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IP.Board 3.1.0 Dev Update: Topic Preview

We read virtually every piece of feedback we receive, even if we don't reply and we often see the same requests coming up. The ability to 'preview' the topic by viewing an excerpt from the first post is often requested and we've added this into IP.Board 3.1.

We've made it a little more useful by also including the last time you read a topic (if applicable) and the number of unread posts so you can quickly review how much activity has taken place since you last read the topic.



When you 'mouse over' a topic entry, you'll see a little 'pop-up' icon. Clicking this loads an excerpt from the first post along with some data underneath. This is very useful for moderators who can quickly review un-approved topics and well as being useful for normal members who can quickly decide whether they want to open the topic or not.

Technical Details:
- Icon appears for moderators / admins and normal members. If there are no moderator tools, it shows on its own.
- When you mouse over the cell, the icon is "faded" until you mouse over the actual icon.
- Data is loaded via Ajax to reduce mark-up required in the templates.
- The post excerpt is stripped of all BBCode and mark-up to prevent it breaking out of the pop-up.

This feature adds a little more functionality and polish to the forum index allowing you to perform your daily routine a little quicker and a little easier.

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[quote name='.Wolfie' date='18 February 2010 - 06:42 PM']

...snip...


Wolfie - can you help us clear something up? How many suggestions *exactly* are you conveying in your first post here? Just want to be positive. :)

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[quote name='Matt' date='18 February 2010 - 01:14 PM']
Al,

I had considered that actually. The backend code has the ability to return the first unread post already. Just needs some JS to tie it together.

You might as well just display a random post from the topic, in my opinion. At least the first post *usually* sets the tone for the topic.

Anyway, this'll be a nice addition for those who wanted it :). As always, I love that when you guys implement popular features you never include the bare minimum, but always make it worthy of inclusion :).

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[quote name='Brett B' date='18 February 2010 - 07:28 PM']
You might as well just display a random post from the topic, in my opinion. At least the first post *usually* sets the tone for the topic.
This is true, but once you've read the topic, seeing the first post again and again is much less useful. At that point you'd want to see the first new post or last post in the thread. Ideally if you hadn't looked at a topic yet, you'd see the first post, since that would be your first "unread" post. After you read the thread, it'll then display the first unread post on subsequent topic previews. I still feel it would be worthwhile to make this a user setting, as some people may always want to see the first post, others will find it useful to see the first unread post or the last post.

..Al

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[quote name='bfarber' date='18 February 2010 - 07:25 PM']
Wolfie - can you help us clear something up? How many suggestions *exactly* are you conveying in your first post here? Just want to be positive. :)

I'm glad I numbered the suggestions in my initial post.. :whistle:

..Al

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[quote name='bfarber' date='18 February 2010 - 08:25 PM']
Wolfie - can you help us clear something up? How many suggestions *exactly* are you conveying in your first post here? Just want to be positive. :)


I have bolded/underlined my thoughts. The first is an opinion on the placement of the preview button/icon. Second is a suggestion (in reference to the hover/click debate). The third (next) is a comment about the per-group idea, along with another suggestion on an alternative to a per-group option. Last a comment about the preview being for the first post, last post or the 'first new' post.


[quote name='.Wolfie' date='18 February 2010 - 06:42 PM']
Here are a few of my thoughts...

First, I like the idea of a preview button/icon being on the left, as it would get a members attention and they would more likely click on it and then when they realize what it is, they'd use it.


Second, what about a "mouseover preview" when hovering over the icon? That way it's not a mouse-over when getting ready to click the topic itself, but someone wouldn't have to go down the list with click-click-click. Instead just move the mouse over and it's preview-preview-preview.


Next, having it per group could be very beneficial. Enable it for admins and mods, but disable it for everyone else (for example). On an extremely busy board, this might cut down on resource usage. After all, having 1000 people online at once (which some boards have), if a lot of them are doing previews, then that's a major resource hog.

As gutterape mentioned, could disable it for guests, making it a benefit of registering. Could also be seen as an incentive to participate, if new members can't use it but those who have shown some activity get promoted and can use it. At the very least, an ACP setting with "Off | Admin & Mods | Registered members | All" would work. I agree that charging to have it would be a bit of a cheesy move.

Finally, the idea of first/new/last post previewing sounds a bit much but I can see the usefulness in it, so that would be a nice touch to it as well.

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As the data is loaded by ajax (which is very light, just two queries after ajax init both of which are very fast and use indexes) you really don't want it onmouseover as there is bound to be a short lag while the data is requested, parsed and returned. Even on a fast server this may be 1/2 second or so by the time the browser shows the pop-up. If it was onmouseover, then you'd roll over and it would seem like nothing happened. So you'd roll over another, this would hide the first pop-up before it was shown then attempt to load another one.

In a very early dev build, we had the user pop-up open on mouseover and it happened exactly as I described. It was quite confusing.

I would wait until you can actually use the feature then work out if any further enhancements are required. It's quite a minor feature, lets not turn it into its own application. ;)

Per user/per group are all not required in my opinion. There is no concern with resource usage. It's takes much fewer resources than a quick edit or even using the user pop-up and no one has requested that this is made into a per-group/per-user setting. It's just part of the interface.

Finally, yes - it is very generic. I made it that way so it can be used elsewhere such as the search results page.

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[quote name='.Wolfie' date='18 February 2010 - 11:42 PM']

...Next, having it per group could be very beneficial. Enable it for admins and mods, but disable it for everyone else (for example). On an extremely busy board, this might cut down on resource usage. After all, having 1000 people online at once (which some boards have), if a lot of them are doing previews, then that's a major resource hog.




That's exactly what I would suggest, if this option will consume many resources I would rather not have it, in my case i have a large site and most part of the day i have 1500k + users online, please think about the people who have very busy sites.

Do not misunderstand me is a very good feature, but should have the option to turn on or off.

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[quote name='Matt' date='19 February 2010 - 01:53 AM']
As the data is loaded by ajax (which is very light, just two queries after ajax init both of which are very fast and use indexes) you really don't want it onmouseover as there is bound to be a short lag while the data is requested, parsed and returned. Even on a fast server this may be 1/2 second or so by the time the browser shows the pop-up. If it was onmouseover, then you'd roll over and it would seem like nothing happened. So you'd roll over another, this would hide the first pop-up before it was shown then attempt to load another one.

What about a pop-up being instant (blank pop up), with something indicating activity until the data is returned? Could be a blank template that would mention that it's a preview of the topic (or first/last post or first new post whatever) and fill it in a moment later.

I just think a mouse-over would really help, at least if it's when someone mouses over on the icon and not the topic name.

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[quote name='AnTraX_12' date='19 February 2010 - 07:52 AM']
That's exactly what I would suggest, if this option will consume many resources I would rather not have it, in my case i have a large site and most part of the day i have 1500k + users online, please think about the people who have very busy sites.

Do not misunderstand me is a very good feature, but should have the option to turn on or off.


It is really not at all resource intensive. As mentioned, it takes two additional queries after ajax initiation to use. It is no more 'intensive' than the user pop-up, or the quick edit, or any other minor ajax driven feature.

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Mouseover is useless in my opinion, and since you like to talk about resources.. it would be a lot more resource intensive than the current "onlick" because once you are over the topic name it would start the ajax request even if you don't want to see the preview of the topic; the "onlick" event instead gives the user the ability to control if they want to see or not the preview ;)

Personally I would use this feature only on a restricted number of topics and with onmouseover I would see *ANY* preview even if I don't want to.

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[quote name='Matt' date='19 February 2010 - 07:53 AM'] Finally, yes - it is very generic. I made it that way so it can be used elsewhere such as the search results page.

Fine! Please add also the mass moderation to "view new content" together with the "topic preview" will be a "killer application" ;)


[quote name='teraßyte' date='19 February 2010 - 11:16 AM']Mouseover is useless in my opinion, and since you like to talk about resources.. it would be a lot more resource intensive than the current "onlick" because once you are over the topic name it would start the ajax request even if you don't want to see the preview of the topic; the "onlick" event instead gives the user the ability to control if they want to see or not the preview wink.gif




I agree :)

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[quote name='teraßyte' date='19 February 2010 - 05:16 AM']
Mouseover is useless in my opinion, and since you like to talk about resources.. it would be a lot more resource intensive than the current "onlick" because once you are over the topic name it would start the ajax request even if you don't want to see the preview of the topic; the "onlick" event instead gives the user the ability to control if they want to see or not the preview ;)

Personally I would use this feature only on a restricted number of topics and with onmouseover I would see *ANY* preview even if I don't want to.

My idea for a mouse over would be to activate when someone mouses over the ICON not the topic name/title. Small icon that would activate on mouse-over instead of clicking. Where did that point get missed? :blink:

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My reply was more general, I wasn't replying specifically to you Wolfie ;)

At first I thought too about an icon on the left (still click and not mouseover imo) but if you look at the current situation there are way too many icons on the left already: new posts link, watched topic, attachments (plus the pinned text in some cases). If you add a 4th icon the area is quite full and won't look good..


EDIT: even if you put an icon on the left the point about going over it by mistake and loading an unneeded popup is still valid.

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Could always convert the already existing icon on the far left to be a topic preview (the icon that tells if you've posted in the topic, new posts or not, if it's a hot topic, etc). It's not clickable as it is and could serve the same purpose. Only drawback is that at first, people wouldn't know unless they were told. But after awhile it'd be like second nature. :)

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FWIW although I am not in love with the current icon, I do like the positioning. If you put it after the thread title, it is always in a different x axis which means you're always moving your mouse position from row to row. If its before the title, it doesn't "flow" and will get mixed up and muddled with the newpost icon. Where its positioned now is deadspace for most users and I like it. Saying that, i am sure it will be coded so it can be moved.





Or maybe they can do a setting for it! :D

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[quote name='The Geek' date='19 February 2010 - 04:35 PM']FWIW although I am not in love with the current icon, I do like the positioning.
I think the icon is the first one Matt found, Rikki might change it later fyi :)

[quote name='The Geek' date='19 February 2010 - 04:35 PM']If you put it after the thread title, it is always in a different x axis which means you're always moving your mouse position from row to row. If its before the title, it doesn't "flow" and will get mixed up and muddled with the newpost icon. Where its positioned now is deadspace for most users and I like it. Saying that, i am sure it will be coded so it can be moved.
We thought the same, positioning it after the title was a really bad idea and we put it on the right becuase of that, however, for those that want to move it with a simple skin edit you can move the icon where you want ;)

[quote name='The Geek' date='19 February 2010 - 04:35 PM']Or maybe they can do a setting for it! :D
Don't talk about new settings to Matt! :P

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