[isf-wifidog] Wifidog UI and contributions

Benoit Grégoire bock at step.polymtl.ca
Mer 5 Sep 14:30:58 EDT 2007

On 5 September 2007, Jeff Schallenberg wrote:
> On 9/4/07, Don Druce <dondruce at sympatico.ca> wrote:
> > See http://dev.wifidog.org/ticket/343
> >
> > Yes, as Don so succinctly points out, MSF has complained via the ticket
> route that the "frozen" layout of the login page gives rise to errors by
> new users. MSF (Don and Jeff) have been harping on this simple layout
> change on this list for 4 months now. And MSF is not the only WiFiDog
> community member to recognize the need to improve the layout of the login
> page - see http://wifi.izzipizza.com/login/ from Malaysia!

Yes, about everyone (including me) recognizes the need for various UI 
improvement (including layout).  The problem is that excluding me, the last 
time someone commited or sent in a patch for a UI improvement was 16 months 
ago.  That's not normal.

Doing transparent db schema update or implementing something like the profile 
system requires a lot of skills and experience.  I can't reasonably expect a 
new contributors to just drop in implement something of that scale (Although 
it CAN happen, David Bird's recent patch comes to mind)

But, the skills to, for example fix the menus not dropping down on IE6 
http://dev.wifidog.org/ticket/370) are much easier to come by.  Surely one of 
the more than 220 people on this list can figure that one out without me 
getting actively involved?

> The ticket has not been addressed by the developers.

True, but your sound surprised.  It's just one 88 open tickets (See 
http://dev.wifidog.org/report/9).  Most of my work on wifidog is purely 
volunteer, and there are only so many hours in a week.  While I'm astonished 
that in the last few months I've closed tickets faster than people open them, 
I'll never get through them all without more help.

And for those who can't code, you can really help the project by:
-Helping other people on the list or IRC
-Contributing to the FAQ, or moving answers from the list or IRC to the FAQ
-Writing documentation
-Updating translations.  If you know how, you can also modify the way strings 
are output to make translation easier (such as making use of plural form).
-Opening tickets when you find an issue
-Opening feature requests, including what you need the feature for.  Even if I 
don't intend to work on it, I do read them all, and it helps me with 
architecture and refactoring.  That way, when I change something I try to 
make sure the job of the future developper that would implement the feature  

All of the above massively decrease my workload, and allow me to:

-Focus on getting 1.0 out the door
-Spend time supporting new developers, integrating their patches and otherwise 
making their lives easier.
-Fix tickets that would be very difficult to close by anyone but a core 

> MSF has improved the login page layout significantly
> (http://auth.monteregiesansfil.org/login/)
> by means of what Benoit calls "a dirty hack".

Maybe I should define that.  When I talk about "dirty hack", in the wifidog 
context, I usually mean a hardcoded local change in code or static templates 
that either:  
-Could not, or would not be merged in the mainline because it's not applicable 
to every group and can't be turned off (if unsure, try to reach a consensus 
on the list or IRC).
-Could be achieved by one of the mechanism meant for customization.
-Would be generally applicable, but either hasn't been contributed back, or 
could have easily be made generic but hasn't.

Is it more work to get things to work in a generic manner?  Yes, sometimes.  
But that's how the project can move forward, become even more flexible, and 
allow the various members of the community not to solve the same problems 
over and over.

> MSF would like to contribute this minor layout improvement to the WiFiDog
> community.


> How can MSF do this on its own? Are there any tools to "cleanly" move the 
> "Create a free account" button to the right area? The capability of editing
> the static smarty template login.tpl has been inadvertently removed by the
> development team.

Rework the HTML to make it more flexible (making sure not to add any MSF 
specific strings), modify the default Stylesheet so that it still works 
correctly with the default theme, and send in a patch.

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