Interface Module Part Two

Apr
04

Editor's note: This is a long post. If you just want to see the screencast, click here, and there are notes about it below. If you want some sample code to help you understand, click here. If you want to read how Mike explains the whys and wherefores, get comfortable, ease the seat back, and read on.

If you build Drupal sites for a living, you already know that the administrative interface is one of the areas of a site that gets the least attention from developers. There are a lot of reasons for this, ranging from the fact that it works (therefore, it does not need to be pretty), to the fact that modifying the admin interface is labor-intensive (there are some sections you almost need to hack core to modify), to the fact that budgets don't always cover the costs of making the backend look nicer (and we all know about the bottom line).

This year, Trellon set out to address some common usability concerns in Drupal based on feedback received from clients. Something we often hear is that Drupal is very attractive from a functional standpoint, but Joomla is more user-friendly and has a nicer interface. This misperception about the underlying power of Drupal's theming layer is chiefly an aesthetic concern, it is something that can be resolved, and an ideal solution is one that reduces the overall time and complexity involved in deploying sites featuring more usable interfaces. As a nice to have, whatever usability solution is designed can be extended beyond the web browser into other mediums such as widgets and mobile phone applications. Read More >>>

Interface Module Part One

Jan
09

Sharing some video of a the Drupal Interface module that I've been working on here at Trellon. With our new site up, I can devote more time to this project.

Interface is a module for authoring node form interfaces. Primarily, the module is being developed to increase the usability of Drupal sites. It allows administrators to control the placement of form elements using drag and drop tools like you might see on Facebook. Placement of form elements is handled by templates, which work similarly to other themable elements in Drupal. Templates can be authored with CSS and JavaScript, and create regions in templates that allow form elements to be placed in different sections of the page. Each template includes an info file, for specifying characteristic properties of each Interface. Read More >>>

Javascript Compression

Jan
09

I have been seeing a lot of AJAX-enabled Drupal sites that are not using JavaScript compression lately, and have been wondering how many people actually know how to use it. JavaScript compression has been around for a while, but the concept is still new for some people. The technology allows you to compress the size of JavaScript files in various ways to reduce download time, bandwidth and execution time on client browsers. While it is not always necessary if bandwidth or file size is not a big concern, large scripts can take much longer to execute unless they are compressed.

Here's an example of what I mean. We recently deployed a site with a media browser component built with jQuery. Uncompressed, the file size was about 80k, compressed, the file size was about 14k. Uncompressed, there was this massive delay in Firefox and Internet Explorer while the browser figured out how to deal with the script; about 10 seconds on some slower machines. Compressed, it executed immediately and there was no interruption after the page downloaded. Read More >>>

DC Drupal Labs Recap: July 30, 2008

Jul
31

Affinity Labs in Washington, D.C. was mobbed Wednesday night by a crowd of Drupal open source developers eager to share ideas and knowledge about their latest projects. Read More >>>