Minimalizing Minimalist skin

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Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Dave Gehman » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:32 pm

Output: WebHelp
Skin: Minimalist_Plain_White_WebHelp.hmskin

This is 90% what we want. However it still shows black borders around

    The topics/keyword/search icons
    Left-hand topic tree
    Header links ("EC Software Website / Tutorials / Resources etc.)
    Topic title
    Topic text

I'd like to remove the borders, have them 0 pix, or change their color to white -- that is, make them invisible.

Using PPT, I've gone through the configuration options and don't see 'border' entry slots.

Where are these borders specified?

(I assume that changing the HTML code made available to me in project > configuration > Publishing Options > Webhelp > Layout would do nothing - that HTML is overridden by the skin, right?)
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Tim Green » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:47 pm

Hi Dave,

What you're planning here is not really such a good idea. It won't make the page look better and it will make it harder for the users to find their way around and identify what are buttons and what are not. It would also be a lot of work and would make it radically harder for you to implement backups to the skins when they are released. Do you really want to do this? :?
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Dave Gehman » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:22 pm

Tim Green wrote:Hi Dave,

What you're planning here is not really such a good idea. It won't make the page look better and it will make it harder for the users to find their way around and identify what are buttons and what are not. It would also be a lot of work and would make it radically harder for you to implement backups to the skins when they are released. Do you really want to do this? :?


We need to get rid of or massively de-emphasize the borders. The model I'm being asked to emulate is https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.7/en/ (the help elements, not the overall site wrappers at top and bottom), minus the light gray boxes.

Alternatively, if we cannot change the borders (which I thought was a common HTML keyword, not a thing that required huge amounts of coding*) how do we change the color of the lines from stark black to very light gray?

*one reference says it's just setting a border value of 1 to 0 as in <table border= 1"> show border; <table border="0" no border
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby sizbut » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:19 pm

Dave,

In theory it's easy. Just change the values in the style sheets in your custom skin's baggage files. I know because I've done some such changes.

But that's "easy" in the 'have been editing HTML, JavaScript and CSS for over 20 years' kind of easy.

You would need to make changes progressively, testing after each single change and always working on a copy of your skin. And it will take a lot of trial and error until you start to understand how each style is used. And there are several CSS files. We insert comments for each change - basically we add /* the original line text */ above each line that we change. And then repeat the process for the mobile phone styles and then for the tablet styles.

And in the end, when you have a skin closer to your requirements, as Tim implies, it has ongoing consequences. When ECSoftware release Premium Pack version 3.X with vital fixes for the latest browser quirks or version 4 with some super new features, you'll have to follow a process of comparing the new stylesheets of the skin on which you based yours to your customised ones and working out how to apply your customisations again and test to see it all still works as expected, ie. its not a simple one time process.
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Dave Gehman » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:02 am

Thanks, sizbut.

Your work flow for changes is one that I'll adopt. If I reach that far.

My supervisor -- founder and CEO -- has lost patience with me. Referring to the output that I can show him from the stock and Premium Pack WebHelp skins, he says, "H&M sites all have that boxy old-style look to them."

The MySQL site, whose style he wants, has the same kind of table set up as the H+M output (a fact that's corroborated by looking at the MySQL page sources) - the MySQL just has the table borders either set to 0 or given a very light gray color.

And he's urging me to emulate a couple of the customer example sites touted by an online / subscription help authoring tool. Like the MySQL pages, they have minimalist and clean looks - and again, they're basic 2- or 3-pane tables, same underlying setup as H+M WebHelp, but with borders either 0 (off), extremely thin, or light gray.

I'm in danger of having H+M taken from me... with 89 topics and 14,000 words invested in it... and I'm a seemingly unreachable (and I thought, simple) 0, or CSS setting, or color code #F0F0F0 from giving him what he wants. :cry:
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:41 am

Dave Gehman wrote:I'm in danger of having H+M taken from me... with 89 topics and 14,000 words invested in it... and I'm a seemingly unreachable (and I thought, simple) 0, or CSS setting, or color code #F0F0F0 from giving him what he wants. :cry:

Hi Dave,

It can't be that difficult just to change a few borders. Which ones exactly are you struggling with?

I change all sorts of stuff in my projects until they look nothing like H&M output at all. BUT as Tim says, you have to be ready to do it all over again if he upgrades the skins, or stick with the one you've got.

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Dave Gehman » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:11 am

Martin Wynne wrote:It can't be that difficult just to change a few borders. Which ones exactly are you struggling with?



Every black border you see in the output below (skin is: Minimalist_Plain_White_WebHelp.hmskin from Premium Pack)
Image
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:14 am

Hi Dave,

I've just looked at that skin. To change the border round the topic, in the Toolbox go to the Baggage files and open hmwebhelp_main_desktop.css

Go to line 363 (assuming I've got the same version as you) in the CSS for: div#topicbox

See the line border: 0.154rem solid #707070;

Change it to whatever you want, e.g.

for a white border: border: 0.154rem solid white;

for no border: border: 0px;

That's more risky because it may upset the layout. Changing to white (or maybe silver) is safer.

Ditto and likewise for the other borders. Right click and inspect element in your Browser to find the CSS location for them (Firefox is best).

But remember you will need to repeat everything in the files for mobiles and tablets, the above file is only for desktops.

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Dave Gehman » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:25 am

Martin, once again... I think you're saving my life.

I'll install Firefox and follow your prompts. Immediately.

What fine American gift do you want sent to you? I can probably get an autographed photo of our President. Our beer is pretty much industrial and chemically, except for the artisan craft brews, which mostly taste like old gym socks...
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Dave Gehman » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:43 am

The adventure begins... (in a copy of the hmskin) -- border now gone from the main text panel:

Image

Took your advice to keep my hands off the size, turning the border to color #FFFFFF.

Now, to track down the other borders.
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:03 am

Hi Dave,

In your browser (I use Firefox), right click on, or just fractionally inside the border and then click inspect element.

Here's the info for the top box border:

hm_border.png

You can see that it's on line 191 in the same file.

If you double-click on the colour right there #707070, you can try changing it, to say red (no # for that), and it will change on the page above. That way you know you have found the right setting, and you can try different colours. Then make the same change in the file.

You may need to scroll some way down the CSS to find the setting you want.

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Dave Gehman » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:00 am

The adventure continues:

Image

I'll keep tweaking.

Thanks for the immediate control info in Firefox - if I'd known that, I could have saved me a bit of time, I wouldn't have turned the entire TOC tree text white (and therefore invisible) in one experiment!

And, yes, I'm finding that reversing my changes will be interesting. My frantic change notes are not so good. I'll have to run a comparison between my new custom skin CSS files and the original CSS files to see what's changed.
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:12 am

Dave Gehman wrote:I'll have to run a comparison between my new custom skin CSS files and the original CSS files to see what's changed.

Hi Dave,

Try WinMerge for that (free): http://winmerge.org

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Dave Gehman » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:59 pm

The outcome (excerpt from a late night email from the boss)...

"Very cool to prove out that we can do it [i.e., achieve the clean look we want] – and how it is done [with H+M] ."

Thanks, all.

:-D
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Re: Minimalizing Minimalist skin

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:09 pm

Hi Dave,

Glad you got there in the end. :)

Martin.
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