A Direct To Web Look is a set of templates for the common task pages that defines the look and feel of the application. In the bad old days the templates were heavily table based and many of your rules would end up setting display parameters (like table cell background colour etc.)
Thankfully this is changing. I demoed Ravi Mendis’ amazing ERDivaLook (now part of Project Wonder) at WOWODC 2009 West, but since then several others have come to light. So here is a list of the Looks that I know about (excluding the ones from Apple)
- Project Wonder – ERDirectToWeb – Though technically not a Look, the templates in ERDirectToWeb can be duplicated with Wonder’s Template_creator.pl script and can be used as the basis for your own look. Heavily leverages the power of D2W to offer massive flexibility. Not a good choice for a first attempt at creating your own look but definitely worth looking at for ideas.
- Project Wonder – ERNeutralLook – A nasty old school Look with lots of table based layout. However, ERNeutralLook can easily be duplicated using the Template_creator.pl script and is simple enough to be useable as the basis for your first attempt at creating your own Look
- Project Wonder – AjaxLook – I’ve not used or investigate this Look at all. However my understanding is this it is an experiment only and not ready for prime time.
- Project Wonder – ExcelLook – This very useful Look is a bit of an oddity in that it is not designed to create an end user interface. It does however, generate easily customizable Excel exports to any application. Look for a screencast on this one soon.
- Project Wonder – ERDivaLook – A very powerful Ajax enabled, XHTML 1.0 strict, semantic markup based Look that looks like it will be amazing once it is completed. It is currently under heavy development and has dependencies on the new WO2 framework and requires WebObjects 5.4.x. Keep an eye on this one.
- DMSimpleLook – Used by Denis Frolov as part of his SiteMonitor demo at WOWODC 2009 West. It is a simple look with only a few templates but may be a good starting point as the basis for your own look. The SiteMontior project is available here.
- R2D2W – Ramsey Lee Gurley’s custom Look. This look boasts XHTML 1.1 strict compliance, Section 508 compliance for accessibility, RSS, inline SVG, and user management. I haven’t explored this one in detail yet, but it definitely looks interesting. The project page is here.
- EVDirectToWeb – Guido Neitzer’s custom Look. Currently listed as unstable pre-alpha so take that under advisment. The project page including screen shots is here.
If you know of any other D2W Looks that are released into the wild, or have any additional experience with any of these. Let me know.
Update: Oops, forgot Guido’s EVDirectToWeb