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RFC: The Road(blocks) Ahead
Squishdot Posted by Butch Landingin on Friday July 16, 05:09AM, 1999
from the what-the-future-holds dept.
As more people use Squishdot, we hope to enhance it to become a more effective tool for their news publishing and discussion needs. We have sketched out a tentative plan for the changes we are planning. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

As with all plans, it can change suddenly and without warning. We are presenting this for review and comment, but don't hold us to it.

These are the planned releases of Squishdot:

  • Version 0.1 - Initial release. Currently this version.
  • Version 0.3 - focus on usability features - based on the responses and suggestions we get, we hope to implement those features that make it more effective. Among the things we are working on are:
    • A preview button/page -- so that you can preview and edit article/comment postings prior to finally submission
    • Converting the dept field into a more functional categorization (like subject topic) -- although this is under debate (alternate solution: keep dept field as is and add a new field named section)
    • Add a keywords field and index for additional categorization and searchability
    • Ability to modify the main page display criteria by different date periods (e.g. daily view, weekly view, monthly view, etc.)
    • Add posting date to search criteria

    On a minor note, we are also working on a fortune cookie Zope product (this will replace the static quote at the bottom of the page) and we will also try to bundle in a working Poll Product example so that you can run surveys as a Squishdot squishbox.

  • Version 0.5 - first major architectural rewrite. We will start looking at performance issues in this version. Also continue to implement and evaluate features for usability. This release will include those features which we have put off in the 0.3 version which necessitate major changes in the interface and/or implementation.

    Among the ideas being floating around is the concept we call "article stalks" to which you can attach/detach articles to -- something like a section page of which the main page item list is (currently the only) one -- which have customizable color schemes, images, etc.

    Another major area of work planned for this release are user identification/customization features so that you can customize what and how users see the articles and what they can do with them.

  • Version 0.7 - continue evaluating/implementing features for usability. Our ideas here get fuzzier and fuzzier the farther we are away from actual implementation
  • Version 0.9 - last major architectural rewrite prior to releasing the 1.0 version. At this point in time (if we ever get there), we hopefully would have had enough feedback to be able to include the major features that are critical while taking those things out which just clutter up the interface. This will also serve as the beta release and hopefully things (code, documentation, etc.) will get cleaned up prior to version 1.0
  • Version 1.0 and Version 1.1 -- at this point, the development model will fork into a stable release series (even-numbered minor release numbers) and experimental release series (odd-numbered minor release numbers). Hopefully, there will no major interface changes at this point (other than addition) so that sites using the stable releases will be upwardly compatible with later releases. Major interface changes will spur the increment of major release number but as to when that will happen we don't know.

Depending on how well (or how bad) users adopt Squishdot and contribute to improving it, as well as how busy we are going to get (on the stuff that we get paid for) we estimate the time between release 0.1 and 1.0 to be between 6 months to a year. But don't hold us to it.

Last minute addendum: As we have begun hearing about Zope2 and ZClasses, we might incorporate this into Squishdot to make it easier to customize. However, as we have been lagging a bit in learning about the new-fangled features of Zope2, ZODB3, etc. so we have not determined at what version or time we can incorporate the pixel-dust magic that will transform Squishdot into a subclassable ZClass, unless more knowledgeable Zope masters deign to impart their deep wisdom to us lowly mortals. We've also seen the Catalog portal demo and we are thinking a lot about how to integrate it with Squishdot (especially the personalization features).

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  • The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.
    ( Reply )

    more flexible comment viewing options
    by rillian on Wednesday July 28, 10:00PM, 1999
    I guess this is mostly a feature request, but something related to the "article stalks" idea. I'd like to see capabilities for pulling out comments based on other criteria. One of the advantages of the web is that it can be, but most sites are organized as trees instead.

    For example, I'd like to be able to view all comments by date so I can follow discussions in several sections at once without having to check each section. This is less useful on high-volume general-interest websites like /. but very useful on lower traffic sites like technocrat.

    I think some sort of general retrieval and presentation engine capable of this sort of thing would really help create a general discussion tool. (for which maillists are still hard to beat ))

    [ Reply to this ]
    • Yes, yes ! Meanwhile, a simpler fix...
      by Fred P on Friday August 06, 03:50PM, 1999
      I was mulling over exactly the same sort of idea before I stumbled onto this comment. Without such a feature, people will keep on creating home-page threads to get exposure, instead of following-up in hard-to-get-at comments, which sort of defeats the purpose...

      Short term this could be improved on with simple (I think) kludges. First, add the date of the latest comment to each abstract -- ie, instead of:

      (5 comments, 4131 bytes in body)


      (4131 bytes in body, 5 comments, latest on 8/6/99 @ 4:15pm)

      ... or some such.

      Later there could be a cookie system that remembers a user's (a host's, really) last access time, and flags all articles with news comments.

      Etc, etc. Having ideas is the easy part :-)

      Don't I know it ;^) -- Butch

      [ Reply to this ]
      • Re: Yes, yes ! Meanwhile, a simpler fix...
        by Caroline Wise on Thursday October 14, 01:38AM, 1999
        I was wondering how difficult it would be to sort search results by newest dates first?

        [ Reply to this ]
    Re: RFC: The Road(blocks) Ahead
    by Josh on Monday August 09, 05:00AM, 1999
    I've read as much as I've been able to find on squishdot, but haven't seen anything on moderation/rating. Is this part of the system or on the roadmap?

    [ Reply to this ]
    Fortune cookie product
    by Lalo Martins on Tuesday September 28, 09:57AM, 1999
    The Zippy product (on Zope's product list at zope.org) does a passable job at that, and the interface is very usable (just do ). It only has to gain some flexibility. I'll be working on it for my own site this week, along with some other Zope project I won't make vapourware of :-)

    [ Reply to this ]
    The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.
    ( Reply )

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