art.gnome.org Gets a Host of New Features
Hold onto your seats! Link Dupont takes you through the amazing changes to the art.gnome.org website. Warning – you might be inspired.
Over the last couple of months, a crew of incredibly talented GNOME themers (consisting of Marco Bonomo, Eric Bobbitt, Thomas Wood, and Zeus) have been hard at work redesigning the art.gnome.org website. Based on some valuable input from users as well as some discussions on the gnome-themes mailing list and on IRC, art.gnome.org is getting a major rewrite; the planned additions include supporting user accounts which is a much desired feature by the GNOME community. When art.gnome.org first went live in September of 2002, it created quite a stir in the GNOME community. It provided a central location for GNOME community artists, and it was instantly a hit. Now, in its next iteration, the art.gnome.org team, with the bulk of the work coming from the valiant themers listed above, adds some much needed features to the site. More features may be in the works than what is mentioned here. The crew is working hard at the new features, and the final design may be slightly different than what is previewed in this article.
New site design
As the GNOME 2.x release series matured over the last couple years, so has its websites. New sites like the Beagle and Evolution site redesigns have given GNOME projects a wonderful, fresh, clean and professional look. Now its art.gnome.org’s turn. art.gnome.org now sports an updated interface, designed by Eric “ericb” Bobbitt, with some newer GNOME icons and a new banner designed by Marco “radel” Bonomo. The new site design provides an updated navigation menu and it has moved to the right to mirror other common GNOME sites. An alternate stylesheet allows the menu to be moved to the left, for browsers that support multiple stylesheets.
User accounts are a much requested feature for art.gnome.org. Not very long ago, Thomas added searching support by author, but it still didn’t provide quite the level of user access that is desirable. Thomas has added full support for user accounts; now authors can have their own page, listing all the themes and other works they have submitted.
Enhanced Theme Submissions
New theme postings get a couple of new features. Now authors have the ability to version their themes. This will eliminate the problem of duplicate postings and messy theme names. With version numbers, authors will be able to submit updates to their theme, rather than an entirely new theme. This makes things simpler on themes that have version numbers, like SmoothGNOME, along with allowing for a more natural support of GTK+ engines since most are versioned (e.g. Clearlooks 0.3, Smooth 0.6, CleanIce 2.4.0). Along with version numbers, authors will have the ability to mark their theme as a variation of other existing themes. Since the nature of theme design is such that new themes are often mutations of existing themes, this feature allows authors to record the evolution of their theme.
There’s a new field for the license type. The art.gnome.org team has striven to stay within legal boundaries with submissions, rejecting backgrounds and themes that possibly contain images that are copyrighted. Now authors can specify the license when they submit their theme. This way there is little confusion about licenses of a theme. The art.gnome.org team will still remain strict about accepting copyrighted material without permission, but this allows for a more clear distinction. And finally, Michael Gebhart has added support for user ratings on themes. Users can now vote for their favorite theme and see it reflected on the theme’s page. As well as voting, Michael has added the ability for users to comment on themes, giving users a forum to contact theme authors and post questions and suggestions.
Enhanced Background Submissions
Background submissions have received an update as well. Backgrounds get the same features that are available to theme submissions: the variation flag, the license field, the version numbering, the rating and the comments. And on top of that, background submissions now have the ability to support multiple resolutions in a more proper format than is currently supported. This will allow for authors to more appropriately submit and modify their backgrounds for different resolutions.
Over the next month, Thomas hopes to have the new art.gnome.org ready to go live along with the release of GNOME 2.10. As part of the new site design, the old database of submissions is not going to be migrated over, but the content will be archived on the GNOME FTP server. As a result, those of you who submitted works to the old site should consider resubmitting when the new site goes live. Keep watching art.gnome.org for news about the new layout!