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Near-Final List of Widgets

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  • 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.

    • Edwin Brown
      #63
      Edwin Brown commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by HydraulicJack;bt6496
      IMHO the following is something I'd like to refer back to directly. Why doesn't this forum blog software have a check box or button or something that let's me know how to do it easily?

      Basically, a cherry picker for specific posts I'd like to index somehow. thanks!
      It doesn't have that because whoever built the template didn't think of that, or didn't think it was worth the space. For your own forum you could easily add whatever you like to the template. If you want to see the link, put your mouse over the round yellow image in the upper left of each blog comment. Or click on the image, or whatever. The format of the link is something (depending on your SEO settings) like blog.php?bt=<comment id>.

    • HydraulicJack
      #64
      HydraulicJack commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Edwin Brown;bt6503
      It doesn't have that because whoever built the template didn't think of that, or didn't think it was worth the space.
      Thanks Edwin for taking the time from your huge workload to reply. I appreciate it.

      Your first comment makes sense to me... that the template builder didn't think of it.

      The second comment does not makes sense to me, considering how little "space" would be involved (i.e. the "cost"), versus the increase in usability - especially for non-geek-level aka "naive" users (most of my customer base).

      This accessibility / usability issue for non-tech users is my biggest peeve about vBulletin design. I think it's vB's greatest weakness re: becoming truly useful to the general- (i.e. non-geek-level intellectual acuity-) level users (i.e. most of us in the unwashed masses).

      I wish Jelsoft would peel off about $2,000 from their multimillion dollar resources and invest in Morae 3 by techsmith and sit a bunch of non-geeks down in front of their software and record all of the difficulties and confusion average joes and josephines have in trying to find out how to take full advantage of the software's power. [/rant].

      Please don't take that rant personally. But I hope somebody in the org with the authority will listen to it and respond with something other than rationalization.

      As a Forum host, I get pretty tired of answering the same questions about how do I find this or that, or adding layers of customization to address these baseline usability issues.

      For your own forum you could easily add whatever you like to the template. If you want to see the link, put your mouse over the round yellow image in the upper left of each blog comment.
      Thanks for the tip. And to my previous point, how is a naive user supposed to "know" that just by looking at the screen? Geeks (a term of respect in my book) will click everything possible to find the answer... naive users don't - they're scared they'll break something or wind up lost on some other page without knowing how to find their way back.

      Or click on the image, or whatever. The format of the link is something (depending on your SEO settings) like blog.php?bt=<comment id>.
      Got it, thanks. Your last example is also a case in point. To an average joe or josie, blog.php?bt=<comment id> might as well be mayan hieroglyphics.

      Again, I'm not trying to harass you personally. You did answer my question.

      My rant goes to the underlying presumption by Jelsoft designers that all users from the general public will be able to make sense of your answers.

      Thanks again for answering my question in the only way you could, given the constraints put upon you by the weak usability design.

      All that said, I and my flock of technically-unsavvy end-users are definitely looking forward to the release of 4.0 including the CMS.

      Best regards,
      HJ

    • Edwin Brown
      #65
      Edwin Brown commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by HydraulicJack;bt6513
      Thanks Edwin for taking the time from your huge workload to reply. I appreciate it.

      Your first comment makes sense to me... that the template builder didn't think of it.

      The second comment does not makes sense to me, considering how little "space" would be involved (i.e. the "cost"), versus the increase in usability - especially for non-geek-level aka "naive" users (most of my customer base).

      This accessibility / usability issue for non-tech users is my biggest peeve about vBulletin design. I think it's vB's greatest weakness re: becoming truly useful to the general- (i.e. non-geek-level intellectual acuity-) level users (i.e. most of us in the unwashed masses).

      I wish Jelsoft would peel off about $2,000 from their multimillion dollar resources and invest in Morae 3 by techsmith and sit a bunch of non-geeks down in front of their software and record all of the difficulties and confusion average joes and josephines have in trying to find out how to take full advantage of the software's power. [/rant].

      Please don't take that rant personally. But I hope somebody in the org with the authority will listen to it and respond with something other than rationalization.

      As a Forum host, I get pretty tired of answering the same questions about how do I find this or that, or adding layers of customization to address these baseline usability issues.



      Thanks for the tip. And to my previous point, how is a naive user supposed to "know" that just by looking at the screen? Geeks (a term of respect in my book) will click everything possible to find the answer... naive users don't - they're scared they'll break something or wind up lost on some other page without knowing how to find their way back.



      Got it, thanks. Your last example is also a case in point. To an average joe or josie, blog.php?bt=<comment id> might as well be mayan hieroglyphics.

      Again, I'm not trying to harass you personally. You did answer my question.

      My rant goes to the underlying presumption by Jelsoft designers that all users from the general public will be able to make sense of your answers.

      Thanks again for answering my question in the only way you could, given the constraints put upon you by the weak usability design.

      All that said, I and my flock of technically-unsavvy end-users are definitely looking forward to the release of 4.0 including the CMS.

      Best regards,
      HJ
      Thanks for the comments. What I said was correct when I said it, but the final released version will be a lot better than that.

      I can say that Internet Brands recognizes the bigger picture, and that's why we got Don. It took a while to find him, because good product managers don't grow on trees. He's been going over the CMS in detail, from the user side and the admin. As a result we've made a lot of improvements and have more on the schedule. Version 4.0 will be a lot better because of what he's done. I don't really want to go into more detail now because this area is still changing.
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  • MySaltyReef
    confused
    by MySaltyReef
    hey guys i am busy playing around with vb5 since beta2 for 5.1.0 is out and articles will soon be available in 5

    what i am not understanding the modules or what i know as widgets from vb4...
    Fri 21st Feb '14, 11:46am
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