advanced settings (was Re: [drupal-devel] advanced theme in core vs all in core.)

Larry Garfield larry at
Wed Sep 7 02:14:59 UTC 2005

On Tuesday 06 September 2005 08:45 pm, Khalid B wrote:
> > Can you provide a few examples of where this would actually make sense? 
> > I'm not coming up with any where the correct answer is "well if you named
> > it and explained it better on the normal settings page then it wouldn't
> > be so 'confusing', now would it?" :-)
> For anyone who have been following development, there are so many
> times where the discussion goes like this:
> A: I need a new feature X to be added. Here is the patch.
> B: The option is fine, but we have to preserve existing behavior.
> A. Here is a revised patch with an option to turn it on.
> C. No. More options means confusion and clutter. -1.
> D. Let us have the option in $conf in settings.php where it is hidden.
> ....
> ad nauseum.
> So, this is my proposal: provide  the option for those who want it and
> keep it out of site  from the rest.

Well, then the answer is to not have so many people knee-jerk C. :-)  More 
options need not automatically mean more clutter, if organized properly.

A better solution, IMHO, would be to allow mult-tab settings pages.  You can 
already hack this using MENU_LOCAL_TASK, and I have, but having some way to 
get the settings page magic would be nice.  You can already group settings to 
an extent using fieldset, but if you want an extra layer of grouping then 
settings tabs are the way to go.  We'd need a $delta parameter added to 
hook_settings(), and some way to let the the settings system know that there 
are multiple tabs.  hook_block() would be a good model to follow, methinks.

That way, the module developer can group lots of options more logically than 
just with fieldsets if they want, including putting "lesser used" options 
onto a further-right tab.  If they want to be lazy and call one of them 
"advanced" we can't stop them, but at least then module devs have the 
opportunity to provide better organization if there are lots of options to be 

(Or we could support Javascript-based tabs, so that they're all technically 
the same form but get hidden/unhidden.  Perhaps that could even be mapped to 
the existing fieldsets.  I've been meaning to figure out how best to do 

Of course, I'd rather see many of the configuration pages under admin moved to 
be tabs under settings as well, but not all of those are easily organized 
into just setting variables. :-)

Larry Garfield			AIM: LOLG42
larry at		ICQ: 6817012

"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of 
exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, 
which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to 
himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession 
of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it."  -- Thomas 

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