As with most of the new builders that have been included in
PortletFactory 6.1.5, I’m a bit under whelmed. The animation builders
comprise of little more than exposing the standard Dojo functionality
through builder inputs. To be completely blunt, anyone that knows a
little of the Dojo API could probably write the script faster using a
HTML or Attribute Builder than it would take to use the new builders.
This is something I have done on several occasions in the previous
versions of PortletFactory.
Today was my first attempt at using the Dojo Form Builder. And
unfortunately it doesn’t really cut the mustard. To start with the
builder inputs are not intuitive, and require a bit of experimentation.
For example, what is the difference between ‘Dialog Action Information’
and Dialog Display Information’? Both can render a page, the help text
indicates that either of these can be used to populate the inner
section of the dialog, however the ‘Inner Page’ input does not actually
populate the dialog section, the Dialog Action does.
The biggest issue I have is the mechanism used to actually display
the content. Internally it just dumps the page into an iFrame. This is
a very simplistic method of displaying content, and not in a terribly
good way. iFrames introduce their own issues regarding management of
features within portlet factory to allow dynamically loaded content and
insertion of that content into tags on the fly, you would have thought
that a little more imagination would have been applied to how put a
nice modal dialog together.
With the animation effects provided within Dojo, it would also have
been possible to offer nice ways of fading in and out the content
without having to wire more animation builders and actions together.
Most of the client / server calls could also be removed if structured a
little differently. Styling is also sadly missing, with only the
default Dojo dialog frame being provided. Not including a way to
manipulate the styling of these Dojo widgets will only force developers
to go back to custom scripting and will ultimately restrict the
usefulness of these builders dramatically.
Portlet Factory offers the ability to provide so much more
functionality from its builders, however it appears that IBM are
lacking the imagination to utilize this functionality within the new
builders. For now Ill be creating my modal dialogs by writing a couple
builder or something similar.