This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you. Now let’s run through them one at a time.
Um…lessee here. Usermin suffers from something that webmin and friends overall suffers from right now, which is that it’s HTML output needs a serious overhaul to be css and xml compliant. A few months ago, this didn’t bother me so much, and as a perl coder overall it shouldn’t. Perl’s job is to make things functional, not to make things pretty.
What I didn’t realize up until very recently is that demarcation between functional and pretty got more strict on me - in order to make things prettier, you have to be more strict on what you’re spitting out.
I agree whole-heartedly, and I’ve browbeaten Jamie into doing something about it. Over the next month or two everything in Webmin and Usermin will become entirely styled with CSS. The end of table-based layout in Webmin and Usermin is upon us. Once that’s done, if you see a table used for anything other than an actual data table, it’ll be treated like a bug. No more center tags either.
Where this hurts Usermin in particular is that it winds up feeling very sluggish, and at least last I looked, it is reading the mailfiles directly, which scares the living bejesus out of me. Plus, we aren’t running all of this on one box. I’m getting ready to try cloning the MySQL module and add what’s required to operate a MySQL cluser, and use dbmail. That can connected via imap4s.
This is entirely configurable. As of a couple of months ago we use IMAP to connect, by default, in Virtualmin Professional installations. Though I dunno why reading mail files directly is scary…you let Dovecot do it. Why not Usermin?
Don’t hold the Usermin default against it. It has more flexibility in this regard than any other web-based mail client (it’ll do files in all major formats, POP, and IMAP). I’d prefer to see IMAP become the default in Usermin itself…but I can only really call it for Virtualmin installations. And there, we’ve made the switch for all installations.
If you want to get people to use usermin more, it needs to be able to be on a separate box from the mail stores, and it needs to be able to be made prettier. Using the stressfree theme helps, but it still needs more help.
It can already be on a separate box.
Prettier is coming sooner than you think. See my blog post about it here:
How’s that screenshot strike you? Getting close to RoundCube goodness? There’s still some cleanups to do, and that shot still has the nasty nested tables in it, so nothing lines up right, but the basics are in place. (Note also that that theme you see has a half-dozen color schemes that’ll be selectable, so if you don’t like the Gnome-style warm grey shown there, you can choose Vista-style black, Aero, pastel blue, and one or two others.)
Part of what sucks about what I just said above is that changing what Webmin spits out will break most existing themes. The only thing you might do is have a "theme backwards compat" boolean, and when on, you spit out the old kind of html, and when not set, spit out the newer. shrug
We’ve been discussing this. The best theme out there is Stress Free, as you’ve noted, and I’m pretty sure David will be on-board with our changes. There will probably be some way to revert to old-style ui-lib functions…but I don’t think any of the good themes will need to–you already have to replace so many ui-lib functions to get anything interesting (the example I show in that blog post has now had nearly every ui-lib function replaced with a CSS-based one and removes tables entirely from the layout…so it would barely be affected by a change in ui-lib since it doesn’t use any of it!). And, if we have to break all old themes to get out of the rut we’ve been in for the past several years, UI-wise, we’ll do it. Jamie wouldn’t…but I would, and I can usually convince him when I put my mind to it. I’m ruthless when it comes to stupid, and tables for all layout is just stupid when we’ve got such great tools in CSS.
I suspect David will be ecstatic about the CSS-based version of things–and it’ll mean he can drop out half or more of the functions he’s had to write in his theme.pl. Having less code to maintain makes most developers happy. So, I think Stress Free will work within a few days of release of new Webmin and Usermin versions that break the theme. And, of course, once the conversion is finished (a monumental undertaking…Jamie’s been working at it for weeks, to first convert all of the Webmin modules to use ui-lib exclusively for all UI elements), folks who don’t know perl at all, but are wicked good at CSS and design will be able to make themes and actually customize everything without writing any perl code.
Helps that I have a design firm behind me doing this kinda stuff all day too.
Hehehe…You’ll have to jump into the fray when we have a theme contest after the conversion to CSS-based layout is complete. There’ll be cash prizes, fame, fortune and pretty girls. (OK, maybe just cash prizes and a few kudos from your fellow Webmin, Usermin and Virtualmin users. But still it’ll be cool.)