Update: Portlet Reorderer

Anastasia Cheetham a.cheetham at utoronto.ca
Thu Feb 14 17:24:10 UTC 2008

Hi everyone,

We've been making some great progress in applying the Reorderer to  
portlets, and I'm overdue to update the community with what we have.  
This work was undertaken initially for implementation in uPortal, but  
we think that what we've developed may be useful for the broader  
application of moving arbitrary content modules around on a page.

The Portlet Reorderer (for wont of a better name) is an implementation  
of the Reorderer that allows fully keyboard-accessible and drag-and- 
drop re-ordering of portlets in uPortal. It is designed to be  
configurable with respect to the definition of which portlets are  
reorderable, the locations of drop targets, and grab handles within  
the portlets.

We have a functioning mock-up available (using the new uPortal skin)  
on our build site:
         http://build.fluidproject.org (last link on the page)
Note: In this mock-up, the Google portlet is locked in the top-left  

Please have a look, and let us know any feedback you have.

The work is not quite complete yet. Here's what we're currently  
working on:

1) Allowing portlets to be dragged into an empty column: Right now,  
you can move all of the portlets out of a column, but you cannot yet  
move any back into an emptied column.

2) Allowing keyboard access to links, etc. within the portlets. There  
was some discussion about this issue on the fluid-work mailing list  
last month, and based on that, our current proposal is summarized at
We'd appreciate input on this scheme, since it has not yet been fully  
addressed by existing standards or guidelines, so we're basically  
forging new ground. Please have a look, and let us know any thoughts  
you have.

I'm working on updating the documentation on our wiki to reflect the  
recent changes in the Reorderer API, and the addition of the  

Barbara is in the process of conducting user trials here in Toronto  
using this mock-up, which will inform the prioritization of work on  
this module. You can learn about the protocol and results on the wiki,  

Interested parties can track our progress on this work by monitoring  
our JIRA site, in particular

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the Portlet Reorderer, and if you  
have ideas of other contexts where this work might be applied, we'd be  
very interested in working with you to extending it. The source code,  
as always, is available from the Fluid SVN repository:

Anastasia Cheetham                   a.cheetham at utoronto.ca
Software Designer, Fluid Project           fluidproject.org
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre / University of Toronto

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