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Do we need to ship Classic Skin?

(Just before the release of TWiki 4.2) I came across this when doing translation work. A lot of lines are Classic Skin specific.

This brings me to the question: what status does Classic skin have now we have default skin? Is it needed? What makes it 'classic'? Should it be distributed at all?

Note that maintenance of the skin is cumbersome because it doesn't have an owner.

-- ArthurClemens - 22 Nov 2007


I never understood why we would need the classic skin as a real skin. The default template is the classic skin. In order for users to easily detect the default skin it helps to have a ClassicSkin topic that shows the default templates when previewed. We can save precious developer resources if we stop maintaining the classic skin, and only go forward with the default templates.

-- PeterThoeny - 22 Nov 2007

IIRC Classic skin was created:

  1. to maintain compatibility for those sites that wanted the original look-and-feel, at a time when Pattern became the de-factor default skin. We derived the default templates by drastically cutting down Classic skin. If we had not had Classic skin, that would have meant losing that look-and-feel.
  2. because there was an initiative at the time to support a skin browser, and for that to be meaningful there has to be more than one skin to browse.
  3. to help ensure we stayed honest and didn't build in any skin-specifics. It has been marginally helpful in this role, though we have a continuing battle to keep the default templates clean.
I'm not aware of anyone who uses Classic skin, and wouldn't object if it was removed from MANIFEST.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 23 Nov 2007

Fine. Now we need a final word from our release manager.

-- ArthurClemens - 23 Nov 2007

I suggest to remove the classic skin and to create a DefaultSkin topic so that people can discover the default templates using the TWikiSkinBrowser.

-- PeterThoeny - 23 Nov 2007

Personally, I'd like to keep it. It was my intention that we would make the ClassicSkin into a lightweight skin like MoveableTypeSkin - we've just not had time to complete the work yet.

-- SvenDowideit - 23 Nov 2007

Then why call it ClassicSkin? You can create a new lightweight skin when you have time.

-- ArthurClemens - 23 Nov 2007

I second on removing the ClassicSkin.

Arthur mentions that some strings are ClassicSkin specific, which is not entirely true - only 5 strings is of that nature as far as I can count.

What is true is that the strings in the default templates (DefaultSkin) and PatternSkin have grown slightly apart over time.

That means that 1) as a translator you get to translate a lot of strings that looks "almost the same" and 2) TWiki translation work could be brought down considerably by synchronizing strings back from pattern into default skin (~200 strings down, loose count).

I cross my fingers that with ClassicSkin out of the way, chances for developers to actually consider bringing back the strings to default skin would be higher (at least there would only need half the work to be done in the operation).

-- SteffenPoulsen - 23 Nov 2007

Thinking about it overnight, my main desire was to have more than one user skin in the core package - not because patternskin is a problem, but rather that it helps document how skins work, and gives us another check.

That said, I'm not voting against removing it, but (If I have time)... can I put a 'new' lightweight ClassicSkin into 4.2 instead?

-- SvenDowideit - 23 Nov 2007

I think we have consensus:

  1. Remove Classic skin from 4.2, unless Sven cooks up a new version
    • We may vote on a new name
  2. Consolidate translation strings (what started the discussion)

-- ArthurClemens - 23 Nov 2007

For 4.2 scope removing anything is a No-No.

Bug fixing only please. No more refactoring. No removal of anything. No breaking out into more contribs and plugins. We need 4.2 stable and released now.

-- KennethLavrsen - 23 Nov 2007

It is silly to have string variations of essentially the same texts.

-- ArthurClemens - 24 Nov 2007

Kenneth is reminding us all, that yes, its too late now.

We keep promising each other that we will respect the code freeze, and every release we mess with the skins late. Should we keep our promise this time?

-- SvenDowideit - 24 Nov 2007

Then we need a maintainer for Classic skin. Because it is not up to date, and not tested.

-- ArthurClemens - 24 Nov 2007

well, ish. I've reported a number of default skin and classic skin bugs. I estimate I've done about 10 hours testing on it, and am not eager to start again this late in the release cycle.

-- SvenDowideit - 24 Nov 2007

Despite the fact that Kenneth is very right in asking to respect code freeze, one could take the current ClassicSkin as a release stopper. You could easily file showstoppers. So in order to get the release out fast, and in good shape, removing it is still an option and very sensible. I don't think we should add any new ClassicSkin again to the distribution. Instead, a SimpleSkin (let's call it that for now) should be done in a way as simple as possible and constantly maintain outside of the core. However, I don't think that the current ClassicSkin is a good starting point. Nor do I think that maintaining the old pre-cairo look&feel is anything worth it. That said, even the default templates could be simpler&nicer as they are now. But thats post 4.2.

-- MichaelDaum - 24 Nov 2007

Bugs:Item739 and TWiki:Codev.StandardSkins have previous discussion on the subject.

I agree that what can be done before release is a consolidation of the strings only.

-- SteffenPoulsen - 24 Nov 2007

Are we going to consider this more for Georgetown?

-- SvenDowideit - 06 Feb 2008

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Topic revision: r18 - 2008-02-06 - SvenDowideit
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