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Feedback on the framework in prep for Zen Grid v3

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Hi folks,

We are just starting to sketch out our plans for Zen Grid Framework version 3 and wanted to get your input.

This is going to be a total rewrite with an emphasis on front end and back end performance and my hope is that it will be considerably stripped back given the improvements in Joomla 3.0.

It's worth noting that it will be Joomla 2.5 and joomla 3.+ only. And that the interface will revert back to something more native to Joomla now that the J3 UI is a lot prettier than it used to be.

While we have a lot of stuff on our list already it would be great to get an idea of what you would like to see added, improved or removed.


There is some stuff in v2 that are good ideas but I'm not sure how much you really use it in the real world.

For instance -

do you use Debug mode? Is it useful?
Should effects like lazyload, back to top etc be in the template settings or handled via a plugin?

Please don't hold back in your appraisal (so long as it's constructive) we really want to make this framework the best we can produce and we can't do that without you.

Looking forward to the discussion.

Anthony
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OW would be nice to know what you want folks!

I think we could use less.css to build the new templates and make the framework compile it if needed, so to create new hilite styles you could extend default hilites right in admin, changing colors with color pickers, and other controls
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Also just wanted to add in here that Anderson - our new lead developer - will be doing a lot of the hard work for this. So please be kind to him :)

Thanks
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Another great feature could be the option to export/import all params like presets or just for backup. So we could save an state and make tests... after we can just reload that.

Or if you like the quickstart configuration, you can just export that and import inside your template.

Maybe use a feature like that into Zentools too, so would be easy copy quickstart params and import in your modules...
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It is convenient to configure through the template but it means that you will have to be very repetitive about features that you want to put into, or make available to all templates. I would think that going with the plugins more makes sense as a long term solution. Especially as you are moving towards bootstrap and Version 3.

I like the idea of making configuration changes to the plugin that would then go across templates. For example, last month you released a handful of simple templates that look bootstrap inspired. I would think that it might be nice to have some behavior be the SAME within multiple templates that could then be used on the same site. So, I may create sections using different templates and know that I would get some conformity of behavior across the templates.

I know I am just thinking out loud and I am certainly not a software architect. My thoughts are to keep the templates as lean as possible and do the magic elsewhere.

I would love to hear what the hard core developers think

I do not use debug and did not like lazyload too much because I was using carousels that would not load until the carousel was clicked on. I preferred my carousels to load and be ready so that upon a click to the next set the images are immediate.

I love the navigation that sticks to the top when you scroll down. Seems like that could be configured outside of the templates.

Another thing I would think would be good is to have templates that are both K2 AND Jomsocial capable. :-) But, I guess that is a slightly different subject. :-)

Sean
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Speaking of QuickStart I believe you will want to create Joomla 3.x packages that were built using 3.x from the ground up and were not upgraded from previous versons of Joomla. What I do now with your QuickStart is install it and configure it as a learning tool and then do a fresh install of Joomla and essentially rebuild what is in the Quickstart in order to not have any legacy bugs from previous joomla versions pop up. :-)
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Heya folks!

Good times in the Joomla community these days. A lot of nice stuff happening imo. A huge difference for me at least; just over a year ago I was trying to get my head around using J1.5 and buying random templates on templatemonster.com. Monstrous times indeed. :evil:

The ZGF is a great product. I think the major issues I have with ZGF now will be solved with J3/Bootstrap; like how disconnected it feels from the rest of the J! backend.

However, I'll list some thoughts I've had on ZGF and how it could improve.

- A dashboard showing an overview of all current settings per category. I find it a bit hard to get an overview as of now. The dashboard could contain: Main Content hidden/not, module widths, JS/CSS compression enabled/disabled etc. Would simplify troubleshooting/replicating a lot, for me at least. It'd also be noteworthily nice if the framework could summarize the total number of columns used in each section.

- A link to "View site" like there is in normal Joomla. I use that a lot more than I realised.

- It's wonderful with native GWF/Typekit support, but the font management could improve quite a lot. The long lists are not overly easy to navigate; so an ajax search, a link to google webfonts, an option to add fonts that are missing (or maybe an automatic update from GWF?) Also, a rendered example of the selected heading and a paragraph typefaces would be great.

- I like your hilites function (as in hilite_blue.css) etc, but it could also be made easier to work with - by for example enabling us to via color wheel select the hilites. Not that creating a css file and uploading it and selecting it is hard, but well, the framework is very nice, so we are naturally gonna talk improvements like this I think :)

- As my heart beats for typography, and I have strong suspicions yours does too – it'd be great to have something like True Typography in there, which takes care of hyphenation, quotes, math symbols etc. extensions.joomla.org/extensions/style-a-design/typography/18823

- Markdown is sexy. I have yet to find any good J! editors that support it though. If the ZGF would support Markdown -> HTML conversion, I'll send serious beer donations down under.

Good times in the Joomla community now. Keep up the good work guys.
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Hey folks thanks for the great feedback.
It is convenient to configure through the template but it means that you will have to be very repetitive about features that you want to put into, or make available to all templates. I would think that going with the plugins more makes sense as a long term solution. Especially as you are moving towards bootstrap and Version 3.

Actually the framework is a plugin already and most of the features are trannsferable across themes now. The main difference being the templateDetails.xml and some layout files.
I like the idea of making configuration changes to the plugin that would then go across templates. For example, last month you released a handful of simple templates that look bootstrap inspired. I would think that it might be nice to have some behavior be the SAME within multiple templates that could then be used on the same site. So, I may create sections using different templates and know that I would get some conformity of behavior across the templates.

Not sure that this is possible actually. The only way to do this would be to set up the base template and then duplicate the template settings buy using the Joomla copy template function.

It may be possible to import / export settings though in v3 so that will be able to do what you want more easily but it will be on a template by template basis.

Perhaps as another solution we could inherit the settings from an existing template. That might make sense too.
Another thing I would think would be good is to have templates that are both K2 AND Jomsocial capable. But, I guess that is a slightly different subject.

Actually the latest Jomsocial template is designed to sit inside any of our themes. So you should be able to install that and run it inside a template that is also using K2 too.

Speaking of QuickStart I believe you will want to create Joomla 3.x packages that were built using 3.x from the ground up and were not upgraded from previous versons of Joomla.

I completely agree. I started doing this from Corporate on (I think) so all J2.5 installs from then are based on an original J2.5 package and not an upgrade.

@Olovk
The ZGF is a great product. I think the major issues I have with ZGF now will be solved with J3/Bootstrap; like how disconnected it feels from the rest of the J! backend.

Yep version 3 will just use the native interface.
A dashboard showing an overview of all current settings per category.

Yes thats a great idea and I just added it to the list. I tried to implement that in the diagnostics panel but never got around to fully finishing it. It will also be possible to link to those areas on the page as well so it might be possible to configure the template so you can bookmark specific items.
A link to "View site" like there is in normal Joomla. I use that a lot more than I realised.

That might be there by default if running in the native interface but Ill add it just in case.

It's wonderful with native GWF/Typekit support, but the font management could improve quite a lot.

I totally agree. Most is already on the list.

I'm looking at a filterable select box for the fonts. i think that might exist in the J3.0 elements already. Rendering fonts in the admin is also there plus a more obvious link tot he web directory itself.

hilites function (as in hilite_blue.css) etc, but it could also be made easier to work with

Yes looking at a Less compiler or an adaptation of my own hilite build tool. But more tweaking from the admin specific to the theme will make it easier for end users who don't want to get their hands dirty.
As my heart beats for typography, and I have strong suspicions yours does too – it'd be great to have something like True Typography in there, which takes care of hyphenation, quotes, math symbols etc. extensions.joomla.org/extensions/style-a-design/typography/18823

That looks great actually but probably more suited to JB Type. I'll look into it some more.


Markdown is sexy.

I'd never thought about that before but yes that would be a great addition to some of the text areas.

Thanks again for the feedback and keep it coming :)
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Actually the markdown thing can already be achieved by the following:

1. Install the markdown plugin from here:
yoonique.net/index.php?option=com_zoo&task=item&item_id=35&category_id=16&Itemid=118

Then in the templateDetails.xml fiel change the relevant textarea field from type="textarea" to type="editor" You may also need to set a width.

So the taglien field goes from:
<field name="tagline" type="textarea" filter="safehtml"  cols="50" rows="5" default="A blank theme from Joomlabamboo" label="ZENTAGLINE"  description="ZENTAGLINEDESCRIPTION"  />

top this:
<field name="tagline" type="editor" width="300" filter="safehtml"  default="A blank theme from Joomlabamboo" label="ZENTAGLINE"  description="ZENTAGLINEDESCRIPTION"  />

Thanks - will look at adding the editor field soon.
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Btw, one more thing that I think would make a lot of sense to have in the ZGF v3, as the focus is scalability and mobile, is wider support for SVG images. At least for the logo, I'd say that's almost a necessity these days with screens varying from 320x480 to 2880x1800 on consumer products.. although of course I'm not sure how the mobile browser support is for SVG.


Edit: Built-in (possibly logo derived) favicon functionality would also be nice.
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Last Edit: 7 years 5 months ago by olovk. Reason: Added favicon wish/highlighted the SVG part
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I also was at our local JUG last night and bootstrap again came up in the discussions. It was mentioned that bootstrap has a LOT in it that some templates may or may not use and that apparently some things can be turned on and off. If this is the case a configuration page might be useful in order to easily turn on and off the bootstrap objects/options that are not needed?
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Anthony Olsen wrote:
Actually the latest Jomsocial template is designed to sit inside any of our themes. So you should be able to install that and run it inside a template that is also using K2 too.

Anthony,
Sorry I am not 100% clear on what you meant here. Are you referring to your Highline Jomsocial template that is designed to set inside any of your themes. Or, is there a separate jomsocial template that is included with Highline that can also be used with any of your other templates?

In that case I guess I could get any of your templates that are ready for K2 and also use this jomsocial template. I did not find anything that looked to me to be specifically a jomsocial template. But, I sure do like the idea of a jomsocial template that would work with any of your themes! :-)
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Last Edit: 7 years 5 months ago by scarney.
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Ah yes sorry - you can download it here:

www.joomlabamboo.com/downloads/standard-downloads

Announcement was here
www.joomlabamboo.com/blog/template-news/responsive-jomsocial-starter-template

:)
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Wow. I am SO impressed! Now I need a good jomsocial project so I can play with this!
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Thanks heaps for this opportunity.

1. Could we have the layout overrides already shipped with the layout folder... and or in the plugin framework.
2. Can we remove the "modal" layout of the framework?
3. I'll think of more
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Thanks Norm :)

1. You can find the overrides in the plugins/system/zengridframework/zengridframework/assets/layout folder.

2. The UI will be native Joomla.

3. Keep it coming .

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+1 for the ajax search for GoogleFonts and as I've mentioned before an ability to quickly update the list (with new releases) would be great.

I would personally like to see more separation of CSS for instance all styles relating to menu stored in menu.css for a *simpler* addition / removal / swap with another template.

Menus see (www.joomlabamboo.com/forum/general-joomla-support/70209-menu-jb-general#70209)

A little unrelated but can I suggest a developers area in the Documentation section. Perhaps a quick review of semi-advanced and advanced features. e.g. a JB css class cheatsheet - you have some pretty cool things built in but I'm always forgetting how exactly to activate them and it isn't that easy to find out.

Would be happy to beta.
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Thanks!

Ill add +1 to better google font control as well ...

Decoupling the menu css is a good idea and Ill do that in the next themes going forward but not sure about older themes.

The knowledge base is getting a revamp now and there is some advanced stuff on the KB already but might be good to start a list of what you need documented so we can create a target to prioritise. Might create a blog post for this.

Cheers and thanks for the feedback
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No worries ^_^


Developing today has led me to what I see as a useful addition - support for hiding blank modules.

The free version of 'Advanced Module Manager' has support for 'Hide if Empty' but the current logic (zengridframework/functions/vars.php) doesn't take this into account. Specific to my situation applying styles to create room for left/right cols.

I've implemented a quick fix for my usage with

trim( JModuleHelper::renderModule(array_shift(JModuleHelper::getModules( 'right' ))) ) == "")

but perhaps newer things are on the way with J3.0


For me the KB is good for specific templates but a bit lacking on the general use of the framework and built-in goodies. I also find it a little clunky to navigate to what I want but its really difficult to organise all the data.

Perhaps a tagging system could be implemented e.g. (Beginner, Intermediate, Developer) ?

Now I'll through something in from right outside the box - perhaps it could be integrated with GitHub or similar as I know I'd be happy to catalogue the odd feature...
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Last Edit: 7 years 4 months ago by AppleOrphanage.
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Hey there,

So if advanced module manager is hiding if empty - does that mean you want it to count towards the number of items published? I would have thought that it still shows as published but is just hidden but I havent tested this.


re the docs - yes I agree.
We are rebuilding the knowledgebase now - using zoo - I'd be more than happy to take contributions from you - or anyone. I like having good docs but it's often the last thing on the list to be done.

Tagging was added originally but we had issues with flexicontent and duplicate urls. Hoping this wont be the case with Zoo :)

Anthony
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