[pmwiki-users] it's time to change pmwiki default skin!

John Rankin john.rankin at affinity.co.nz
Mon Sep 12 03:52:33 CDT 2011

> On Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 08:35:59PM +0100, Forgeot Eric wrote:
>> why not proposing a new default pmwiki skin?
>> - for the default installation
>> - and for the http://www.pmwiki.org website?
>> The current one is not attractive at all (blue, underlined links), it
>> looks like it was designed in 1992, and therefore, it give the
>> impression PmWiki is backward technology, and not powerful at all.
> Just a reminder that part of the reason behind the simplicity of
> PmWiki's default skin is to make it easier for people (who may not
> have a lot of HTML/CSS knowledge) to see how/where to customize it.
> This isn't to say that I'm voting in favor of the current skin,
> just that "how it looks" isn't the _only_ criterion.
> I'd be fine with a high-quality and slightly complex skin if
> we also have a good "how to customize your own skin" tutorial
> to go along with it.

Before changing the default skin, it helps to know what the skin design
goals are. Otherwise, it's hard to choose between reasonable design
alternatives. Drawing on this and earlier posts, as a starter for 10:

- as the site is text-intensive, adopt good web typography practice (see
for example http://webtypography.net/)

- make the template and css as simple as possible, but no simpler (it's
not a "show off what's possible" exercise; rather, the intent is to show
that it's easy to look good)

- demonstrate the power of pmwiki templates, rather than the power of css
or javascript; the template capability is the unique strength to highlight

It would not take much for the site to make a significantly better first
impression. For example: make the wikibody about 45em wide and centre the
sidebar and body on the screen; allow preformatted text to scroll
horizontally, so long lines don't cause an overflow; avoid underline for
links (use border-bottom on hover instead, if at all); spruce up the
headings; titles ought to default to spaced wikiwords, rather than
unspaced ones; more white space around the text.

I'm sure there are other simple things that would modernise the look
without adding undue complexity.

John Rankin

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