GUI Improvements for WebERP

This discussion covers GUI enhancements planned for WebERP. Most modern browsers are now capable to handling Javascript, but we need to maintain graceful alternatives for environments where JS code is not handled well.

The goal of these GUI improvements should be
- to reduce time in data entry or retrieval
- to provide more usable screens

<Phil - Background>

webERP has been developed entirely without javascript until now because:
To some extent it is possible that both of these reasons for not having javascript may no longer be valid.

The caveat to this is of course how far do we go with javascript - my feeling is that we should use it only for interactivity - site navigation and data validation before the script gets submitted. We should avoid large libraries of javascript functions that add 50k (arbitrary) or more to a page. Also, the server side php should allow the system to be run even when javascript is not available at the browser.

The visual apperance of webERP also needs work - this I think can be done mostly with css and laying out forms in a more appealing and logical format. With navigation and error trapping avoiding the requirement for back and excessive error message on submitting forms - if the message pops up at the time the entry is made this is more intuitive to deal with adding greatly to the usability of webERP

<Paul - Templates?>
Has there been any thought or suggestion of possibly using a template engine, such as Smarty, with webERP?
Smarty adds an abstraction layer - personally I am opposed to additional abstraction as this compromises readability and consequently maintainability of the code. KISS applies throughout webERP if I have had anything to do with the code.
Ok, no problem. Just thought I'd ask as I didn't see it mentioned.

List of libraries to be considered
Yahoo! UI

Add other libraries under consideration. For code submissions, please put all JS code includes in javascript folder.

Items for improvement

- Autocomplete - code to be submitted
- Keyboard shortcuts - code to be submitted
- Datagrid - code to be submitted
- GUI - use Tango Desktop icons?

User Concerns

Concerns raised include: (comments truncated - follow link above for details)

"It is common for JavaScript enhanced sites behave differently or not at all in Mozilla, IE, Google Chrome and Safari. Maintaining functional
code in the ever changing browser designs will require more time and effort from the main programmers of webERP..."

"I'm questioning the need to add a layer of complexity in both development and maintenance of webERP. Function and speed are most important to me."

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