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Communications Open Source The Internet

Discourse: Next-Generation Discussion/Web Forum Software 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the web-2.0-is-attacking-your-words dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Jeff Atwood has a post on his Coding Horror weblog about his latest project, Discourse, 'a next-generation, 100% open source discussion platform built for the next decade of the Internet.' Along with Coding Horror, Jeff is most well-known for his work on Stack Exchange and its family of related sites. In the same way that he tried to improve Q&A sites, he hopes to make forum/discussion software better with a team of folks he's pulled together for the task. They're using the 'Wordpress model' of offering both open source software and commercial offerings. The software interface is an in-browser app via Ember.js, with a Ruby on Rails and Postgres backend. I wonder if it will ever have an NNTP gateway."
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Discourse: Next-Generation Discussion/Web Forum Software

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @12:57AM (#42805669)

    You're asking for technology to solve what is essentially social problems. A common mistake amongst geeks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:14AM (#42805717)

    No. just... no.

    IO loaded the example forum with NoScript enabled. Absolutely no formatting present, the only way to differentiate individual posts was by the "#1" "#2" numbering each one individually, inlined with the body text of the comments.

    We don't need more client side code, we need less. Formatting should be in CSS, the content should degrade sanely for text only and mobile browsers / screen readers. I shouldn't have to allow javascript through in order to format the page content.

    Worse - when I did enable javascript to see what it actually is intended to look like, they've got one of those "fixed position" menus at the top of the page that doesn't scroll away, and I absolutely detest webpages that use those. I prefer being able to see more of the content, and can navigate my way to the top of the screen for a seldom used menu with one keystroke, or a short drag of a scrollbar handle. The site also has a maximum width for the content section, on a 16:9 1080p screen, 2/3 of the page is blank when my browser window is full screen. If this is the future of webforums, I don't want it.

  • by Ostracus (1354233) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:14AM (#42805719) Journal

    How about putting close at hand the tools to make a better, more educated post? Note Spellcheckers, and Wikipedia are close by. Wolfram Alpha for another, although none are integrated. Grammar and math checkers next.

  • by xenobyte (446878) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:16AM (#42805965)

    No. just... no.

    IO loaded the example forum with NoScript enabled. Absolutely no formatting present, the only way to differentiate individual posts was by the "#1" "#2" numbering each one individually, inlined with the body text of the comments.

    We don't need more client side code, we need less. Formatting should be in CSS, the content should degrade sanely for text only and mobile browsers / screen readers. I shouldn't have to allow javascript through in order to format the page content.

    Worse - when I did enable javascript to see what it actually is intended to look like, they've got one of those "fixed position" menus at the top of the page that doesn't scroll away, and I absolutely detest webpages that use those. I prefer being able to see more of the content, and can navigate my way to the top of the screen for a seldom used menu with one keystroke, or a short drag of a scrollbar handle. The site also has a maximum width for the content section, on a 16:9 1080p screen, 2/3 of the page is blank when my browser window is full screen. If this is the future of webforums, I don't want it.

    Agree 100% - I use NoScript for this exact reason: JavaScript is heavily abused by hackers and advertisers alike - evil people hell-bent on destroying our online experience.

  • It's shit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:46AM (#42806067) Homepage
    Too much JS but more importantly their demo is ugly as sin. I'm not seeing how it's that different other than making everything feel crammed together and with far too many Web 2.0 features and not enough good design to not make it feel like one big blind poo.

    It does nothing to improve on the message board design and its fucking ugly. Good job, jeff!
  • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @08:05AM (#42807297) Journal

    I just loaded the example site, and it looks like just several lines of text with JavaScript disabled on the site. After enabling JavaScript, the site looks like it's supposed to, but is it really necessary to write a web forum that relies entirely on JavaScript to work? What ever happened to server-side processing spitting out dumb HTML pages and CSS styles?
    Most popular message board systems I've seen work perfectly without JS enabled, but others are very ugly (I'm looking at you, Disqus).

    The problem is that the vast majority of real web users do not actually care what a site looks like with JS disabled, as they keep it enabled.

    You guys with your insistence on no JS completely excludes jquery use and means everything has to work on completely refreshing the page every time you interact with it. Jquery and ajax creates an experience that is much quicker for most users since they only have to wait for very small amounts of JSON data to be sent to and from the server, and don't have to wait for the entire DOM to be reloaded from the server even though only a small part of it changed. Most users prefer this experience.

    I actually agree that all decent websites should degrade gracefully when JS is absent as this is how most screen readers (for blind people) render sites. The thing is though that most developers do not care what the blind person view of their website looks like providing it is at least half way usable (often that usability is a mandatory requirement as all government funded stuff has to tick the accessibility box).

    The number of real world users who insist on disabling JS seems to be a very low minority so don't be too surprised you are neglected by us web developers more and more. That way of creating websites is dead, and it simply is not coming back no matter how loudly you piss and moan as most people prefer the more modern Ajax feel.

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