CSS Themes

Mark Lentczner markl at glyphic.com
Wed Jul 21 02:13:09 EDT 2010

> I don't think so. I initially proposed we make it so to make launching it easier but perhaps it'll be more fun to launch it with a user-visible change. Lets try to work out a style together, I suggest we base it on Thomas style, and polish up all the pages and launch it!
Well..... I am of two minds on this:

On the one hand, we'd like to remove any possibility of lots of grumbling about "going back to the old Haddock 'cause it looked better", or drive to keep the old HTML backend in the code base to appease people who want "that good ol'Haddock blue tables look". I really want to remove that HTML backend: I hate moldy code!

On the other hand, I realize that what we ship as default will be the "look" of Haskell code - and having it look as best as we can make it is a good thing. Of course, "best" is subjective, and, well, people will have to entrust our subjective taste here.

This brings me to a bigger discussion that promised about how to handle CSS themes. Here are some non-exclusive thoughts on the matter:

1) 99% of developers are just going to go with what Haddock does "out of the box". If the default theme is Classic, that is what they'll do. If the default theme is something else, they'll do that.

2) If we include a style switcher by default and include several distinct looking themes by default, then some percentage (20%?) will explore them and pick one they like. On Hackage and their home computer, the choice should "stick" (the code uses a cookie to save the users' choice per site.) People will still see the default theme whenever they browse doc elsewhere for the first time - and they may well never take the effort to switch it on other sites.

3) Some projects, like Snap, will choose to publish their doc on their own site rather than depend on Hackage. These projects will probably want to pick a single theme and "enforce" it by not having the Style menu show up, since they will want it to integrate to the rest of the site's look. There is a good chance these projects will write a custom theme for such use.

4) It might be nice to ship initially with Classic by default, but offer several, rather distinct, themes so that we can let the community pick the one they like the best. Then, say three months down the line, switch the popular voted theme as the default.

5) It might be nice to ship initially with something wholly new and really wow the community!

So, this leads me to ponder two questions:

A) How important is it to develop the Style switcher? 1, 3, and 5 point to it being a minor feature - perhaps used primarily by theme creators. 2 and 4 suggest we fully develop to enable user choice.

B) How open will the community be to our designing the new look of Haskell documentation?


	- Mark

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