EMBL Communications

Informing, inspiring, and engaging society with EMBL’s research, services and training

The Visual Framework 2.0: Web developer outreach at EMBL-EBI Day 2019

In the Digital Team we continue to make progress towards a beta release of the Visual Framework 2.0 for more flexible and scalable tools for life science websites.

While we’re developing a tool for those building new websites, those features are also designed in mind with an easy upgrade and backwards-compatible approach for the many users of the EMBL-EBI Visual Framework 1.x.

A big part of that effort will be to create online documentation but we’re also aware that we have users of the framework also exist in physical form at EMBL-EBI; with that in mind three of us from the Digital Team attended EMBL-EBI Day on June 13.

Myself, Stu Robson (web front-end consultant and design systems advocate) and Cian O’Luanaigh (project owner of the new EMBL.org) presented a poster highlighting the new things and changes in the VF 2.0 compared to 1.x.

A few photos are below.

(Want to view the poster big? Download a PDF of the poster.)

EBI Day poster session
EBI Day poster session
EBI Day poster for the Visual Framework 2.0
Poster for the Visual Framework 2.0 at EMBL-EBI Day 2019
EBI Day poster session

What’s the point of all this? And this post? Outreach to existing users of the Visual Framework 1.x.

If you fall into that category, I expect you’ll have concerns like those we talked to in person:

  1. When is the 2.0 version coming, when should I try it out? Look for a beta release targeted for EMBL-EBI developers in or before August 2019.
  2. Is this going to break my website/service? No. The 2.0 release is designed specifically to not break your site, regardless if you use React, Bootstrap or Foundation. v2.0 uses a CSS Modules-like approach, among other no-conflict methods.
  3. Do I have to update to 2.0? If you’re building something new or overhauling, you should consider upgrading. We recognise upgrading will be a non-trivial task, so we’ve also made it possible to integrate VF 2.0 components on an ad-hoc basis alongside VF 1.x code.
  4. Why are you building this without consulting us!? We aren’t and haven’t forgotten to consult ?The VF 2.0 approach is a direct response to the most-requested features for v1.x; that is: don’t make me use Foundation CSS and don’t break my site.We’re also aware that our proposed fixes may not fully match your expectations, so we’re planning more outreach (like the poster) and more direct code demonstrations.
  5. Questions? Concerns? Want to stay updated?

Or if your team isn’t already engaged with the EBI Web Guidelines Committee, drop me an email at khawkins@ebi.ac.uk