
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Community saint

I just noticed that Fletch has generously pledged 8 of the 24 support credits needed to complete this project. This is another great example of the community working together to improve ocPortal, but I hope we can extend the number of people sponsoring new features. We can't rely on just a few members to do all the sponsorship. If you can spare a bit of money, please participate in the community sponsorship of new features in ocPortal.

Thanks for your generosity, Fletch.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#79386
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Community saint

ROTFLMAO!

You can take the full blame (or credit) for that Bob. You've been a constant reminder that we need to get involved more. In the nicest possible way, of course!

 :thumbs:

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
Rating:
#79387
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Community saint

I'll gladly accept that blame.

Over the past two weeks, I've been contacted by people who head up art collections at two academic institutions telling me how interesting and informative my site is. This just served to remind me how much has been made possible with ocPortal in such a short time.

Further, even though I am retired, my time is valuable to me and ocPortal has made quick work of much without all the headaches of integrating add-ons like in many other CMS offerings. I appreciate this.

Finally, I really admire Chris's dogged determination to make ocPortal not only the best product available for more complex sites, but the best product it can be. I also appreciate his thoughtful approach and discipline as he improves the product.

All of the above make it easy for me to want to help make ocPortal a better product and to expand and contribute to the community. A little sponsorship goes a long way especially when you consider how reasonable Chris's quotes are and that he somehow almost always seems to deliver more than what was asked for.

My suggestion to everyone who can is to pledge some small (or large) sponsorship of some feature. It's a great feeling knowing that you have given back a bit to the developers and the community that has made your site not only possible but also better than what you could do using other alternatives.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#79388
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

On the other hand, we could make this a lot better. I have always said in the past desktop tools like Frontpage made it a lot easier to edit stuff. Modern CMSs are far more complex tools as they don't manage documents in such a simple way, they weave together a lot of content, and dynamic functionality – and thus things are a lot more split up.
And to get the flexibility that is really needed it actually needs to be split up even more.

From a basic users perspective, tools like Frontpage are the way to go.

From a power users perspective, they are a pain in the backside because they are inflexible at all the wrong times and add a lot of bloat to the page.

From a CMS developers perspective, conceptually they are the way to go, but structurally/technically they can be a nightmare to retrofit, and a daunting undertaking to begin fresh.

I have yet to see/hear of any Frontpage like tool that has managed to get the mix anywhere near where it should be.

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
Rating:
#79390
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Community saint

Chris-

I noticed that your note for this feature starts with "Once CSS3 is common-place we can use things like…." Is this a change that you would be comfortable making in the near-term and do you think that you will have to wait a bit longer for newer browser adoption (particularly IE) to catch up to the technology?

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#79392
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I agree with Fletch's assertion that small niceties curved borders (etc) do not need to work on all supported browsers, if those old browser users have an upgrade path.

However there is a wider issue – carving up our CSS and templates is a big compatibility break for themes.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
Rating:
#79393
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Community saint

So, this sounds like a project that you might want to tackle along with other tracker items that break themes, especially now that you need to address the 30 commercial themes in addition to the Default theme.

I'm just trying to get a sense of your priority here as I think about further sponsorship of items or maybe moving my current sponsorship about some.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#79395
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Community saint

… there is a wider issue – carving up our CSS and templates is a big compatibility break for themes.
That had already smacked me in the kisser but, for me, worth paying the price.

I will, of course, 'edit' the themes already out there, but for now I will wait a while before offering up the new batch I've been working on.

Which will be a good tactic, because I foresee a major change to my own current working site!

 :'(

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
Rating:
#79396
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Community saint

I am excited to think about eliminating standard boxes as I think this might well open themes to a more contemporary, less boxy look with whitespace and color used to define blocks/areas.

I was just wondering if there are a number of inter-dependecies to implementing this change. In this last round of sponsorship, I have tried to sponsor items which are free-standing so that they can be implemented as soon as full sponsorship is achieved. It just seems to me that Chris is going to want to bundle some of the numerous items (many small) that also break themes when he does implement this and that has me wondering about the dependencies of sponsorship of these other items.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#79425
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Community saint

Fletch said

… there is a wider issue – carving up our CSS and templates is a big compatibility break for themes.
That had already smacked me in the kisser but, for me, worth paying the price.

I will, of course, 'edit' the themes already out there, but for now I will wait a while before offering up the new batch I've been working on.

Which will be a good tactic, because I foresee a major change to my own current working site!

 :'(
Fletch-

After this change, I would love to see your take on a very contemporary theme with as little "boxiness" as possible.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#79449
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Community saint

BobS said

… your take on a very contemporary theme with as little "boxiness" as possible.
Hmmmmmm….

I guess you've thrown down the gauntlet, Bob, and now I have to bend my ageing and creaking back to pick it up.

Not too sure of your definition of 'contemporary', but I think the boxiness can be whittled down to only where it is absolutely necessary.

 :thumbs:  

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
Rating:
#79452
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Community saint

I think a bit of a contest between you and Jean would be interesting.

I think a lot of what I consider contemporary is already doable by eliminating most borders. I'd like to see a design where color is used to define areas. There were a couple of the ocProducts templates that flirted with it but they still felt "boxed in" to me.

Your site actually does a pretty good job of it but I'm interested in seeing a larger palette of material on display. I think 2-column, probably with dropdown menus, and search and other links moved up into the header area.

I am the classic example of a designer's nightmare - I can tell you everything I don't like/want but have a hard time visualizing what "could be".

At the risk of raising Chris's ire, I would say the joomla.org site does a great contemporary presentation that I am sure could be done in the current ocPortal with a great deal of tweaking of the CSS. Calm down, Chris - that's about the only kind words I have for J.  ;)

Bob

EDIT: Add hard edges with rounded edges reserved for buttons


Last edit: by BobS
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Posted
Rating:
#79457
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Community saint

Since I am mentioning constructs that i like, I'll mention this from Drupal. I haven't found anything in ocPortal like this (unless I am missing something) but I like the way this allows you to present a lot of information in a limited space on the page. I'd love to see a block like this in ocPortal.



Bob

EDIT: I just realized that this is like a static version of "big tabs" (no automatic menu switching). It would be nice to be able to define the size of the display area though.


Last edit: by BobS
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Posted
Rating:
#79459
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Community saint

Examples are always good.

Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery!

 :thumbs:

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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