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Topic: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test

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RE: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8286)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 4:48 PM by Seth Dillingham
Modified: 6/23/2005; 4:48 PM by Seth Dillingham
Response to: 8285
Edit | Reply

On 6/23/05, Mark Morgan said:

>Right now the wizard is completely focused on the web view of a
>Conversation.

That's actually not true, at least not from my persepctive.

The first wizard panel lists all of the web pages, that's true. However, the templates section lists *all* of your templates, including the email-only templates.

Also, the first page says that preferences, labels, and custom fields will be included in the Patterns soon.

>Are there plans in the future to make a "pattern" of, say, all your
>e-mail settings and templates? For those who view Conversant as
>primarily a mailing list or a newsgroup.

You'll be able to include preferences on a plugin-by-plugin basis, if you want to. You can already include your email templates.

Seth

RE: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8285)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 1:27 PM by Mark Morgan
Modified: 6/23/2005; 1:27 PM by Mark Morgan
Response to: 8282
Edit | Reply
Seth wrote:
"Is it clear that this is similar to "themes" in other systems like
Manila?"

Yes, but see below.

Mark wrote:

"Will the Wizard in the future include e-mail or the newsgroup?"

Seth wrote:

"Um... I don't know what that question means. What do you want the
wizard to include?"


Right now the wizard is completely focused on the web view of a Conversation. Are there plans in the future to make a "pattern" of, say, all your e-mail settings and templates? For those who view Conversant as primarily a mailing list or a newsgroup.

Or does it already do this?

I'm going to go throttle someone at Verizon now.
RE: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8284)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 1:25 PM by Mark Morgan
Modified: 6/23/2005; 1:25 PM by Mark Morgan
Response to: 8283
Edit | Reply
Grrr...my ISP is rejecting my outgoing mail.

Okay, I misunderstood what the "invert" button was for.
RE: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8283)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 1:22 PM by Seth Dillingham
Modified: 6/23/2005; 1:22 PM by Seth Dillingham
Response to: 8280
Edit | Reply

On 6/23/05, Mark Morgan said:

>I'd like to suggest moving it below the folder and renaming it
>"include subfolders", a la Windows.

But "include subfolders" doesn't at all describe what it does.

Are you suggesting that it literally just be renamed, or that the button be scrapped and replaced with one which includes the subfolders. Would it also include the pages in the current folder? So, essentially, it would select the entire contents of the folder and all subfolders?

Btw, did anyone notice that the current title is quite literal? If you select one item in the folder, and then click on the folder's "Invert" button, that item is deselected and everything else is selected. (Again, I based this on something I've used elsewhere. Took a few minutes to get used to it, but it's handy.)

Seth

RE: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8282)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 12:58 PM by Seth Dillingham
Modified: 6/23/2005; 12:58 PM by Seth Dillingham
Response to: 8280
Edit | Reply

On 6/23/05, Mark Morgan said:

>First, I agree that having the "check all" button checked by default
>(but the items are then not checked) is confusing. Non-standard
>behavior is probably not a good thing. Better to leave it unchecked by
>default unless you intend to include everything by default.I tested
>zippiness by just selecting everything. The invert checkbox wasn't
>obvious, either. I'd like to suggest moving it below the folder and
>renaming it "include subfolders", a la Windows. Same function but
>again emulating what others have done.

Yes, ok, something definitely needs to be done here.

>In Stylesheets and Javascript if you select "check all" you cannot
>change your mind and check "check recommended" without first
>unselecting "check all".

That's intentional. They're already checked. It would be just as annoying if it worked the other way (deselecting the ones that aren't recommended). Someone would select the templates wanted, then decide to include all of the recommended templates and click that button... only to have their selection lost.

I made some mistakes in the wizard, but I don't think that was one of them. A button that says it will select the recommended items shouldn't deselect anything.

>The description of what "check recommended" means in Javascript would
>be good to copy over to Stylesheets.

Agreed.

>Is there a reason why there is a "Continue" button and a "Get XML"
>button, in separate places?

Design flaw, I guess. This was a first pass at the design.

>It seems more logical to me that at that point, Get XML is the next
>step at that point. (I hit continue by accident and didn't notice the
>Get XML! button. Because people don't read instructions.) The Wizard
>was very zippy at generating the XML button.

Yeah, generating the XML is fast.

The slowest panel in the wizard is the one that lists all of the pages. For most sites it's fine, but for those which have thousands of pages it's almost unusable.

>This feature is going to be very cool. I love the idea of cloning the
>best stuff out of a good Conversation.

Is it clear that this is similar to "themes" in other systems like Manila?

>Will the Wizard in the future include e-mail or the newsgroup?

Um... I don't know what that question means. What do you want the wizard to include?

Seth

Re: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8281)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 11:58 AM by Mark Morgan
Modified: 6/23/2005; 11:58 AM by Mark Morgan
Response to: 8280
Edit | Reply
I swear on my honor, that had paragraphing when I sent it out.
Re: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8280)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 11:52 AM by Mark Morgan
Modified: 6/23/2005; 11:52 AM by Mark Morgan
Response to: 8276
Edit | Reply

First, I agree that having the "check all" button checked by default (but the items are then not checked) is confusing. Non-standard behavior is probably not a good thing. Better to leave it unchecked by default unless you intend to include everything by default.

I tested zippiness by just selecting everything. The invert checkbox wasn't obvious, either. I'd like to suggest moving it below the folder and renaming it "include subfolders", a la Windows. Same function but again emulating what others have done.

In Stylesheets and Javascript if you select "check all" you cannot change your mind and check "check recommended" without first unselecting "check all".  The description of what "check recommended" means in Javascript would be good to copy over to Stylesheets.

Is there a reason why there is a "Continue" button and a "Get XML" button, in separate places? It seems more logical to me that at that point, Get XML is the next step at that point. (I hit continue by accident and didn't notice the Get XML! button. Because people don't read instructions.)

The Wizard was very zippy at generating the XML button.

This feature is going to be very cool. I love the idea of cloning the best stuff out of a good Conversation. Will the Wizard in the future include e-mail or the newsgroup?
RE: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8279)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 11:10 AM by Seth Dillingham
Modified: 6/23/2005; 11:10 AM by Seth Dillingham
Response to: 8278
Edit | Reply

On 6/23/05, Duncan Smeed said:

>PM worked well for me and was easy to use.  I wasn't quite sure what
>impact using a subset of the "patterns" would be so I basically
>extracted everything - barring a few 'deselects' to see how that would
>work.  PM generated a 144KB file so I guess I will need to be more
>selective in future ;-).

To be clear: the "pattern" is the file that's produced at the end, filled with all the stuff from the site you've based it on.

The idea is that the file can then be used as the "pattern" for creating a new site, or for updating other sites.

There's nothing wrong with a 144kb file. I don't think that's particularly large, and would expect some to be much larger. That will be especially true since the Pattern Maker wizard is going to let you include a screen shot "preview" and comments about the pattern.

On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with being selective. I'm hoping that designers (like Yanisar, or Bryan Bell, or Steve Ivy) will set up a site, experiment a little to get the site just how they like it, and then use the wizard to create a pattern file to share with other users. It's very likely that they will have lots of "experimental" stuff still in the site when they create the pattern, so allowing them to leave stuff out is a good idea.

>There were a few glitches I noticed in Safari (v1.3) under Mac OS X
>10.3.9. For instance the 'Check All' checkbox was highlighted by
>default but the items weren't. If I did an 'Uncheck All' then the tick
>remained in the 'Check All' checkbox regardless.

That was intentional, actually, but you're the second person to tell me it's confusing or report it as a bug.

The idea was that the check in the checkbox indicates what it does, not the state of the rest of the checkboxes. Thus, the "check all" checkbox is always checked, and the "uncheck all" checkbox is always unchecked.

Apparently I'm the only person to find it intuitive, so I'll probably have to scrap it and go with regular buttons, links, or images.

>It was also counter-intuitive (to me at least!) that if you selected a
>folder item the folder's sub-items remained deselected and that an
>'invert' checkbox tick was required to override this.  It's difficult
>to explain textually but I hope you get my gist.

What if you don't want everything in the folder to be included in the pattern?

Here's a real-life example: project group sites (whether school projects or business projects) might have a directory with bio-pages for each of the members of the team ("about this person" pages). You want all of the project sites to look similar, but you have different people on each project so the contents of the "people" folder would be different for every site.

So, you create the first site. Make it look and act how you want. Then, use the Pattern Maker wizard to create the pattern. You'd include the "people" folder, but none of the pages in the folder (or perhaps just the index page). Use the pattern when setting up new sites, and everything is done except setting up people pages.

That's a long-winded example, I guess, but the point is that you need to think about what you're including in the file... but if you want everything in the folder, it's just one more click.

>Looking at the configFile.xml file (which I wasn't prompted to name
>incidentally)

I need to change the text that says that. I was sure it would ask for a name when I wrote that statement, but noen of the browsers I've tested ever ask! Oh well.

>I noted 'blank' entries, for instance:
>            <property name="javascript" type="TEXT">
>                
>                </property>
>I guess there's no harm in these...

Not only is there no harm in them, but the whole wizard would flop without the blank entries.

"Blank" is a legitimate value. It means you haven't specified anything for the javascript on that page or folder, which is how it knows to use the javascript from the parent folder (or no javascript at all).

Remember that these pattern files can be used for updating existing sites. If you see a preview image of a pattern (or see the original site), and want to make your site look like that too, you'll "apply" the pattern to your site. Existing pages will (optionally) be updated so that the properties match what's in the pattern.

If you already had a javascript, template, or stylesheet specified for the page, and the pattern file didn't tell the wizard to remove those properties, the results would be very different from what you expected.

>I can see the need and advantage of this approach to the export/import
>the 'pattern' of a site and look forward to the import wizard.

Cool. Me too. ;-)

Thanks for the comments, Duncan.

Seth

RE: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8278)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 10:30 AM by Duncan Smeed
Modified: 6/23/2005; 10:30 AM by Duncan Smeed
Response to: 8277
Edit | Reply
On 23-6-05 9:34, Seth Dillingham <seth@macrobyte.net> wrote:

>Not a single comment, question, or observation?
>
>Do y'all not get it, or do you net really see the need?
>
Sorry Seth, I should have responded as soon as I tried it out just
before midnight my time last night.

It certainly fulfils a need and it's a most welcome addition to the
arsenal of Conversant administration tools.

PM worked well for me and was easy to use. I wasn't quite sure what
impact using a subset of the "patterns" would be so I basically
extracted everything - barring a few 'deselects' to see how that would
work. PM generated a 144KB file so I guess I will need to be more
selective in future ;-).

There were a few glitches I noticed in Safari (v1.3) under Mac OS X
10.3.9. For instance the 'Check All' checkbox was highlighted by default
but the items weren't. If I did an 'Uncheck All' then the tick remained
in the 'Check All' checkbox regardless.

It was also counter-intuitive (to me at least!) that if you selected a
folder item the folder's sub-items remained deselected and that an
'invert' checkbox tick was required to override this. It's difficult to
explain textually but I hope you get my gist.

Looking at the configFile.xml file (which I wasn't prompted to name
incidentally) I noted 'blank' entries, for instance:
<property name="javascript" type="TEXT">

</property>
I guess there's no harm in these...

I can see the need and advantage of this approach to the export/import
the 'pattern' of a site and look forward to the import wizard.

Thanks,

Duncan

Re: [ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8277)
Posted: 6/23/2005; 9:34 AM by Seth Dillingham
Modified: 6/23/2005; 9:34 AM by Seth Dillingham
Response to: 8276
Edit | Reply

Not a single comment, question, or observation?

Do y'all not get it, or do you net really see the need?

Seth

[ANN] New Patterns Wizards, Beta Test (#8276)
Posted: 6/22/2005; 4:54 PM by Seth Dillingham
Modified: 6/22/2005; 4:57 PM by Seth Dillingham
Response to: Top of Thread.
Edit | Reply

Hi all,

Two new wizards will be available soon (very soon). This may sound like a small announcement, at first, but a huge amount of work has gone into them.

I want to point out, right up front, that this whole thing is a client-sponsored project. Clark Venable, Terry Frazier, and a group at Cornell University have paid for this whole thing. Thank you very much, all three of you, for seeing the value in this proposal, and especially for funding it.

Pattern Maker

The first (available now in pre-release, beta form) is primarily for the designers among our users. It allows you to create an XML "Pattern" file from an existing site. The pattern file can contain just about anything: templates, stylesheets, javascripts, resources, and even the site's page structure and properties.

Perhaps the most interesting part of these files is that they can be as thorough or sparse as you want. They could contain only a couple of templates and stylesheets for the "look" of a site, or just a few resources that you want to use on all of your personal sites, or whatever.

To access the wizard, go to your site's __Wizards__ page. (For example, <http://www.free-conversant.com/yourSiteHere/__Wizards__> ) and then click on "Pattern Maker".

We will, eventually, create a site for people to upload Conversant patterns, and rate the patterns created by others. (We'll check them all, too, to make sure they're at least functional.)

THIS IS AN OPEN BETA! WE NEED FEEDBACK. If you have questions or comments about the wizard, please post them here on the support site.

Pattern User

The second wizard (not yet available, but coming very soon) is the "other side of the coin." It lets you upload a Pattern (created by the first wizard) and apply it to your site. So, with the click of a few buttons, you could have a totally new look or new features (or both).

Like the way someone else's forum works? If they have provided a pattern for it, this wizard lets you duplicate it on your own site. Then, of course, you can customize it or use it as-is.

Eventually, the pattern files will be used to create new sites, both through free-conversant and when adding new conversations to your zones. Those features will come last.

Both wizards are still being worked on. The first one is available now but some features don't work yet (they're marked clearly, though). The second wizard should be available this weekend, if not sooner.

Again, your feedback, questions, and comments are all strongly encouraged.

Seth

Messages: 11.
Pages: 1