Skinning for Springboards and beyond

Jacob Farber jacob.farber at utoronto.ca
Wed Sep 3 14:06:32 UTC 2008


Here are some thoughts and questions put forth while exploring theming and
skinning Fluid and Sakai content.
Sorry for the lengthy post. Any feedback is appreciated.
Jacob

Summary
---------------------------------
Springboards are collections of flexible code that provide a simple entry
point into using Fluid components. They are meant to be easily dissected and
reworked to fit most people's needs while keeping our components as
DOM-agnostic as possible. Skins/themes provide an important dimension to
robust and usable Springboards.

A Skin should:
---------------------------------
• be flexible
  (some hand-holding without being heavy-handed, no forced solutions, very
little requirements, lightweight contract)
• easily configurable
  (straightforward techniques, simple language, no "trickiness")
• support dynamic re-skinning
  (proper dependencies, leverage the behaviour of CSS)
• provide a good example for others to run with
  (no hacks, clean formatting, best practices, wide browser support, wide
platform support(?) )
• play nice with other things around it
  (nice compromise between inheritance and individual overrides)

Opportunities and Pitfalls
---------------------------------
Relationship between skinning components and applications: we can't control
the whole app's skins in some cases, but in others, like Sakai, we can
establish a wider framework
Scope and the role of a CSS framework

Questions to Think About
---------------------------------
* What do we need from a skinning system?
* What are the problems and pain points in current skinning approaches?
* How does a skin relate to reusable components and to specific
applications?
* How would existing CSS frameworks help us?
* How can we extend our semantic reach?
* How can we make skinning easier?
* What great examples can we steal from?
* Skinning and StyleAble
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