Menu Customizer: Call for Contributors

After a few months off from working on the Menu Customizer to focus on improving the CustomizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings. APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways. in coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress., I’m starting to pick up development on the feature-plugin. Now that it’s approaching a reasonably usable state, and is compatible with the latest major releasemajor release A release, identified by the first two numbers (3.6), which is the focus of a full release cycle and feature development. WordPress uses decimaling count for major release versions, so 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, and 3.1 are sequential and comparable in scope. of WordPress (4.1), I’d like to begin efforts to see if we can propose merging it into core for WordPress 4.2.

But there is a lot of work to be done. When Menu Customizer was my GSoC project, it was closed to contributors per GSoC rules. But development is now open to everyone, and I could use a lot of help with both development and non-development tasks. Here’s a list of items that need work:

  •  Development
    • Build-out the core API for adding Customizer sections and controls entirely with JavaScriptJavaScript JavaScript or JS is an object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers. WordPress makes extensive use of JS for a better user experience. While PHP is executed on the server, JS executes within a user’s browser. https://www.javascript.com/., #30741 and its related tickets (PHPPHP The web scripting language in which WordPress is primarily architected. WordPress requires PHP 5.6.20, JSJS JavaScript, a web scripting language typically executed in the browser. Often used for advanced user interfaces and behaviors.)
    • Drag & Drop menu item reordering needs to do sub-menus (code imported from nav-menus.php is commented out in menu-customizer.js currently) (JS)
    • Fix problems with previewing updates to menu items, and with previewing newly-added menus once items are added (JS)
    • Eliminate the PHP closure that currently facilitates menu previewing, for PHP 5.2 compatibility (PHP)
    • Redo the add-menu-items “panel” to lazy-load its contents & utilize Backbone sub-views (PHP, JS)
    • Improve the core Customizer on mobile, then makemake A collection of P2 blogs at make.wordpress.org, which are the home to a number of contributor groups, including core development (make/core, formerly "wpdevel"), the UI working group (make/ui), translators (make/polyglots), the theme reviewers (make/themes), resources for plugin authors (make/plugins), and the accessibility working group (make/accessibility). Menu Customizer work on mobile (CSSCSS Cascading Style Sheets.)
    • Think about an API or otherwise action hooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same. to allow plugins to add menu item fields, #27066, #21898, #18584, etc. (PHP)
    • Inline docsinline docs (phpdoc, docblock, xref) audit, once we’re mostly done (PHP, JS)
    • Comprehensive code review by people like @westonruter, @ocean90, or @nacin, once we’re mostly “done”, preferably before a core merge proposal. Initial code review/cleanup from anyone can start now
  • Design
    • Overall UIUI User interface audit/review, propose changes
    • Consider things like #29158 in relation to how the menus UI looks
    • Discuss approach to screen options (currently an icon in the Menus panel headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes.)
    • UXUX User experience audit, propose changes
    • Evaluate user flows & menus use-cases
    • Conduct user tests
  • Other
    • General user feedback – getting the word out about the pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party and collecting feedback (reviews & support forms on the .org repo would be a good place for feedback). Anyone reading this can try the plugin and provide feedback too 🙂
    • AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) audit
    • Backwards-compatibility audit; in particular, assessing whether Menu Customizer could replace the Menus adminadmin (and super admin) screen, and what further features or use-cases would need to be addressed to do so
    • Research the history of the Menus UI in core and document how Menu Customizer addresses ongoing concerns; also consider open tickets in the Menus component (for merge proposal)

Development is happening on the WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ plugins repo the a GitHub repo. Some helpful links: create a ticket, Menu Customizer tickets, development log. It’ll probably also be possible to contribute via GithubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. https://github.com/ if that’s your preference – talk to @westonruter about how he does it.

This project will primarily take place over the next month, when core development is largely on hold for the holidays and between releases, and when I’m in between semesters at school. The goal is to be merge-ready before the 4.2 feature-plugin merge consideration happens in January. If you’re interested in helping out, please comment on this post or pingPing The act of sending a very small amount of data to an end point. Ping is used in computer science to illicit a response from a target server to test it’s connection. Ping is also a term used by Slack users to @ someone or send them a direct message (DM). Users might say something along the lines of “Ping me when the meeting starts.” me in WordPress Slack in #core (@celloexpressions).

Due to the timing of this project around the holidays, we’ll probably do mostly asynchronous communication, but I would like to try a kick-off meeting in #core SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. on Monday, December 22, 2014 18:00 UTC; please come by if you’re interested!

#customize, #menu-customizer, #menus