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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 ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.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.


Help for a visual designer...PLEASE.

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Posted
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#36730 (In Topic #8286)
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Fan in action

Is ocPortal designer friendly?

OK, I'm beginning to get seriously frustrated with any attempt at themeing ocPortal.  The problem I am having is this, as a visual designer foremost and coder (way second), ocPortal seems to be lacking in it's user friendliness when it comes to theme support.  I'm used to being able to design my site in Photoshop, slice it up and then build it in Dreamweaver.  The fact that I can't get to one main page and have to deal with all these little code snippets makes it very difficult albeit almost impossible for me to design a theme.  There has to be some way to see all the little template files as one so I can visualize what I need to change and build a design.  I've built skins for many applications and this one so far seems to me to be the most difficult.  I know it's just the way my brain is wired but I'm a creative person not an analytical one.  With almost every other application I can open a few php files and get a general idea of how I need to build my theme.  Themeing this seems like it's almost as difficult as performing brain surgery.

Yes, I'm a little frustrated and thus I'm rambling, but seriously I really need some direction.  Is there a "Holy Grail" buried in here somewhere that holds the key to the graphic layout?  I've got to be making this too hard somehow.  I want to completely rework the interface but leave the existing functionality as is.

I will say though that other than this I am very impressed with ocPortal.  Unfortunately due to my visual nature this functionality or lack thereof (in my mind) makes me strongly reconsider using another product.  I'm not content with the theme wizard or editing the theme on-line via the application interface.  I want to open the site in Dreamweaver and make my theme changes.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has any ideas or direction.

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Posted
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#36733
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 I know you said you don't want to edit via the interface, but you can get a visual structure of how templates compose to make a screen by using the 'Template tree' feature. It's available in the login box as a drop-down option.

If you have any ideas about how things could be easier, please let us know, we're very open to listening about this kind of thing. I do have to say that the template structure is necessarily fragmented because it's a large modular system, but we have open minds.


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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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#36742
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Fan in action

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand WHY it is modulated.  The problem is easily creating a template that can be used across the site.  I think if I were to suggest something it would perhaps be this.  If the easiest way to edit the site is to do it via the interface, and I don't know the feasibility of this, but perhaps you could provide a way to either mock up the theme online.  Maybe click on a graphic to replace it or something like that.  Or maybe give a way to render a page to HTML to allow it to be downloaded and edited offline then uploaded and parsed into your modular pages.  Maybe in the HTML version include comments as to what template is effected.  I know, pipe dream.  It just seams to me that if you make it easier to customize the site perhaps you will reach a wider audience of users.  I only stumbled onto this product after trying the others like Mambo/Joomla, Drupal, PHPNuke etc.  I didn't like the way those systems worked and I'm very please with how easy this system is to get up and running and it's ease of use (except for this aspect of it.)  I also know that what I am suggesting is NOT a trivial change. 

Chris Graham said

 I know you said you don't want to edit via the interface, but you can get a visual structure of how templates compose to make a screen by using the 'Template tree' feature. It's available in the login box as a drop-down option.

If you have any ideas about how things could be easier, please let us know, we're very open to listening about this kind of thing. I do have to say that the template structure is necessarily fragmented because it's a large modular system, but we have open minds.
 
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Posted
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#36743
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Thanks.
Another thing you could try is adding &keep_markers=1 to the URL (this will add some comments as to where template output starts and ends) and then saving and editing the HTML source of a screen, then putting it back into little templates again.
The main problem really with this method is that those comments are messy - for most templates it works ok, but you'll see what I mean.


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
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#36748
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

… adding &keep_markers=1 to the URL (this will add some comments as to where template output starts and ends) …

Nice tip, Chris. I don't want to change anything on my site just yet, but it's worth keeping in mind when I'm hunting for that elusive line of code in a template …

 :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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#36797
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Fan in action

Great tip!  I'll give it a shot.  This may be what I was looking for. :cool:



Chris Graham said

Thanks.
Another thing you could try is adding &keep_markers=1 to the URL (this will add some comments as to where template output starts and ends) and then saving and editing the HTML source of a screen, then putting it back into little templates again.
The main problem really with this method is that those comments are messy - for most templates it works ok, but you'll see what I mean.
 

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