Interface Module Part One

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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.

I am putting a lot of work into behaviors, which are small scripts for carrying out animations and other operations in the interface. Behaviors will be associated with different regions within each template, and with different form elements in each region. For example, you might have a region which displays all form elements within an accordion menu, and several form elements above it which display as part of a tab set. Right now, I have a workable tabs interface underway, along with the accordion menu, and plan on building a behavior to replace checkboxes with image buttons.

Here's an early proof of concept video for the module: Interface Module. Be careful if you are on dial up, it's a big file. I intend to have a working beta ready before DrupalCon DC this March, and I'm planning to release another video every week or two until it is finished.

This module started as something completely different. I had been working on a widget module for Drupal for about 6 months when I realized that the content authoring tools were going to make it inaccessible to all but the most advanced users. This increased my interest in building an alternative interface for authoring content, and lead to some drag and drop prototypes. Around that time, I got stuck in at an online politics conference where a series of speakers criticized Drupal for lacking the 'high aesthetics' of Joomla's interface despite all of it's other features. After talking with some other developers at a Chicago Drupalcamp, I decided it was time to explore some new ideas.

To that end, the Interface module will ship with a template that duplicates the most recent default interface for Joomla, along with some other interesting templates we are working on. Long term, this module will be extended to the entire administration interface as well.

Would love some feedback.