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Cinderella unfolds her beauty - Drupal UI Report

There once was a workful and modest lady who provided all kinds of service to the people. She was so happy serving she forgot to put on a beautiful dress. Also not few had a hard time to understand her and her unusual ways of doing things. Only the ones that took their time discovered all of her incredible beauty. But some day she also wanted to take part in the partying...

I think I do not have to mention who this lady is.

The recent developments in Drupal UI improvement really impress me. Summing them up reveals that the pace is quickening. Starting with my favourite: Form Builder. This wonderful and intuitive UI is not only getting Drupal up to par with other systems. Without having checked I believe it should take the lead in form building for non-commercial systems. If Nathan Haug and the Lullabots keep their promise and the module will seamlessly utilitize the forms API and be as conseqently used throughout Drupal 7 as the drag-and-drop feature is in D6 for menus, blocks and CCK - wow, I am beyond words :)

Module Page

Next for me comes the new Module page maintained by Philip Vergunst (skilip). This module (sure heading for core when mature) adresses a need in Drupal that was often expressed: What is the workflow when you upload a module? You upload it. Done. Now you go and enable it - go to modules page. To be able to use it, if you are not an administrator - go to access control Page. Now - where did the Maintainer put the settings page? I have seen grown men cry being unable to find the settings, that may even be moved with a new version. Ah -  "By Module" page (Kudos to Webchick) to the rescue! Mostly presenting all settings

Default Admin Theme for D7


Drupal has an option I haven't seen in any other CMS: You can set a theme for the admin section to your liking. As nice as it is, it raises serious UX problems especially for new users, if admin and frontend theme is the same (see UX study Baltimore: Where is my site?)  There has been talk and action to cure this in a simple way: get a default administration theme into core.

Having learnt that core issues require determination and endurance, I'd like to make a fresh start (apart from an existing issue about that:( by introducing some possible guidelines and candidates.


So what is this all about? Apart from seperating Front- and Backend optically, why should we want a seperate Admin theme and which requirements should it meet?

1. Clever use of Space

One thing that bugs me about Admin and settings pages in Drupal is the waste of space. Everything is rendered in a vertical manner, a lot of space is wasted because often only a third of the horizontal space is used. On the right see a typical example from the comment settings: the descriptions could easily also flow inside the red-lined area.


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