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Tabbed Boards

Started by xrunner, July 09, 2011, 08:06:39 AM

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xrunner

In the next version of SMF, I think the boards should be tabs, like the browsers use now, or have tabbed boards be an option for the user.

smtek

Im too waiting for this feature  i want hurda bad.
http://thetekwar.com

^ Your entry to the best tech community

Suki

I'm just guessing here.


What would happen if you have, for example, 50 or more boards?  wehre do you will place them all?

tabs only looks good when you have a few all of them in a row, it gets ugly when you have two or more rows.


No to mention if you want to use some JavaScript/Ajax tabs  you will have every topic from every board or at least every Message Index for every board loaded on your Board Index, not so good for performance.


Maybe I misread the request,  a more in detail description with, maybe, some screen shots will help me to understand this a little bit better :D
Disclaimer: unless otherwise stated, all my posts are personal and does not represent any views or opinions held by Simple Machines.

Making tough decisions, so you don't have to.

xrunner

Quote from: Miss All Sunday on July 09, 2011, 10:00:08 PM
What would happen if you have, for example, 50 or more boards?  wehre do you will place them all?

In tabs across the screen, and then onto rows as needed. Where do they all end up now? All down the way screen where you can't see them unless you scroll down. It's no better as is is, IMHO. Why do you think it's better as it is?

Quote
tabs only looks good when you have a few all of them in a row, it gets ugly when you have two or more rows.

Well that's a subjective judgment, of course. Just make it an option for the Admin - it's his/her forum to make that subjective call. Are you going to limit certain themes because you think some of them don't look good? Same difference - it's subjective.

Quote
No to mention if you want to use some JavaScript/Ajax tabs  you will have every topic from every board or at least every Message Index for every board loaded on your Board Index, not so good for performance.

JavaScript/Ajax tabs? Don't know about that. Why allow it then if it's bad for performance. Again, a call for the Forum Admins to make.

Suki

I didn't say the current way was better.   all I'm saying is that I need more info to get the idea.



Quote from: xrunner on July 09, 2011, 10:08:51 PM

Quote
No to mention if you want to use some JavaScript/Ajax tabs  you will have every topic from every board or at least every Message Index for every board loaded on your Board Index, not so good for performance.

JavaScript/Ajax tabs? Don't know about that. Why allow it then if it's bad for performance. Again, a call for the Forum Admins to make.


an example of javascript tabs:

http://www.sunsean.com/idTabs/


now, thats what I understand the term "tabs"   maybe you have a different perspective, that's why I am asking for a more in details explanation for what you want.
Disclaimer: unless otherwise stated, all my posts are personal and does not represent any views or opinions held by Simple Machines.

Making tough decisions, so you don't have to.

xrunner

Quote from: Miss All Sunday on July 09, 2011, 10:14:42 PM
I didn't say the current way was better.   all I'm saying is that I need more info to get the idea.

OK.

Quote
now, thats what I understand the term "tabs"   maybe you have a different perspective, that's why I am asking for a more in details explanation for what you want.

Tabs, like FF has, or IE, or Chrome. Just tabs, with no fancy javascript associated with them. Tabs to switch between forum boards, like you switch between internet sites in your browser. Nothing complicated. I just think, as with the browsers, it makes things a lot easier to navigate. That's why they are used now.

Thanks for your interest.

Suki

The problem here, as I mentioned earlier,  is that you will have all the info, that is,  the message index,  of every board  all loaded in a single page,  this will be a performance hit with or without fancy JavaScript.


The current method  list only the boards:

http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php



then on a separate page, show the messages from a single board:

http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?board=1.0


with your method you will have all this info:

http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?board=1.0

in a tab,  then all this info:

http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?board=19.0

in another tab


and so on...

now imagine if you have 50 boards or more,  you will have 50 tabs with an enormous amount of info in just one page.


Disclaimer: unless otherwise stated, all my posts are personal and does not represent any views or opinions held by Simple Machines.

Making tough decisions, so you don't have to.

xrunner

Quote from: Miss All Sunday on July 09, 2011, 10:35:22 PM
The problem here, as I mentioned earlier,  is that you will have all the info, that is,  the message index,  of every board  all loaded in a single page,  this will be a performance hit with or without fancy JavaScript.

I don't see your point at all Miss Sunday. All the tabs do is provide easy links to the boards. I don't see at all why all that info is loaded, as you imply. The tabs are simply links to boards, the contents of which are loaded when the tab is clicked.

Suki

then the tab  you mention is not a tab but a button, oftentimes called tabs as well.


so the "tabs"  will only contain a link,  what would happen with the other info like the number of topics/post,  last posy by, child boards, board description, etc ?
Disclaimer: unless otherwise stated, all my posts are personal and does not represent any views or opinions held by Simple Machines.

Making tough decisions, so you don't have to.

xrunner

Quote from: Miss All Sunday on July 09, 2011, 11:07:53 PM
then the tab  you mention is not a tab but a button, oftentimes called tabs as well.

Well, I'm calling then tabs, because that's the way I envision they will look. Nevertheless, they will act as I stated, cleaning up the front page of the forum IF the Admin wishes to present the front page as tabs. Make it an option.

Quote
so the "tabs"  will only contain a link,  what would happen with the other info like the number of topics/post,  last posy by, child boards, board description, etc ?

Most of that doesn't need to be there in the tabbed view. It's a different way of presenting the forum to the "customer". Some of that info can be shown at the bottom of the forum front page. The tabbed view is a cleaner and more streamlined way of doing it. Just because all that info we all see on forum main pages is there now, doesn't mean it has to be that way in the next version. Sometimes information overload isn't a good thing. How many people really care about the number of posts or topics a board has? Isn't it all about the content? If the content is interesting, then those stats are really meaningless to the end user. They don't add interest for most members looking for conversation.

Also, if you look at the tabs in your browser, the ones that are not open, what do you see? Nothing but a text string telling you what page it has open. Does that stop you from using the browser tabs at all? No.

It's just an initial baseline idea, I'm sure I'd like to hear more ideas based off of it here. Thank you for your questions.

青山 素子

Quote from: xrunner on July 09, 2011, 11:23:10 PM
Also, if you look at the tabs in your browser, the ones that are not open, what do you see? Nothing but a text string telling you what page it has open. Does that stop you from using the browser tabs at all? No.

But the browser still has the page open in memory so it doesn't have to load the page when you switch to the tab. That is why Miss All Sunday was discussing the extra processing needed to instantly show the content when the item is selected. If you don't mind a page load, you can just use links visually designed as "tabs".

However, there is one pressing problem. What do you do with "overflow"? When there are more links/tabs than will fit in the width of the screen, what do you show? Do you go to a second line, which will make all the items available but may look cluttered, or do you do the way browsers handle them by using shortening and horizontal scrolling?

It's an interesting idea, but it only really works when you have a very limited number of boards.
Motoko-chan
Director, Simple Machines

Note: Unless otherwise stated, my posts are not representative of any official position or opinion of Simple Machines.


xrunner

Quote from: 青山 素子 on July 10, 2011, 12:59:04 AM
But the browser still has the page open in memory so it doesn't have to load the page when you switch to the tab. That is why Miss All Sunday was discussing the extra processing needed to instantly show the content when the item is selected. If you don't mind a page load, you can just use links visually designed as "tabs".

This concept doesn't pre-load the boards at all. The load time for a forum board isn't a concern, IMHO. It's a set of links that visually look like tabs - yes that's correct. The concept will work in effect just like the tabs in a browser though, because loading a board is very fast. That comparison isn't valid here.

Quote
However, there is one pressing problem. What do you do with "overflow"? When there are more links/tabs than will fit in the width of the screen, what do you show? Do you go to a second line, which will make all the items available but may look cluttered, or do you do the way browsers handle them by using shortening and horizontal scrolling?

What do you do with overflow now? It just makes a long page and you have to scroll up and down the screen, unless you collapse every board if there are a lot of boards, and even then if you have 50 boards, it will still cause the display to have to be scrolled. Why is that better? If there are a lot of board tabs, you just make another row of tabs. It ain't that hard. Don't put a lot of info on the tabs either, lose the # of post/topics for one thing. Hardly anyone really cares about that info, it doesn't contribute to the conversation, and it matters little to most people. It's just information overload. What matters to people is content, not those numbers.

Quote
It's an interesting idea, but it only really works when you have a very limited number of boards.

I totally disagree, because as I said, it simply a matter of design. You can design it to have as many tabs as you need, in rows across the screen. You would be able to put access to more boards this way in front of the user, than you can using the current method, because of the reasons I've already stated. The current method displays information that most members aren't concerned with - the # of posts/topics. Boring. Lose it. Even the last post info, with all the date/time info ... not really that useful, because you can have the recent posts of the whole forum at the bottom of the tabs. Since the tab method is more efficient in displaying access to all the boards, you can have more recent post info at the bottom of the tabs listing, thus eliminating the need to have the most recent post on each tab.

Think about the tabs you have open in your browser. Say one tab is CNN. Does the CNN tab tell you how many articles it holds, or how many people have read the page today, or anything like that? No. It's as useful as it needs to be by just telling you it's CNN. If you have a board that is for Literature, then who cares about the total # of posts/topics? What they care about is what content is there, so all the tab has to say is "Literature". That's the way the forum tabs would be. Clean, simple, no info overload.

But, but, but - I would make it a display option for the Admin. If they love all that (in my opinion) useless info like # of posts/topics and such, just use the old legacy way it's done now and scroll, scroll, scroll up and down. If you want a cleaner display, without all the information overload, then make it an option to use the tab display. I think it would work very, very well in the next version of SMF.

Robert.

xrunner do you mean something like this?
Tabbed boards Click on the "v" to expand boards

xrunner

Quote from: Dr. Deejay on July 10, 2011, 08:33:56 AM
xrunner do you mean something like this?
Tabbed boards Click on the "v" to expand boards

Sorta, kinda. The tabs there are way too "busy" and I would have them all listed across the screen, more like the Help, Home and other tabs up top, and they would have to be a little bigger and look better than those top tabs. But that's still too much like it is now. I envision tabs across the screen, with the board title and little more. It has to make the display compact - that's why you want to use tabs.

xrunner

July 10, 2011, 09:43:27 AM #14 Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 10:07:29 AM by xrunner
This is not the best example, but it's all I could find at the moment.

Just have rows of tabs for the boards, and perhaps if you mouse over each tab, the tab could expand a little as shown and show you more info such as a small description of the board. If you click on a tab, the board comes up below all the tabs.



The board will show up here if you click on it's tab above ^^^

Or you could have tabs at one side of the screen -


Suki

OK,  you  have all your tabs in a single row,  what will happen to the rest of the space?  surely the "buttons"  will only fulfill a small part of your whole screen  and there will be a lot of blank space.


if you thing a second row of tabs its only a matter of design, then in your perspective,  how do you arrange that second row of tabs?   keep in mind  that  this solution has to fulfill  everyones expectations and not only yours.
Disclaimer: unless otherwise stated, all my posts are personal and does not represent any views or opinions held by Simple Machines.

Making tough decisions, so you don't have to.

Antechinus

Quote from: xrunner on July 10, 2011, 08:14:03 AM
Quote from: 青山 素子 on July 10, 2011, 12:59:04 AM
But the browser still has the page open in memory so it doesn't have to load the page when you switch to the tab. That is why Miss All Sunday was discussing the extra processing needed to instantly show the content when the item is selected. If you don't mind a page load, you can just use links visually designed as "tabs".

This concept doesn't pre-load the boards at all. The load time for a forum board isn't a concern, IMHO. It's a set of links that visually look like tabs - yes that's correct. The concept will work in effect just like the tabs in a browser though, because loading a board is very fast. That comparison isn't valid here.

This would be extremely easy to code. All you'd have to do is change the foreach to echo a tab instead of the current pile of blah. Piece of cake. Might be worth thinking about as a user-selectable option for 2.1. I'll run it past the rest of the team and see what they think.

TBH I've always thought the board index was one of the most useless pages on any site. Most people who know what they're doing hardly even use the board index.

Quote
Quote
However, there is one pressing problem. What do you do with "overflow"? When there are more links/tabs than will fit in the width of the screen, what do you show? Do you go to a second line, which will make all the items available but may look cluttered, or do you do the way browsers handle them by using shortening and horizontal scrolling?

What do you do with overflow now? It just makes a long page and you have to scroll up and down the screen, unless you collapse every board if there are a lot of boards, and even then if you have 50 boards, it will still cause the display to have to be scrolled. Why is that better? If there are a lot of board tabs, you just make another row of tabs. It ain't that hard. Don't put a lot of info on the tabs either, lose the # of post/topics for one thing. Hardly anyone really cares about that info, it doesn't contribute to the conversation, and it matters little to most people. It's just information overload. What matters to people is content, not those numbers.

I have to agree with this too. Geeks get off on spewing out as much data as possible to the browser because they think data is impressive for its own sake. Ordinary people just want the content they're interested in reading, without any added clutter.

Styling ("overflow") is a trivial matter.

QuoteBut, but, but - I would make it a display option for the Admin. If they love all that (in my opinion) useless info like # of posts/topics and such, just use the old legacy way it's done now and scroll, scroll, scroll up and down. If you want a cleaner display, without all the information overload, then make it an option to use the tab display. I think it would work very, very well in the next version of SMF.

If we do this I wouldn't make it admin's choice. I'd leave it up to the individual user. Admins tend to think the more complex their site is, the better it has to be.

xrunner

Thanks for responding Miss All Sunday

Quote from: Miss All Sunday on July 10, 2011, 06:34:26 PM
OK,  you  have all your tabs in a single row,  what will happen to the rest of the space?  surely the "buttons"  will only fulfill a small part of your whole screen  and there will be a lot of blank space.

No, there won't be a lot of blank space. Below the tabs/buttons, whatever you want to call them, the current or default board will be displayed. After that, will be some of the things we have now, such as Stats, Info center, and users online. In addition, if more space is left, you could use it to display something else, perhaps something new.

Quote
if you thing a second row of tabs its only a matter of design, then in your perspective,  how do you arrange that second row of tabs?   keep in mind  that  this solution has to fulfill  everyones expectations and not only yours.

Well, one idea would be to center up the second row of tabs. As more tabs (boards) are added, the tabs flow out to the right and left until (if needed) the next row is added, and so on. Perhaps someone else has a better design for that though. I'm pushing this for the next version of SMF 3.xx.

Thanks for your interest.

Suki

yes, if you go with only links as tabs then it will be extremely easy to do  with a few changes in BoardIndex.template.php and probably BoardIndex.php  to get rid of all the info we won't use anyways.

I still don't know  how to handle that second row of tabs or even a third, maybe this is just a css matter, me isn't very proficient in css :P
Disclaimer: unless otherwise stated, all my posts are personal and does not represent any views or opinions held by Simple Machines.

Making tough decisions, so you don't have to.

bloc

Not sure what the idea is here..but as I understand its about showing all boards as tabs? with the selected board's topics underneath that row of tabs? That presents a small problem: in Boardindex you have all the boards, but no topic-index for any of them, in messageindex you do have the topic index for current board - but not the other boards names.

I would perhaps go for Messageindex.template being changed though, fetching the OTHER boards, stacking them up as tabs on top and show the topics are usual under(with the pageindex etc). That list of boards can be fetched using SSI.php, possibly also caching that list up first time.

Of course, the Boardindex then would look a bit obsolete..but as it has all the other stuff + latest posts from all boards, using that some degree could be something to pursue.

Again, not sure if this is what you intended to do - but it echoes my thoughts around a theme draft I made last year with similar issues.

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