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Author Topic: Updating the forum software to 1.1RC2  (Read 7222 times)
mouser
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« on: March 08, 2006, 06:54:03 PM »

I've been updating the forum software - it's been several days of non-stop work due to all of the customizations we have written since we started, and because of the large changes in the SMF software with their latest release.  But they are some good changes that will help us out in the future.

Anyway, I've been working on a test mirror installation so that i can test it all before i install the upgrade onto this main forum, but i'll be updating this forum in the next few days.

I thought while i was at it this would be a good time to open the floor to any requests for features to add to the forum - now is as good a time as ever to request features.
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momonan
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2006, 08:50:35 PM »

I'm probably the only one here who likes to look at the yearbook, but it is so fun to see all the avatars and watch new members being added.  (Click "view the supporters yearbook" in the upper right box, if you haven't seen it yet.)  Here are some changes that might be good:

1.  Right now, members are listed chronologically.  It would be great if they could also be listed alphabetically, so we can easily find someone.

2.  A search feature to easily find a post made by a particular person would be nice.  I know it's possible, now, to use the search button, then advanced search, to find a post someone made, but that is not terribly intuitive and only works if you put in the right keywords.  Sometimes I would just like to see all the posts made by a particular person because I remember they said something I wanted to read again, but may not remember any particular keywords.  Right now, that's not possible (I tried, by specifying my name and putting a *in the keyword box, and got nothing).  One way to do this would be with a link from the yearbook avatar to the profile page, from which we could access all that person's posts, with an option to put in keywords, to narrow the search.

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Rover
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2006, 10:57:05 PM »

momonan has some good ideas.

It's kind of neat to see how many people have joined.  We must have a LOT of lurkers, cause I don't recognize  lot of the names.  I hope the site edutaining for everyone (edutaining - Educatoinal & Entertaining combined).  cheesy
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2006, 03:17:31 AM »

2.  A search feature to easily find a post made by a particular person would be nice.
It's not exactly a search feature, but on a post, you can click the person's nick to see his profile, and from the profile, select "See the last posts by this person".
It actually isn't only the last posts, it has everything someone posted. (at least, it looks like it doesn, since it has all of mouser's 5587 posts Wink)
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2006, 09:46:29 AM »

i've been working non-stop on the forum enhancements for last few days.  hope that everyone will like the changes.
plus we have some very exciting new developments on the site happening soon smiley
stop by the irc chat channel (see chat button above) if you want to get the url to test drive the new forum testdrive look.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2006, 03:18:44 AM »

As you know I'm new to the forums, but one thing has been bugging me a lot since my short stay here. And that is that all the links in the forums open up in a new tab/window (not sure which, since I force Firefox to open in a new tab). I end up having twenty tabs without realizing it.

Can we just have normal links, please? Especially for internal/local links. So many threads link to other parts of this site I'd like to click on it and remain in the same tab/window. I like this site, but not enough to warrant 15 DC tabs open at the same time just trying to read the forums.
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2006, 03:47:15 AM »

ill look into the option - i would only change it if users could select it as an option as i need to  have external links open in new windows or ill get lost.

i wonder if tabmix or another ff tab extension has an option that lets you say, for a specific site (say donationcoder.com) , open all links in current page.  that would be very nice and solve your problem, and i wouldn't be surprised if it did.  anyone know?
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Deozaan
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2006, 03:58:43 AM »

I don't know how much control you have over the forum software, but I think it could be done easily enough with simple text parsing. If it starts with "http://*.donationcoder.com/" then use the same window, otherwise use the _new target.
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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2006, 05:36:37 AM »

yes it wouldnt be hard for me to write it into the forum - the issue i have is some of us like having it open on a new tab, so id like to have it as an option, either using a firefox addin options, or forum options for each user.

i dont actually see it in user options but i could add the option if its impossible to do via firefox addin.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2006, 05:59:54 AM »

In opera, I'm used to opening pages in new tabs by midle-clicking, and I do that very often, i think it's an easy way to keep things organized.
I think this could be an option in the forum, but it doesn't make me much difference, i almost always open the links in a new page anyways.
It's always good to be able to open a new page while keeping the reading of the post in the same place, so as you can easily get back to where you were reading on.

Just my 2cents
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allen
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2006, 06:16:20 AM »

Using IE/Firefox, links opening in a new window drives me completely batty.  On the other hand, links opening in new tabs is good.  Unfortunately Firefox doesn't provide a means for developers to open a new tab except through the chrome--extension developers can create tabs, web devs cannot.  Firefox now has "tab browsing" options though, doesn't it -- to force tab usage instead of window?

Opera is another story, being a true MDI and all.  "New Window" stays within the main Opera window, nicely contained -- as it should be.

I like to be in control of what links open in the same window and which open new windows, but I imagine there are enough people who don't know/won't be bothered to middle click, you'd get all manner of complaints. . .

But, as a designer who has had "Do not open links in new windows" pounded into his head, I feel compelled to homilize just a bit.

[blockquote]Opening up new browser windows is like a vacuum cleaner sales person who starts a visit by emptying an ash tray on the customer's carpet. Don't pollute my screen with any more windows, thanks (particularly since current operating systems have miserable window management). If I want a new window, I will open it myself!

Designers open new browser windows on the theory that it keeps users on their site. But even disregarding the user-hostile message implied in taking over the user's machine, the strategy is self-defeating since it disables the Back button which is the normal way users return to previous sites. Users often don't notice that a new window has opened, especially if they are using a small monitor where the windows are maximized to fill up the screen. So a user who tries to return to the origin will be confused by a grayed out Back button. [/blockquote]

A read on the matter:
http://www.sitepoint.com/...-opening-links-new-window

I find it ironic that this article, initially, has advertising taking up a significant portion of your lower viewport . . . which, to me, should be some sort of huge no-no.  At least it's not a new window, they say, at least we give you a "turn it off" button, they say . . . smiley

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mouser
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2006, 09:17:53 AM »

i think this is wise advice.

we should also add another important fact:
tabbed browsers all have an option to open a link in a new tab.
but the opposite is not true - so opening in same page by default is not so hard for users who want things in new tabs to work around, while the opposite may not be the case.

i guess you've mostly convinced me to disable this feature of the forum..

however i still feel like when you are in a forum it's a bit different - because the workflow normall dictates that you are usually going to want to continue browsing in the forum - and losing your place is an expensive waste of time if you have to try to find your way back..
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superboyac
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2006, 10:18:53 AM »

I'm going to have to agree with mouser on this.  While that article makes sense about links opening in new windows, and I agree with it, I think forums are different than general websites.  I've been on all kinds of forums and I prefer it when links open up in new windows (or tabs).  Rarely, if ever do I go to a link from a thread and not return to that thread, so having to come back to it is a waste of time. 

Not only that, but the general flow of forums is not the same as the flow while navigating the web in general.  Usually, links in forums are like "Oh, check this out" or "here's their website"...it's more of a footnote usually in the discussion.  So it's not like you're going to click the link and now that begins a new  journey that will continue farther, and you won't return to the forum.  That's why it's different than, say, a normal google search or web browsing.

In other words, please keep the links opening in new windows.  It's different for forums, and the example that the author gave in that article, as you can tell, are definitely not forum examples.
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jroad
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2006, 03:15:09 PM »

One feature that I thought would be useful is the ability to restrict a search to a particular forum.  Some forums, have something called Quick Search that does this.  Maybe this already exists, but I haven't been able to find it?

The other day I found myself wanting to use this feature when trying to find out more info about Find & Run Robot in it's forum, but my searches were not limited, making it difficult to find what I wanted at the time.

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jgpaiva
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2006, 03:17:18 PM »

One feature that I thought would be useful is the ability to restrict a search to a particular forum.
That already can be done, you just go to search->advanced search, and you can select the boards to search! Wink
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Deozaan
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2006, 03:51:13 PM »

Allen said:
Quote
Using IE/Firefox, links opening in a new window drives me completely batty.  On the other hand, links opening in new tabs is good.  Unfortunately Firefox doesn't provide a means for developers to open a new tab except through the chrome--extension developers can create tabs, web devs cannot.  Firefox now has "tab browsing" options though, doesn't it -- to force tab usage instead of window?

Yes it is in the options of Firefox to force "open in new window" links to just open in another tab. Such is my dilemma with this site. It's only annoying right now. I would be extremely unhappy if it actually did open in a new window.

Mouser said:
Quote
however i still feel like when you are in a forum it's a bit different - because the workflow normall dictates that you are usually going to want to continue browsing in the forum - and losing your place is an expensive waste of time if you have to try to find your way back..

I really don't see how having to close or switch tabs/windows is much less complicated than pressing your back button a time or two. I'd like for it to at least be an option, and set to default for local links (if not all links) to this site to open in the same page. I know how to navigate the web. If I don't want to lose my place, I'll open it in a new tab myself. If I forget, I know how to use the back button. When I want to open a link in a new window/tab, that should be up to me. And it's rather easy with the All-In-One Mouse Gestures extension for firefox. I just right-click starting on the link and make an upward motion.

I thought that almost all advanced computer users/programmers liked simplicity and minimalism. Finding out at the end of the day that you have 15 tabs open, using up over 150MB of RAM just for one site, goes against those ideals. And I am not exaggerating. That's what I was at yesterday. Not cool.
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jroad
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2006, 04:13:00 PM »

One feature that I thought would be useful is the ability to restrict a search to a particular forum.
That already can be done, you just go to search->advanced search, and you can select the boards to search! Wink

Thanks, I had looked there before but somehow overlooked that option.  Still, it is a lot of click-work needed to go through it all Search->Advanced Search -> Choose a board -> (Un)Select All -> Find/Select board.

So, still I would like to throw out a request for a Quick Search type of input box, that quickly lets a user search for threads in the currently viewed board.
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