Blog Post

Evolving the plugin interface

Way back in 2014, GD bbPress Toolbox Pro 3.0 was released, introducing the new interface for the admin side panels and settings, and in the years to come, all the Dev4Press plugins have been updated to use the same interface.

This initial 2014 interface was improved over the years, refined and expanded with many new features, and most changes were influenced by the feedback from plugins users. And, over the past few months, I have been contemplating on making progressive improvements to the plugin interface, that will deal with a few things: get rid of the outdated floated layouts positioning and switch to flexbox, make some interface elements larger and easier to read, improve some more accessibility aspects.

New settings panel

For the past 2 weeks, I have been making significant changes to the interface, and most of the things have been rebuilt. I have kept some of the existing elements from the current interface but enhanced it. The main settings panel now show the information about each sub-panel, and the settings are presented with more spacing, bigger text, and a better layout.

Settings options

The layout for all the panels has benefited greatly from using flexbox, bigger padding, and margins, and the overall usability is now hopefully better. Also, future customizations will be easier, because most of the CSS has been rewritten, and now using CSS variables, and it will be possible for each plugin to add some distinct details, including different colors.

Updated plugin dashboard

The new interface has also added some new features that will be used for some other plugins in the future, hopefully, to be showcased later this year. As usual, the interface will be a part of the new Dev4Press Library (it will be version 3.7).

Right now, I am putting the finishing touches on the metabox interface, and all the new changes will be showcased in the upcoming GD Knowledge Base Pro 5.1 next week. The plan is, after that release, to start rolling out the new interface to other plugins, with a few plugins getting updated later this year. The plugin that started this all in 2014, GD bbPress Toolbox Pro will be updated to use it next year with the version 7.0.

Let me know what you think about the upcoming changes, and if you have any additional suggestions, and maybe I can incorporate some additional tweaks and improvements.

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About the author

Milan Petrovic
Milan Petrovic

CEO and Lead developer of Dev4Press Web Development company, working with WordPress since 2008, first as a freelancer, later founding own development company. Author of more than 250 plugins and more than 20 themes.

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