Sakai Style guide

Stephen Marquard stephen.marquard at
Fri Jul 6 16:27:38 UTC 2007

Colin Clark wrote:
> Hi all,
> Aaron's points here describe a useful style guide for developers. We had 
> an interesting conversation in Denver last week about this exact topic.
> In my mind, one of the problems we had with the previous style guide was 
> that it was too prescriptive and narrow in focus to be able to 
> accommodate the diversity of UI needs within the Sakai community.

Though I have yet to see anyone mail a Sakai list and say "I'd like to do X but 
the style guide won't let me." Mostly people ignore it and do their own 
inconsistent thing anyway, even when there are clear ways outlined in the style 
guide to do what they need to do.

The Sakai UI has paid the price for the neglect of the style guide, both through 
lack of updates and through the general often-repeated message from the UI 
community that the style guide should be ignored in favour of something 

This is not at all to negate the role of design patterns for UI needs, but there 
really is a category of decisions where diversity does not help and in fact is 
harmful, and where consistency serves users better.

We should have a style guide. Its scope should be appropriate. It should be 
prescriptive in what it sets out. Its requirements should form part of the 
review process for tools moving to provisional and core status. Everything else 
should be in design patterns.


Stephen Marquard
Learning Technologies Co-ordinator, Centre for Educational Technology
Centre for Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town
Email and XMPP (Jabber/GTalk): stephen.marquard at
Cell: +27-83-500-5290

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