Modules Template System: A BIG mess

mastermindsro posted 23rd of April 2010 in Community Voice. 37 comments.

The title describes about everything.. but since I have the time to write let me explain a bit..

Since I started to -REALLY- dig into the template system, I've found how disastrous the template system is designed..

Imagine some one has a new website.. everything is good, nice and shiny uni template..

This user is installing about 20 new modules, imagine all kinds of colors from all the modules..

Same user decides to buy a new dark colors template, suddenly his website turns into a BIG MESS.

Why? Just because Boonex decided that modules (and most annoying) even the boonex original modules has their own skin.. WTH ???

Imagine Joomla having 20000 plugins around the web each of them with a different skin.. would that script still be a success after all these years?

Many of my clients are really annoyed that Boonex decided to let modules have their own skins.. Keeping the logic of the actual Dolphin template system a client that buys dolphin and 20 new modules, for each new main template he will have to pay an additional 20 templates for the 20 modules.. THAT'S INSANE ! Absolutely no designer will be crazy enough to create a new template for each module on the market..

Please Boonex take the broom and erase the styling from your modules and use the main style sheet instead.. be a good example to the other developers until it's not too late and we will end up with 20000 templates for each of the 20000 modules..

Thanks.

 
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deano92964
After doing a black template, you certainly will not get an argument from me.
CodeSatori
This is what happens when modules are't designed to be automatically extending in multiple template situations, but are rather hard-coded to go with a particular skin. Module templates should be free of specific styling, and use the styling of the current skin instead. If all module templates are symmetric, implementing this is no problem. However...

In Dolphin 7, for example a blog unit CSS class is called "blog_unit", and in articles module the corresponding snippet (albeit with a see more different filename) has a class called "alr-post". What to speak of using a generic CSS class (such as "module_unit" or "module_post"), they are all named individually, and don't even follow uniform naming conventions.

This is one of the areas of the code that should be reworked for a future major release, if not sooner, to make Dolphin a bit more easy to extend and customize.
dolphin_jay
Yep i figured this one out the first day dolphin 7 beta came out . You have to go in each folder (/modules/boonex/mod name/ ) good times. Then if you want to sell a 100% and i mean a 100% unique template you have to have the buyer upload each /module/boonex/mod/template/folder. I tried this and it takes for ever to upload each folder to the right spot and even longer to make !
mybellavista
heh...you're all doing wrong.

Here's what I do. I upload my template in the template folder and that takes care of all my modules. Then I just have to deal with the forum because that needs to be compiled.

Then I'm done. I have no idea why you would even have to go into each and every folder or module.
deano92964
@mybellavista. I take it your template still uses white background in all the boxes.

If your sticking to a white background, then yes. We are talking about a template with a black or colored background. Design an all black template, then tell us you don't need to deal with the modules. Sorry, but not as easy as you think.
dolphin_jay
@mybellavista

Also try changing an image that is in a module. Try changing it from your uni folder and let me know how that works out for you. thats what i mean by 100% unique color text images backgrounds and so on.
mybellavista
@deano - I've designed a black template and it works fine. I can change templates from uni to black to whatever color template I make. No need to go into the modules like you all seem to be doing.
mastermindsro
Believe me that if you try to change the whole elements from every page from every module you can't.. you will have at least some black text on black background and some images designed only for uni template..
mybellavista
@dolphin_jay

I can change an image in the module fine. Ofcourse that will only result in the image changing for the said module. So I am not sure what you are trying to say. Do you have a screen shot?

Changing anything image in the UNI folder will change whatever CSS or image and will be reflected in what that file touches.

I can make any color, background work from a template file. I never have to go into the modules.

Do you have a screen shot or example? I see all you guys are experts see more and I am perplexed why this is so difficult.
mybellavista
@codesatori - the templates are not hard coded and Dolphin can handle multiple template situations.
CodeSatori
Whatever we call it, you still need to define separate CSS classes for each module under each skin, rather than deriving similar or near-identical units from a generic CSS class for simply "units" or "posts".
mybellavista
@codesatori and @*

"Whatever we call it, you still need to define separate CSS classes for each module under each skin, rather than deriving similar or near-identical units from a generic CSS class for simply 'units' or 'posts'."

You should never have to "define separate CSS classes for each module under each skin" The only time you should ever have to do that is if you are making a custom design specific to the module outside of what the current boonex module CSS offers see more OR if you are creating your own modules. However with a properly created module, it will automatically take the design of the current template whatever that may be. That would be the correct method. All other times the template CSS and templates are inherited by the modules.

It sounds to me like everyone in this thread is working from the module > template. That is the wrong way. You have to go from template > module. The modules inherit from your template and not the other way around. If it were the first case then mastermindsro logic is correct and that would be insane and boonex will have to change their template approach. However, that is not the case.

@codesatori - as a programmer you must be familiar with an overloaded method. It's the same thing -- this time it's with the module's CSS, images and html.

If one of you can post a sample of your directory structure in the next hour I might be able to see why you are all touching the modules CSS when in fact you don't have to unless you are doing something unique or custom to that module. If I don't see a post then I will ignore this thread and you can all continue doing your templates that way you "think" it should be done.

This place needs a solid templates tutorial.
houstonlively
@mybellavista

Can you show us a demo of a template that you have done?
deano92964
I to would like to see a sample site with a black background with all boonex modules installed and in full use.

If your so sure of this method of yours, then write a tutorial.
mybellavista
@deano - If you ask me to write a tutorial with a contemptuous attitude like that do you really believe I would I want to help you or anyone else for that matter?

@*

With all due respect to everyone here, my intention was not to offend but to enlighten.

I don't need to write a tutorial and right now, I honestly don't want to after what I've experienced here. You are all are welcomed to keep doing templates like you think you should be doing them. It's clear some of you are doubting my skills. see more I am fine with that and will not bother you about it ever again.

From my viewpoint, it looks like I've bruised some egos here. Sorry to all if I have offended some of the sacred cows.

I did learn from some of the comments. This thread was an eye opener for me. It has given me info about the state of Dolphin Developer expertise and how much further it needs to go before it can reach reach the same level as other Open Source apps. It would seem there are very few real experts in this community.

In a few hours this blog will be indexed and cached by search engines and in a few months you'll go back to this thread and I hope we can all learn from it. The day you stop learning is the day you'll start failing.

In closing, I know you all have your special talents and have helped the community in very large ways. I respect and appreciate that immensely and it was one of the reasons I resurrected this avatar. However from what I can see, this thread has taken a counter productive tone and I am no longer interested in it.

Tip of the Day: The next time you want something, ask nicely.
rocker
You won't write a tutorial because you can't. Anyone can say anything they want , but the truth is we ALL know you have never created a dark template and matched all the modules to it (its impossible); not without going into the flash and redesigning every module. Why tell something we all know can not be so? Only makes you look foolish for doing so.
clubbeyourself
@mybellavista re: @deano - If you ask me to write a tutorial with a contemptuous attitude like that do you really believe I would I want to help you or anyone else for that matter?

I don't think that @deano was being contemptous about what he was saying, I think he was just saying that that he is curious like me and I am sure a lot of us here about how you go about what you do with the templates that you design. I totally agree 100% with what you say : This place needs a solid templates tutorial. see more

I for one (and I am sure a lot of others in the community) would appreciate this if you have the time to put something together.

In an ideal world we would have some kind of template engine that could be used such as this that I have found for wordpress sites : http://www.yvoschaap.com/wpthemegen/ or http://www.artisteer.com/ and I am sure there are others. If someone had the know how to put something like this to action for Dolphin they would be sure to be onto a winner application.

I guess I am following your tip of the day and asking something nicely.
houstonlively
All I asked for was a demo of a template.
clubbeyourself
@HL , yes I know and that would be good to see also, My site uses a black template that I purchased but is not perfect by any means around different parts of the site where text appears to be hidden or just very feint on the backgrounds. This actually reminds me I must get onto the developer of that template regarding this, I have been unwell of late and very busy with catching up on other things so have not got around to it since being active around here again.

It would be interestng to see see more if one of the template experts out there would be prepared to build such a tool as suggested like the template engine mentioned in my post above.

Any takers?
dolphin_jay
Yeah and my only point was try to change the images in say the stats block on the index page for each module. You will have to go into every module folder and change the image. Not in the UNI folder... Hmm owell
cbassthefish
All getting rather heated in here. I am with MyBellaVista on this. I always understood it as this. Make a change to the appropriate css file in tmpl_uni/css and it will over ride any css classes with are imported using the import statement. For instance take Deanos box color reference. Go into common.css in the tmpl/css folder and you will see the following:

@import url(../../base/css/common.css);

change the file so it looks like this:

@import url(../../base/css/common.css);
.boxContent see more {
overflow: hidden;
font-size: 11px;
padding: 1px 1px 1px 1px;
background-color: #000;
}

The above statement will over ride the below css statement that was imported via the @import statement

.boxContent {
overflow: hidden;
font-size: 11px;
padding: 1px 1px 1px 1px;
background-color: #fff;
}

The key different being that #000 over rides #fff. Now the background color of pretty much all the boxes in your dolphin system will be changed from white to black.

http://www.codestyle.org/javascript/dom/css/premium/AtImportOverride.shtml
cbassthefish
Just to be clear. I could have specified:

@import url(../../base/css/common.css);
.boxContent {
background-color: #000;
}

and it would have had pretty much the same effect. The other attributes would have been inherited via the import statement and only the background-color would have been over riden.
deano92964
Yes. The tricky part is when you run into module specific content that has a text color or a DIV with a color that will not look good on that black background. Here is where i need to deal with the modules CSS directly.

So she is saying this does not have to be done. Don't have to touch the modules at all. So obviousy i would like to know how. I am always looking for easier ways to do things.
cbassthefish
Do you have a specific example of a module that has this problem that I can look at?
jtadeo
Check out http://www.boonex.com/trac/dolphin/wiki/DolDesign

It's a good explanation of how the template system works.

dolphin_jay, if you want to replace the stat images in your new template, name the picture the same name and the template will assume the new picture you have included.

The template system will cascade style sheets but images, html files and php files. It's all there. It will carry through to the modules.

You will need to adjust some files in the forum and the php file see more that defines the template.
deano92964
The text color for the quotes module class .daily_quotes, the border color of the files module class .fileUnitPic just to name a couple.
jtadeo
I've started a thread at http://www.boonex.com/unity/forums/#topic/Dolphin-7-Templates-Tutorial.htm
cbassthefish
@ Deano. I think the following should help by way of example. It changes the background color of the boxes to black and the text of the quotes to white. I put in in the common.css in tmpl_uni:

@import url(../../base/css/common.css);
.boxContent {
background-color: #000;
}
.daily_quotes {
color:#fff;
cbassthefish
Oops I missed off the closing bracket when I did a copy and paste. It should be:

@import url(../../base/css/common.css);
.boxContent {
background-color: #000;
}
.daily_quotes {
color:#fff;
}
cbassthefish
Hmm. No response. Ahhh well it is late. Sorry but I need to go watch the dvd my wife got earlier. "Lesbian Vampire Killers". Bound to be a great film with that title...
mastermindsro
@cbassthefish and @mybellavista
Don't take anything personal.. We just want Boonex to wake up from their beauty sleep and get back to re-work the modules, this is a key requirement for the future of this Dolphin version and also for the incoming 8th version (released probably this autumn).
I have some experience with Dolphin templates and I guarantee you that:
1. Every new main template installed make forum don't work - requires a manual fix every time..
2. If you create a black template, many see more of the modules will display their own style designed only for "UNI", that's why you will get white images and black text on your new template black background. There is no way to fix this from the main template folder (templates/tmpl_sometemplate), you will need to edit the "uni" template.. for example the forum requires to edit "modules\boonex\forum\layout\base\css\main.css" in order to remove some white color backgrounds..

How can you guys say that everything is possible to edit from the main tmpl_templatename folder when it's proven that you can't?
cbassthefish
@mastermindsro
Me? Take it personally? Never!
Could you provide me with an example of css you cannot get to cascade through to the modules? Thanks.
cbassthefish
Ah well the discussion has moved here now if anyone else wants to follow it:
http://www.boonex.com/unity/forums/#topic/Dolphin-7-Templates-Tutorial.htm
jtadeo
I wrote a draft tutorial at http://www.boonexnerd.net/dolphin-7/blogs/entry/How-to-Create-a-Dolphin-7-Template-draft

That shows how to deal with the modules. The same concept applies to the forum as well. I will do that one when I have more time.
buckmcgoo
It took them this long just to incorporate Orca into the same template.. I'm sure in Dolphin 8 the modules will work that way too :-)

By the way, I just went to your site Mastermindsro and those templates look NICE!
naluv4u2
I need and want a Dolphin 7 QUICK! So far I like Dolphin. Tried numerous other socialnetworking software and ALL have some type of flaws you have to deal with. Dolphin 7 is NOT perfect and I have come to accept some of the flaws. But I really, really would like my members to be able to pimp out their profiles much in the same way that Ning allows their users to do. Dolphin 7 should be more flexible in customization. That's the main area I would appreciate the most.
 
 
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