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Jive Release Blog

294 posts

Jon Udell <a href="http://blog.jonudell.net/2007/08/17/unexamined-software-idioms-1-linking-in-rich-text-editors/">recently blogged</a> about how the user interface for creating links in rich text editor hasn't changed in years:

The idiom goes like this:

 

1. Select the text to which you want to attach your link.

2. Click the Link button.

3. Type (or paste) the URL.

 

I’ve watched novices struggle with this for years, and it’s no wonder that they do.

We've spent a number of cycles making the rich text editor linking process easier in Clearspace. In case you've never explored the little link button in the editor, clicking on it pops up a window that looks like this:

 

 

The pop up window defaults to showing you a search interface: do a quick search and you can link to anything in Clearspace.  Conveniently there are two other options: the history option:

 

 

 

which shows a list of your most recently viewed blog posts, forum threads and wiki documents and second: the web address option:

 

 

 

where you can type in or paste a URL and then a link title. We've gone through a number of rounds of design on this pop up window and I'm sure there's still room for improvement (there is no perfect design). We'd love to hear your feedback though: what do you like about linking in the editor?  Which of the three tabs do you find you use the most?  Did you even know it was there? And for any developers out there, has anyone tried to or wanted to customize the editor?  If so, what did you did do to it?

Learn about user integration and open search in Clearspace from Jive Software Engineer Alok Singh.

 

 

 

Or you can download the Quicktime version (~36MB).

Want to win free licenses, t-shirts, cash or an iPhone, but don't know where to start?

 

If you need an idea for a plugin, you might want to visit the plugin wishlist on Jivespace. We have several plugin ideas from people who want a specific piece of functionality, but who do not have the expertise or spare time to write a plugin.

 

If you have an idea, but have never written a Clearspace plugin, our documentation page might be a good place to start. We have a Clearspace Developer kit, tutorials, documentation, Javadocs, and more to help you get started!

 

As always, you can also ask questions in our community to get help from your peers or the experts at Jive Software!

We asked this question to more than 50 Jive Software employees and got their answers on video for the world to see!  Make sure you stick around for the bloopers at the end of the video.

 

 

 

Or download the Quicktime movie (Caution: 207MB download)

Watch this video to learn more about how Clearspace handles internationalization and accessibility from Jive Software engineer Todd McCullough. Todd also wrote an accompanying blog post with more information about Clearspace product internationalization and related topics.

 

 

 

Or download the Quicktime version.

Since Jive is a vendor in the international market space, our products need to handle a variety of aspects of internationalization, or i18n.  Typically, this involves extracting human readable text from the UI and moving it into a ResourceBundle.  But, it doesn't stop there.  We also need to handle localization of email templates, dates, bidirectional support, and accessibility.  Most of this is not glamorous development work, but it's really important to a lot of our customers, and improves the usability of our products in general.  Below are some high level details of our approach to these topics.

 

Locale Support

Forums and Clearspace both support locales at a variety of levels in the object hierarchy.  This includes user, "container objects", and global locales.  With Forums, locales can be defined in the Category and Forum container objects.  With Clearspace, locales can be defined in the Community/Space container objects.  If a user specifies a locale, that is chosen first in the decision matrix.  After that comes the container object, and finally the global locale.  A customer webwork interceptor applies the appropriate local to a given request.

 

ResourceBundles

Within the UI layer, we use webwork ww:text tags to retrieve the locale specific text String.  The various ResourceBundles are specified in the webwork.properties file, and webork applies the locale that is set by the custom interceptor.  Within the Action layer, we provide an implementation of the TextProvider interface.  If an i18n String is required outside of an Action, the LocaleUtils class provides an alternate implementation of TextProvider.

 

Email Templates

Since email templates from our notification system can be quite lengthy, we provide the ability to create new set of email templates for each locale without having to muck with a ResourceBundle.  This approach provides for a better user interface, and lets us store the customized templates into the database with the specified locale.  In Clearspace, we created a nice UI to easily customize email templates for any number of locales.

 

Dates/Calendars

To localize date formats, we make use of the Java API using the DateFormat and SimpleDateFormat classes.  With Forums, we recently localized the date picker and text box processing for Announcements and Polls.  We wrote a customized freemarker template for the webwork ww:datepicker tag, and added in a commercial javascript calendar called Zapatec.  Thanks to webwork, the customization was quite easy.

 

Accessibility

International companies have stronger legal requirements for accessibility than the US.  With software, we need to support screen readers for the visually impaired.  Screen readers pay attention to every detail of the UI, which can come across quite differently than the visual representation.  In general, pay attention to meta tags like "alt" for giving valuable details to images.  It doesn't help someone out very much to hear "rockin_icon.gif, smileyface123.png" over and over again.  Instead, we provide meaningful information in the alt attributes and the reader will announce those instead.

 

Other issues with accessibility that we've run into include adding focus to an error message.  By default, screen readers start at the top of a page whenever it is loaded.  Rather than reading over the entire page again only to find there was an error message, we recently added some javascript in Forums to place the focus on the error message text as early as possible.  We extended the webwork ww:text tag to add this feature, since error messages are also internationalized.

 

Bidirectional support

Bidirectional support, or bidi for short, means adding support for mixed direction texts, such as Hebrew and Arabic.  This topic has been a challenging one. For the most part, browsers provide support for automatically reversing general html elements, such as tables.  However, when a div or span is used, explicit instruction needs to be given to tell the browser the text direction.  The problem is that the browser doesn't easily provide the text direction of the user's locale via javascript, and neither does the Java Locale API!  If anyone is familiar with this problem, and has a solution, please let us know how you implemented this.  Since direction:ltr and direction:rtl need to be set on spans and divs, we were forced to create a map of locale to direction and handle it manually - yuck!

 

So, internationalization is sometimes tricky and cumbersome to implement, but overall is quite necessary to acceptance in the international market.

Dawn Foster

Events in Clearspace

Posted by Dawn Foster Aug 7, 2007

Learn about event handling within Clearspace from Bruce Ritchie.

 

 

 

Or download the Quicktime movie

I wanted to let everyone know that the Jivespace Video Podcasts are now available from iTunes. You can subscribe using the previous links or by searching for Jivespace within the iTunes store. The iTunes versions are slightly higher quality than watching through the embedded player, so they will look a little better, but they may take a while to download.

 

iTunes is just one more way to get our videos. You can still subscribe to the RSS feed or read the Jivespace Developer Video Podcasts blog to watch the videos.

Dawn Foster

Art of Community

Posted by Dawn Foster Aug 2, 2007

Danese Cooper and I put together a community panel at OSCON discussing the art of building and maintaining successful communities. The panel included (from left to right): Danese Cooper (Moderating), Jimmy Wales, Dawn Foster, Sulamita Garcia, Whurley, Karl Fogel, and Brian Behlendorf.

 

This video contains the entire session and runs about 50 minutes.

 

 

 

Or download the Quicktime version (caution: this is quite large and may take a long time).

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