Could OJS layout be optimized?

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Posts: 352
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:15 am

Could OJS layout be optimized?

Postby mbria » Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:01 pm

Hi fellows,

A couple of years ago I started playing with OJS look&feel.
Those were hard times, full of dirty hacks and night postings to Alec. ;-)

Time goes by and just a few months ago I started our migration to OJS 2.2. As far as this OJS version included a brand new theme engine, I wanted to develop a flexible theme that hopefully could be contributed to OJS (too much good received, and to little given).

I started working on it, but (and sorry in advance if I'm missing something) I found the general layout of OJS a little overwhelmed and far from been ideal... :shock:

I didn't reflect much about this (I'm writing while I'm thinking) but let me illustrate with a couple of examples:

A good practice in CSS design is making 2-1-3 layouts to let your site be "SEO-friendly". If content comes first, google (et. al.) will be happy and if google is happy, your magazine's Editor will be happy and if your Editor is happy... you will be happy. As far as I see OJS 2.2 layout is today something as:

| |-sidebar
| | |-leftSidebar (1)
| | |-rightSidebar (3)
| |-main (2)
| | |-navbar
| | |-breadcrumb
| | |-content

Which drives me to the second point: Where is the footer in this tree?

OJS includes a "#footer", but is for it's own proposes (show debug info) and any content included in footer is added at the end of the "#content" layer.

As I said, may be I'm missing something, but if not, those are changes that could be easily archived and will make the life of CSS designers and OJS administrator easier.

Otherwise, complex or flexible themes will need a little tuning in the template layer and more CSS than usual. :-)

I just hope it makes sense for anybody,


PD: Let me know if you prefer this post in the bugtrack as a "feature request" for OJS 2.4.

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Location: Vancouver, BC

Re: Could OJS layout be optimized?

Postby mcrider » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:05 pm

Hi mbria,

Your comments are appreciated and indeed sympathized by at least me--I've been in charge of most of the CSS work in OJS of late, and the layout has certainly been a point of, well, great frustration. We have tried to stay away from major layout changes due to the need to support existing users who may have made modifications to their interfaces--Changing anything more than the CSS would almost certainly break their systems.

That said, I think the consensus is that the time has come to make these big changes. We are in the preliminary stages of a major UI overhaul, involving the work of a professional designer to create a new 'look and feel' for OJS. This will also involve significant layout changes (possibly also implementing a CSS framework to make layout modifications even easier), and also the implementation of themes that can provide a much higher level of customization than what is currently allowed without hacking into the code (and thus making upgrades possible without a headache). Most of the big changes won't be released until version 3.0 (see the roadmap), but we're definitely working on them, and we'll be sure to take your comments into consideration (especially considering SEO techniques--good point!)

Also, if you have any particular suggestions, it is probably best to file them in BugZilla as an enhancement. (I think) We're going to begin promoting bugzilla as a more general feature request tool to get more people from the community involved in it, so don't shy away from posting there.


Posts: 352
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:15 am

Re: Could OJS layout be optimized?

Postby mbria » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:24 am

Thanks Matt for the detailed feedback.

I understand the arguments to keep the old layout and I'm really happy to see that we are moving forward. :-)

Everything clear now.



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