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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 ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

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From the perspective of a "themer"

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Posted
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#64107 (In Topic #13833)
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Community saint

A list of things that seem to make the prospect a bit tedious for me

The purpose of this thread is to illustrate certain aspects of ocPortal themeing that I either do not completely understand, and therefore misuse, or that in fact are not as useful as could be. ;)

Here are a few things that seem to make the prospect a bit tedious:

Creating a new site: While using the "setup wizard" is important and rewarding, I feel that "step 8" lacks the options of the "theme wizard" color interface, rendering this step somewhat weak for that purpose; i.e. it has no "dark theme option" and no "preview option. Somehow, the indicated target color is also frequently different than the final result will be at the end of the setup.
(see attachment image)


After the "setup wizard" process, I now have a Site Name and a theme, based on it.

Most often, I need to use "Theme Wizard" to change the color scheme of my theme, but it will not accept the same codename, resulting in having to edit the old and the new themes ' codenames in order to set the site-default theme. This is not so bad when you understand the process, but someone new to this might be totally confused at this point.

I found that by keeping a test site, I can run the theme wizard, copy the color seed number and use it when having to complete the setup wizard color step for a new installation, but this is not useful in the case of a dark theme.
(see attachment image)


Now, let's assume that some "themeing" was applied already to the original theme along with a series of custom images before realizing that a new color scheme might be more appropriate. In this case the theme wizard is not helpful, as none of the changes will be carried over to the new theme.

The best I can do is to create a new color theme, modify the codenames and apply the changes manually to the css/templates and ftp all images to the new theme folder. This is very time consuming and will work only if all image have been referenced with $IMG. I know that when I use the Image editor I can make it so that this image can be used for all themes, easier to create new themes, but again it can be a long process when adding many images in this fashion.

Here is another hurdle:
How to easily copy an existing theme ?
Export/Import will again demand a change of codenames not to overwrite the existing theme when importing again.

It would be great if a name change during export would translate to a directory name change as well.

I've tried to modify the .tar file with 7zip and IZarc, but the resulted tar file could not be read by ocPortal.
(see attachment image suggesting name change)


Codenames from images that are no longer in the theme folder still appear on the "manage theme images" interface. This is particularly significant when a theme was created from an active website which has undergone many layers of transformation. In which case, it is difficult to find and edit each codename for the purpose of deleting it permanently.
(see attachment image re image codenames)

Although, these problems will not make it overly difficult to work on a theme, they tend to confuse and render the prospect more complicated in my opinion. It will require an inordinate amount of planning in order to proceed without having to redo certain steps and create frustration.

I am not sure if these difficulties are due to my lack of understanding of certain processes, but after being involved with many ocP themeing projects for more than a year, if there were other ways to do this, I should have found them:$. Hopefully someone can enlighten me on some of these if there are different approaches to my problems.

Thanks,
Jean
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Posted
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#64132
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Thanks Jean. Right on all points. I'll look into adding the following for the future:
  • no theme preview in setup wizard
  • ability to copy a theme
  • ability to rename a theme, if not already
  • ability to rename a theme when creating addon


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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.
  • 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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#64137
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This adds Setup Wizard theme preview, and a theme copy option on the Theme Edit screen.

Attachment
» Download: themeing_patch.zip (50 Kb, 139 downloads so far)


I don't want to add theme renaming with addon export at this point, because the name entered is free form and I'm worried I'd need to add a lot of extra checking logic and maintenance code into the addon module.
But you can rename a theme before/after exporting.

The other thing I don't want to do is add the dark option to the Setup Wizard, because it doesn't work well (not supported), and I just know whatever labels we put on there people won't read them, and then come asking why it doesn't work right ;).

It would be nice to be able to regenerate a theme with a new theme seed, but at the moment that's technically challenging. But I think we added it to the tracker, so hopefully some day that feature will arrive.


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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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#64140
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Community saint

Wonderful, Chris!

The ability to create instant copies with new names is an important feature, and time saver; adding flexibility and new possibilities to fine-tune, compare, and test at will between active themes.

Thanks for such a quick response:thumbs:
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Posted
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#64150
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Community saint

I'm assuming this will be on the next upgrade… and can wait until then if necessary?

In no rush for theme'n updates, but this is a nice one.

Eric DeMars . com
My electronic portfolio and personal site. Uses ocPortal!
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Posted
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#64159
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yes


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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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#64162
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Fan in action

I wasn't aware from the standard setup that when you upload an image for a logo, that the choice was also available for the admin area.

So I was uploading the same images twice, once for the public side and once for the admin side.  Then I realized I had the choice of two or three copies of the same logo in each spot.

It needs to be more explicit that an upload of the site logo in one area makes it available in both areas.
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Posted
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#64163
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Sorry, but lost. I'd need to know exactly step by step what you were doing and what you were expecting to understand I think.


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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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#64165
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Fan in action

This is a suggestion. I had to go back and find the place I was referring to.

It's at Structure > Zones > Edit Zone

This was one of my first experiences with OCPortal after installing. I altered the theme to a different color, downloaded the logo template and added mine over it in a paint program.

At the bottom of the "edit zone" page for Main Page, there is a section which features existing themes. You may upload a logo. This is what caught my eye and made me edit my site logo.

So I uploaded it to the default, and then, because it was available, also uploade it to my new custom site theme I had just made.

I repeated this for a couple of logo edits and another logo for the forum, again a few more edits.

The end result was that in both "available theme" areas, there were double or triple choices of the same logo.

It was not clear to me that when you upload a logo to one theme, it then becomes available to ALL themes. I think this should be made more clear, to save space and confusion. Maybe a separated logo upload function, a warning, or only the first theme choice may upload logo.

This is intended as feedback from a novice user, it was within a couple of hours of installing the software and looking around at the installation and menu choices.
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Posted
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#64167
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Thanks, I'll read over that carefully and check it out soon.


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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
Rating:
#64188
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

I'll look into adding the following for the future…(the) ability to copy a theme
This is just plain exciting - Thanks Chris and the team this is great!

Thanks Jean for a good Topic on improving this already great software!


Art and Imagination
of David L Friend

http://davidlfriend.com

  My Art Gallery
powered by ocPortal
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Posted
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#64206
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Route 66 Rambler, I've now improved our code, it will do as you suggest - just go into the theme you say :).


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:
#64209
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Fan in action

Thanks for taking it into consideration.  It's a small thing, but a first impression nonetheless…  :)
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