Planet Drupal english

Removing Colorbox, beautytips and other Javascript effects for mobile in Drupal 7

Responsive Layout is my new favourite field of specialization. Given how many pages are still not optimized for mobile (including the one you are just reading, but not for much longer), there is a lot to do. And since responsive has not been around so very long, it often feels quite exploratory. I like to fool myself into believing I just solved an problem unsolved before. That is not true of course, but at least you have not read about the solutions so often.

Making a design responsive can be done on multiple levels. Until now I have done mostly basic stuff. To really rock the socks one surely should do a seperate layout for mobile instead of creating a beautiful desktop layout and just make it "not-too-ugly" on mobile. This is in my plans for future sites I build and design for sure. For now, I am quite happy doing the not-too-ugly thing.

Javascript is not CSS

Once you feel you got a foothold in mediaqueries and mobile-first responsive layout (which is the way to go, I think), other things pop up. Your average slideshow on the frontpage can be just hidden for mobile, which sure is not ideal. Building a touch-enabled slideshow is on TODO list. Slideshows are hard anyway, since often the div-container and image size properties are intertwined. I did not manage yet to make my favourite weapon Views Slideshow smoothly scale the image with the screen-size, so I won't touch upon that.

Make Drupal grow - Project 3%

Drupal 7 is out to the world. Its adventures are still untold. Yet the workful bunch that its community is, everybody is rolling up their sleeves to plan ahead for Drupal 8. As the project and its audience is growing and evolving, so are its challenges. While everyone is rightfully proud of what we achieved, our processes are often a pain.

We need to improve the general structures to be able to aim higher. Being from rather from the design / UX camp I read with great interest a blogpost that Leisa Reichelt wrote recently. She outlines a plan how to keep and grow the momentum of Design / UX that had a great push with the D7UX Project and led to a big focus on an improved UX for Drupal 7.

She advocates to have a dedicated team with different roles to get to that goal. One thing in particular is interesting: she wants the positions to be at least partially funded.
So let's get to the recent practice to fund important key positions in community work.

Experience with funded positions in the redesign

In order to the redesign out of the door, the Association took drastic measures: they hired temporary full-time personnel to guarantee more focus and coordination. Most notable were Sam Boyer for the Git Migration and Neil Drumm for the general management of the redesign. While I am not sure if these are still paid positions, as to all I know Sam and Neill are still very much on their tasks.

Drupal is a volunteer-driven project and that is and will be its strength. But to get certain especially hard or unthankful jobs done, there has always been additional funded work. What is new is to do this in such an official way and to put people into key coordinator positions. I cannot speak for the general experience with that. But the impression is that having paid people gives a much better counterbalance to all the volunteer work. The paid staff is less to not distracted by their dayjob, because their task _is_ their dayjob. They do not need to make their living besides their position. So they keep focused in a much more reliable way.

Drupal 7 gets new themes - give Corolla a review

Yes it is going to happen (keeping fingers crossed), Drupal 7 will get new shiny front-end themes. Since my latest blog post, we have been working hard on Corolla, most notably Jeff Burnz and certainly Jaroslav Foksa, who made the theme and tweaked the design quite a bit, so now it is cleaner and straighter and more multi-purpose than before.

Bunches of bugs have been fixed, and the theme is running rather smoothly with D7. Now we need you: give the theme a whirl, install it and click through it. At the moment the Demo site is not representing the latest code, so you'll need to put it on you local D7 sandbox.

The theme is taking care of most every aspect of drupal core, also the admin section. To test this it should also be switched on as Admin theme (set Admin theme to "Default Theme" instead of Seven). Forums, books, polls, images: everything should have a nice styling. There are lots of Color Module styles (all core candidate themes are color-module-enabled now), and it is fun to play around by defining custom colors.

Should work with any version of Drupal 7, sure best with latest head or alpha 5. Bugs and comments welcome on the Corolla issue queue. If you have some general findings, leave them in the "Master Issue" Make D7 look shiny and new in every aspect...

The Drupal way

I've been in the streets of Dries for three and a half year now. It feels even daring saying it are Dries' streets because I know he does not like it if people give him too much credit. But it is true. Dries I believe the key factor for Drupal's success is your astounding ability to gather the right people around you. This combined with a mixture of leadership and fostering self-empowerment appears to work pretty well.

Having started with using the system for my diploma (I guess you say bachelor elsewhere), it has been an amazing ride. But the story of drupal is not so much unique as it is a story of open source. Seeing a new youtube star the other day one can feel the upside of the digital revolution and the new channels of communicating and doing things via the internet.

Like in every other social community there are downsides as well. Even at my first drupalcon in Barcelona I was a bit worried about the quasi-religious way Dries keynote was celebrated. This was not much different from Steve Jobs presenting the Iphone. Give us a sign, we will celebrate whatever you say.

Still this does not need to have negative effects. Personally I find it very important to go outside the community from time to time. Yes, there is a life outside of drupal. Take a bit of distance now and then and balance comes back quickly. Also Mr. Buytaert takes care of staying a normal community member as far as this is possible. If you have been inside the project for a while, he will come up to you at a Drupal Camp and have a little chat. Simple, ingenious method. Which does not say there is not a real interest in the person spoken to.

D7 gets new themes - Corolla Theme for Core!

Yes it happens. Drupal 7 will not only rock the world of APIs, but also get a new shiny wrapping. Of three core candidate themes, two have still survived and have gotten pretty far along the road. These are the Bartik theme  and Corolla theme

The news that we - hopefully - get new themes could be very exciting. It all started with removing from core Bluemarine, Pushbutton, Marvin and Chameleon and detecting - there was only Garland left! The idea of having an almost completely rewritten Drupal with still the same theme from Drupal 5 was sufficiently horrible for the designers to start their engines.

Jen Simmons took the leap and boldly put Bartik into the issue qeue. Let's hear it for Jen - this was the crucial step. Motivated by that, Jarosław Foksa (Jarek) also showed some courage and dropped in Corolla.

When you look at the Corolla issue queue and the Bartik issue queue - well, you will notice some difference. Corolla only has three open issues, but Bartik at least thirty. So there is a lot more activity behind Bartik, and I am not worried it will make it into core.

But what about Corolla?

Crowdsourced User Testing : going for a sustainable strategy

There are a lot UI Improvements under way for Drupal 7. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be sure if these really are improvements and we don't overlook small details that make the entire building crumble? How about ongoing, small-scale, crowdsourced user testing. Leisa Reichelt issued a similar call some time ago to test the admin header. A pleasing number of people tested the header and helped checking the names of the top-level categories and testing (probably confirming) the usefulness of the entire concept.

What this is up to is a sustainable concept that will ideally be an ongoing process. Apart from this mid-term goal there is also a very here-and-now one: we need to urgently test the D7UX stuff before Drupal 7 comes out or before the time even for small changes is over.

You can help by:

  1. do testing and upload the videos
  2. find some participants, if you don't want to do testing yourself
  3. be a testing participant if you don't know Drupal too well

A perfect participant has some web experience, has mastered things like ebay product selling forms and maybe has some experience in other cms's or blogging software. No. 2 of the above list would mean another motivated tester has won some participants and could carry out the tests with them. Personally I am willing to do quite some testing, this can be a lot of fun :) We need interviewers and test participants, so what about building up an infrastructure where we have

Drupal UI Report - Screencast of Admin Overlay latest news

--- Sorry for the missing video. After the upgrade to D7, it must have been lost. I did not find it on my Vimeo nor Youtube channel, but if I'll find it, I'll re-link it. ---

Screencast: D7UX Admin Header and Admin Overlay - Walkthrough

This is the start of a screencast series. I am going to follow the D7UX Changes as they go to core or maturing more to get ready for core. What you are looking at when you play the video is a special version of drupal, that you can checkout via SVN from this Google repository: So don't be worried if you see something that breaks or looks pre-alpha: It won't have made its way to core. As pointed out in the video, there is quite some issues to overcome. This is also a call to action, if you are a dev and sympathise with the D7UX project: join the crowd and help pushing this along, so it will be shiny and intuitive. The main Issues this is being worked on are and An overview of all d7ux issues is here:

Social Rules in OSS Communities

What makes people rock and roll in OSS communities? After two years of hanging out in the Drupal Crowd, there have come some observations to me that I'd like to share.

Some People are frustrated, others envived. Some stay in very long, some leave. Some do a lot of work, others mainly consume. But to many of them, the Community is an important peer group and may even feel like home. Mostly over IRC, you communicate directly with people from Melbourne, Shanghai and Los Angeles. This alone has some drive that does not cease to fascinate me.

What parts OSS projects from commercial ones? Well, firstly, you don't get paid if you help out, and you do not have to pay to use it. This makes a cultural distiction that pulls in a different set of people. Some people don't even get what this is about, so don't expect them to join us. Some people

Build your Drupal Meta Module - Context, Spaces, Features, Patterns

Drupal is modular. Drupal is more modular. Sometimes you feel Drupal is _too_ modular. Example: The recommended best practice for building a mainainable and generic image gallery uses at least seven Modules: CCK, Views, Filefield, Imageapi, Imagecache, Imagefield, A batch uploader like image fupload plus a template file and css for your theme. Uff. And now here you go and explain to a beginner that Drupal is easy.

Thing is: in the end it is quite a simple structure. Recently I came to my personal best practice: Using multiple values for an imagefield and the new image fupload for slick batch uploads. With the new feature in imagefield to add captions to images even when using multiple values and the ability to rearrange the order with the drag and drop widget there is not much to miss. With some Views and Taxonomy magic one should be able to build _Really_ large multiuser galleries, and if you want to seperate the images better you make single nodes of each - good news image fupload also supports this option. Sounds like a missing link, eh?


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