Templating as a big step in 2.0?

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Templating as a big step in 2.0?

Postby Jackanape » Fri Jun 08, 2007 3:50 pm

I've been mulling this over for a while now, and it's high time I suggested it here. It's difficult enough to find enough PERL programmers right now interested in digging into Coranto's core, I'm wondering if templating doesn't solve a few issues.

ONE, it allows the GUI to be developed almost separately from the core, which gets HTML developers in on the action, and there's quite a few of us who are great with that, but not so great at PERL.

TWO, it also allows for a whole second tier of Coranto Customization, and that gets users more involved, and that eventually leads to more core contributors.

I know it's possible. Take a look at THIS:
http://html-template.sourceforge.net/article.html

I found this after I wrote most of this post, as I was looking for a recent article on PERL and HTML templates...This pretty much sums up why this might be a great step forward for us.

I haven't looked at the module yet, but I will review it sometime this week. I'd appreciate it if someone here could do the same, and verify my findings. Perhaps there's a more elegant solution?

Let's discuss.
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Postby Jackanape » Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:53 am

As I read more about this subject, I see that the above link is to a PERL module, that would need to be installed. However, there ARE embedding techniques that can allow for template use, without any additional modules.

The more I think about it, the more I think this is a crucial change the we should make for 2.0. Think about it: users can customize their interface--not just the colors, but the entire layout, the entire GUI--even making it client-specific, for site designers.

This opens the door for designers to take part in Coranto DEV, and also makes "templates" an entire new set of addons people can write.

Here's two new articles on the subject:
http://www.globalspin.com/thebook/chapter13.html
http://www.calypteanna.com/templates.html
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
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Postby SrNupsen » Sat Jun 09, 2007 12:32 pm

Very exciting thought!
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Postby Alexv » Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:10 am

So each page in Coranto would have a separate template for it? Or is it only certain sections?
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Postby Jackanape » Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:14 pm

Basically, templating allows you to pull all the HTML out of the .cgi scripts, so I guess so, the submit news page would have a template, the admin page would have a template, etc. I'm not sure if we can do it in parts, but we could even have a "header", and "footer" template, to sandwich them between.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.
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Postby Lumberjack » Wed Jul 25, 2007 5:44 pm

Actually if you look at the source, you'll see that coranto already has an implementation of this. It doesn't use the perl module but rather writes subroutines of its own (which I agree is possibly not the most productive way, but lets leave that to the author).
You can therefore modify these template sections to display different if you like..
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Postby Jackanape » Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:44 pm

I'd be interested in working towards moving in the more productive way, and have been brushing up on my minimal skills to prepare!
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.
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Postby Lumberjack » Thu Jul 26, 2007 5:52 pm

A closer look at the links in coranto gives you an idea of where to start looking in the code for each area, for example action=modify will point you to the modify news subroutines, and if you look further you will at some point see how the page is constructed.
How big an overhaul were you thinking of? Because you see, currently it is difficult to have a completely customisable GUI because it is basically set up as you said, with header section, footer section, different styles of menu headers and so on. With some work you can change things around, and even modify the style of each part, but if you want the user to be able to change where everything goes, that's going to take a lot of coding work.
Personally I think the GUI as it stands now (in DEV) has enough user customisation options. It might be better to focus your efforts on one of the more critical things on the to-do list. The main one holding back v2.0 release is the need for an upgrade script, to import all v1 settings. I have discussed elsewhere a possible way to approach this.
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Postby Jackanape » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:36 pm

I agree 100%, Jack...

I'm just trying to think of ways that MY skills allow me to best contribute. My PERL is elementary, at best, so something like an upgrade script is out of my capabilities. However, I should be able to grind out a new way of approaching templating for Coranto.

I have been thinking, that two of the biggest draws to many of the available opensource projects available today is customization, which Coranto has, in spades, and individual templating, or aesthetic customization, which we're still lacking a bit in. People LOVE "doing their own thing", and a lot of that entails GUI, and aesthetic effects. Users will begin contributing in styles and templates where they may never have before...and I think that's a huge step towards getting to where we need to be...

My coding capabilities lie mainly in being able to contribute in that area.

How big an overhaul were you thinking of? Because you see, currently it is difficult to have a completely customisable GUI because it is basically set up as you said, with header section, footer section, different styles of menu headers and so on. With some work you can change things around, and even modify the style of each part, but if you want the user to be able to change where everything goes, that's going to take a lot of coding work.


I think here is where CSS can be a powerful tool in actually changing EVERYTHING, with minor changes to the PERL itself. I have fiddled with one or two things, but I am currently trying to get a good portable server up and running for a more in-depth testing ground. Again, it's not vital to the function, but I can do it, so I should, AND, I believe it creates desire in others to create Coranto styles, as well...which brings more people over.

Once the Golf season ends here, I'm going to have a couple of extra days every week to try to organize things here again. There were a lot of interested people when we first came over here, I think we all just need another jump start, and an actual course to take.

Perhaps we can coerce Parahead out of retirement to help with an upgrade script? :wink:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
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Postby Lumberjack » Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:38 pm

Jackanape wrote:I think here is where CSS can be a powerful tool in actually changing EVERYTHING, with minor changes to the PERL itself. I have fiddled with one or two things, but I am currently trying to get a good portable server up and running for a more in-depth testing ground. Again, it's not vital to the function, but I can do it, so I should, AND, I believe it creates desire in others to create Coranto styles, as well...which brings more people over.


I didn't mean to sound like I was shooting you down. Well, I have little experience with css, so if you think it can be done then go for it. Will you plan to implement this by text based changes in an external file, or integrate it into coranto's settings?
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Postby Jackanape » Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:08 pm

No real solid plans yet, until I can get my testing grounds set up, and that will be a little while yet.

I think the changes should be done in an external file, so that personalized customization and styles are easier to produce for the layman...that said, some very simple changes could produce massively different effects. When I'm ready to move on it, I'll get in touch with you via MSN, or somesuch, and discuss things further...I'll also post a complete list of to do here on the forums.

As you say, however, we need an upgrade script.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
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