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Old May 14th, 2005, 10:49 PM   #1
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ehMac Dashboard (Public Beta 1)

A public beta of ehMac Dashboard has been completed. The widget is not feature complete, but most of the bugs are gone so the widget can serve as a taste of what will be coming up shortly.

It's worth remembering the focus of this particular beta was to have something that worked, so the next beta will focus more on the UI and useability so feel free to leave comments or message me about anything you find odd.

Rundown of features:
+ Displays most recent topic in each forum area. (Like what is seen on the front page)
+ Tells you how many active users are on at the moment
+ Has a search bar for ehMac
+ You can click on the forum name (eg. Anything Mac) and take you to that forum.
+ You can click on the thread's name and be taken to the latest post (according to your cookies) of that thread.

Rundown of bugs:
-: There is no timer so you have to manually refresh the information by pressing a refresh button on the back of the widget. This will be addressed in the next version.
-: The search will only work with one word. (eg. ehMac but NOT ehMac Rocks) This is a Dashboard bug and hopefully will be fixed in 10.4.1

Plans for next versions:
1) Size of the widget needs to increase because the text is too small. Especially on larger screens. (I am however developing this on a 12" PB so the idea is to be compact) Plans on making the widget resize accordingly are made, but won't be seen until at least beta 3.
2) Background Colour - I'm planning on seeing whether a more subdued gradient or solid colour will suffice, however I'd love to hear what people think, the UI is very basic at the moment.
3) Track PMs, subscriptions - Nothing in the near future but I will be taking a look to see if this is doable (by my standards anyway).
4) What can you actually click on? When I revise the UI I will also be revising the text so it should be more obvious what you can click on.

That said, if anyone has any revisions or wants to make their own version feel free to. I don't have a monopoly on scraping information from a website.

Please feel free to discuss the widget and report bugs here. (I know I missed some so I'm sorry I fail at being a large can of Raid )
Attached Files
File Type: zip EDPublicBeta1.zip (63.5 KB, 110 views)
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Old May 14th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #2
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Interesting tidbits concerning development thus far:

Regular Expressions have to be the most fun tool ever created. Just like a Scalpel without the handle in the hands of an 8 year old. It hurts to learn how to use it, but it does so many cool things that the blood loss is worth it. (Not the best analogy I'm guessing)

The UI took 2 days to do with 3 different designs before I finally settled on a UI good enough for the public beta where the idea is more on initial function rather then design. The official 1.0.0 would have a few more features along with more UI work hopefully with feedback from members as to what kind of features they'd like to use and how it should be laid out.

The icon took shape over 2 days after seeing different ideas and went through 4 different designs, going from color to a simplistic outline to one that fit with the same background as the current Dashboard widgets (which I like more and took the cue from Panic's Transmit Icon for the actual widget.)



Note: I will be in the ehMac chat room on iChat most of the evening.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 10:58 PM   #3
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cool. i don't have tiger yet but i was able to run a portion of the widget in safari by opening the html file. it fetched recent threads but of course i wasn't able to interact with the widget without dashboard.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 11:16 PM   #4
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And one last post for the introduction to the Public Beta.

Screenshots!



And for the technically inclined, the good snippets of code that run the program.

Code:
var activeUsers = new RegExp ("Users\<\/a\>: [0-9]*","");
var offsetString = new RegExp("\"alt1Active","g");
var ampersand = new RegExp("amp\;", "g");
var threadLink = new RegExp("showthread.php[?][A-Za-z0-9=&;]*","");
var forum = new RegExp("forumdisplay.php[?]f=[0-9]*","");
var thread = new RegExp("thread \'[A-Za-z0-9 ,\"&\.\?\:\$]*", "");
var dateRE = new RegExp("[A-za-z]* [0-9]*[a-z]*, ","");
var timeRE = new RegExp("[0-9]+\:[0-9]+ [AP]M","");
var posterRE = new RegExp("member.php[?][A-Za-z0-9=&;\"> \.]*","");
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