Q: What can PatternFly offer me as a developer of IT applications?
There are two parts to PatternFly that will help you efficiently design and develop enterprise IT applications. First, our widget library implements enterprise-optimized visual styling for common web GUI widgets. This is supported with a downloadable library of HTML mark-up, CSS styling, and code samples built on top of the Bootstrap 3 framework. Second, our pattern library includes a set of interaction patterns that offer consistent solutions to common user interaction problems.
Q: What are interaction patterns?
Interaction patterns are general design approaches to satisfy use cases commonly found in enterprise IT applications. They provide UI designers and developers with a common way to think about the problem at hand and provide a baseline design that can be customized to your specific application needs. Utilizing PatternFly design patterns will promote consistency across multiple applications.
Q: Why should I care about consistency? Doesn’t this just stifle innovation?
Consistency leads to better usability. Applications become intuitive when common mental models are leveraged and users are not required to relearn interactions when moving between applications. When users look at your application, you want them to think, “I know how this works because it’s similar to things I’ve used before.” With that said, patterns do allow for innovation on top of a common baseline that will enable your application to stand out from the crowd.
Q: I’ve used pattern libraries before and I know there are several good ones out there on the web. Why do we need PatternFly?
While there are other good general web UI pattern libraries out there, we felt like none of these were optimized for the enterprise IT space. We recognize that a “one size fits all” approach to design is not always possible and IT users have unique requirements that don’t necessarily translate across other domains. PatternFly addresses this by basing its designs on an understanding of the needs of IT users and usage scenarios. This includes the need to manage large amounts of complex information in an efficient manner. In short, we believe that PatternFly fills a targeted niche where other general pattern libraries do not.
Q: How do I know that these interaction patterns will work to make my application more usable?
We believe that design is an iterative process, and we will be continually evolving and improving our content. Testing is an important part of our process and most patterns will be submitted to a usability testing process to validate design decisions and generate user information to feed subsequent design iterations.
Q: Having a common widget library is great, but I’m not using the Bootstrap 3 framework. Is PatternFly still useful to me?
Yes. You may still want to download the PatternFly library to examine reference examples and integrate PatternFly styling into whatever UI framework technology that you are using. We are also open to adding support for additional frameworks in the future.
Q: It looks like your pattern library is still under development and I can’t find what I’m looking for. When will this be more fully populated?
PatternFly is still a relatively new community project that just came online in February 2014. There is still much to do in creating content to fill out our pattern library. As a community project, we invite and encourage your contributions. We are planning to make quarterly content updates and expect to grow the scope of the project incrementally over time. So please stay tuned!
Q: How can I contribute?
Q: Which browsers does PatternFly support?
Important: starting with the v2.0.0 release, PatternFly no longer supports Internet Explorer 8.
Q: How do I migrate to PatternFly 3.0? See the PatternFly 3.0 Migration Guide for step-by-step guidance to upgrade from PatternFly 2.x to 3.0.