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From Ferdinand Soethe <>
Subject Re: [RT] Accepting and managing Skin Packages (was Re: Forrest Example Sites)
Date Thu, 02 Jun 2005 08:58:16 GMT

Note: Perhaps I also have a slightly different view on this in the sense
      that I'm not aiming at building and maintaining a collection of
      skins but would rather like to have a quick and easy way to see
      and learn about other people's skins.

      And although I'm not opposed to working with them on improving
      their skin, I'd like to make that first step very easy.

      My comments below reflect this intention.

Ross Gardler wrote:

> I think Forrest should accept your skin package in one form or another,


I'd like to ask Claudia to upload her skin into the issue tracker
(or make it available on their website) so that interested people can

- look at it
- understand it
- work with her to improve it
- use it for their own projects

While this is happening there is plenty of time to deal with any
concerns and work out the general solution.

> 1. Forrest accepts the skin and keeps it in SVN

I agree for all the reasons you mentioned.

> 2. We make all non-core skins available via a skins sub project within
> Forrest

0 Because I don't think that the benefits will balance
  the administrative overhead involved. And - see below - I think
  we should minimize the effort required by anyone wanting to donate
  their skins.
> 3. The skin author makes it available via a ZIP download using the
> skin-package system

I don't think that this is such a bad solution

- it is easy for the donator (they don't have to learn about our
  versioning systems or get a committer account) which might encourage
  more people to make their skin designs available to others.
- the donator maintains full control over changes and releases. If
  people don't like that, they can always create a skin of their own
  from the downloaded package.

- it is very clear that Forrest is not maintaining that package.

> I am +0 for this. I would prefer to see a solution that makes the skin
> available through a version control mechanism to simplify patches. If
> only a skin-package zip is provided it will make it difficult for people
> to contribute to the skin.

I can see your concern. On the other hand I think that it would make
people work more closely with the donator of the skin because they
would be the ones who have to understand and implement changes. (Which
does not mean that these discussion have to or should happen

> 4. The skin author donates the skin to an external Open Source project
> and uses that projects CVS/SVN etc.


This I think would make the issue far too complicated and will
discourage people from donating skins for sure.

> Whatever we do, we should encourage the use of skin packages and we 

Or at least encourage people to make them available to learn from

David wrote:

> Concentrate our energy on developing one very useful skin.

True. This is the impression I had from the recent discussions on

> Actually there is another option that comes before
> all of these. We enhance Pelt skin to be able to address
> these needs, hopefully with patches from the community.

I'm all with you on this in principle. Though when I think about
details, three more considerations come to my mind:

- trying to adapt pelt to address all needs might make use and
  maintenance a very complex issue (if we are not talking about moving
  or hiding certain elements). We might reach a point where different
  simple skins might be easier to maintain (also because it can be
  done by people on an entry level understanding).

- Skins like Claudia's will likely be maintained as long as her
  company uses Forrest. So spending a lot of resources on integrating
  these functionalities with pelt might be nice from an architectural
  point of view, as far as resources are concerned it might not make so
  much sense since the resources saved on maintaining their skin will probably
  not go towards Forrest.

  So I'd rather accept a donation of a well done and well maintained skin.

- Even if Pelt integrates all functionalities, there is still the
  issue of styling. If styling is completely configurable we'd
  need a new repository of styles because a lot of work goes into
  making the skin look good with colors, fonts, sizes etc.

  And not all styles fit all purposes.
> We have tried to encourage this option, but few people
> are interested.

  or able! For my skin design is still something I hesitate to tackle.
  Discussing other peoples solutions on list might help me and others
  learn more about it ...

> I think it is the best option (apart from the views plugin).
> We work as a community to develop one really good skin that
> can address most needs and enables people to configure it.


Until 'views' is available it would really help to make other peoples
skins available. As doing so would open Forrest to a whole lot of
people who do not have developer skills but might be able to convince
their management to fund development if they can demo a great looking
site like Claudia's.

It might not be the perfect final solution but it is a great way to
start ...

> It is my opinion that the Forrest project is not yet ready
> to cope with the extra work of overseeing people who are
> not interested in the Forrest project itself.

So let's keep the involvement optional. If a developer has good
reasons (like a paying client) to work with Claudia on improving her
skin, great! If not, let's just accept what is there.

> I am very concerned that we told Thorsten that we had no time
> to review the "views" plugin proposal, which i gather will
> address many "skin" needs, yet we are finding time to revisit
> the skins situation.

I think these are really two different issues. Thorsten's views are
a longer term solution for a more flexible skinning system (and I
really look forward to that) whereas Claudia's skin is more about
excellent UI-design.

Both will improve Forrest in different ways but this skin is available
at very little cost in resources and might help a lot of people
use Forrest now.

I might help to learn what Claudia and her company thinks about all
this. Claudia: Are you following the developer list as well?

Ferdinand Soethe

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