Option to create Template Files in SE Cloud admin panel
We're working on a new SE Cloud theme and it's almost done. I had issues with the development process and I would like share it with SE developers and management.

Working on themes will be more streamlined if we cloud create layout and page templates from admin panel instead of creating files in local server..

With SE Cloud template engine, local development is impossible. If I work on a new project on local server, to view the changes in source code every single time instead of simply pressing a F5 key, I have to take these steps :

1) Locate local directory
2) Compress the directory
3) Open SE Cloud admin panel
4) Go to theme choosing page
5) Choose file
6) Click on Upload
7) Error message ( Because of duplicate package )
8) Choose file again
9) Confirm overwrite & upload
10) Refresh  page

Another way is to use the built-in text editor. The editor is fine for small modifications but starting and working on a new project with that editor is impractical. To simple create a new layout file I have to :

1) Download the package 
2) Locate the local directory
3) Unzip the package
4) Create the file
5) Modify package.json
6) +10 steps I mentioned above

I have to repeat these tasks over and over and switch between local and online servers continuously.

SE Cloud is a great platform, full of potentials and with a nice template engine but developing on it for developers is tedious and full of unnecessary tasks for achieving simple goals.

In the era of live reload, command line composers and packagers, single line app deployments and IDEs with automation plugins, SE Cloud development process is falling behind. Is there any plans to improve this ? The ability to create layout and template files and a better text editor with auto completion will make the process easier.

Our new theme for SE Cloud will be published soon and I hope there's enough SE Cloud customers out there and we can continue developments for this platform.
    • 1
    seTweaks Another thing I noticed is the image compression. I understand that you have to keep the storage and bandwidth costs down but the current image compression level is -very- aggressive. It reminded me the days when I was developing for dial up internet connections.
      • 1
      Stepan Mazurov Can you clarify? we create thumbnails and limit things to 800px wide in most cases, but we also store original files and have a 2x version for mobile phones.
        • 1
        seTweaks I'm referencing to the image quality. I noticed this when I was uploading logo files ( small dimensions ). The quality after uploading decreases significantly. Same thing happens when the platform is importing thumbnails for RSS feeds.
        • 0 1 vote
        • Reply
          • 1
          Stepan Mazurov we do limit logo size to 400px (or 500px). This is due to the fact that its used throughout the system and in default templates it makes little sense to have it bigger.
            • 1
            seTweaks I'm sending the url to the demo in private messages.
            • 0 1 vote
            • 1
            Stepan Mazurov if you upload .png we don't change quality. We do with jpgs.
            • 0 1 vote
            • 1
            seTweaks I'm referring to image compression ( quality ), not the dimension limits. For example a logo file with a 200px width after uploading looses it's quality and it's noticeable. a logo with perfect sharp edges gets blurry edges when it's uploaded. Feed images are blurry too. It's noticeable specially in mobile devices.
            • 0 1 vote
    • 1
    Stepan Mazurov you can create layout templates by not adding a URL. Only issue is that it gets assigned a UUID instead of a name, so you would need to access it using that.

    > Is there any plans to improve this ?

    Yes, we have plans much to what you're describing. I come from front end development and know the pain well. In addition to using existing tools and as close to live reload as we can get, we're hoping to expose more of the inner workings of widgets via handlebars/mustache templates. No promises as we're still in planning stages and plans can change.
      • 1
      seTweaks I still have to modify the package.json file every time I want to create a layout file and because the uploader doesn't allow me to only upload the package.json file ( error for reserved file name ) I need to repackage and upload the whole theme. I mind as well add the layout file locally and avoid UUID.

      I was able to use live reload for CSS btw by referencing to a local file but I had to switch between IDE for local CSS and built-in editor for HTML files and with the inability to create layout files from dashboard, keeping packages in sync can get frustrating.
        • 2
        Stepan Mazurov yes, you will have to edit package.json if you want to modify layout file or rename it from its UUID. Uploading package.json doesn't make much sense without accompanied files, so its reserved for full theme upload. We definitely will be making improvements in that area as well (as you mentioned its a pain to upload a new version, for example).
          • 1
          seTweaks Okay. Hopefully it won't take much long to see the improvements.
    • 1
    seTweaks [131308,Stepan Mazurov] [176007,SocialEngine PHP MGR] [65008,Kyle] [132620,James Clark]