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What I wish for UI-mas

Thursday 14 March 2013 8:14:23 pm

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It's that time again. We are having a new child. A brand new admin interface. We promise to make everything better with this one. Hopefully we will.

The admin interface was actually a main reason for me to decide on eZ Publish 2.2.7 as the CMS of the primary school where I was the IT guy back in the very old days. It was quite nice and had a desktop twin which made sense back then.

A year later I was picked up by an IT company, and suddenly I was doing CMS for living. I convinced by boss that eZ Publish was the right choice. But before I could do any serious projects with it, came along the notorious 2.9.x-series. The admin interface was crappy (sorry Bård), but I convinced my boss that this was the future. After all the content model was really great.

In the beginning I had to do tweaks for anything that was even remotely complicated. It made me sweat, it made my boss grumpy and it made the customers weary. But the model was still great and I convinced all that it was the future.

With 3.5 came something new. The Admin Interface Project. The community was presented a few images of how the new interface could look. The serious guys in the community were not as happy as I was with it I remember. After all this was the future and finally my boss turned from grumpy to triumphant as all the old customers ordered makeup. So I was kind of happy, even if they where not.

Long years passed. Wordpress, Bootstrap, Responsive design, JQuery and its Yahoo cousin were born. Several generations of ez engineers came and retired. Mobile devices went from being bat-sized Booleans to computers. The simpler the device or software was, the more popular it became. Evolution happend. Everywhere else.

For every year the user experienced eZ Publish had to offer lagged more and more behind. In the end, even religiously ez guys like me almost gave up. 

The community edition came along and gave me hope. Embarrasly old bug issues where solved and great details (like the upload function for object relations) where added. A great community manager and a great community made a difference.  

Then ez5 happened. ez5 is a great idea. Keeping the content model (which after all really has proven to be the future), the brand new approach in the name of Symfony only makes sense. But what happend to the admin interface? Someone made a bad decision and send it to the wrong plastic surgeon. 

I actually sat down and started to make a new interface based on standard solutions like Bootstrap and JQuery. But I stopped. The old API is to inconsistant and difficult and the new one lacks the right methods. I went back to 2012.8.

Now a new interface is announced. It's coming in nine months, I think. A new baby. I have many hopes for it:

  • It should be based on standard interface libraries, not on the personal flavor of a random engineer.
  • It should have a really simple design. Remember that what looks great in one country may look not-so-great in another.
  • It should use consistant API methods. Well enough documented. Making it easy for others to make their own interface.
  • It should be made by Apple.

Anyway, I really look forward to the new interface. I'm sure it's the future.

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