Linked by Kroc Camen on Mon 18th Jan 2010 09:52 UTC
Podcasts A special meta show with just Kroc discussing the feedback from last week's show and going on to detail design concerns with the new site under production. Included is a transcription to hopefully help participation.
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Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

Hi osnews-folks,

While I think the transcript is really nice. I would love to be able to download the mp3.

Hint: this gives me a 404 Not found-error:
http://osnews.com/audio/osnews-episode31.5.mp3

Reply Score: 2

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Darn, thanks for pointing that out. I used underscore instead of hyphen. I’ve fixed that now, thanks.

Reply Score: 1

ebasconp Member since:
2006-05-09

I really appreciate the whole transcript.

Thanks a lot!

Reply Score: 3

kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

Kroc, the ideas for 5.0 sound really great. No JS! Very important for the new mobile world. JS is mostly bloat.

Just drop IE6 support. People only use it at work and XP along with IE6 will be gone by 2014 in most of OSnews readers workplaces.

But I worry, that trying to do everything is a bit too much. Building good editing capabilities etc. is an enormous task. Maybe look into using FOSS components for that or Google Docs or something to have backups and features.

And you are right that the comments on OSnews are way above most other websites. There are very few jerks and a lot of bright people from all over the world. You beat Ars and only LWN has you beaten, but it is more focused and has even brighter people (but a lot of those are kernel hackers and a high IQ comes with the territory)

And you could have talked about the Nexus One feedback ;)

Keep up the good work.

Reply Score: 3

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Well, there will be some JavaScript, but it will be an optional layer that won’t prevent the site working. For example it’ll use AJAX for the moderations, but if you have JS off then the moderation will cause a page reload because it’ll just be a regular form submission (and I’ll use anchors so that after the moderation it returns you straight to the comment in question).

IE6 will depend upon how things go as I get closer to finishing the site. I’ve made a very elegant fallback mechanism for IE6 & 7, and it’s only IE6 that’s a problem when it comes to CSS selectors. I don’t want to bloat the code with tons of classes and IDs and so IE6 support will ultimately depend upon how well I can style a very basic lo-fi skin with it. We’ll see, but it doesn’t seem impossible thus far.

I’d like to hear from any readers who are using IE6 or 7 and why (corporate environments?)

The editing stuff can always wait if it ends up holding up the rest of the site. It’s something I can plug in at later date. I’ve looked at some open source editors and I’m deeply unimpressed. Massively, massively over-engineered. More work to learn and modify than to engineer my own simpler and better system. Take ReMarkable for example, PHPMarkdown is 3’000 lines long composed of 150 odd functions in two classes. I wrote ReMarkable in 600 lines in 1 single function. My concern is always quality and not features and I think the new site will be better for it.

Reply Score: 1

Getting good articles
by Fergy on Mon 18th Jan 2010 14:42 UTC
Fergy
Member since:
2006-04-10

Maybe it would be handy to have something like Page 2 but for articles written by the readers. Most people probably have an opinion about something and could write about it but how would they know if it is interesting? And maybe it is interesting but it is written badly. The people that read the article could give their opinion and give corrections or advice.

You also have a lot of big discussions in the comment thread. I think it would be fun if you could create a point counterpoint article that the most vocal people could write their views in.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Getting good articles
by Kroc on Mon 18th Jan 2010 14:58 UTC in reply to "Getting good articles"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

We have the Conversations section for people to write anything they want and solicit feedback—but the design doesn’t really make it obvious that you could put articles there, and not enough people use/see the feature. This will need to be redesigned. I would very much like users to be able to publish work they want feedback on.

OSn4 already has a lot of the functionality needed, it’s just presented in a bad way, and not immediately apparent and there’s too many hurdles. OSn5 greatly simplifies and unifies the navigation of the site and reduces friction. That I hope will increase user participation.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Stratoukos
by Stratoukos on Mon 18th Jan 2010 15:45 UTC
Stratoukos
Member since:
2009-02-11

Very insightful podcast!

I think that facilitating and going towards user generated content is the right direction for OSNews, since as you said it has a very intelligent reader base. OSNews is one of the 2 websites that I always read comments on, the other being slashdot. I don't know how you achieve this, but it is an extremely rare thing to find a website with a good comment section.

I also like that you realize web design (and for that matter UI design generally) is more than the skin and the button placement. The design should promote and complement the function of the website.

As for what I'd like to see on OSNews, it is exactly what you said. Things that would not reach my RSS reader otherwise. To be honest, OSNews does a really good job at this already. If I look at the homepage right now I can see more than 5 items that I wouldn't see elsewhere. If version 5 comes out as I imagine it to be that number could grow larger.

(side note, camendesign.com seems to have some bugs in Opera 10.10 and 10.5 prealpha that I don't remember being there before. In the title-case article I can scroll way bellow than I should and on the zenith article I can see the image border bellow the bottom menu)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Stratoukos
by Kroc on Mon 18th Jan 2010 15:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by Stratoukos"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Opera may hold many claims as far as standards but it is a buggy browser and I’ve had more problems with it than Gecko. The problem with scroll size is a misinterpretation of box-sizing. Chrome 4 introduced a similar problem and I filed a bug which then got passed up to WebKit. I need to file these bugs with Opera too, I’m not sure where I should do that.

"image border bellow the bottom menu" - this is a bug in Opera where by a CSS outline appears at a different Z-order.

Opera 10.5 is really quite nice when it comes to CSS features and I’m looking forward to working with it more with OSn5. We have a decent sized portion of Opera users here on OSnews.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Stratoukos
by Stratoukos on Mon 18th Jan 2010 16:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Stratoukos"
Stratoukos Member since:
2009-02-11

They have a form for submitting bugs at https://bugs.opera.com/wizard/ . Sadly, there is no way to search their bug database. The only way to find if a bug report has been filed before is searching their forums.

Reply Score: 1

OSNews mobile
by Cody Evans on Mon 18th Jan 2010 16:16 UTC
Cody Evans
Member since:
2009-08-14

What changes are planned for the OSNews mobile site?

To be honest, mobile.osnews.com and m.google.com are the only mobile websites i've seen that render correctly in pocket internet explorer on windows mobile.

I'd use Opera, but there's a bug preventing me from accepting the eula.

Reply Score: 1

RE: OSNews mobile
by Kroc on Mon 18th Jan 2010 16:26 UTC in reply to "OSNews mobile"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Nothing is planned for mobile yet. OSn5 is a complete rewrite and once that’s done, architecturally that should allow us to rethink the mobile site too. Doing the mobile site is too much for my workload to begin with, and even then I’d like to see where the mobile market will be in a year’s time—phone browsers may have drastically caught up by then and a simple bit of CSS modification may be able to shape the regular site to work on mobiles, who knows. If anybody would like to volunteer to head up a mobile re-write they’re welcome to contact us.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: OSNews mobile
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 18th Jan 2010 16:29 UTC in reply to "RE: OSNews mobile"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

If anybody would like to volunteer to head up a mobile re-write they’re welcome to contact us.


...with the important note that any mobile site will have to go through and be approved by Eugenia. She's queen over there, and for good reason.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: OSNews mobile
by vivainio on Tue 19th Jan 2010 22:18 UTC in reply to "RE: OSNews mobile"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

If anybody would like to volunteer to head up a mobile re-write they’re welcome to contact us.


That mobile rewrite is sorely needed. The mobile version looks okay, but posting comments is impossible.

On a high end phone (like my N900), the normal version of the website runs well, but content can't be "reflown" because of hard coded column size (so the text doesn't fit comfortably on a page in horizontal direction). A mobile version where you just discarded the columns might work reasonably.

Reply Score: 2

Wordpress for Article Writing
by chrisfriberg on Tue 19th Jan 2010 00:28 UTC
chrisfriberg
Member since:
2009-04-08

I know it's a little slow, but Kroc you should enjoy their commitment to elegant code. You can bend Wordpress code to be just about anything.

But I don't think that's the heart of the contribution problem. You asked in the podcast something to the effect of "Why don't people contribute? Are they stupid?" I know you meant it sarcastically, but I've seen some first time contributors work get torn up in the comments in the name of critique only to never hear from those contributors again. Maybe you could try taking some well written lengthy rebuttals to Editors' articles that are sent in as comments and offer to post them as unique articles.

But fear of harsh critique may not be the problem at all, either.

Reply Score: 1

Public api?
by vivainio on Tue 19th Jan 2010 22:39 UTC
vivainio
Member since:
2008-12-26

Could you guys consider providing an easy way to access content (both articles and comments) with a published api using, say, json?

osnews would seem to be a good fit for making a phone reader app - I would write one if I had an api (I don't want to screen scrape, especially since you can change the page format any time).

Something like this:

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2008/11/25/reddits-secret-api/

It would be good publicity, and would definitely bring more readers.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Public api?
by Moochman on Wed 20th Jan 2010 08:57 UTC in reply to "Public api?"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

XML would also work. Maybe a secret API already exists?

As for just reading the articles, though, a simple RSS/Atom reader, in combination with an OSNews option for full-text, HTML-formatted feeds, would do the job... It's just for more advanced tasks that a full-blown API would be needed...

Edited 2010-01-20 09:04 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Public api?
by Kroc on Wed 20th Jan 2010 09:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Public api?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Unless David is opposed to the idea, full articles in the RSS goes without question. It's the least I expect of any RSS feed these days.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Public api?
by Kroc on Wed 20th Jan 2010 09:32 UTC in reply to "Public api?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Noted. Our new code would make an API spitting out JSON/XML very easy. It would be good for OSnews to provide a means for people to mashup our content, we are a geek community afterall and it may reduce our workload creating mobile stuff if people are already hacking together solutions.

Reply Score: 1

Flow3
by hirisov on Fri 22nd Jan 2010 13:16 UTC
hirisov
Member since:
2010-01-22

Kroc, great ideas. Let me suggest you a framework which you might find useful in building v5, it's called Flow3 ( http://flow3.typo3.org/ ). It's made by the Typo3 folks, and it has a very friendly developer community and i think the new framework they're making has really nice features, and as Typo3 is probably one of the most successful open source CMS systems around i think you if you start to implement such backend functions you might get others help you with that.

You also might like to take a look at the current version of Typo3 at http://typo3.org/ (althought the new version, which will be based on Flow3 will be a complete rewrite) - we deployed many websites with this CMS and seems our customers really like the backend provided by Typo3, and even people with minimal computer skills manage to use it without much problem, and it's not limiting the power users also - i don't think you should use it for osnews v5, but probably you might find some examples or ideas in their backend UI which you can integrate in v5.

Reply Score: 1