I have something much simpler in mind, insofar as I have anything
mid-1980s, Apple revolutionized computer documentation by moving from a
dictionary approach (e.g., the definitions of functions that characterized
contemporary computer manuals) to an illustrated, learn-by-example
approach, a small number of examples-- perhaps four -- are presented to
(1) solve a particular problem, but more importantly (2) to learn to figure out
similar things for yourself.
explanation showing how to change a font, font color, or font weight, could be
an avenue for teaching what the two SCSS boxes in Boost, etc., are good for,
how to find similar variables in the theme code, how to experiment with
The help file at the bottom of Themes under Boost is a start in
this direction, but needs more specifics of how to do something with the
knowledge it presents. It’s mainly a sort of dictionary.
How-To aspect is key. Instructions have to be for us Dummies -- every step,
leaving out nothing, explaining everything.
Yes, it's a pain. But what is the alternative? -- Probably what
you did with Essential, Gareth: Provide switches for the large, large number of
most-frequently customized elements. The result is brilliant and useful (I'm
one of the people who once paid you to make a small change), and
one successful experience with self-publishing, I'd say there's no book in
this. It's too specialized and too fluid.
Maybe, then, a core theme like Boost or Classic could be
given a set of self-help customization options, similar to what Essential has.
Fordson has such switches, but, in my tentative opinion, it is
overly difficult to customize because it starts out having already made so many
design decisions for you that are difficult to undo.
finish that thought, I hope Moodle will make new, improved themes that contain
the option to look like the themes they replace -- so that ongoing sites can
retain the same look from Moodle to Moodle -- as well as the option to look new
and improved along the lines of current design practice (or fads, if you see
them that way).
Presently, new themes are threatening to force everyone to change
to a New Look on their Moodle sites, like it or not. (Do I exaggerate? Have I
missed something? I'm just running some courses; I can't keep up with everything else.)
The people who become designers, by and large, appreciate
change, even crave it. Most of the rest of us want to get a site working and
keep it that way.
We non-designers are adaptable, yes, when it matters – when there
is an unavoidable and desirable change in the underlying technology. More than
anything, though, we want to decide for ourselves, as much as practical, when
to change our sites – we, not some group like an EU council governing the hem
length of skirts, or whatever.
this is at least part of an answer.
And thank you, all of you, for your