My previous blog post entitled On a mission to improve page regions in Drupal 7 outlined how special casing things like custom help settings, the mission statement and footer message make understanding and using Drupal harder and general assumptions not being applicable to set text formats or visibility on such items. Having the somewhat special content region was also another example. After more work in this area, I'd figure I post a status update for those who'd like to have a bigger picture overview:
- System help text is now a block in Drupal 7. You can offer your users to customize it (turn it on/off themselves) or hide excessive help text on certain pages. Since the help block is placed in a help region, you can add custom help to any pages with custom visibility settings tailored to your needs. You can use full text format support for these blocks. No more special user registration guidelines or contact page help settings. It is all general now and way more powerful. I was alerted that content type help is another special case which is not yet migrated. The issue used to track that remaining task is at http://drupal.org/node/448784 (but does not have a patch yet, contributions welcome!)
- I've suggested migrating the site mission statement to a block. Since that was overloaded both as a (badly implemented) markup aware site mission and an RSS site description, the patch migrates the mission statement to a block and adds a standalone setting for the RSS site description. Similar migration path to the help blocks. Patch to review and test at http://drupal.org/node/428800
- New since my last blog post: site settings in Drupal 6 and before also includes the footer message. This is even easier to eliminate then the site mission, since it is not overloaded for any other reasons. It should be migrated to a footer message block (which the user can then retitle based on their previous use of the block to "Copyright", "Affiliate links" or whatever). Patch for review and testing at http://drupal.org/node/453080
- Finally, I've been working more on the "main content region as a block" functionality, which lets you reposition your main content and put blocks above and below it without having special _top and _bottom block regions to get your desired result. This patch makes all Drupal 7 themes required to have a "content" region to ensure that users cannot easily break their sites. You'll not be able to enable themes which don't implement this region. Also, the main page content block is required to show up in some region for the same reason. Feedback is more then welcome at http://drupal.org/node/428744
I hope we can get through these soon, since I have even more ideas on eliminating funky special cases in site building and theming making site setup and theme authoring even easier.