[development] Early Drupal 6 review from Chris Messina

Greg Knaddison greg at pingvox.com
Sat Nov 10 18:43:23 UTC 2007

On Nov 10, 2007 2:12 PM, Dries Buytaert <dries.buytaert at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > This review is quite complete, but it's a 'blogger' review, not a
> > > cms.. all the comments are "blog" oriented, and in somehow.. i's far
> >
> > Thanks for saying that. It is exactly how I felt about it, too.
> - A lot of people come to Drupal from a blogging background.
> - A lot of what Chris said is valid for non-blogging contexts.
> Drupal 6 is what will be used in 2008 and possibly part of 2009.  A
> *lot* of people will bump in exactly the issues that Chris
> highlighted. Let's not classify this feedback as irrelevant -- it's
> some of the most valuable usability feedback we've had in months.
> If people with a different background provide us feedback, we should
> also take that into account.

I agreed with Chris on most of his points and am amazed at how
important some of them are while requiring very little work.  Even the
changes where I disagreed with his point of view (and there were few)
are examples of situations that deserve more attention.

For example, he said about taxonomies "Okay, a term is clearly a
category... but this is not clear from the labeling."  Well, no -
Categories contain Terms.  But our use of Category/Vocabulary/Taxonomy
to mean the container and Term/Tag for the specific label within the
container really makes this confusing.  His confusion here is a
natural reaction and rather than ignoring it we should improve our
consistent use of the right terms to prevent confusion.

One topic that I'd like to discuss more is his point about the comment
settings being a per content type option (search for the string
OMGWTFBBQ).  I, frankly, love this flexibility in Drupal6. However, I
agree with him that the UI is overly complex.  We really have to
balance complexity of the interface with the desire to add features
and flexibility.  One thing I've been thinking about is how Firefox
balances these two items.  There are hundreds (thousands?) of settings
in firefox (type about:config into your location bar to see many of
them).  You only see ~10% of them in the menu structure and dialog
boxes while the rest are hidden in about:config or via files (e.g.
changing your chrome/*css).  most Firefox users will never use
about:config or the chrome files.  But for the 5% who use them, they
are very important!

Can and should we adopt this separation in Drupal?  We already have
some examples of variables which have no UI in core but can be enabled
via a contributed module or via settings.php (e.g. dev_query).  Should
we take this further as a general system?

I'm leaning towards yes, but want to know how other people feel.


Greg Knaddison
Denver, CO | http://knaddison.com
World Spanish Tour | http://wanderlusting.org/user/greg

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