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Author Topic: tfdocs.com - first suggestions and criticisms  (Read 5420 times)
Paul Keith
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« on: November 04, 2009, 03:39:46 PM »

mouser, I'd just like to start that I know nothing about online application creation and I know it's too early to suggest additional features but:

IMO in this day and age, most popular apps support Twitter logins at the minimum.

IMO in the same vein, while sending via e-mail is a well appreciated feature (really the rest would be +100 for online notetakes and don't need to be mentioned) most web service users tend to cry foul when their favorite popular sharing services like Twitter and Facebook aren't included at minimum.

IMO while the red and blue is a fitting contrast, flashing bright red is distracting in the eyes.

Finally, while I don't think mobile is the end all be all, majority of online users appear to disagree.

There seems to be a growing perception that a notetaker is nothing special if the ui isn't configured for mobile.

None of these are glaring issues for me except for the flashing red. I'm just glad that you made such a service to TFLM.

It's just that I think these words need to be said even this early no matter how unpopular and ungrateful it may come off.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 03:44:04 PM by mouser » Logged

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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2009, 03:43:25 PM »

All suggestions and criticisms are welcome.  I'm going to split this off onto it's own thread though, so we can discuss in more detail.
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mouser
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2009, 03:52:27 PM »

>IMO in this day and age, most popular apps support Twitter logins at the minimum.
> IMO in the same vein, while sending via e-mail is a well appreciated feature (really the rest would be +100 for online notetakes and don't need to be mentioned) most web service users tend to cry foul when their favorite popular sharing services like Twitter and Facebook aren't included at minimum.

i think the first thing to say is that i don't have much expectation that tfdocs will ever be used by more than a handful of people.  certainly not when it comes to editing and creating new treeform documents (there may be a few more anonymous users of the forms if people ever create some good ondes).

so.. i think for now i'm going to treat this as a very niche thing. it has no funding and no source of revenue, nor do i expect it to.  that just means that i'm not going to spend large amounts of time implementing stuff in the hope that the service will "catch on."

having said that -- tfdocs is built on top of drupal.  i have in the past spent considerable time developing my own cms-type frameworks, but this time i decided to spend some time with drupal, which i have mixed feelings about.  one advantage of it though, is that there are modules to add openid support and perhaps things like twitter/facebook integration.  so maybe things like this are not too hard to add later.

>IMO while the red and blue is a fitting contrast, flashing bright red is distracting in the eyes.

the whole flashing thing is only there to draw your attention to the changes, but fair enough i don't really care what color it is if someone has a better suggestion.  it is nice to be able to distinguish between text that is fading out (red) vs fading in (blue), so keep that in mind.  in a desktop application i would add lots of customizable options -- but for a web app that seems overkill.

>Finally, while I don't think mobile is the end all be all, majority of online users appear to disagree.
yeah that's not going to be a concern any time soon for me -- this requires lots of real estate and with the small # of users i dont see much point.

>There seems to be a growing perception that a notetaker is nothing special if the ui isn't configured for mobile.
let's remember this isn't a notetaker(!) there are lots of great notetakers and some good online ones, and this has none of the important features that those do.  this is not for notetaking!

>None of these are glaring issues for me except for the flashing red. I'm just glad that you made such a service to TFLM.It's just that I think these words need to be said even this early no matter how unpopular and ungrateful it may come off.

Thanks for the suggestions -- keep them coming!  thumbs up
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2009, 06:23:47 PM »

Thanks for the fast reply mouser.

Another thing I forgot to mention was that it isn't very obvious whether a form is private or not and how to toggle it on and off and the split summary/join summary is not very clear on what it actually does at first sight.
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2009, 06:59:40 PM »

good points -- there is a lot more that needs to be done documenting stuff and explaining stuff.
there are only 2 ways a form can be private:
1) users can select to keep a form in "draft" (unpublished) mode, which will make it only visible to them
2) users who are members of GROUPS can keep their forms private to a specific group.

Groups are fully functional but only I can create groups currently.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2009, 02:31:12 PM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2009, 02:33:47 PM »

i've noticed a couple of bugs still present:
  • paragraph breaks are somewhat unpredictable.  i need to improve this. try setting: format="bbcodep" as an attribute for your output container as a workaround for now.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2009, 08:56:52 PM »

mouser, this is a reply to your post in the other thread:

I think due to lack of GUI for non-technical people like me, you could consider opting for a walkthrough instead of a help guide.

With regards to the help itself, I think it's too small and easy to miss. Maybe change the wording to "Get Started Here" and turn it into a button.

Maybe even turn it into a note like the publishing option.

(Btw even after I read the note, I can't spot where the publishing option is)

Back to why a walkthrough might be better:

I think there's really no way to make the terms come off as less technical.

The input is just way too different.

I think like markdown, the only way to introduce it to the user is to use a cheat sheet and get them to try it out.

Unlike markdown though, this goes beyond basic formatting.

The user has to redefine their expectations and preview the contents in their head.

Constantly clicking preview to verify things is just too slow.

It would be better for the non-technical users to have several templates to refer to and edit for themselves.

Something like describing the different nodes could be much simpler and much clearer explained by a form that already previews how each of the nodes look than a run-down list describing what each nodes should look like in text definition.

If this is too much trouble, maybe adding images to the help could suffice.

Definitions for nodes like "hidden" could be better saved for what the node can be used for instead of describing how the node behaves.
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mouser
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2009, 01:06:23 AM »

It's clear that creating the document xml from scratch is not something for the faint hearted.

My problem is that it's like the chicken and the egg -- i'm not really prepared to invest a lot of time creating an easy-to-use online drag and drop tree creator if there isn't much interest in the too, and right now that's the case.  Of course that could partially be because it's so hard for anyone to figure out how to create trees smiley

Now that you can export from TFLM, i'm hoping that people can use TFLM to get started creating xml for trees.

Maybe if i could find a company that wanted to fun some further development of the tools for commercial use, other possibilities could be explored.

Until then let's just see what people can come up with using the current interface.  Maybe someone can make a screencast or walkthrough..
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2009, 10:07:27 AM »

Hmm... maybe it's because I used TFLM on wine and then opened it using Leafpad and copy-pasted the content from there but I'm getting a bad syntax error whenever I preview the form.

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mouser
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2009, 10:14:52 AM »

send me an email with more information and i'll try to help (mouser@donationcoder.com), or a pm.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2009, 11:50:34 AM »

I still don't understand how XML works so I copied this:

Quote
<input id="address" type="textarea" container="inputs" rows="5">
Type an address (this is a multi-line box where you can type newlines):
</input>

and tried to replace the section:

Quote
<node type="folder" caption="Questions" init_expanded="true">

    <node type="checkbox" caption="Narcissism">

      <output container="main">

        Am I pursuing this because I'm too ignorant in wanting to be altruistic to  everyone/every subclass or because I'm narcissistic enough to know that this would help progress-elevate future identical beings who have the same dreams and struggles as I do? 

      </output>

    </node>

with this:

Quote
<node type="folder" caption="Questions" init_expanded="true">

    <node type="checkbox" caption="Narcissism">

      <input id="main"  type="textarea" container="inputs" rows="5">

        Am I pursuing this because I'm too ignorant in wanting to be altruistic to  everyone/every subclass or because I'm narcissistic enough to know that this would help progress-elevate future identical beings who have the same dreams and struggles as I do? 

      </input>

    </node>

but no luck.
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mouser
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2009, 09:51:16 PM »

inputs go up at the top, not inside the checkbox nodes.

go to this simple example:
http://www.tfdocs.com/form/bsd-license

and then click on the button on bottom left that says "View XML Source" to see an example of using inputs.
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Shades
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2009, 09:56:33 PM »

It appears you have switched data intended for output as input.  

As far as I know (and that is not too much) XML works like this.
First there is an application (A) where you want information from and there is an application (B) where you want to store this info.

This leads to two possibilities: application A is application B or application A is not application B
Either way, data when moving data between applications verification needs to take place. After all, you want no garbage output and definitely no garbage input. Besides this, there is also a issue with the way data is formatted, especially in the case where application A is not application B.

Verification takes place through XSD files that set the rules for exporting/importing data (including format).  
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mouser
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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2009, 07:16:51 AM »

After using tfdocs to create a few documents i can say for sure that creating the xml by hand for tree form documents is a bit hairy and not for the faint hearted.

I think the solution is a gui that holds your hand through creating documents, either desktop based or web based.  of course this is largely what The Tree Form Machine does, and you can use that to create documents.  But I think what is needed is a new gui tool for making the new tf documents.

It's on my list of things to do but that will have to wait until there is some time and demand.
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