There is currently a lively, spirited debate about the forthcoming user experience changes for Drupal 7. A quick summary for those who have been unaware of this initiative: everyone (yes, especially you) needs to go to http://www.d7ux.org/ and actively participate in the discussion/brainstorming/wireframing/etc. in order to ensure that the end result is something we can all be proud of and meets our community's very diverse needs!
It's been interesting to watch the range of opinions expressed in the thread. On the one side you have people who have first-hand experience with how excruciatingly painful the learning curve can be for new users, either because they themselves had to wrestle for weeks about menus vs. taxonomy vs. nodes, or because they've spent time around others (co-workers, clients, spouses, etc.) and have watched them struggle. They're very excited about the prospect of some of these pervasive user experience issues being looked at in a very serious way. On the other side you have long-time members of the community, many of them prolific contributors, who are adept ninjas configuring Drupal sites. They don't want to see Drupal "dumbed down" to the lowest common denominator. In fact, the whole reason they initially chose and continue to stick with Drupal is the sheer power it places into their hands, and with great power comes a learning curve; it's to be expected.
At my "day job" at Lullabot, we've been hard at work on the Drupal UE (Usability Edition), which includes many fine improvements that I'd love to see make their way into Drupal 7. But what about our roots, the hardcore developers who eat, sleep, and breathe Drupal? Who is watching out for their interests?
In a fit of insomnia early this morning, I put together what I hope will be the start of a robust framework that optimizes Drupal's UX, but this time for the developer. I call it Better Admin module.
When you enable the Better Admin module (for Drupal 7 only, download it here), your Drupal interface immediately turns into this highly optimized view for power users:
All the power of Drush, right within your Drupal website! Let's take a look at some of its currently implemented features:
- Navigate to any page in Drupal NOT by typing the URL in your browser address bar as you'd normally have to do (or, heaven forbid, drilling down the navigation menu), but with the convenient
- Login and log out with ease! No more hunting around to find links in whatever silly navigation menu a "normal" site might put them in. Simply enter the commands
login username passwordand
- A robust and powerful help system is at your fingertips with the illustrious
- The only way to uninstall it is to delete the betteradmin row in your system table and rebuild the registry cache!
- And so much more!
Who's with me?!