Future of GlowInner GeekWeb Design

GlewTiles UI – an OpenSource alternative

GlewTiles UI live in Glew

The aim of Glew was always to develop a system to bring together the best of the web and OpenSource and free software tools for learning. The core Glew portal is built with Drupal (version 7 of the OpenSource CMS which other sites such as whitehouse.org, MTV UK and many others) and brings together Google Apps for Education and hosted applications such as WordPress (both ePortfolios and blogs), Mahara (dedicated ePortfolio software), Moodle and Limesurvey.  But the aim has always been to add the best of the web for learning to the mix. But how?

Every learner is different, every teacher is different, all need to be able to customise their experience to meet their needs. Glew needed a simple way to allow users to customise their Glew launchpad with the best tools and services on the web.  But we also expect more from our online tools now – simply serving up a set of static shortcuts for users (see my post on the current state of RM Unify) is not acceptable. We want to be notified about the headlines in our RSS feeds, the number of new messages in our mail and much more.  Our interface has to feed us the information we expect, streamlining how we learn and work by providing “at a glance” information and notifications.

GlewTiles UI live in Glew
GlewTiles UI live in Glew

GlewTiles, a port of the OpenSource DropTiles project written in .NET C by Omar Al Zabir, is my attempt to provide this new simple interface. Over the two weeks of the Christmas holidays 2012,  I converted DropTiles to a Drupal 7 Theme, debugging and re-writing both JavaScript and .Net code (to PHP) to provide a simple framework on which to build interactive and static apps for Glew. I have made the Drupal theme code opensource at Drupal.org and will also soon be committing updated code and the rest of the core Glew code to Google code as well.

Glew App Library
Glew App Library

With this new interface you can drag/drop your AppTiles and LiveTiles to the positions you want, you can remove tiles by dragging them to the trashcan and you can add new ones (or the old ones) by selecting Apps from the toolbar and adding them from the AppLibrary.

Now that the framework and the initial AppTiles(static) and a few LiveTiles are available, I will be adding more LiveTiles to the service. Have a look at Glew now and please suggest live tiles that you would like to see.

  1. Charlie Love

    Hi Richard, iPad version isn’t fully functional just yet. Scrolls work but I need to recode the touch icons for iPad and Android. Supported at the moment is IE9+, Safari, Firefox and Chrome on Windows and Mac OS X.

  2. Charlie Love

    Hi Richard, just an update. You should find that the Apps in the main dashboard now work great and you can drag/drop and open applications on iOS and Android. I’m still debugging a few problems with the AppLibrary 🙂

  3. Stuart Disbury

    Really beautiful interface. I did try to get in and tinker, but I’ve utterly forgotten my password and seem to have made some sort of mistake when filling in one of my security questions.

    Any chance you could reset my password? I’ve used the email addy for the account to make this post.

  4. Charlie Love

    Hi Stuart,

    I’ve sent you an email with new login details. I’m planning to add more apps shortly and I’ve written a module to use OAuth authentication for other services like Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook etc. Just need the development time to get the apps written. Exciting times.

    Charlie 🙂

  5. Charlie Love

    Hi William,

    I’m working on compatibility back to IE7 but at the moment it is compatible with IE9+, Chrome and Firefox. I am working on some small bugs with Safari and mobile. I’ll then move on to any issues with IE7/8.


  6. Jeet

    Hi Charlie,

    Its really a great work done by you. Hats off! Will it be possible to create a module in drupal for the core Glew functionality, I mean a module which can be fit with any theme and can provide the tiles capability to that theme.

    I am really dieing to have it as module which I can use with my own theme.

    Appreciate your work once again


  7. Raj Pawan

    Hi Charlie,

    Thanks for the initial work on GlewTiles, this is the exact theme which I was looking for. However, I got the source files and placed it in themes folder of my Drupal installation, but my Drupal 7 seems not to recognize the theme. Is there anything which I need to do?

    Raj Pawan

  8. Charlie Love

    There are a number of prerequisites before you use the theme. I deployed a number of modules which you will need because they are referenced in the theme. You’ll need AES, Field_extract, field_permissions, field_ui, libraries, memcache, memcache_admin, rules, rules_admin, simplesamlphp_auth, views_ui

    I created additional fields for firstname, lastname, etc. which are referenced in the code.

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