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Topics: Controls, Themes
Jan 3, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Hi Folks,

Looking for a little feedback, been customizing a couple of controls that will be included as part of a theme, just wanting to know if the format is something that people might want. 


Two options:

Group by month, flat list of all months (same as BE group by month).

Group by year, select year from drop down with calendar style months.



Configurable to just about any format.

Full tag cloud (same as BE).

Top tags only (top 'x' tags in descending order).

Index by tag group, show as list, tag cloud or bar chart with option to sort by tag count.

When indexed by tag group, a link appears to a page that shows all tags.

Jan 4, 2013 at 1:37 AM
Edited Jan 4, 2013 at 1:37 AM

Nice work Andy,

For the months control I could see both options being useful, meaning having an indented Year --> Month display showing all posts chronologically, as well as your filtering mechanism. The tags filter is also nice. (btw - Your recursive categories control is especially useful)

For the tags I'd recommend having the counts placed parenthetically next to each value, ex: Google (4), Mobile(12), etc., as opposed to having a global tally next to the dropdown. Also, for the All Tags >> link - it wasn't immediately apparent to me what was happening when I clicked on it, since I was staring at the widget the whole time, but maybe would be more evident if the link showed as << All Tags, (meaning they'll be loaded to the left, as opposed to the right, as indicated by the chevron)

I just figured out what you mean by bar chart for the tags, didn't immediately see the shaded gray indicating length per letter, that makes sense. Collapsible divs per letter might be nice, as well as additional filtering mechanisms, meaning tags by year/author/category, though probably would only benefit sites with large amounts of posts.

Don't know if you recall the charting I'd done on my version, but I could see that integrated with the global tags page, think might be useful to have an interactive charting widget to gauge densities per tag/author/category. 

You're still targeting this for 2.7, correct? Would be great to integrate my internet lookups with your theme, but not sure how to go about it since I've made several changes to core that aren't specifically related to that functionality - thumbnails, slideshows, charting, etc, but nothing critical. 

I'd say your theme is coming along nicely, let me know if I could help in any way, cheers.

Jan 4, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Edited Jan 4, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Thanks Alex, 

That's really useful feedback, I probably should have mentioned that for all the controls there is an option to show or hide the count. When the count is hidden then the count appears on hover in the tooltip (1 post, 3 posts) and when visible, next to the item in parentheses (like you suggest). Fair point on the count next to the index in the tags control, it's supposed to be the number of tags in that group, but serves no real purpose and is confusing - so that can go. Likewise with the "all tags" link, I think maybe I'll change that to "Show All Tags" with no chevron. I thought the bar chart of tags was quite informative, but I showed it to the missus and had to explain it, she reckons big words and small words are best (the classic tag cloud) and the fact that you had to think about it (even for a second) kind of confirms that it might not be such a good idea. I like the idea of additional filtering on the show all tags page and even if most people don't use it, it's a nice option to have, especially as you say, for sites with large amounts of posts (on the to do list for later). I've put the count in parentheses for the tiling in the month list, more consistent and probably clearer that it's a post count and will give the option to show as a flat list with full month name. Might add a tiling option for the author list as well (and maybe make it so that if you change the style for one control then it changes for others to match).

I wasn't sure what to do with the category control, at the moment you have the option to show the feed icon, but was thinking of making that a fold out (similar to the top menu item "posts" which folds out the categories) in which case the feed icon would probably look out of place. The feed icon appears in the post list header anyway, so maybe that's an unnecessary option for these controls (undecided). 

I think your internet lookups would be great as an optional feature, maybe later on we could talk about how best to integrate as such. 

In the meantime, I'm going back to looking at semantic functionality (which has numerous applications). I'm thinking it needs to be something simple and lightweight, perhaps just looking for repeated patterns of words without stemming and working of stop word lists (detect culture and load language specific list).

With that in place I was thinking of related posts in with the main post as a side column, similar to this.

I've also added some code on post save that substitutes missing or empty 'alt' attributes on images with a description derived from the source file name, but this might be best offered as an extension.

Jan 6, 2013 at 2:01 AM
Edited Jan 6, 2013 at 2:03 AM

I wouldn't get rid of the tags page entirely, I would just maybe darken the shading for the bars, and add an option to sort the list by descending values. Ideally percentages would be displayed as well, perhaps at the end of each bar. Even a tag cloud would benefit from an optional percentage display next to each tag (I'm referring to percentage against the overall population). The tiled months are nice as is I believe. 

For categories, the feed icon to me isn't really all that valuable, can't remember the last time I subscribed to anything like a category link, so I'd say your recursive tree list is definitely ready as is. (Also - sorry, but I don't see what you're referring to in that link you posted, not sure how the related posts there differ from BE) 

What are you thinking for the semantic functionality? I remember you saying you'd removed the co-occurrence code from Tyler Jensens library, I did the same but only for the 3 word term matching, I left the 2 word terms in, but it might be nice to have that function parameterized, to allow an end user to determine what depth of term matching they'd like.

I agree that the semantic library would be a nice feature to have throughout the platform; wouldn't be too difficult to create a date filterable tag cloud based on post content, to visually flip through the site content chronologically. Something I've been wanting to create for a long time is a tab next to the post comments that would display a chart of the most common words found in user feedback, but don't know how to access Disqus content yet.

Are you thinking of bundling all this functionality in a single release, or just getting something out there sooner than later, and adding as you go along? 

Jan 6, 2013 at 9:46 PM

Thanks again,

I'll leave the tag page in for now with a view to modifying it along the lines of your suggestions later on, and I think I will remove the option to show the feed icons for author and category controls (although still available in the post list header when browsing by either). I'd like to make the other controls more like the month and author list if possible, with something akin to tiles (better for the small screen).

The related posts link was more for what I thought was a good example of style and position, it's unmissable. At the moment I have it in the sidebar, but that can get pushed out of view when clicking the browse tabs.

For the semantic stuff, I did remove the co-occurrence code and replaced it with something based solely on scored words and phrases, the results are comparable but it's considerably quicker - essentially just picking out the highest scoring terms which are repeated most. I'm thinking of advancing this without stemming for the benefit of speed and language independence. I've done some testing with this, still a bit to go, but so far so good. The application of this to comments sounds like a good idea.

As regards overall functionality, there's quite a bit more to put in and I'm quite enjoying taking my time playing around with different ideas, so it will be available later rather than sooner. I started on the JavaScript today, something I'd been meaning to do for a while, changing all the show hide stuff to be accessible to screen readers and keyboard users, done the author list today and will work through the rest and centralise the code. Eventually, when all the functionality is in place, then the theme can be styled.

Feb 13, 2013 at 2:55 AM
Edited Feb 13, 2013 at 3:03 AM
Hey Andy/BE community,

I've updated my own tagging system, could see how it might help with tagging in general.

Here's a sample post :

I'm making use of a thesaurus API assistant, as well as multi-select tagging using the Chosen plugin, in a couple of the Postview.ascx internet lookups (Wikipedia vs YouTube for example).

Still working on the UX, but the engagement is really quite decent, just with the limited audience I've shown this sandbox site to, the minutes per visit is actually pretty high (between 3 and 9, depending on the month), which sort of helps to validate the concept I think. (even despite the fact the site is sluggish, haven't had a chance to optimize page load as much as I'd like) Any feedback or suggestions always appreciated.

I'd be curious to hear how your tagging system is going as well. Also, I like the indented categorization on the Archive page, fits nicely along with the Category groupings you've implemented in the right hand widgets.

Mar 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM
Hi Alex
Never actually got a notification on this. I pick up email via outlook, found this in spam (which you only ever see if directly logging in to your mail account) turns out there's quite a bit of non-spam in there.

Had a look at your site, looking more polished and the thesaurus plug in looks to be a nice touch too, giving an extra level of refinement. I would agree that the page loading would probably need to be a little bit snappier - but nice work. Still see this being useful as a plug-in, and still thinking along the lines of a research assistant or such like. I'm not a social network kind of person, so my perspective from that angle is less than limited.

Been busy with non hobby things of late, so haven't been doing much with the auto tagging or other back end things (which are still on the agenda). I decided before doing that I would overhaul the front end and have made a start - new site design. Related posts are back in with the post left hand side, previous and next post previews always in view with post and page controls working off select drop-downs that provide additional detail on select and completely reworked the archive page, amongst other things.