[drupal-devel] [feature] Administration Control Panel suggestion

syllance drupal-devel at drupal.org
Tue Sep 20 21:43:40 UTC 2005

Issue status update for 
Post a follow up: 

 Project:      Drupal
 Version:      cvs
 Component:    system.module
 Category:     feature requests
 Priority:     normal
 Assigned to:  Anonymous
 Reported by:  der
 Updated by:   syllance
 Status:       patch (code needs review)

patch works fine.

this is a small but useful feature, i think it should be added to core
while waiting for the reworked control panel module.

may be we could close the thread and switch to a new one for the
upcoming module, as the comments start to grow (guilty, your honor :)

keep up your nice work Der :) your patch was nice, but i'm sure we'll
soon have a nice admin panel module. (and there is no doubt about it if
chx says it begins to look good :)

don't know anything about the approach mentionned by chx, but i really
like the result of having der panel + chx one for navigation, this
really gives drupal an improved admin usability. 

thanks² :)


Previous comments:

Thu, 15 Sep 2005 17:50:52 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/system_9.patch (4.27 KB)

New feature suggestion:

I would like to suggest a couple of enhancments to administration

First, add a new general settings option to allow the user to specify
the admin home page.  Currently the watchdog log view is the default
home page.

Second, add a new control panel page that can be used as the default
admin start page.

I've attached a suggested patch to the CVS head version of the
system.module that implements these two enhancements.  The patch does
the following. 

Adds a new "default admin page" text field to the general settings
group (just after the "default front page").  It also changes the admin
menu entry to call a new function that examines the default "admin page"
variable and redirects to the appropriate path.  For the control panel,
the patch adds a new function (system_admin_controlpanel).  This
function basically looks for the admin entry in the menu structure and
then iterates through the child menu items and builds a control panel
page using the path and title information returned from the menu
structure. For the control panel icons it looks for an icon file in the
misc directory that matches the name of the menu item (e.g. user.png,
access.png etc)  If it doesn't find an icon it uses a default.  I've
also included some 48/48 icons that I borrowed from my
usr/share/icon/gnome directory of my local Linux box.  I believe these
are gnome GPL'ed icons but any 48/48 icons could be used.  

This patch allows users who prefer the current functionality to keep it
as their default.  It provides the option for others to make any admin
page they want to be their admin "home page" including using a
graphical control panel.  Module developers that add new admin menu
options can add their own custom icons for the control panel but they
are not "required" to do so as a default will be used if they don't
provide one.


Thu, 15 Sep 2005 17:52:15 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/drupal_controlpanel_icons.zip (39.09 KB)

48x48 icons attached


Fri, 16 Sep 2005 14:30:16 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/system_2_0.patch (4.5 KB)

updated patch.  slightly changed the formatting of the control panel


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 00:37:24 +0000 : moggy

I quite like this. It certainly goes some way to making Drupal easier on
the eyes for first time users.

I noticed there's a lot of hard coded style. Would this not be better
in a stylesheet and the code just containing classes and ids?

Also would a dropdown box of possible admin pages be better than trying
to remember how to spell controlpanel (something I'm having trouble with
tonight ;-) )


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 13:02:08 +0000 : syllance

Nice job :)

the default admin page is a nice feature, and the controlpanel is a
very good idea. This goes in the good direction to make Drupal more
user friendly.

i agree with the dropdown menu and stylesheet additions, but i already
really appreciate the current version.

hope this will go into core soon, as it really makes the first admin
pages contact better :)

i don't mind scrolling through the nav menu and i rarely goes into
admin without checking the logs, but that definitely will help me
converting my wife's site to drupal :p

thanks !


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 16:09:43 +0000 : der

I'll move the styles off to a style sheet but I'm uncertain about
whether or not make make the default admin page a dropdown.  It's an
easy change and it eliminates any typos by the user but it also
restricts the user to a current visible admin menu item.   If by chance
someone wanted to write their own admin start page (ie their own control
panel) they would have to hack the core system.module to do it.  

Anyone else want to weigh in with their preference?

Also, anyone up for creating drupalized versions of the control panel


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 16:16:15 +0000 : chx

Maybe just because I created it, I like my control panel module better.


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 16:25:30 +0000 : der

If I would have known there was a module I wouldn't have written this
patch although I do think this would be good for core Drupal as the

Is your modules a recent creation?  I don't see it on drupal.org nor
could I find in the contribs section of CVS (either the modules or
sandbox sections).  I'm I missing something?  Is it called something


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 18:20:15 +0000 : syllance

chx control panel is located in his sandbox (cp.module), and thanks to
him for letting us know there's one :)

it's working fine (tested on HEAD) and provide interesting concept for
navigating through the admin, instead of just add a frontend. the
settings part is the better one, listing all elements in the page makes
quickly forget the standard menu.

der's one looks nice and provide a more immediate access to admin
pages, but the standard menu is still mandatory to access some elements
(dba or store settings for example, still needs to be accessed via left

to be honest, i like them both :)

being able to change the default admin page is very nice, and icons
make admin looks a lot better, raising the Woman Acceptance Factor by a
huge amount (my wife loves it :). but i also really like the more in
depth admin navigation offered by chx module.

mixing both on my head setup gives a nice result, so may be it would be
a good idea to join forces and mix the 2 panels.

chx, is your module somewhat official and scheduled to hit the core ?


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 19:24:11 +0000 : Amazon

Hi, I asked Karoly to create the control panel module.  It important
that the control panel be tied into the navigation menu block so that
it does not create inconsistent navigation.

The goal is to start a user experience grouping exercise to help the
community categorize administration tasks.   The first thing that has
to happen is that administration must be considered a seperate
situation from creating personal content in Drupal.  To support this
seperation of personal tasks and administration tasks we broke out
administration to have a separate theme in the CivicSpace theme.

Through research interviews into Drupal administration we need to
discover what the goals and tasks of administrators are.   Some early
feedback is that site developers need modules to be evaluated on
Drupal.org.  They have also indicated they need better and consistent
administration help ,with incontext list, which we have been adding. 
We have also heard administrators want a quick overview.  Any change to
provide a control panel like overview must have a dashboard like
overview.  You should assume that we will identify a list of 5-7 top
goals for administrators.

Once those those 5-7 top goals are identified we need to ensure
administrators can acommplish tasks to achieve those goals.  Some of
those tasks will completed by clicking through to icons or admin
interface links.   Sub-goals will be accomplished by providing
effective navigation.  We need to consider 4 types of navigation to be
added to the control panel: Global navigation, local navigation,
contextual navigation, and situational navigation.   Some of this
navigation can be accomplished through a theme or blocks.  Some will
need to be in the page and some need to be added in otherways, such as
interaction techniques.

Keep all this in mind when creating a control panel solution.  It also
must respond to the fact that every site will have different
permissions set and different modules.   This is a complex problem and
it's going to research and experimentation to get it right.   But this
is a big step in the right direction.



Sat, 17 Sep 2005 19:47:55 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/system.module_11.patch (5.61 KB)

This has sparked a lot of good discussion.  I've taken a look at
cp.module and I think it really is complimentary with my proposed
patch. I've taken my patch one step further and provided the settings
icons in a collapsable group below the main control panel.  This would
allow access to all admin functions without referring to the
traditional menu.

Syllance, do you think this addresses the gap you saw in my solution?


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 20:33:10 +0000 : der

Kieran, I'm glad to see some serious thought going into the user
experience for site administrators.  I think separating the user and
admin sections of the site is critical.  It will not only allow
extensive usability work to be done for site admins it will also make
it much easier for theme creators as they will be able to focus on the
end user experience.  I like the admin theme for civicspace.  My only
dislike about the approach is that it's template driven which causes a
sites template to be larger and more complex due to handling all the
logic for user and admin themes.  I think a better approach may be to
use a module such as the sections module.  This allows you to have
smaller templates focused on user or admin themes.

I agree with your point about making sure the control panel ties into
them menu system.  My approach uses the existing menu structure so
modules are added dynamically and all permissions are enforced.


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 22:21:05 +0000 : chx

function _system_adminpage () {
    drupal_goto($path = variable_get('site_adminpage', 'admin/controlpanel'), $query = NULL, $fragment = NULL);

no way. Use menu !$may_cache and set the path based on the variable. 

Adding in-line style elements is also a no-go.

The code style is not kept. Never a space between full stop and
apostrophe, always otherwise. 

It's not $menuvisible but $menu_visible

I must be blind (it's 0:17am) but // Build the settings section of the
control panel does not seem to differ from the previous section. A
function may be appropriate.


Sat, 17 Sep 2005 22:39:40 +0000 : der

Thanks for the code feedback.  I'm assuming the extracted style info
would get patched to drupal.css?

Your right about the duplicate code.  A function would make more sense,
 I'll make the change.

I'm not sure about the comment to use "$may_cache"  I've never used it
before.  What's it's purpose?  How should I use it in this situation. 
I'll dig around and see if I can figure it out but I thought you might
be able to give me a little insight.



Sun, 18 Sep 2005 10:41:00 +0000 : syllance

der, i've checked the new version of your control panel, and it does
simplify access to the settings menu (although with a complex setup,
the site config collapsable menu goes a lot more down than the menu,
but this a page and not a small menu so its still better)

however, there other case settings like, such as the ecommerce modules,
which provides a more complex menu tree (ex :
store->settings->payment->adjustments, each with their own admin
pages). these are not taken into account by your panel, leaving the
menu mandatory.

chx control panel handles this nicely with page navigation. going
through the store menu with chx panel is a real pleasure while its a
real pain with the menu. So i think the best would be to mix the two
panels, chx one handling page navigation, and yours providing a
frontend for basic admin pages, and collapsable site config items.
instead of linking to the standard admin pages, icons might link to chx
nav pages where there are sub entries.

i'm running both today, and this already makes the admin really better,
but i'm often switching from der panel to chx one (for store), so mixing
both would be, for me, a very nice solution :p

thanks for the good work :)


Sun, 18 Sep 2005 12:54:55 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/control_panel.patch (5.61 KB)

Here's a new patch with the code reworked per chx's comments with the
exception of his objection to my use of drupal_goto function.  chx, I'm
probably missing something really obvious but I'm not understanding your
suggestion.  Are you suggesting I use some menu function to do the
redirect?  If so, I could not find one that suits my needs.  Or are you
suggesting to use the drupal_goto function in a different manner than I
am using it.  Like I said, I'm probably missing something really
obvious here but for the life of me I don't know what it is.  Any
further advice would be greatly appreciated.  The offending code below:

function _system_adminpage () {
    drupal_goto($path = variable_get('site_adminpage', 'admin/controlpanel'), $query = NULL, $fragment = NULL);


Mon, 19 Sep 2005 13:42:57 +0000 : syllance

i think there's a problem with your latest patch. it seems to display
all icons as a vertical list. it may be a problem with my setup, but
i'm using basic themes that comes with head. the administer page is
thus very long, and this is not very useful. previous version was
better, imho :)



Mon, 19 Sep 2005 14:10:03 +0000 : der

which theme and which browser are you using?


Mon, 19 Sep 2005 15:59:16 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/control_panel_0.patch (5.32 KB)

I've tested this with IE and FireFox with each of the Drupal shipped
HEAD themes and I'm not seeing the issue you described.  Are you sure
the patch applied correctly to drupal.css?

Here's a slightly revised patch.  It make the control panel icon group
collapsable but open by default.


Mon, 19 Sep 2005 18:09:22 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/control_panel_1.patch (5.64 KB)

Sorry for the excessive number of patches.  I just realized that my
previous patch had an issue with icon image file names  if there were
admin and admin/settings menu items that were the same (eg admin/user
and admin/settings/user).

New patch attached to address.


Tue, 20 Sep 2005 02:13:49 +0000 : syllance

the vertical thing was probably due to a problem with my drupal.css.
i've tested your new patch with a fresh update and the display is fine,
but there's a bug.

the site configuration panel displays store settings items
(checkout,payment,shipping), and not the global settings one. this
might be due to the menus item having the same name 'settings',
although not located at the  same level (administer/settings, and
administer/store/settings). ready for another patch ? :)

your panel adds a nice look and enable default administer page setup.
but there's still a lot of menu access needed when other modules are
setup (such as ecommerce), and i'm using it in addition to chx one to
provide a complete admin solution :)

chx one looks just like the theme you're using with no icons, but it
really help accelerating admin navigation. i'm wondering if integrating
both to core wouldn't be the ultimate solution. your panel more targeted
at standard admin needs, and chx one helping users that deals with lots
of modules & settings.

thanks again


Tue, 20 Sep 2005 02:19:54 +0000 : Amazon

Hi, can you guys post some screen shots as you go along for those of us
who don't want to keep installing new patches.


Tue, 20 Sep 2005 02:25:06 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/Control Panel.png (101.02 KB)

Sure,  here's what the current version looks like with the civicspace
admin theme.


Tue, 20 Sep 2005 04:22:36 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/control_panel_2.patch (5.48 KB)

Patch fixing the issue that syllance pointed out and it also fixes the
obvious issue with the drupal_goto function arguments. duh!


Tue, 20 Sep 2005 19:02:41 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/system.module_12.patch (2.48 KB)

I've thought about this and I think it makes sense to break this
enhancement request up and provide the second request (Admin Control
Panel) as an add-on module.  Therefore I've scaled this patch back to
handling only the first enhancement request:

/Add a new general settings option to allow the user to specify the
admin home page. Currently the watchdog log view is the default home


Tue, 20 Sep 2005 19:12:41 +0000 : chx

print theme('page', foo) is not used in HEAD, it's return foo. This
approach now looks pretty good. I had another approach in my mind but
this begins to look good. I'll test it later.


Tue, 20 Sep 2005 19:21:39 +0000 : der

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/system.module_13.patch (2.47 KB)

new patch per chx's comment

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