At the end of year 2013 a project called RCUE was started. This project’s goal was to create a set of common UX principles and patterns usable in enterprise open source web applications. This project was then renamed to PatternFly https://www.patternfly.org/. FreeIPA along with other open source projects such as Foreman, AeroGear, Cockpit, KeyCloak… decided to adopt these principles. PatternFly has a referential implementation which is based on Bootstrap 3 frontend framework. Using this implementation makes the adoption quick.
One of key Bootstrap 3 features is responsiveness. It allows FreeIPA to abandon absolute position layout and became usable on devices with various screen sizes.
Every Web UI access.
Use PatternFly CSS#
PatternFly and Bootstrap 3 uses Less for CSS build. FreeIPA as well, however PF and BS uses NodeJS lessc for the task. FreeIPA uses lesscpy which is not able to compile PatternFly CSS at the time of writing (there is effort to make it possible). Therefore the CSS should be built by a developer and updated as necessary. When PatternFly and Bootstrap are packaged to Fedora, FreeIPA should make effort to use the system packages.
abandon absolute layout which cause elements overlap on non-standard browser configuration (locale with longer strings, forced bigger font). Such overlap usually made breadcrumb navigation unusable.
new fluid layout allows to make better use of space on larger screens, and on the other hand, usable apps on smaller screens
Implement Login Page#
required to implement support for standalone pages
old unauthorized dialog is replaced by login facet
requires to hide dialogs which don’t belong to current facet to prevent having dialog over login screen when unauthenticated
new styles for almost every element
requires changes in widget HTML output - mostly css classes
text fields are wider because inputs make use of their container’s space. Therefore undo, delete buttons and others elements should be part of form-group or on a next row
majority of link buttons should be converted to buttons (at least visually)
abandon table layout in sections
two columns of form sections can be displayed on large screens
add “Last” and “First” buttons into pager to support going to the last and first page
abandoned calculation of column with, leave it on browser. Calculation with fluid layout is very difficult, isn’t worth the hassle.
use horizontal scrolling on small screens
enable various styles for odd and even rows
hovered row should be highlighted
convert link buttons to regular buttons
reorder input elements and buttons in facet header. Search facets should have search related elements on the left, as defined in PatternFly, and actions on the right. Details facets should have everything on the left.
Move actions into action dropdown#
action dropdown is a dropdown list in controls section of a facet header
old action list and action panels do not play well with fluid layout. They tend to clash with nearby elements. All actions should be moved to action list. Therefore action list and nearby buttons are a central point of invoking actions related to displayed object or list of objects. Since all action can be then invoked by a single click (when dropdown menu is visible), all actions should require confirmation in order to prevent accidental invocation of an action.
old activity indicator are not very visible and users tend to overlook them because they are positioned in a place different from user’s focus
add new global indicator. It should be displayed in a center of a page when an ajax operation is active
this behavior could be further extended by providing context related activity indicators instead of a global one (future goal)
“error”, “success”, “warning”, “info” notification should use consistent style and same implementation across application
Better Error handling#
multivalued widget should highlight only inputs with error and do not show duplicate required error message
error notification should be displayed after fail validation on details page instead of in a modal dialog (user doesn’t have to click on ‘ok’ button).
first focusable widget with error should be automatically focused. User can then quickly correct his mistake.
fontawesome-fonts, open-sans-fonts, python-lesscpy
As described in #Design section.
existing CI tests were adapted to match new HTML structure