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Alternative starting page

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This page belongs to the Human-Computer-Interaction - Team (category HCI)

This is a suggestion

... for an alternative & intuitive starting page extension for TYPO3 BE users. This page could introduce TYPO3 for new beginner users. It should provide a simple way to get help, offer daily-used functions like "Create a new page", "Do this, do that" etc. For admins, it could provide fast access to database and system managing stuff of TYPO3. Everything configurable, everything easy to use.


Current Project Members

  • Andreas Balzer
  • René Häfliger
  • Tim Lochmüller (Development of myDashboard - Extension)
  • Sebastian Kurfuerst (for core implications and coordination)
  • Daniel Brüßler (info>>danielbruessler.de, for project-documentation, reference for the configuration, 2 or 3 of important but easy-to create applications)
  • Benjamin Mack (reactivating this topic on T3DD08 for core development)

Please add your name here if you wish to participate

What do I mean exactly? Are there any examples of such a thing?

Yes there are. If you look at media applications from M$ or your favourite fruit company, you'll notice that their 'living room' programs have special introducing pages that show the most important icons in the middle.

So for TYPO3 it would be nice to get redirected to a BE page, where you have the full menu in the left, but in the middle you see the most important things like "Create page", "Tasks", "Help" with a nice welcome message and a nice digital clock in the upper right.. :)

Main idea: Bringing applications together

With a special API it could provide a simple way for other extensions to add a possibility for the users to select special operations to be shown on their starting page. This means, that every user has its own configurable starting page. It could be done through a kind of "service", where every extension could dynamicly call a background service, which is able to interact with

  • the starting page of TYPO3
  • the core of TYPO3
  • the extensions of TYPO3
  • other applications and websites

Every BE user could chose which things he want to have displayed.

DASHBOARD EXAMPLES

There is a first example Extension mydashboard, that requires TYPO3 4.2.

TYPO3 internal:

  • Imagine you are a newbee and want to create a news element. You normally have to go through different menus, load different pages and finally write your news. What about clicking on "Write a news element" where the interface is beeing loaded via ajax and show you the information right on your starting page? One click and easy to use.

In the real world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashboard

Other applications:

  • Just think about the possibility that you have to do a task on your website. The starting page could get the data from the workflow extension and the calendar and show them on the starting page. Then it could send this information through a service to your local computer, that interacts with your website and informs your Thunderbird or Outlook with the message, that there is an open task. An other possibity is, that your starting page could send an email or a sms (if this configured).
  • Or what about your Google or Yahoo emails in TYPO3? A starting page could bring these information as well as RSS together.

Why current Task Center is not good?

It does not have several things: - configurable "Welcome page" with possibility to add texts per BE-user or per BE-group (it is good to have this as records with RTE field) - good design and navigation. I think old Task Center design was better! - answers to the questions: "What tasks do I have?", "Where can I do these tasks?" and "How can I do these tasks?" - open question: is the current taskcenter really a TASKcenter?

With these things - Task Center can solve the major problem of "Starting page"

Current questions

Ok, so let's try to see what a "tool" like the starting page could and should offer to the user:

  • giving you as a BE user or the administrator the possibility to change the starting page to
    • itself
    • an other module
    • a website url
  • gives the possibility to reach often done things very fast and easily. ("Create new page", "Create new task", "Create new...", and of course it should give the possibility to do advanced things. "Daily checkups done ;)"
  • It could offer some help in an easy "ask what you want and I’ll show it up" kind. So no more long documents and bad searches for "how to disable the arrow in the rte when insert a link", but a nice search with this question in a nice conversation bot. He could search the databases and list the right docs in a short way. Different user groups (admin, news writer, designer, etc..) could be linked with different databases and the installed extensions from TER could offer some ADDtoStartpageHelpsystem(linktodatabasefile);
  • Perhaps use AJAX to drag and drop new items from a list onto the window? (Configuration)

the design should be easy to manage

Currently we ask us, whether the starting page should have its own design, or whether it should be able to 'get the design from the current skin'. (See skinning topics in dev mailing list)

a better help system is possible

The next question we are talking about is, if a possible starting page should offer help system bots. These bots could offer help through a 'ask me your question' system which could answer with an intelligent ai. This bot could be like a MS Agent or made with Flash or just a simple image.

  • This would give the possibility to extend the help system to the needs of everyone. While I as a student prefer to be informed about the current television program and press releases about my school (so I can add them to our school website) while keep the site running, some others might want to know.... The amazing thing is that bots are able to do that already. So it could be nice to have some bot like that..
  • the help-system could look where you are in the process of page creation and guide you through (as special feature a guid by speech) -- Idee von Andreas Balzer in HCI-newsgroup

lists the next tasks that have to be done

  • The best would be an order from important (task has to be done today) to unimportant (task deadline is far far away.. (configurable - f.e. 7 days..)

THE APPLICATIONS

  • Show the exact time for better organization
  • AWstats extension: Overview of most important stats. Like views/pages today, this week this month. Last referrer. Etc.
  • Products extension: Latest order. Add products/categories button.
  • News extension: Latest news items + edit button. Add new news item.
  • Log: Latest 5 errors from log; Last changes, logins etc.
  • speech: There are many text to speech engines out there and some are free. That would be a good feature for blind people (it must have a switch for on/off) -- Idee von Andreas Balzer in HCI-newsgroup
    • What could TYPO3 do (what is not covered by a screen reader)? -- Masi in HCI-newsgroup
    • A T3 speech enabled BE can e.g. look where you are in the process of page creation and guide you through. Or it can be implemented into the dashboard telling you some news or something like this -- Andreas Balzer in HCI-newsgroup

things should be on the right place

  • clipboard: displaying it on the left has a major problem. If we place everything into tiny little tab-boxes, it'll be hard to get to page 200 in your pagetree, because you have to scroll down all the time. So how to solve this?
    • a sidebar of T3 where you have these inside: the clipboard, a help system (something like the index search introduced by Kasper, but with the possibility to search in help documentations, mailinglist entries and a FAQ system, created by the server admin for special situations..) -- Andreas Balzer

all of this could be viewable with a backend calendar

So actually this could be placed in the dashboard, but with the differences, that you'll have 2 views. View Number 1 would be the main view, that is opened as soon as you start T3. It is displayed in fullscreen. View Number 2 would be a simple sidebar on the right (maybe?!?), that is round about 120 px in width and has an old fashioned module navigation. But this navigation has to be able to react on drag events. E.g.: You drag an entry from the main view (e.g.: any column) onto it, it has to be able to open the right menus. (drag something on Clipboard) would have to open the right submodules..

how we can store the user-settings

  • settings by FlexForm and TypoScript are for ALL users (the design for the site, what applications shall be available in the dashboard for all BE-users)

ToDo List

who is willing to take a task, please say so here.

  • create API for the modules (any volunteers?)
  • create design for draggable modules
  • how are these modules configured? this should be self-explanatory

But most important:

  • create an extension, that enables you to choose a module (and a specific page of that module) to be loaded when TYPO3 starts

Example wanted?

Look here: http://www.ess-erfurt.de/typo3_org/typo3firstpage.png

Architecture of the Dashboard-Framework

short text for the future: The dashboard-framework will be an extension for the backend-startpage. On top the toolbar from kasper, below the dashboard. Dashboard-items can be loaded from TER and the position can be changed via AJAX.

Architecture of a Dashboard-item

  • view: a connector to an extension, to a webservice, to static content e.g. a help-text
    • example for a very special "view": text via a speech engine (must: a switch for on/off)
  • edit: just 2 or three elements to change something or add a dataset
  • controller: one for TYPO3 4, one for TYPO3 5

Relations

Timeline

A first version in TYPO3 4.1 or TYPO3 4.2

Wishlist


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