I am now finding the Forum to be quite cluttered and, despite having the links for the tags on the right, finding posts in threads is difficult. I know the membership has been rising (as are the numbers of posts) - Simeon could you post the levels (or even a graph with the growth rate)?
What I’m getting at is that I think we are growing out of the current forum format. I feel it would benefit for being sectioned so interested parties can go straight to their sections of interest. How do you all feel.
There are now a large number of expert coders contributing who tend to discuss the way forward and, at times, lose me - especially when talking Objective C. I can think of ways I would like the format to move, but if you all feel it’s OK then I’ll shelve this thread.
I know it’s not core to our activities and may deflect some of Simeon’s resources - but I feel we could all benefit from a more structured forum.
What sort of sub-forums would you like to see?
What I’m thinking of is a front end to the forum that filters all input into relevant categories, but allows the option of visualizing them in a posts by time format (like we use at the moment.
How this could be arranged is open to the community - but I would add the following sections (as a starter):
- Codea Development
- Users Projects
- New Starters
- Problem Solving
- Reference and links
- Archived Resources
- User statistics
A few examples of the layouts are as follows:
Some of these are pretty well developed and a bit over the top, but you can see the type of format I think is where we should be heading. You must have seen plenty of these - the list goes on and on.
The main thing is the intial layout presents a top level menu for filtering down to what a user needs with the minimum of ‘clicks’. I don’t like scrolling through several pages of posts to find what I need and the right hand filtration links depend on the tag entries from the user.
I also prefer, in sub-forums, that the entries are presented with latest first and there are links at both top and bottom of the page for page numbers and next/previous page - saves scrolling.
Don’t take this as a nag - I’m just flagging up that as the user base increases we would need a slicker package - admittedly that’s my view.
Hope you get my gist.
A little off-topic, but in a similar vein: the information distributed in the forum and organised in the wiki is valuable and they are both, effectively, a valued part of Codea itself (as they are included by reference in the app).
The immediate impact of the forum is that it is part of the Codea universe: it is simple, elegant and (even) beautiful.
The wiki is quite different. Its immediate impact (Atlassian bitbucket) is that it comes from ‘somewhere else’ or that it has been ‘tacked on’. This may a factor in the lack of wiki culture noted in past discussions. If the wiki is to become Codeafied in the future, perhaps it would be better to do that early on, before its content is extensive.
Vanilla (the software running the forum) is highly configurable. Is TLL hosting the forum themselves or is it running on the main Vanilla site?
Just want to confirm that - you want to incorporate the Wiki pages into the Codea forum itself?
The Wiki pages have been opened up for anyone to edit and contribute to them. I’d just started to move some of my code into the contributed code section, and volunteered to add others if the author approved. For the moment I can see we still need to do that until a mechanism is set up to move it to the forum - if it’s agreed as the way forward.
Much as I like the current forum format I still think we need to move onto a system which is easier to use and can cope with the built in support that’s needed. Maybe not now but in the near future.
Actually, I was not suggesting that the forum and wiki should be combined, but that it should be clear from its look, and how users experience it, that the wiki is part of the ‘Codea universe’.
A bitbucket wiki is an add on for a code hosting site, not one designed to support the users of an iOS app like Codea.
Hi @mpilgrem and @Andrew_Stacey,
Looked at the Vanilla site before (http://vanillaforums.com/) and just checked again to see what their latest approach is - still seems to be based around the same structure but very skin-able and flexible (to get the look you want).
I think that TLL may be using them to host the package, so enhancements may cost. Changing the forum format could be quite costly if you have to find a new hosting package and build a new forum there. Looks like a no go for TLL.
On you point @mpilgrem, looks like you are going down the line of building a few pages (in Codea style) to link up to keep the same feel as the main site. How do you think we could improve the structure of the Wiki to meet everyones needs - form newbies to experts?
We are hosting the forums ourselves. Are there any Vanilla specific add-ons you’d like us to include? That would be easiest and fastest to get up-and-running.
@mpilgrem you’re right about the wiki, perhaps we should move it onto our servers and integrate it more tightly with the forum.
Sorry @Simeon, been through all the add-ons on the Vanilla site and some external ones. None of them seem to do what I have in mind.
Basically what I would prefer is users can opt for a ‘view posts as they come in’ - as in the current format; or, they could opt for category headers (to be used for say ‘graphics’, 'sound, ‘games/projects’ etc) with sub headings below them. Then the user can select what they would like to pursue and drill down to it fairly quickly. Subsequent posts wil always be retained in the sub category and flags for new posts ( as now) shown. The sub categories below the category heading are scrollable.
I’d also like to be able to show posts in reverse order in the sub categories - i.e. latest first instead of last - to avoid having to scroll to the bottom of the page and select then required page. Plus you could provide a page list at the top of each sub-category to speed it up that way.
I’ll try to make a mock-up and show you what I mean. I’m not sure whether you can program this into Vanilla or not. Don’t hold your breath - the mockup may take me some time.
Thanks for listening.
Vanilla is extremely customisable and just about any layout is possible. I’ve no experience with Vanilla 2 - all mine is with Vanilla 1, but with that I’ve been able to get things to look exactly how I want. It’s all in the theme files in Vanilla 1.