Building awesome user interfaces with Drupal 7's Form, AJAX, and Theme systems

Time slot: 
March 10th, 3:45 PM - 4:45 PM
Chicago 6 & 7

The primary focus of Drupal 7 was usability (other great things were achieved too). As a result, over the last couple years, we've been blessed to have many new UI designers join the Drupal community, and some long-time Drupalists got a renewed passion for creating better user experiences. Let's keep the momentum going by creating awesome UX in contrib modules and in the websites we build.

Designers and developers get frustrated when they have a vision for a great UI, but don't know whether it can be implemented or how to implement it. This session will present an overview and some of the gems of Drupal core's form, AJAX, and theme systems, and how these systems can be used to implement the desired UI. We'll look at the administrative UI of the Views module, and how it leverages these systems.

If you're a designer, come learn about what's easy and what's hard to build in Drupal 7, so you can minimize the pushback you'll receive from your developer colleague. If you're a developer, come learn that some things might not be as hard as you think, so you can minimize the pushback you have to give to your designer colleague.

Video on

Intended audience: 

A mix of designers and developers would be ideal. Enough detail will be presented to be interesting to people who already have intermediate Drupal experience, but it would be great to have new Drupalists who've worked on UIs for other systems join too.

Questions answered by this session
Question 1: 
What is the Form API? Is it scary? When and why should I use it? What are some improvements from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7? Are multistep forms hard?
Question 2: 
How can I make my interface better with AJAX? What's easy to do? What's hard to do? What about users who disable JavaScript?
Question 3: 
What is the theme system, and how has it changed from Drupal 6? What do I need to know about preprocess functions, process functions, theme functions, templates, and theme hook suggestions in order to build a UI that modules and themes can customize?
Question 4: 
How can I customize the UI of Drupal core functionality or of another module's functionality? What kinds of customizations are easy, and what kinds are hard?
Question 5: 
How can designers and developers collaborate better?
Building awesome user interfaces with Drupal 7's Form, AJAX, and Theme systems has been selected and voting is closed.




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