On Tuesday 19 December 2006 10:01, Martijn Faassen wrote:
> What the ZMI is for needs a rethink; as part of the Grok project we hope
> to replace it with an admin UI, not a development UI.

Yes, Roger and I are doing this too in a couple of our custom projects. But 
our admin UIs are often focused on the particular problem domain, allowing us 
to make decisions about menu layout and other UI features that are not 
possible in the ZMI. Also, we are using UI programming patterns that are not 
accepted by the entire community yet (macro-free templating, view templates, 
clear separation of layer and skin, formal UI API specification)[1]. I'll 
note that Lovely Systems is also using/developing this approach to UI, but do 
not usually write admin UIs.

I have been thinking about replacing the ZMI several times, but there are some 
issues that cannot be resolved:

1. Zope 3 would need to add some of the additional packages developed for our 
way of doing UIs. Ideally, the larger community would embrace a new strategy 
to develop UIs.

2. Backward Compatibility. There is no way that I would want to support old 
ZMI views, simply because we are not doing macros anymore. This might be a 
big problem for a range of people.

3. Massive amount of work. Rewriting all the existing UI might be a large 
effort. On the other hand, if we rethink the ZMI to become an Admin 
interface, the ZMI could become much smaller and more feasible.

Overall, I think the first step would be to agree on a common set of UI 
patterns. I know that our UI patterns are very formal and an overhead, if you 
do both, Python view code and templating, but we also have achieved some very 
old design goals. For exmple, the designer can create templates any way s/he 
likes, correctly rendering locally, and we only need to add a few TAL and ZRT 
(for CSS) directives to the files to make it work any way we want to. We were 
also able to completely decentralize the UI development.

[1] Here is a link to a blog entry describing the early patterns:

Anyhow, I meant to communicate my support for a more specific Admin ZMI and 
the fact that I have been thinking about those lines already as well. I hope 
you can forgive my quick sidetrack to UI patterns. :-)

Stephan Richter
CBU Physics & Chemistry (B.S.) / Tufts Physics (Ph.D. student)
Web2k - Web Software Design, Development and Training
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