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  • Expect updates to this topic frequently. Some questions/clarifications may be deleted as they're incorporated into this top-level post until we get to the actual Contest start date. This isn't an attempt at censorship or co-opting ideas, rather a way to keep this thread in particular tight and focused. Sorry if it frustrates you, as that is definitely not the intention, but it's how this thread will be moderated for the next few days.

    We seriously want to nail an incredibly usable and clean default theme for 2.3 themes for 2.3. To do this, we’re going to need great design and pattern libraries to reset the standards for users of the Manager. I’d personally love to see several key areas focused on: custom dashboards on login, content creation/editing, the system settings, and a media manager. Cleaning up the installation experience would be a win, too. The media manager is admittedly up in the air for initial release, as we want to do it right, but it is a very big priority overall.

    This week, MODX community member Peter Knight (EdenWeb) posted his interpretation for the design of the new MODX Revolution 2.3 Manager UI and got some traction on implementation. He was building from some of the other work people have done in the current dev branch of 2.3, which is now available as a preview. Peter’s work was preceded months ago by Phil Steer, who likewise did an awesome re-imagination of the Manager, and the team at Sterc posted pixels, too.

    So as outlined in today's blog post, let the games being. More details coming soon, and likely appended to this post as they're available. Updates/rules/guildelines follow … check back regularly:

    The MODX team will have the final call on the winners. It'll be based on usability, quality and attention to detail, great typographic chops, size of the delivered product, the current lunar phase, degree of mobile-responsiveness in an admittedly constraining ExtJS 1.3.x framework (though granted if you pull anything sensible off you're a supernatural genius from another planet), and size of the overall final JS and CSS. We'll bring in people from the outside to help judge, but let's be honest, it's purely up to our discretion and arbitrary. We've worked for nine years at this so we think we've earned the right to make the final call, and we do promise to not play long-term-insider favoritism. Clean up the Sass a ton, cut a ton of cruft out (there's lots that can be trimmed!), and make it sexy! (Gah! Tripped up by my own bad words filter: s e x y)

    2-3 weeks from go. Tops. Be crafty and get a head start now, because "go" is coming really soon.

    We want to encourage people to collaborate and form ad hoc teams, so prizes will be awarded on an "up to" basis. If there's an ad hoc group consisting designer, a developer and a UXer on board, that's up to 3 (our max). If it's a company that employs all three people (I'm looking at you, Sterc tongue ), you get 1. If cash winds up being involved, it'll be split between the 1-to-3 winners equally. Hardware? Flip a coin. Your theme may even wind up or inspire the default 2.3 theme.

    You have to be able to work with Sass. JP and Jay will document how it's set up for MODX Manager themes in the immediate future, and JP will be available in this thread to coach you through it and help you get started. If I can make it work, trust me, you can! Lots more blanks to fill in here …
    UPDATE: It's your theme. You don't have to use Sass unless you are shooting for your theme to become the default.

    You'll be responsible for providing a theme directory we can pop into our own local installs and experience right then and there. If it requires updates to the Manager outside of the theme directory, that's really ambitious and we're totally up for that, but it has to be broadly compatible with relative modern browsers down to IE9. They'd also need to be approved by our Lead Architect, like any other pull request.

    We're probably breaking all sorts of guidelines for running a "contest" like this, so things are subject to change, and it's not actually a sweepstakes/contest/whatever it is that might get us in trouble. You also might one day find an unmarked envelope/box/container/stray cat and wonder where the hell it came from and how it got there. Wasn't us. You might also be liable for taxes for the cool things contained inside said previous container, but we're not tax advisors, so consult yours. Besides, we have no idea what you're talking about. Mileage may vary. Actual prizes delivered may be different from those shown. Etc.

    more updates and changes subject to come, until this line goes away [ed. note: dinocorn last edited this post 7 years, 8 months ago.]
      Ryan Thrash, MODX Co-Founder
      Follow me on Twitter at @rthrash or catch my occasional unofficial thoughts at thrash.me
    • stalemate resolution associate Reply #2, 7 years, 8 months ago
      Hi Ryan,

      Maybe this question is a bit premature and should be reserved for something like MODX 3, but could we also at some point in time have a contest for the developers side as well? I'm thinking of something like the Oscars with categories like "Best ExtJS Death", "Best Ajax Call in a Supporting Role" or "Best Überbar Implementation"?

      • You had me at "ExtJS Death". Kidding! (sorta… )

        We are focused on MODX 2.3. For context, see http://modx.com/blog/2014/01/24/the-secret-behind-our-silence/ … not that 3.0 is important and a significant mental anchor point, but the reality is it's just a label. We'll crank out great stuff as fast as possible and faster with help from talented folks in the Community.

        But as far as figuring out some killer leaderboard type things, if we can define the parameters and interaction points collectively, we can definitely code it and make it happen. We've long wanted to do that, too. wink

        Maybe I'm not answering the right question though … feel free to PM or catch me on Skype if you want to discuss further, as I don't think it's relevant to this particular one. [ed. note: rethrash last edited this post 7 years, 8 months ago.]
          Ryan Thrash, MODX Co-Founder
          Follow me on Twitter at @rthrash or catch my occasional unofficial thoughts at thrash.me
        • If you want to "bootstrap" some of your custom theme with some or all of the current 2.3 default theme you may want to check out yomonger:
          • I made a mock-up too! smiley Well, mainly not for 2.3 or this competition, but maybe someone likes to take a look and puts some ideas behind this into consideration for a future release?
            • I love seeing all these mockups. To me, 2014 is about bringing creative freedom into the MODX Manager. That means making the improvements we can now, and conceptualizing and working towards what we will do with the opportunity of breaking changes. I want to see designers and site builders able to have more options how their clients interact with MODX.

              I made a few updates to Ryan's post above. Wanted to clarify that the winner of this contest is not guaranteed to become the default theme that ships with 2.3.

              I completely agree with Peter Knight when he says in his post
              But while it’s tempting to dive in and redesign the entire CMS, I see this as more of an exercise in improving the current design rather than a complete reboot.

              So like Peter, keep that in mind.

              Death of ExtJS won't come until breaking changes. That means we are stuck with it for 2.x. So for now, we do what we can with the constraints we have in place. Do what you have to (which yes will mean a lot of !important declarations in your stylesheet to override ExtJS' obsession with inline styling).

              One advantage of using Sass for the default theme, is the ability to re-skin much of the theme from simply changing a few variables in a one file.

              This means if you want to keep the general layout of the default theme, but change color/typography/ect cloning the default theme or using something like yomonger could be a great way to get started.
              • Good updates and clarifications JP. Thanks.
                  Ryan Thrash, MODX Co-Founder
                  Follow me on Twitter at @rthrash or catch my occasional unofficial thoughts at thrash.me
                • I'd love to see more mockups and people working together, but I think it's a bit stretching it to ask people to actually build the complete theme as submission. While I can see the benefit to the people judging it, creating a full theme is a LOT of work and I feel that the requirement to do that will actually deter a lot of people from a full submission.

                  Wouldn't it be better all around if people would be asked to design a mockup (perhaps one of the resource update panel, one for system settings) so there's a good idea on how various components would look, and then establishing a team to do the implementation? I'll gladly help people with the ExtJS/Sass parts where I can but it just seems like a lot of duplicated effort if people need to build full themes for submissions. If all that effort would be spent on nailing a design instead, I think the end result might be better?

                  There'll be a free license from modmore (Redactor, MoreGallery or SimpleAB) for the winners and depending on how the contest rules pan out and how many submissions come in we might throw in some more licenses or credit.
                    Mark Hamstra • Developer spending his days working on Premium Extras and a MODX Site Dashboard with the ability to remotely upgrade MODX and extras to make the MODX world a little better.

                    Tweet me @mark_hamstra, check my infrequent blog at markhamstra.com, my slightly more frequent ramblings at MODX.today or see code at Github.
                  • The benefit of coded theme submissions is nobody looses (we are left with x number of usable themes) and it gets more people digging into the theme source. The downside as Mark mentions, is it could be overly ambitious and also deter designers from submitting mockups. I think this is why Ryan is encouraging people to theme up. We don't want to miss awesome ideas just because they are only mockups. For example, Peter Knight's mockup is fantastic. It would be great if a few theme developers could flush that out.

                    So it may be a good idea for designers to submit some mockups here in the hopes a few theme developers take them and run with it. ExtJS-savy developers like Mark should be able to help point out what is and isn't realistic to accomplish given the constraints we are working with.
                    • With the state the base Manager theme is in now, doing a pretty radical re-skin is entirely doable by tweaking a few Sass vars as JP pointed out. We'll also be supplying an override layout.js file that drops in a theme directory to do layouts like Sterc has designed, with a full-height left bar. I think it'd take a couple of days tops really to take a design to fairly polished theme re-skin with the degree of breaking down the Sass files and so on that's been done now.

                      If you really need to see something moved around or done differently, just ask. We'll get someone to evaluate whether or not it can be done and maybe even tweak or teach you how to change the template files.
                        Ryan Thrash, MODX Co-Founder
                        Follow me on Twitter at @rthrash or catch my occasional unofficial thoughts at thrash.me