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drewprops
2005-12-07, 21:40
As "widget" came in for a bronze I figured that I'd at least toss out a feeler to see if any competent programmers here feel like trying to make one after the holidays, perhaps beginning in mid-January.


One Idea That May Not Be The Best Idea
I think that it might be relatively painless to create a "heads up" dashboard of AppleNova by scraping data from certain pages and referencing the RSS feed. Perhaps the resultant message board reader could be generified to work with other vBB boards, broadening its appeal (and potential misuse?).

Here's a link to Apple's page on 'Developing Dashboard Widgets' (http://developer.apple.com/macosx/dashboard.html) for anyone interested. The Javascript will be the hurdle for me as I'll have to pick my JS reference book back up.

If interested, I think that the options that I'd want in a heads-up messageboard reader would be:

list a user selected [5, 10, 25] number of today's posts
track the user's marked threads
alert the user to PMs
show number of users currently on the board


The problem with a lot of these things is that there's a login involved with most vBB setups and I haven't done the mental gymnastics to figure out how a widget could talk to a webpage that's expecting cookie handoffs (and possibly environmentals?) from a traditional browser.

Actually, the more I write this the more I realize that I'm entirely unqualified to do any of the heavy lifting on a real message board reader. Maybe some of you guys can see through the fog on how to code around these pitfalls (and to possibly see that the best messageboard reader is in fact a BROWSER).

Still, I may yet make a real version of the Murbidget if for nothing else than an exercise in widgetry.

Widgetry and the glorious consumption of beer.

Brad
2005-12-07, 21:59
I'll throw out a few of my brief thoughts here. I think anything involving any amount of heavy lifting here will be a BAD IDEA, especially since it may markedly increase our bandwidth usage. We've already seen a lot of growth in recent months and I've been gradually going through files looking for ways to save a few bytes here and there. I don't think I'll like the idea of people using widgets to duplicate access to the various forum functions.

With the coming update, we'll be providing access to a very minimal RSS feed that gives the subject, date, and last poster of recent threads. If you want to do something with that, I'd be fine with it. I'll attach a sample XML feed that I just pulled from the test server.

Of course, you could always program a standalone widget that doesn't actually do anything with AppleNova directly. :p Calculators, puzzles, converters, etc...

AsLan^
2005-12-08, 01:12
Here's a link to Apple's page on 'Developing Dashboard Widgets' (http://developer.apple.com/macosx/dashboard.html) for anyone interested. The Javascript will be the hurdle for me as I'll have to pick my JS reference book back up.You know, I was looking for something like that a while ago. Thanks!

drewprops
2005-12-08, 01:23
Bad form on my party, you had already mentioned that problem Brad... sorry :(
(If I DO ever make a page-scraping Murbidget I'll only share it with you!)

I still like the idea of something that's branded with the website. A micro word processor for doing vBB code would be cool.... something that's more interactive than the HTML web-based interface, highlight text and apply effects (like bold, italic, happy face, etc). When you're finished crafting your text you just click the cut-n-paste button, flip over to your browser and dump the vBB-ized code back into the message window and post your message.

Brad
2005-12-08, 12:54
Bad form on my party, you had already mentioned that problem Brad... sorry :(S'okay! :)

A micro word processor for doing vBB code would be cool.... something that's more interactive than the HTML web-based interface, highlight text and apply effects (like bold, italic, happy face, etc).Now that is a useful and unique idea! I like.

rollercoaster375
2005-12-08, 13:15
S'okay! :)

Now that is a useful and unique idea! I like.
Although, it's also very hard to do. I've heard it's almost impossible to do in Webkit. When you highlight text, and then click something, the text is unselected.

Edit: I point you to: http://blog.mattmecham.com/archives/2005/05/safari_20_wysi-.html

Brad
2005-12-08, 13:28
Although, it's also very hard to do. I've heard it's almost impossible to do in Webkit. When you highlight text, and then click something, the text is unselected.

True, but watch what happens when you use the recent nightly WebKit builds...

Thus, it should work soon, presumably with the next version bump to Safari.


rollercoaster375
2005-12-08, 14:39
True, but watch what happens when you use the recent nightly WebKit builds...

Thus, it should work soon, presumably with the next version bump to Safari.

When does Apple intend on updating the internal Webkit version? 10.4.4?

Brad
2005-12-08, 14:41
Well, they bumped Safari when they released 10.4.3. There is not a public roadmap for Apple's official releases; so, we can only speculate when it will be updated.

drewprops
2005-12-08, 17:14
Can you guys make a clarification here re: the webkit?

Are you saying that there would be a way to post your entry to the messageboard straight from the widget via the Webkit? I have no idea what the Webkit does.

IF so, how would you do the handoff from browsing the site in a web browser to responding to a thread in a widget? Wouldn't you have to:

1. have a link on the page that somehow "flips" you over to the widget/application
2. pass cookies to the widget/application to identify yourself to the website
3. pass the thread information from the website to the widget/app
4. more stuff

These things would be neat and much better than manually flipping to the widget/app and typing your stuff, hitting the "copy to clipboard" button, manually flipping back to the browser, pasting and posting.

rollercoaster375
2005-12-08, 17:36
Can you guys make a clarification here re: the webkit?

Are you saying that there would be a way to post your entry to the messageboard straight from the widget via the Webkit? I have no idea what the Webkit does.

IF so, how would you do the handoff from browsing the site in a web browser to responding to a thread in a widget? Wouldn't you have to:

1. have a link on the page that somehow "flips" you over to the widget/application
2. pass cookies to the widget/application to identify yourself to the website
3. pass the thread information from the website to the widget/app
4. more stuff

These things would be neat and much better than manually flipping to the widget/app and typing your stuff, hitting the "copy to clipboard" button, manually flipping back to the browser, pasting and posting.

All that stuff isn't needed. All you have to do is implement a SOAP interface (Or XML-RPC if you prefer...) for the widget.

Webkit is the Safari render engine.

Brad
2005-12-08, 19:24
Are you saying that there would be a way to post your entry to the messageboard straight from the widget via the Webkit? I have no idea what the Webkit does.
No, I wasn't implying a widget that would post for you. That too could lead to abuse as people could post without actually reading the content of a given thread. I don't even know how the logistics of such a widget would work in the first place.

I was just going along with your idea of having a widget that would stylize your text for you with vB tags, like a WYSIWYG HTML editor does with HTML tags. The point was made by rollercoaster375, however, that it isn't possible to "stylize" a text selection currently because WebKit (the rendering engine that powers Safari, Dashboard, etc) has a bug that deselects your text as soon as you click anywhere else. This bug has been fixed in the developer builds of WebKit (as demonstrated in the video) but we have no idea when Apple will officially release the updated WebKit for everyone in Software Update.

Make sense? :)

drewprops
2005-12-09, 13:56
I totally understand now~ ;)

So until the WebKit is updated that widget can't be done.

I was looking at the options available in vBB before you guys explained about the WebKit issue and was trying to figure out how that kind of widget/application would work. Like any application it seems really easy at first glance... most of the time you're just wrapping the user's selected text with vBB style tags. The hardest part would seem to be knowing what text is selected.

I wonder if people would want the ability to save a post if they had to pause while working on it? Maybe even put an Intox-i-lock on it so you can't post when durrnk.

Yontsey
2005-12-09, 14:02
I wonder if people would want the ability to save a post if they had to pause while working on it? Maybe even put an Intox-i-lock on it so you can't post when durrnk.

would the widget come with an external breathalizer tester? :lol:

drewprops
2005-12-09, 14:38
hehehe... you could draw one on the background PNG for the widget and let them blow on the screen! :lol:

(you could have them solve a puzzle before it lets you post, but that would have to be built into the browser (or the website itself))....