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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


Process for giving design feedback

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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Fletch)  
Rating:
#96824 (In Topic #19217)
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I put a write-up on the community docs :)

Giving design feedback - ocPortal.com


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  • 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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#96826
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Community saint

Excellent write up.

One idea that came to me when reading how sometimes the themes are compared to Wordpress and, while wordpress in no way really compares to ocPortal, what wordpress does do that ocPortal does not (and probably couldn't) is make theme design simplistic from a code editors point of view.  I have yet to fully play with changing an ocPortal theme using built in editors. being a little old school I'd rather open a template file in a text editor and make the changes I need and be done. In wordpress this is very very simple (mostly cause wordpress is very very simple in comparison to ocPortal) but in ocPortal I get a feeling of being overwhelmed the second I look in the templates folder (or CSS folder) because of the sheer number of files. Where to look for what?

So my thought is maybe cPortal should divide the templates and CSS into better organized subfolders to make things a little less daunting? I mean have the Global Wraps, Header Footer stuff (the most common changed parts for most people) in the root and move the billion other templates into folders .. I dunno blocks in a blocks folder maybe or something like that just to bring the numbers down a little and make finding things a little easier? It's an idea and a thought and I hope it is seen as constructive feedback?
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Posted
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#96827
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Hi Duck,

We hopefully solve this already in two ways…

Especially since v9, we've had a good set of naming conventions for templates. E.g. all blocks will start BLOCK_, all ones for the download system will start DOWNLOAD_, all box ones will end _BOX, and HTML wrappers with end _HTML_WRAP.

The other thing is the contextual tools in the footer, to find out exactly what templates were used on the page, and directly open up an editor to them.

I would like to continue to extend these things.


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:
#96829
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Community saint

'Liked' the original discussion. Much to absorb; many assumptions to discard!

I am not a designer, nor would I know where to start. But I do know what areas could be changed in ocPortal to accommodate a user's desires, and that is only after many years of usage and getting my hands dirty with the CSS and Templates.

However, that isn't necessarily translatable into a user's wishes without actually knowing what the user wants. 'Pretty' or 'Functional'? They aren't exclusive of each other, but one often tends to get in the way of the other.

The big question to try and answer from the get-go appears to be, "What does the user want out of the box?" And I guess this is where the assumptions come in.
  • 'Pretty' - If eye-candy and 'clever' graphics and layout in a template is what appeals, then you don't necessarily see the pitfalls ahead - no matter which CMS you choose! The designer will obviously have selected the 'best' display he/she can to 'sell' his/her design skills, and changing these elements is ultimately going to break the display for your site as you envisaged it.

  • 'Functional' - I have to (arrogantly) assume that the more competent 'webby' will choose ocPortal because of what he/she gets out of the box. They know they are competent enough to carve up the display to suit their site before they go live, that the solid base of functionality is already there, and that they have deployed all the bits they need from the start.

I hope that doesn't come off as too simplistic.

I am also inclined to initially agree with Duck's assessment of compartmentalising elements so that things are easier to find. But that is, by its very nature, aimed at the ones that are willing to dig deep to change things, and won't necessarily appeal to the ocPortal newbie who, like me even today, is slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number of templates and weighty CSS that needs to be trawled through to get to something simple.

I am currently re-watching Allen's excellent ocPortal video tutorial on how to design a website using ocPortal's basic features without it looking like an ocPortal site! Go take a look if you haven't seen it before - or even if you have! It is going to need a few major attempts for me to emulate what he advises before I get it right. And that assumes I settle on a 'design' that's universally acceptable!

Thoughts on the fly …

 :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
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#96830
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Community saint

Your right it is a little better now with the naming conventions but I still think there is something intimidating when you look at all those files in one place in comparison to your average wordpress theme where you usually have less than a dozen to look at (a fairly nice design in that can be had with 1- 3 files for that matter) I am just saying it as an observation but as Fletch points out I still would not trade the out of the box of power and flexibility of ocPortal for wordpress.

Also I just recently learned (through a video) of that contextual tool thing in the footer and wow that does make life a heck of a lot easier and certainly reduce much intimidation. So yes things are better than they seem at first glance but it is that first glance I am talking about.

ocPortal is just so powerful and has so much built in it is intimidating and perhaps only the truly brave that will stick it out past the intimidation factor will learn enough to appreciate it. But somehow I wish there was a switch built in that hides everything but the basics for the newbie and then click for the advanced so then guys like me can go "OH wow look at all this stuff how cool but man now I am scared! Quick switch it back to basic for a while!" lol
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Posted
Rating:
#96836
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This switch is what we aim for with the Setup Wizard, i.e. removing all addons that don't match your chosen install profile. v10 will have a minimalistic install profile added which will further this, and also a warning to those people who skip the Setup Wizard. This will also significantly reduce the number of templates still in the system. We're also continuing to tweak and bury stuff more.

A lot of work is being done in the area of WebDAV, which essentially creates virtual folders that you can map onto your computer as a network drive. One idea is to have a virtual folder represents all templates used to build a particular screen, although I doubt this'll make it into v10.

Regarding the templates dir, the main reasoning for it all being in one is server permissions. If PHP Safe Mode is running and you have a non-suexec server, you can't make a folder via PHP and then put files in it. That would mean we'd need to have all the subdirs under templates_custom in advance, and all manually chmodded.


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:
#96838
Avatar

Community saint

Ah see there is a reason for everything hehe! That's cool I do find it is much easier now but then again I have been playing with it for a while. I just know from a new users viewpoint ocPortals biggest detraction is the intimidation factor of the system but that's something that is hard (well basically impossible I suppose) to deal with offering all that power and freedom without complexity. The webdav stuff sounds cool can't wait to see that implemented. Looking forward to v10 though even though it won't have it yet.
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