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Subject RE: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test
Posted 6/23/2005; 10:10 AM by Seth Dillingham
In Response To RE: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8278)
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On 6/23/05, Duncan Smeed said:

>PM worked well for me and was easy to use.  I wasn't quite sure what
>impact using a subset of the "patterns" would be so I basically
>extracted everything - barring a few 'deselects' to see how that would
>work.  PM generated a 144KB file so I guess I will need to be more
>selective in future ;-).

To be clear: the "pattern" is the file that's produced at the end, filled with all the stuff from the site you've based it on.

The idea is that the file can then be used as the "pattern" for creating a new site, or for updating other sites.

There's nothing wrong with a 144kb file. I don't think that's particularly large, and would expect some to be much larger. That will be especially true since the Pattern Maker wizard is going to let you include a screen shot "preview" and comments about the pattern.

On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with being selective. I'm hoping that designers (like Yanisar, or Bryan Bell, or Steve Ivy) will set up a site, experiment a little to get the site just how they like it, and then use the wizard to create a pattern file to share with other users. It's very likely that they will have lots of "experimental" stuff still in the site when they create the pattern, so allowing them to leave stuff out is a good idea.

>There were a few glitches I noticed in Safari (v1.3) under Mac OS X
>10.3.9. For instance the 'Check All' checkbox was highlighted by
>default but the items weren't. If I did an 'Uncheck All' then the tick
>remained in the 'Check All' checkbox regardless.

That was intentional, actually, but you're the second person to tell me it's confusing or report it as a bug.

The idea was that the check in the checkbox indicates what it does, not the state of the rest of the checkboxes. Thus, the "check all" checkbox is always checked, and the "uncheck all" checkbox is always unchecked.

Apparently I'm the only person to find it intuitive, so I'll probably have to scrap it and go with regular buttons, links, or images.

>It was also counter-intuitive (to me at least!) that if you selected a
>folder item the folder's sub-items remained deselected and that an
>'invert' checkbox tick was required to override this.  It's difficult
>to explain textually but I hope you get my gist.

What if you don't want everything in the folder to be included in the pattern?

Here's a real-life example: project group sites (whether school projects or business projects) might have a directory with bio-pages for each of the members of the team ("about this person" pages). You want all of the project sites to look similar, but you have different people on each project so the contents of the "people" folder would be different for every site.

So, you create the first site. Make it look and act how you want. Then, use the Pattern Maker wizard to create the pattern. You'd include the "people" folder, but none of the pages in the folder (or perhaps just the index page). Use the pattern when setting up new sites, and everything is done except setting up people pages.

That's a long-winded example, I guess, but the point is that you need to think about what you're including in the file... but if you want everything in the folder, it's just one more click.

>Looking at the configFile.xml file (which I wasn't prompted to name

I need to change the text that says that. I was sure it would ask for a name when I wrote that statement, but noen of the browsers I've tested ever ask! Oh well.

>I noted 'blank' entries, for instance:
>            <property name="javascript" type="TEXT">
>                </property>
>I guess there's no harm in these...

Not only is there no harm in them, but the whole wizard would flop without the blank entries.

"Blank" is a legitimate value. It means you haven't specified anything for the javascript on that page or folder, which is how it knows to use the javascript from the parent folder (or no javascript at all).

Remember that these pattern files can be used for updating existing sites. If you see a preview image of a pattern (or see the original site), and want to make your site look like that too, you'll "apply" the pattern to your site. Existing pages will (optionally) be updated so that the properties match what's in the pattern.

If you already had a javascript, template, or stylesheet specified for the page, and the pattern file didn't tell the wizard to remove those properties, the results would be very different from what you expected.

>I can see the need and advantage of this approach to the export/import
>the 'pattern' of a site and look forward to the import wizard.

Cool. Me too. ;-)

Thanks for the comments, Duncan.


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