[development] Remove top-level admin menu items

Greg Knaddison Greg at GrowingVentureSolutions.com
Mon Feb 2 18:07:19 UTC 2009

On Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 10:35 AM, Jose A. Reyero <drupal at reyero.net> wrote:
> That said, I think guidelines are fine, so if you want to set up this one as
> a guideline and find some consensus, ok. But enforcing guidelines upon
> module maintainers, when they think they have a specific reason to skip this
> one or this other guideline is bad (and mostly a waste of time).

I agree with Jose here.

A UI guideline that I've heard about grouping items.

* If a group is bigger than 12 consider splitting it
* If a group is smaller than 5 consider merging it into another

Obviously there has to be room for some compromises, but this provides
a basic concept that we can apply to lots of areas like items in menus
and the "Package" names at Admin > Site building > Modules (package
names with only 1 or 2 items in the package area waste of fieldset).

On a default site the "Site configuration" area begins at 14 items.
Any proposal that pushes more items there immediately finds itself in
violation of the guideline.  Similarly, a module without many
extension modules has no business creating packages nor creating top
level menu items.

If we look at the modules that started this thread: - Notifications /
Messaging - Organic Groups - Panels

On a typical site I think it's reasonable to assume that these modules
will be installed alongside other modules that extend them and
therefore they should provide their own top level navigation.  More

-Notifications / Messaging, as Jose pointed out, are part of a big
package of their own which merits this.  They also get more extensions
- OG has it's own category of 58 items
- Panels provides many menu items itself which probably justifies this
top level status without any sub-items.  Perhaps it could be moved to
some sub level like "Administer > Display" that could hold other
"Display" related items.

As Daniel proposed, we could push these top level items into an
existing top level items and let the menus nest a level deeper.  I
don't think that will work.  If you think our hierarchical menu system
is good think about how you and other power users navigate Drupal's
admin area: by mouse or by URL bar.  We use the URL bar much more
often which, IMO, points to a general "Menu system fail" (see
https://video.devseed.s3.amazonaws.com/spaces_features_final.mp4 for
recent evidence of URL bar navigation).  Admin_menu "solves" this
problem, but as much as I love admin_menu there is plenty of research
that dynamic dropdown menus are too difficult for most users which
means that simply pushing the menu hierarchy deeper is not a solution.

** Proposed guideline: If your module is part of a commonly configured
package of modules consider creating a new top level menu under admin/
and consolidating related items under that menu.  If your module will
likely have fewer than 5 items at that level consider reconfiguring
the screens to reduce menu items or merging it into an existing menu.


Greg Knaddison
http://knaddison.com | 303-800-5623 | http://growingventuresolutions.com

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