Friday, August 19, 2011

Visual Themes in Numishare

I've been busy over the last few weeks on seriously revamping Numishare's code trunk. We're moving toward a numismatics-specific XML ontology based on the NUDS fields list, which draws much inspiration from existing standards like VRA Core, EAD, and TEI, but also incorporates tenets of linked open data. I'll discuss NUDS-XML in greater detail in a future blog post.

As part of this major revision to Numishare (which I hope to officially release as Numishare 1.0 later this fall) is a simplified theming interface. One of the drawbacks to the application when it was first released about two years ago is that it required XSLT and general web development knowledge in order to customize the front-end user interface. While direct customization of code can still be done by a savvy developer in the current version, much of the theming is being moved into the administrative interface, with an XForms application that enables the user to control the visual design of the public site with an intuitive web interface that will function much like Blogger's own interface for customizing this or other blogs. This feature is vital in the encouragement of institutions and collectors to adopt Numishare as their publishing platform. After the initial deployment of Numishare's required applications onto a server (which takes a sys admin about 15 minutes), no other serious technical investment is required of the Numishare administrator to begin publishing coins since it requires no programming expertise to visually distinguish Numishare-based sites from one another.

jQuery UI theme

Object display page layout

The interface will enable the user to specify which jQuery UI theme to use (all pre-packaged themes are available to choose from), as well as other colors, fonts, background images, banner images, etc. There will be several page layouts to choose. These visual configurations are stored in an XML file that is edited with an XForms web form. So far, the jQuery UI theme and object display page layouts have been implemented, and I plan to implement the remainder of the theme-adjusting interface will be completed in the coming weeks.

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