As you may have noticed, there is a new repository on the Patternfly Github page called patternfly-design.
The purpose of the repo is to house the designs and documentation for Patternfly and to be the center of design contributions going forward. Patternfly-design will address a number of issues with the old design contribution model and open up several possibilities for the future of design with Patternfly.
Going to Github
Previously, our design contributions were created and stored on Google Drive, which worked well for writing and adding graphics, but had several limitations. Google Drive’s default document sharing settings made viewing and collaboration difficult and reduced discovery of new content. Additionally, a fluid folder structure meant that new documents could be easily misplaced.
The new system of storing files on Github means that all Patternfly design documents are publicly viewable by contributors. Anyone can view, suggest edits to, and comment on designs without needing to be given file permissions. Comments and updates are tracked and available as well as past versions of designs, so it will now be possible to look back through the history of a design and view the changes it has undergone as well as the discussions surrounding those changes. New design documentation written in markdown will enable us to streamline the process of updating patternfly.org because we can now automatically generate web pages whenever a pattern is added or changed without the need for manual entry. Finally, the new system encourages contributors to make use of the powerful version control features provided by Git.
There are numerous reasons to use git with design work. First of all, your work is backed up so you never have to worry about spending hours re-creating a file that got corrupted, deleted, or otherwise lost. Second, older versions of files are easily retrievable just in case you decide that you really preferred the work you had yesterday and have long since overwritten. Lastly, the ability to create multiple branches of your projects removes the need for folders full of files with names like “Design v4 copy copy.psd”.
Because of all the benefits that Git brings, “Git for designers” guides are in no short supply on the internet now, and many of them do a good job of explaining the fundamental concepts behind version control systems. The guides tend not to prescribe workflow conventions, however, because every project using Git is organized in a different way and has different needs. In order to remove this final layer of haziness, we have put together some guides that outline the recommended patternfly-design workflows and repository conventions in a visual way that aligns well both with the way that many designers conceptualize things and with the highly structural nature of Git.
In addition to the graphical guides, the patternfly-design wiki contains a series of walkthroughs that provide step-by-step instructions for setting up your work environment, making a contribution, and working with multiple branches.
Hopefully all you Patternfliers will find these resources to be helpful and enlightening as we transition into this powerful new contribution process. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments, and your designs in the patternfly-design repo!