[development] the past, present and future of drupal admin

Earl Miles merlin at logrus.com
Wed Jul 26 22:15:09 UTC 2006

Dang, this is a long post. I don't know where to start on it. A lot of 
it addresses the work I'm doing right now on the administration pages. 
And I know Kristjan isn't suggesting we throw that away, but I'm running 
into an issue:

1) Code freeze is in 36 days.
2) Dries and I are the only two people putting code into patches this at 
this time.
3) I'm in favor of any steps that are steps forward, especially if 
they're done in a flexible way so that we can step sideways in another 
4) We can argue for days, nay, years about the actual organization. I've 
been working on this for so long, though, that I'm beyond being able to 
talk about it in the abstract, and need specifics. Keep in mind that I 
effectively started working on this back in January, took a long 
breather to collect my wits when the criticisms came in, and then 
charged into it again on a whim.
5) I'm a burst type of worker. Meaning, I work really well and really 
fast while I'm motivated, but once my motivation becomes sapped, I don't 
work well or quickly. Yes, it's a personal flaw, and I do try to work on 
that, but it is a fact of my existence that must be accepted.


The conversation Kristjan started is a fantastic conversation to begin 
sometime in September, when we're talking about the next version. And 
don't get me wrong -- Kristjan brings up great points and has a lot of 
interesting things to say, and I agree with a lot of them, straight up 
-- but the timing on the conversation is a little difficult, at least 
for me. The conversation I want to see is -- what needs to be done to 
get the improvements we're working on in now.

Well, and this part of the conversation:

Kristjan Jansen wrote:
> Possible improvements (some of them silly ;)

I want to couch this in terms of "what improvements can we have ready by 
Sep 1."
> -- improve the module intialization and feature discovery flow: tie
> closer module listings, enabling modules and  related help/usage
> guide. (do I remember correctly there were once a "help" link on each
> module in module config screen? I am not saying this is the way to go
> though)

I'm very much interested in this, and am working hard to have a modules 
page redo in by the code freeze. My initial efforts were part of the 
alternadmin, which used javascript tabs which had a lot of very mixed 
opinions -- some people truly adore them, some people are very enh on 
them. I also included module grouping, which brought forth a whole range 
of opinions.

> -- there used to be links from module settings pages directly to a
> help pages, but now those are gone. why?

Definitely should come back.

> -- for recently enabled modules' menu item add red "new" markings so
> they stick out while browsing the admin pages. It can be problemsome
> though: enabling many modules in the same time takes you to go reddie
> hell. But this is just a suggestion for direction not a concrete
> proposal

Spiffy idea, and not actually that hard to implement. I'll try to put 
this into what I'm working on.

> -- work on integrating search and admin pages so people can rely on
> search for navigating administration. Index help texts, have
> alternative wordings and synonymes and task-centric phrases for menu
> titles and feed that data into a autosuggest search field a la
> Spotlight in OSX Preferences panel

Ambitious. Definitely not likely in the first round, but I can see where
this might be an end goal.

> 6) make module taxonomy http://drupal.org/project/Modules/category
> work closely together with Drupal administration screen structure

People keep suggesting this, but I don't buy it. How one finds modules 
isn't the same as how one administrates modules. The module taxonomy, 
when I first looked at it, struck me as relatively poor for some of the 
administrative organization, and takes a step back from some of the 
goals I have, at least, in module administration.

The downside, of course, is I can't really do much work on this until 
the administration patch ( http://drupal.org/node/72079 ) is actually 
committed. Well, I can, but I feel hesitant to do so.

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