Drupal Gardens adds the power of Views 3 with a new user-interface
by Chris Brookins
Back in June 2010, we decided we wanted to put the Views 3 module into Drupal Gardens to provide site builders everywhere with Views' power and flexibility to manage dynamic content. We have often said that on the Drupal learning curve, Views is the second major "Aha!" moment for a new Drupal user. There is no better way to put together dynamic custom displays and mashups of content, media, user-profiles, comments and more (for more details on what Views can do see below).
But we also knew that the existing Views 3 user-interface was too complex for many of the site builders we wanted to reach with Drupal Gardens. We needed to re-design the Views user interface to start easy, like the Simpleviews module, yet when more power was needed, gradually revealed all of Views. We also knew we couldn't do this alone, so Dries met with Earl Miles, the views creator, to describe our vision and how we were willing to devote a team to design, build, test and contribute the new user interface back to the Drupal community, just like we did for Webforms. Earl was very supportive, so after nearly a thousand hours of design, prototyping and testing we posted several designs to drupal.org and this Views design site for community feedback. After positive feedback, we assembled a team of Drupal Gardens engineers to build the new wizard and UI framework over the next several months. To complete the implementation of the designs, we organized a 1-week Views UX sprint in San Jose with Earl and Views contributors from around the world. In 5 short days they did an incredible job, nearly finishing all the designs. We are pretty excited by the results, and Earl has indicated this new user interface will soon be the standard for the D7 Views 3 UI, so the entire Drupal community will be able to benefit.
After an intense final sprint, we released Drupal Gardens 1.0 a few days before DrupalCon Chicago with the Views 3 new user-interface and integrated subscription billing system. We hope you like the results! Check out the Views 3 video above, or scroll down for a few screenshots.
Here are the details of the Drupal Gardens 1.0 release:
- Introduced final pricing and the ability to purchase Drupal Gardens subscription plans by clicking Upgrade from the Drupal Gardens /mysites page. Note there will always be a free Drupal Gardens plan, as well as paid plans. If you have any question about the pricing plans, see our FAQ.
- Added the Views 3 module with a redesigned user interface. Views enables site builders to create a wide variety of custom displays and mashups. Specifically, here are a few things you can do with views:
- Query and combine any data on your site including any content (blogs, articles, even custom content types), user profile data, comments, external RSS/Atom feeds, taxonomy terms, files, webform submissions and more.
- Create displays to be shown as pages, blocks (for placement on sidebars or footers), RSS feeds, or even as attachments in other views. For example, Views can contain views.
- Show your site data using tables, grids, lists and more.
- Format content as you need using either full posts, teasers, titles or even pick field by field from multiple content sources, e.g. a title from a blog post combined with a username or profile picture.
- Filter your view with one or more criteria and combine multiple criteria using AND / OR logic.
- Expose one or more filters as a widget so site visitors can quickly find or navigate through the content they want to see. For example, a travel site could expose a filter of countries and years exposed as drop-down lists so site visitors could click the exposed filters to see articles about any country or year.
- Sort your display using one or more criteria. You can also expose sort criteria to site visitors so they can click to sort the view as needed.
- Apply access controls to your views so you can create hidden "back-end" reports that only administrators can see or views for only authenticated users or users with a role like "Employee."
- Link your views to any Drupal menu so they are quickly accessible.
- Define custom headers or footers for your views. These can even contain other views.
- Optionally add a pager control so site visitors can navigate between multiple pages the view.
- Define contextual filters (previously in Views these were called "arguments") that can change the data shown in a view based on the content shown. For example, when showing a particular artist, you can show a list of their record albums in the sidebar using a contextual filter that matches on the artist's name.
- You can merge different content types into one view using relationships.
- Preview any view while you are creating it using the preview pane.
- Control the styling of every aspect of your views using the Drupal Gardens ThemeBuilder.
- Optionally start customizing one of the built-in pre-made views for showing popular content, recent comments, a glossary of all content by letter, and all recent activity on the web site.
- There is much more to views, and documentation and how-to videos for Views are coming. Stay tuned!