Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime? 
Author Message
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?

Hi,

It is quite frustrating using the search function in the tcl'ers wiki.
At the moment I am looking for one particular page which I know is
there, because I read it some time ago. I remember a couple of words
from that page: "file" and "repository". If I use the search function
on either of those words with a star "file*" and "repository*" you may
picture that I will get a lot of hits. The search result page is then
just truncated. I have no idea how to get older hits.

When I look at the way other wikis have evolved since the concept was
invented, the wikit based wiki seems to have stopped on the level of
"just after prototyping". It is really frustrating to experience how
wikipedia is miles ahead when it comes to searching for a novice like
me compared to tcl'ers wiki.

The most frustrating thing is knowing that a page exist somewhere in
that universe, but you are not able to _remember_ what that page was
named, and you can only search for one word at a time and the search
results are just truncated because of too many hits.

Are you guys happy with this very very simple search function, or could
it happen that I have not read a very important page in the wiki on how
to do "file NEAR repository" search?

--
Svenn



Sat, 27 Sep 2008 17:45:23 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?

Quote:

> Hi,

> It is quite frustrating using the search function in the tcl'ers wiki.
> At the moment I am looking for one particular page which I know is
> there, because I read it some time ago. I remember a couple of words
> from that page: "file" and "repository". If I use the search function
> on either of those words with a star "file*" and "repository*" you may
> picture that I will get a lot of hits. The search result page is then
> just truncated. I have no idea how to get older hits.

> When I look at the way other wikis have evolved since the concept was
> invented, the wikit based wiki seems to have stopped on the level of
> "just after prototyping". It is really frustrating to experience how
> wikipedia is miles ahead when it comes to searching for a novice like
> me compared to tcl'ers wiki.

> The most frustrating thing is knowing that a page exist somewhere in
> that universe, but you are not able to _remember_ what that page was
> named, and you can only search for one word at a time and the search
> results are just truncated because of too many hits.

> Are you guys happy with this very very simple search function, or could
> it happen that I have not read a very important page in the wiki on how
> to do "file NEAR repository" search?

Does this further your search in any way?

http://www.google.com/search?q=file+repository+site%3Awiki.tcl.tk

uwe



Sat, 27 Sep 2008 18:03:10 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?

Quote:

> Hi,

> It is quite frustrating using the search function in the tcl'ers wiki.
> At the moment I am looking for one particular page which I know is
> there, because I read it some time ago. I remember a couple of words
> from that page: "file" and "repository". If I use the search function
> on either of those words with a star "file*" and "repository*" you may
> picture that I will get a lot of hits. The search result page is then
> just truncated. I have no idea how to get older hits.

> When I look at the way other wikis have evolved since the concept was
> invented, the wikit based wiki seems to have stopped on the level of
> "just after prototyping". It is really frustrating to experience how
> wikipedia is miles ahead when it comes to searching for a novice like
> me compared to tcl'ers wiki.

> The most frustrating thing is knowing that a page exist somewhere in
> that universe, but you are not able to _remember_ what that page was
> named, and you can only search for one word at a time and the search
> results are just truncated because of too many hits.

> Are you guys happy with this very very simple search function, or could
> it happen that I have not read a very important page in the wiki on how
> to do "file NEAR repository" search?

Does this further your search in any way?

http://www.google.com/search?q=file+repository+site%3Awiki.tcl.tk

uwe



Sat, 27 Sep 2008 18:05:51 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?

Quote:

> When I look at the way other wikis have evolved since the concept was
> invented, the wikit based wiki seems to have stopped on the level of
> "just after prototyping". It is really frustrating to experience how
> wikipedia is miles ahead when it comes to searching for a novice like
> me compared to tcl'ers wiki.

> The most frustrating thing is knowing that a page exist somewhere in
> that universe, but you are not able to _remember_ what that page was
> named, and you can only search for one word at a time and the search
> results are just truncated because of too many hits.

> Are you guys happy with this very very simple search function, or could
> it happen that I have not read a very important page in the wiki on how
> to do "file NEAR repository" search?

I agree fully with you on that issue. wiki.tcl.tk could not only use a
better search functionality but also a nicer optical design.
But there we are at the same question again: who should work on it?
Everybody likes to see better/newer things - but few people actually
have enough time and courage to do it.

It would be good to have the wiki completely integrated in www.tcl.tk,
with the same style as www.tcl.tk has. The underlying mk based
technology of wikit is fine, and the search functionality could be
improved based upon what is there, as well as the style. Problem here
again: someone must have ressources and courage to do it. I am already
working on a more or less big project in my spare time - there are
little chances to do another thing...

Eckhard



Sat, 27 Sep 2008 19:27:02 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?



Quote:

> [snip]

> I agree fully with you on that issue. wiki.tcl.tk could not only use a
> better search functionality but also a nicer optical design.

I don't know about the latter. I find the current Wiki design to be very
pleasant. Personally, I am not aware of any other community site that
presents technical information in such an elegant and bloat-free way.

The efforts of all those who maintain the wiki (and our favourite
programming language) are appreciated.

Thank you,

razvanm



Sun, 28 Sep 2008 02:54:44 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?
I have never had an issue finding thing on the wiki and I think the
current look is fine. It doesn't need to be "jazzed" up. It is clean
and nice.

Robert



Sun, 28 Sep 2008 03:24:25 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?
Hi Uwe,

yes it does, Thank you.
--
Svenn



Sun, 28 Sep 2008 14:55:53 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?

Quote:

> I have never had an issue finding thing on the wiki and I think the
> current look is fine. It doesn't need to be "jazzed" up. It is clean
> and nice.

> Robert

Human beings are Eye-driven. Maybe you like the wiki as it is, but that
doesn't speak for the majority. I am not sure whether my opinion speaks
for the majority - but take a look at wikipedia and you know that this
site is more frequently used by "mainstream" people than wiki.tcl.tk.
If you say, thruthfully, that "ordinary mainstream people" are not
those who develop Tcl/Tk programs - imagine wikipedia would have the
style of wiki.tcl.tk. Do you think this site would be as frequently
used then, as it is today?

And thinking about just this fact implicates that wiki.tcl.tk *will* be
used more frequently if it's style is more elegant and more eye-catchy,
and it will be used from more "mainstream like" people and developers
too. More usage of the wiki attracts more people to use Tcl/Tk. This in
turn attracts more people to get involved in Tcl/Tk and -Extension
development & bug fixing... and you can continue this chain. Did you
and others ever think about why PHP is so successful? It's not the
language (which is as ugly as Perl, in fact) - it is *presentation on
web sites*. People look at it and think "oh, nice what you can do with
this thing - let's try it...". The usual adverti{*filter*}t effect.

We had a diskussion here in c.l.t recently about marketing factors. It
was about the CPAN like repository, but exactly what was spoken out
there holds true for the wiki as well.
To be good and smart at the technical level is fine, but it is just
*not enough*. If Tcl's sophisticated technical advantages can not be
presented in the right way to the mainstream, we loose... Other
languages have sophisticated features as well. They will get more
sophisticated by more popularity and overtake Tcl one day (if this has
not already happen). And we let that happen while we think, "I am happy
with the current presentation of the language on the web. Nothing has
to be done.". And then - most funny - then we fight out discussions on
c.l.t about why the language looses popularity and the old topic "What
has Perl that Tcl has not..?".

BTW, one of the main reasons that I can use Tcl/Tk at work is the way
it *looks* in a windows application (using Tile).

Ok, this post took me longer than expected and is going to have more
text than expected. What I want to say is, that we should really,
really start to improve those simple things. It's not that hard work
and, I know, it is not very exciting either for most of us. But it is
absolutely important for the future of Tcl.
While this was spoken in the 'royal we', it could address ActiveState
directly. As the best outcome, they could sell more licences of
TclDevKit ;-).

Eckhard



Sun, 28 Sep 2008 15:00:24 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?
probably a more pleasant aproach
than

search the wiki, nothing found because of sparse options, be unhappy

-80%-> go sulking, take perl

-20%-> ask on c.l.t
        get sent to google anyways

uwe



Sun, 28 Sep 2008 15:43:21 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?

Quote:
> Human beings are Eye-driven. Maybe you like the wiki as it is, but that
> doesn't speak for the majority. I am not sure whether my opinion speaks
> for the majority - but take a look at wikipedia and you know that this
> site is more frequently used by "mainstream" people than wiki.tcl.tk.
> If you say, thruthfully, that "ordinary mainstream people" are not
> those who develop Tcl/Tk programs - imagine wikipedia would have the
> style of wiki.tcl.tk. Do you think this site would be as frequently
> used then, as it is today?

Visual style?  Frankly, I don't think there'd be much difference.

However, if Wikipedia adopted the *organizational style* of TclWiki (ie.
communal anarchy as opposed to the illusion of professionally-edited
content), then yes, its usage figures would drop alarmingly.  IMO,
a major part of Wikipedia's success is that it by-and-large meets user
expectations of an online encyclopedia (ie. you get concise and relevant
content with just a few clicks).  The fact that its UI is fairly pleasant
to the eye is just icing on the cake.

So would slapping a pretty UI onto TclWiki make a difference usage-wise?
I'd say no.

So should TclWiki be revamped along the lines of the Wikipedia model?
Again, I'd say no.

So what, you might ask, am I suggesting?  Well:

1. Leave wiki.tcl.tk well enough alone. It has its purpose in life as a
central location for the Tcl community to share thoughts, bits of code,
etc.  Anarchy in action, stream-of-consciousness, and all that.

2. Beef up and "market" (for some definition of the term that I admit
I'm ill-positioned to define 8-) www.tcl.tk instead.  Enable selected
trusted people to be section editors, responsible for adding and
maintaining material in each section to be relevant and useful to the
general programming community.  Heck, I think a lot of material can
be cribbed from wiki.tcl.tk and various Tclers' blogs, but formatted,
proofread, and otherwise organized properly for general consumption.

Of course, (2) may already be in play, for all I know.  8-)

- Adrian



Sun, 28 Sep 2008 17:19:05 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?

Quote:

> Visual style?  Frankly, I don't think there'd be much difference.

> However, if Wikipedia adopted the *organizational style* of TclWiki (ie.
> communal anarchy as opposed to the illusion of professionally-edited
> content), then yes, its usage figures would drop alarmingly.  IMO,
> a major part of Wikipedia's success is that it by-and-large meets user
> expectations of an online encyclopedia (ie. you get concise and relevant
> content with just a few clicks).  The fact that its UI is fairly pleasant
> to the eye is just icing on the cake.

No, I don't think it is just ice on the cake. Why not combine the
organizational style of Wikit with a nice GUI? It can not be that
problematic - really - and it *does* make a difference. If you have fun
searching and browsing your wiki and have fun editing it's content
because the environment is attractive, you will be more likely to use
it. Not to speak from a good search functionality.

Quote:
> So would slapping a pretty UI onto TclWiki make a difference usage-wise?
> I'd say no.

I'd say yes. You are more likely to flirt with a pretty girl rather
than with a not so pretty girl, ain't you ;-)?

Eckhard



Sun, 28 Sep 2008 18:57:34 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?

Quote:

> Hi,

> It is quite frustrating using the search function in the tcl'ers wiki.
> At the moment I am looking for one particular page which I know is
> there, because I read it some time ago. I remember a couple of words
> from that page: "file" and "repository". If I use the search function
> on either of those words with a star "file*" and "repository*" you may
> picture that I will get a lot of hits. The search result page is then
> just truncated. I have no idea how to get older hits.

> When I look at the way other wikis have evolved since the concept was
> invented, the wikit based wiki seems to have stopped on the level of
> "just after prototyping". It is really frustrating to experience how
> wikipedia is miles ahead when it comes to searching for a novice like
> me compared to tcl'ers wiki.

> The most frustrating thing is knowing that a page exist somewhere in
> that universe, but you are not able to _remember_ what that page was
> named, and you can only search for one word at a time and the search
> results are just truncated because of too many hits.

> Are you guys happy with this very very simple search function, or could
> it happen that I have not read a very important page in the wiki on how
> to do "file NEAR repository" search?

If you want to do it, its probably just a day of coding or so:

Get the xapian fulltext indexing system from http://www.xapian.org (has
a swigged tcl binding that works).

Get the content of the wiki from the know address (its just a metakit
file of all the content and links).

Write a simple indexer for wiki markup. Index the database once a day.
Put up a simple cgi to accept queries and return the appropriate wiki
page or do fancy stuff and highlight results etc.

Michael



Sun, 28 Sep 2008 19:00:48 GMT  
 Will the search in the tcl'ers wiki improve anytime?
I agree completely.  I think Tcl/Tk has had an image problem for a
while.  Too many sites and too many apps look 10 years old. I learned
Tcl and programming in general just a few years ago, but I started
creating commercial apps about half a year ago.  And to be honest, if
it weren't for Tile, I would have abandoned Tcl altogether for this
type of work.

I know there's no functional difference between a square grey button
and a shaded button with a reflective background and a highlight ring
that shows up when you mouse over it.  But it's a huge difference to
the users.  If an app looks old, then they assume it's old, not
updated, not supported, and using old technology.  And when you see a
website that's using designs and styles that were popular 5-10 years
ago, then they assume the same thing.  People want the latest and
greatest, especially when computer/internet technology is changing at
the pace it is.  Why do you think every major website redesigns it's
look every 1-2 years or less?

If your target audience is only linux programming geeks, then don't
worry about looks, because it doesn't matter to them.  But the reason
other languages are so popular is because they appeal to the masses,
and the masses like Windows XP with a fisher price look and feel right
now.  And in a couple years they'll all probably be using something
different, maybe Vista, and if you don't look good on there then
they'll assume your app was abandoned 3 years ago and they'll look for
something newer and better.  The same applies to websites -- you've got
to look new if you want to attract new users.  Goto the waybackmachine
and look at some websites from 10 years ago and then look at almost any
Tcl related site, and you'll see the same solid colors and boxy styles.
The only thing missing is the cheap animated gifs and javascript code
that chases your cursor with strings of text.



Sun, 28 Sep 2008 21:04:07 GMT  
 
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