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Near-Final List of Widgets


  • Edwin Brown
    started a blog post Near-Final List of Widgets

    Near-Final List of Widgets

    We've been doing a lot of work with widgets, and I have something that is close to the final list that will ship with vB 4.0. It's always possible something could change, but it looks right now like we have.

    1. Static HTML: This allows you to enter any static html. That means you can put a remote page in an i-frame, or an image, or a google gadget, or a lot of other things.
    2. Static BB Code: This gives you the BBCode editor and lets you put the results into a widget.
    3. My Friends: You can specify a content type (posts, social groups, social group messages, visitor messages, CMS articles, or CMS static html), a maximum age, and a maximum count, and your users will see that content posted by their friends.
    4. Recent Polls: You can specify either a specific poll or list of polls, or a specific user, and/or a forum, plus a maximum age and count, and you'll see a summary of matching polls.
    5. RSS Feed: You can pull RSS content in RSS2 or atom format and see it in the widget.
    6. Navigation: You can specify any combination of top-level nodes, parent nodes of the current page, and/or siblings of the current page. I find this on the right with all three options on, plus the breadcrumbs along the top, to be a good way to move around in cms. You may like something different.
    7. Recent activity: This gives you threads which have had at least one post in the last X days (default is 1). You can set a maximum count (default is 10). Within that, you get the threads with:
      1. Most recent activity
      2. Most views
      3. Most responses

    8. Generalized Search Widget: This is by far the most powerful. You can specify
      1. A content type. Default is everything, which then ignores the type-specific options.
      2. A Forum, with or without its children
      3. A social group category
      4. A social group
      5. A user
      6. All friends
      7. Keywords
      8. Tags
      9. Prefixes
      10. Maximum age
      11. As always, maximum count

    The search widget gives you a lot of capability. You have to be a bit careful using it. You can't do any damage, but you can enter combinations of terms that will never return information. So for example if you enter a prefix and type "Social Group Messages", you're never going to get a result. That's because prefixes only apply to threads. We've tried to catch the obvious inconsistencies, and what we do is ignore additional search parameters that would generate an impossible search. If you put your head to it you can certainly enter combinations we didn't block.

    Keep in mind that each of these is a widget type. You create widgets, each of which is one of these types with a specific set of parameters. So you could for example have ten statichtml widgets, each of which used a different google gadget. You could make five different search widgets, and myFriends widgets for visitor messages, posts, and social group messages. That would be eighteen widgets from three types. You then make eighteen page arrangements, and you can make multiple cms pages with each arrangement. If you have a hundred pages that use the same arrangement, you can change the widget on all 100 pages by changing it on the master arrangement. So although there are "only" eight widget types, you could easily find yourself creating dozens of widgets from the two or three types you find most useful.

    I'm intentionally not posting pictures. We're working hard on moving pages to the new styles, but there's a lot of work to do and we haven't done any of the widget or widget admin pages. The appearance at the moment is no different from my earlier post.

    Hope this helps.

    • HydraulicJack
      HydraulicJack commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks very much for your reply Edwin, and thanks likewise for being open to my comments, and not taking it personally - as all too often people do, which of course tends to end the dialogue.

      I feel VERY encouraged to hear of Don's efforts.

      I DO hope they include, as I mentioned, bringing in NON-technically-oriented people off the street, sitting them down at the Forum home page, and record every mouse move they make and everything they say as they attempt to learn how to use not only the CMS but the Forum, Blogs, Calendar - the whole lot. That's what Morae 3 does - cheaply! And the collected data can be keyed for cross-subject mapping of responses.

      I'm pretty sure that in the past some people on prior mgmt teams have rationalized not doing so since they assume that their license buyers ARE technically oriented and can do all of the extra coding to make the software truly friendly and intuitively navigable for average folks.

      I personally have no financial interest in Techsmith or Morae, I just love the Morae product because it so thoroughly captures the actual end-user's experience... facial expressions, where their eyes move as they search for the path to what they're trying to find out, their comments, (Morae urges the researcher to encourage the test subject to think out loud so those thoughts get recorded as part of the session), their mouse movements and clicks - including stuff that looks like it might be clickable but isn't, and stuff that is not obviously clickable but is.

      The ROI for collecting this data and including the info in the design seems to be very high in most cases that I can imagine.

      Thanks again for your openness to this kind of input. I hope those who make these kinds of decisions will be as open and as non-defensive.

      Very best regards,

    • NolFito
      NolFito commented
      Editing a comment
      Is it me or this blog entry used to be formated and now is not :S?

    • abroad
      abroad commented
      Editing a comment
      -I would like to have a widget (on the side or on the top) for registered users so that they can see who is currently online (with Picture Profile).
      -A random Album picture widget should also be included.

      I tested both add-ons for vb 3.8 on my site and people love it.
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