XOOPS: Interview of Insraq by ArabXOOPS Community

Posted by: marianeon 2010/8/6 22:54:46 4555 reads The ArabXOOPS Community was so glad to interview Insraq, to benefit more from his experience in theme design and to ask him many questions about his experience with XOOPS, his new themes...etc, Here is the English version.

Who’s Insraq?
My name is SUN Ruoyu. And according to Chinese naming conventions, my family name goes first. I was born in Qingdao, China, which is a very beautiful coastal city. Now I live in Hong Kong. Here is a short introduction of me: http://insraq.me/en/about

What got you to XOOPS?
I’ve been interested in CMS for a long time. First I used PHPNuke, but soon I came across XOOPS. Phppp (aka D.J.) introduced XOOPS to me. He was the administrator of XOOPS China. I had a lot of friends there and started to contribute to the community.

How did you get started in design?
Although I’ve learnt CSS and XHTML for quite long time, I didn’t start designing for XOOPS until 2009. In that year, many users of XOOPS China were asking for the website to be re-designed. Many designers of the community were busy and therefore I took up the job. I studied the theme engine for about 2 days and designed the first theme mockup. It took me a little longer to finish the coding as it was the first time. The new design was well received, which made me feel that I could actually do something in this aspect.

Your themes are always extraordinary, how do you choose the topics and what criteria you adopt?
Thank you for the complement first.
I’ve noticed that XOOPS themes usually conform to XOOPS block system: for example, the left block is actually on the left of the website, which gives some people the impression that XOOPS theme engine is not flexible, while actually Smarty engine is very flexible. So when I design the theme, I completely forget about the XOOPS block system, just do whatever I like. Then I will figure out a way to code it to XOOPS.
I also read online design magazines and website showcases to find out what’s in fashion. It is very useful as I often get inspiration from some web-designed websites. I think I can introduce some new styles to XOOPS themes.

From Inspire 7 to 10 we notice lot of innovations, what other innovation are we expecting? And in which versions?
I will introduce more JQuery-powered interactions. I think it is not just piling up JQuery animations. The important thing is to make the JQuery interaction fit into the whole design and to enhance the user experience. Just like what I do in the latest Inspire 10 Premium. The fancy header slider has been wanted for a long time and I finally find out a way to implement it.
Another thing you can expect is the design itself. It is what most people care about. That’s why I always release a free and open source version of my theme; I want to make the design available to everyone. In later versions, I will try to introduce new design concepts. Some of them may suitable for business websites and others may have unique and brave designs, which is good enough for personal websites.

960 For XOOPS is a new framework theme from you, what do you tell us about it?
Actually 960 Grid System has been out there for some time. It is very popular among designers. It provides a rigid grid system that can keep design clean and organized. And it does not have a lot of limits on the design. I created this framework because every time I start a theme, I have to prepare the same files again and again. Then I decided to clear up those files and release them as a framework. 960 for XOOPS is framework to start with, it has no style definition by default.

What is the most interesting experience you've ever had from XOOPS?
Every experience of making theme for XOOPS is interesting. I would like to mention the redesign of XOOPS China. I did learn a lot from the process. Many people encouraged me. And the fact that it gets some positive comments really gives me the confidence. As a result, I started Inspire project to create themes for XOOPS. I think it leads me into the design of XOOPS.

What is your message to XOOPS theme designers?
The themes of a CMS are very important. Actually, when visitors come to a website, the first impression they get is the site design. And the number of beautiful themes is an important factor when one is choosing a CMS. So I encourage designers to keep on working, and think outside the box. I hope to see many more wonderful XOOPS themes coming.

What wishes and advises would you have for the Arab XOOPS community?
First, I would thank Arab XOOPS for the interview. It is truly my honor. The website of Arab XOOPS is very well designed. It is one of the best designs of XOOPS. Well done! It is very attractive to new users. And I must say some of the developers and designers from the Arab XOOPS have made great contributions to the community, like Mowaffaq and Mariane, to name a few. XOOPS is a worldwide project, geography and language shall not limit us. I think Arab XOOPS is doing a good job. And I wish you guys to continue to expand the local community and contribute to XOOPS as you always do.